2007 -- H 5672

Enacted 04/25/07


H O U S E  R E S O L U T I O N




     Introduced By: Representatives Naughton, Handy, Ginaitt, Sullivan, and O`Neill

     Date Introduced: February 28, 2007


     WHEREAS, An estimated 128,000,000 Americans suffer from the crippling physical,

economic, and psychological burdens of chronic, degenerative, and acute diseases, including

Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, macular

degeneration, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and cancer; and

     WHEREAS, The cost of treatment and lost productivity from chronic, degenerative, and

acute diseases in the United States constitute hundreds of billions of dollars every year, and

estimates of the economic costs of these diseases do not account for the extreme human loss and

suffering associated with these conditions; and

     WHEREAS, Regenerative medicine including stem cell research offers immense promise

for developing new medical therapies, and a better understanding of these debilitating diseases,

and could lead to unprecedented treatments and potential cures for Alzheimer's disease, heart

disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, cancer, and other diseases; and

     WHEREAS, Although regenerative medicine including stem cell research is on the

cutting edge of biological science today, it is still in its infancy. Much additional study will be

required to most efficiently advance the scientific and therapeutic potential of regenerative

medicine; and

     WHEREAS, Regenerative medicine and stem cell research that is publicly funded and

conducted under established standards of open scientific exchange, peer review, and public

oversight offers the most efficient and responsible means to fulfill the promise of meeting the

need for regenerative medical therapies; and

     WHEREAS, Each year thousands of Americans including African American, Latino,

Asian, and other minority group members suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other blood

diseases require regenerative medicine therapies such as peripheral stem cell or bone marrow

transplant in order to survive. Only 25-30% of all individuals will have a suitable sibling or other

family donor. Unfortunately, a severe shortage of minority donors exists in the National Marrow

Donor Program registry. Consequently, for example, only 45% of African-Americans are able to

find a matched, unrelated donor. This is in contrast to as high as 90% successful donor matches

for certain non-minority racial and ethnic groups. This under-representation of minority

populations in the regenerative medicine matching population is as acute in Rhode Island as it is

nationally, and thus further study and efforts must be made to enhance the opportunities for life-

saving regenerative medicine therapies for Rhode Island minority community members; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island's current health care system may not be able to meet the needs

of individuals effected by diseases that may be treated through regenerative medical therapies in

the future unless medical care can focus on early diagnosis, cure, and prevention rather than

palliation of late-stage effects of disease; and

     WHEREAS, The biotechnology industry is a key component of the future of Rhode

Island's economy that provides multiple facets of employment; and

     WHEREAS, Rhode Island's public and private higher education and medical treatment

and research institutions are an essential and vibrant part of the State's economy and provide a

robust opportunity for advanced research and implementation of regenerative medicine; and

     WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Blood Center is poised to develop its already

sophisticated method of blood testing, collecting and transfusion, which includes the Therapeutic

Apheresis Program, red cell collection and exchange programs for end stage leukemia and cancer

patients to further establish a Public Cord Blood Bank; and

     WHEREAS, Public policy on regenerative medicine must balance ethical and medical

considerations and must be based on an understanding of the science associated with all facets of

regenerative medicine research while remaining grounded on a thorough consideration of the

ethical concerns. This calls for careful and thorough examination and study of all issues

surrounding the future prospects for regenerative medicine therapies and related research in

Rhode Island; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this House of Representative of the state of Rhode Island and

Providence Plantations hereby believes that a thorough study of the potential for and barriers to

the advancement of regenerative medicine and related research in Rhode Island is necessary; and

be it further

     RESOLVED, That a legislative study commission on regenerative medicine and research

be and the same is hereby created consisting of nine (9) members: seven (7) of whom shall be

members of the House of Representatives, not more than five (5) from the same political party, to

be appointed by the Speaker of the House; one of whom shall be the Lieutenant Governor of the

state of Rhode Island, serving ex officio; and one of whom shall be Congressman Langevin,

serving ex officio.

     In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to the legislative study

commission, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu

of a legislator, provided that the majority leader or the minority leader of the political party which

is entitled to the appointment consents to the appointment of a member of the general public.

     The purpose of said study commission shall be to make a comprehensive study of the

potential for and barriers to the advancement of regenerative medicine and related research in

Rhode Island.

     On March 1, 2007 or immediately thereafter, the members of the study commission shall

meet at the call of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and organize and shall select,

from among the legislators, a chairperson. Vacancies in said study commission shall be filled in

the like manner as the original appointment.

     The members of the study commission shall receive no compensation for their services.

     All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,

documentary and otherwise, to said study commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or

desirable by the study commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.

     The Speaker of the House is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters

for said study commission; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the legislative study commission shall report its findings and

recommendations to the House of Representatives no later than June 5, 2007 and said study

commission shall expire on August 30, 2007.