MADISON — The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today adopted a resolution strongly supporting “the continuation of human embryonic stem cell research that is conducted according to the highest ethical standards.”

The full board acted on a resolution forwarded yesterday by its Business and Finance Committee. On Thursday, the committee heard a presentation on stem cell research from James Thomson, an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy at UW-Madison and leader of the university’s pioneering work in this field. Also appearing before the committee was R. Alta Charo, a UW-Madison professor of law and medical ethics and a member of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission. Thomson explained the basics of stem cell research and its potential applications, while Charo addressed the ethical concerns such research has raised in some quarters.

The board resolution notes that human embryonic stem cell research “has enormous potential to improve human health and is critical to finding treatments and cures” for a number of diseases.”

In addition to supporting the continuation of human embryonic stem cell research, the board also expressed support for “continued federal funding that will enable [such] research . . to move forward rapidly and, at the same time, ensure public access to such advances.” The board also strongly opposed “state or federal legislation or administrative action that would have the effect of slowing or banning research in this area.”

The Clinton administration issued regulations last year permitting the use of federal funds for human embryonic stem cell research. The Bush administration remains undecided whether to allow continued federal funding, although the president has said that he opposes it.

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