DRI and Foundation News

Two UM School of Medicine Scientists to Participate in United Nations Debate

Miami, FL (May 28, 2004) -- Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Scientific Director of the Diabetes Research Institute, and W. Dalton Dietrich, Ph.D., Scientific Director of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, both at the University of Miami School of Medicine, will take part in a landmark scientific conference at the United Nations. The conference on human cloning and stem cell research will take place on Wednesday, June 2, at UN headquarters in New York City. “Human Cloning Issues in All its Aspects for the United Nations,” is being hosted by the Genetics Policy Institute of Coral Gables. Drs. Ricordi and Dietrich are on the Institute’s science advisory board.

Last year the UN considered a ban on all forms of cloning research, including therapeutic cloning, but the deliberations were deferred until later this year. The conference will feature leading scientists in biomedical research from four continents. “It’s important that scientists take an active part in the education of our policy makers because a clear difference exists between therapeutic cloning which can benefit millions of patients, and the unethical reproductive cloning that most of the scientific world is opposed to,” said Dr. Ricordi. “It’s also our responsibility to clarify what the consequences of a ban on therapeutic cloning research will mean for patients who are ill today, those who will contract diseases in the future, and for our country’s biomedical research as a whole.”

“This UN Conference is an important venue in which to discuss the therapeutic opportunities and challenges we encounter to promote the use of stem cells in the treatment of spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders,” said Dr. Dietrich.

Therapeutic cloning is a form of stem cell research, which holds the promise to understand, treat and cure the nearly 1 billion people worldwide suffering from such diseases as cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injuries, and Alzheimer’s. Therapeutic cloning of specific human cells, genes and other tissues could lead to cures and treatments by creating replacement tissue that the human body will not reject.

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Media Contact: 
Kelly Kaufhold 
Phone: (305) 243-5184 
Pager: (305) 376-6468 
kkaufhold@med.miami.edu

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