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Friday, February 14, 2002

Session 8: Public Comments

Tricia Brooks, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation

CHAIRMAN KASS: Let me — if that is all right, if someone has an epiphany they want to add, I would like to then just without taking a break, let's just — we have two people who want to make public comments. We have allotted five minutes for each of them and if they would be willing to come to the microphone we would be very glad to hear from you.

The first is Tricia Brooks from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Ms. Brooks, please.

MS. BROOKS: Thank you. Is this on?

CHAIRMAN KASS: No, I do not think it is. Would you flip the switch?

MS. BROOKS: It is lit. There you go.

Hi. My name is Tricia Brooks. I am here as a representative of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, as well as a member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, which is a coalition made up of over 60 patient groups, universities, researchers, all who have come around the issue of embryonic stem cell research, as well as therapeutic cloning.

I want to take a moment to thank you all for your consideration of the patients in this past discussion. It was very heartening to hear you have that discussion. However, none of you are here representing the patient and we certainly appeal to the Council to take a moment and considering having a panel at your next meeting that is representative of the patients because there a lot of voices out here. They are not morally vacuous. They are not without thought or consideration of what the research entails. They are not with an unrealistic point of view of when a therapy will be made available.

We are not overstating the hope of the research. We are not overstating what the research will do for us in the next five or ten years but how can you overstate the hope that this offers? And I think that we all believe embryonic stem cell research, adult stem cell research, somatic cell nuclear transfer, all of these technologies are vital tools to alleviate pain and to ideally get to a cure.

Adult stem cell researchers have continued to say the reason why we know so much about adult stem cell research is from what we find out from embryonic stem cell research. Benefits we will find out for embryonic stem research will be doing this basic research with cloned, even though it is an awful "c" word, but somatic cell nuclear transfer will give us the — ideally give us the opportunity to learn the biology of how you take a differentiated cell and undifferentiate it so five or ten years down the road we will not need these eggs to do this research.

We certainly appeal to you to take this moment to consider having the patients come here instead of having your thoughtful consideration without their voices being heard.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you very much. Robert Morrison, Culture of Life Foundation and Institution. Is Mr. Morrison here?

MR. MORRISON: Yes, I am.

CHAIRMAN KASS: Please. I am sorry, we had — maybe you signed the public guest list as opposed to the — we have a public testimony list.

Is there someone else who would like to say something before we adjourn?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN KASS: If not, thank you very much, Panel. Members of Council, thank you very much for your endurance and thoughtful participation. The meeting is adjourned.

(Whereupon, at 12:24 p.m., the proceedings were concluded.)

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