THURSDAY, June 12, 2003
Welcome and Opening
CHAIRMAN KASS: Good morning, everyone. Welcome
to the members of the President's Counsel on Bioethics to this,
our 11th meeting.
A very special welcome to Jim Wilson who rejoins us after successfully
completing several months of medical treatment. He has escaped
from the leeches in better shape than before.
CHAIRMAN KASS: Welcome, too, to the members
of the public.
I note the presence of Dean Clancy, the Designated Federal Officer,
in whose presence this is a legal meeting.
Jim has asked for a moment to address the Council.
PROF. WILSON: I simply wanted to apologize for
my long absence. I did not realize during my absence that Leon,
in the spirit of kindness to which he is so disposed, had not revealed
the reason, but I had to be at home for 90 consecutive days.
Ninety consecutive days are over. I'm fine, and I'm back
to join you as mean spirited as ever.
CHAIRMAN KASS: That's why I have him close.
The agenda for this meeting, as you know, the bulk of this meeting
will be devoted to biotechnology and public policy and our project
to assess the current state of regulation of the technologies that
touch the beginnings of human life with panels this afternoon from
a variety of stakeholders and their representatives and tomorrow
morning with a discussion of the discussion document that the council
commissioned the staff to prepare.
The first session this morning is separate and is a continuation
of our efforts to fulfill the charge to monitor stem cell research.
The topic of stem cell research will be the heart of the July meeting.
We have commissioned five or six scientific review papers from leading
researchers to review the work in stem cell research, embryonic
and adult, that has taken place since August of 2001.
We also have commissioned an ethics review paper and a paper that
will review relevant legislation, federal and state, that has been
enacted since that time.
Today, in advance of that meeting, we are trying to inform ourselves
about one crucial challenge to the possible therapeutic uses of
stem cells and their derivatives, the problem of immune rejection.
This, as many of you know, is an area of intense research activity,
not just of stem cells but across the board in transplantation of
And we are very fortunate to have with us as our guest this morning
Dr. Sylviu Itescu, who is Associate Professor of Medicine in the
Cardiology Division at the Columbia University College of Physicians
and Surgeons and also the Director of Transplantation immunology
at Columbia Presbyterian hospital of the College of Physicians and
Dr. Itescu's curriculum vitae is at your place, and the paper
that he has submitted, I think, was delivered to you at your hotel
rooms, and it is, as he acknowledges, a technical paper, but one
I think that will, in addition to the discussion that he's now
going to lead us through, will help us a lot, I think, in thinking
through this particular crucial problem in the area of stem cell
research and regenerative medicine.
Dr. Itescu, thank you very much for your paper, for your presence,
and we look forward to hearing from you.