U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) have introduced a bill (H.R. 2376) supporting embryonic stem-cell research.

The Stem Cell Research Advancement Act of 2011 would codify the National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines “for carrying out all human stem cell research, embryonic and adult,” and would require NIH to review its guidelines at least every three years and make updates “as scientifically warranted,” according to DeGette, who has championed such legislation for several years.

To address ethical concerns, the bill would mandate that “human embryonic stem cells eligible for use in research” be derived from “human embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for the purposes of reproductive treatment, and were in excess of the clinical needs of the individuals seeking such treatment.” It must also be shown that “the embryos to be donated would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded.” Donors would not be paid and would be required to sign a written consent form under the proposal. The legislation would also prohibit the use of federal funding for human cloning under the NIH guidelines.

“With two human trials already underway, for the treatment of spinal cord injuries and degenerative eye diseases, it is clear ethical embryonic stem cell research is beginning to bear fruit for the millions of Americans facing debilitating diseases and conditions,” DeGette said in a statement. “This legislation would place into statute a framework to ensure such critical research can be conducted unimpeded by political interference.” See U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette Press Release, June 27, 2011.