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March 10, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director


(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) commended President Barack Obama for signing an Executive Order that lifted Bush Administration restrictions on the use of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. The prior policy limited the use of federal funds to research on embryonic stem cell lines that were derived prior to August 9, 2001. Under President Obamaís Executive Order, federal funding still cannot be used to develop new embryonic stem cell lines, but it can be used to study existing cell lines and other cell lines created in the future. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now responsible for establishing new stem cell research guidelines within 120 days.

"The Presidentís action was an important first step in ensuring that all avenues of research will be available," said NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky, who acknowledged that NAEVR has worked closely with the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) in previous Congressional sessions to reverse the ban, with all efforts falling short of the numbers needed to overturn vetoes from President Bush.

NAEVR has supported expanded embryonic stem cell research due to the promise it holds for the more than 100 million Americans suffering from debilitating diseases and disorders, such as cancer, Alzheimerís, spinal cord injuries and diabetes, which results in sight-impairing diabetic retinopathy. Embryonic stem cell research also holds the promise of treatments for other eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at