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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Update on Harvard stem cell scientist

Here's an update from Harvard stem cell scientist Kevin C. Eggan on a report in today's New York Times - denied earlier today by a Harvard spokesman -- that he is delaying a move to Kansas City because of political opposition in Missouri to human embryonic stem cell research.

The Harvard spokesman said Eggan has never had plans to leave Harvard. But Eggan said in an interview later this afternoon that a move to Kansas City was "always on the table" as part of his contract with the Stowers Medical Institute, which is based in Harvard Square and supports two investigators: Eggan and Chad Cowan at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"Our contracts say that advancement in the institute would be tied to moving to Kansas City if the political situation improved," Eggan said. "It was always very much on the table."

Even though Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment in November to allow stem cell research, state legislators have proposed many bills that would limit any research on human embryonic stem cells.

"The political situation is anything but clear," Eggan said.

Jim and Virginia Stowers of Kansas City, who have delayed a $300 million expansion of their Stowers Institute for Medical Research there, started supporting Eggan and Cowan because they thought Missouri would ban stem cell research.

If the climate for stem cell research changes in Missouri, Eggan and his lab colleagues will have a decision to make.

"It's certainly something we would have to seriously consider," he said.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:39 PM
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