Widespread support for nonembryonic stem cell research, VCU Life Sciences Survey shows

December 19, 2007

The VCU Life Sciences Survey is the first poll to reflect the discovery reported internationally in November that human skin cells can be used to create stem cells or their near equivalents. When asked about the implications of this development, more than six in 10, or 63 percent, say that both embryonic and non-embryonic stem cell research is still needed, 22 percent say this development means embryonic stem cell research is no longer necessary. Thirty-eight percent of Americans report hearing about this research.

Three-quarters of the U.S. public supports stem cell research that does not involve human embryos. Majorities of nearly all groups in society, including those with differing beliefs about abortion and religious commitment, favor non-embryonic stem cell research, according to the survey released Wednesday.

The findings are part of this year's nationwide survey conducted by VCU via telephone with 1,000 adults nationwide from Nov. 26, 2007, to Dec. 9, 2007. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey is conducted for VCU Life Sciences and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences by the VCU Center for Public Policy.

Other survey findings:
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The poll and its methodology are posted online at http://www.news.vcu.edu/doc/VCU-Life-Sci-2007-Report-embargoed.pdf.

About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Virginia Commonwealth University is the largest university in Virginia and ranks among the top 100 universities in the country in sponsored research. Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, VCU enrolls nearly 32,000 students in 205 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-five of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU's 15 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation's leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.

Virginia Commonwealth University

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