WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) issued the following statement on President Obama’s issuance of an executive order that will advance stem cell research while establishing strict ethical guidelines:

“Today marks an important turning point in the promotion of scientific research that holds the potential to treat, and one day, cure some of the most vexing diseases of our time. I commend President Obama for giving the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the autonomy to make sound scientific decisions that will advance meritorious research and put our nation on the forefront of critical medical breakthroughs. Most importantly, I am pleased that under this Executive Order the United States will lead by example in establishing strict ethical guidelines for stem cell research that adhere to the highest possible principles in scientific inquiry.

“For the past four and a half years, I have worked with my colleagues in Congress to overturn the previous Administration’s stifling federal stem cell policy that has impeded biomedical discovery. In recent months, I have sent two letters to President Obama urging his quick action to reverse the federal restrictions on stem cell research and pledging my commitment to work with the President to adopt complimentary legislation. The fast pace of scientific discovery and fragmentation of state and private research highlight the importance of strong federal leadership in defining an overarching framework to guide responsible stem cell research.

“I would have been proud to stand with the President today at the White House on this momentous occasion, and I was honored that he extended an invitation for me to attend the signing ceremony. However, coincidentally, I was already committed to visit a biomedical company in Bethlehem this morning. On a day when our nation reaffirmed its commitment to scientific ingenuity and public health, it was appropriate for me to learn more about innovative medical advances that are unfolding in our backyard.”