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Archive for Friday, August 10, 2001

Brownback adviser opposes research

August 10, 2001

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David Prentice knows he's outnumbered.

He's a university scientist who opposes embryonic stem cell research.

"I feel it's unethical," the Kansas University graduate said. "You have to destroy a human being. Whether you consider it a person or a piece of property, we have to destroy an embryo."

Prentice, a professor of life sciences at Indiana State University, also points to research using stem cells from adults that he says is more successful than research using stem cells from embryos.

Advocates for the research say cells from embryos offer more promise because those cells can become tissue for any body organ.

"I'm definitely in the minority, though I'm not the only one," he said.

Prentice has been interviewed many times during the stem-cell debate, including an appearance on CNN. He was co-founder of The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics.

For the past three years, Prentice has advised Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., on stem cell research and other bioethics issues. He talks to Brownback or his staff at least once a week and has spent four weeks each summer in Washington, D.C.

Brownback also is a staunch opponent of embryonic stem cell research.

"We simply do not need to do any research which relies on the destruction of human beings," the conservative Republican senator said Thursday night after President Bush announced his support for federal funding for limited medical research on embryonic stem cells.

Prentice and Brownback have been lifelong friends after growing up together in Parker, southeast of Ottawa.

"He said, 'There's nobody up here who speaks science. Come and translate,'" Prentice recalled.

Prentice received his bachelor's degree in cell biology from KU in 1978, then received his doctorate in biochemistry in 1981.

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