To the editor:
John Kerry and Ron Reagan have garnered cheers and headlines recently for criticizing the Bush administration for its limits on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Those cheers and headlines, though, have been built on misinformation.
The truth is, not one human being has been treated with embryonic stem cells, not for lack of funding, but because of their unpredictability and the lack of treatment success when used in animal testing. What's more, such research requires the loss of life because the embryo -- a tiny human being -- must be destroyed for its cells to be extracted.
But there is a form of stem cell research that could prove revolutionary, a type John Kerry, Ron Reagan and the media haven't even bothered to tell us about. It involves "adult" stem cells, those harvested from such sources as umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. They have shown great promise in the treatment of more than 70 diseases and conditions.
Anyone may contact the Cord Blood Registry (www.cordblood.com), a storage bank for cord blood collected at birth, for more information. Ultimately, adult stem-cell treatments will prove to be the most effective pathway for truly advancing science because they are already proven to work! In fact, my own brother-in-law has been given a new lease on life after treatment with adult stem cells.
So, don't be fooled the next time you hear conservatives want to ban stem cell research. We simply want to support the most ethical, promising form of it so there's a real chance of helping those who suffer.
Margit C.K. Hall,