To the editor:
This letter is a response to Miss Blanck's letter opposing embryonic stem cell research. She is correct: There has been success in using adult stem cells. However, the fact there is no success with embryonic is obvious due to lack of opportunity.
Also, human life is not being taken as she reports. Human embryonic stem cells are derived from surplus fertilized embryos from in vitro fertilization that are discarded unless donated for other infertile couples or research.
Embryonic cells are of more interest because they are undifferentiated and, unlike adult cells, have the ability to form any adult cell and can proliferate indefinitely in culture. They have the ability to develop into virtually any human body cell - bone, muscle, liver, blood, etc. Because adult cells are already specialized, their potential to regenerate damaged tissue is very limited, where only embryonic cells have the capacity to be any kind of tissue, with the potential to repair vital organs.
Embryonic stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans to treat or cure diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes or heart disease. I have no moral dilemma with using embryos that are donated, or otherwise discarded, for research because you or I may be one of those whose life is saved in the future.
Miss Blanck is correct: Those advocates are voicing their opinions loudly and it is about to get louder. Polls show the majority of Americans as well as both houses of Congress support this research and President Bush's veto will not endure.