Topeka A recent breakthrough in stem cell research has been hailed by some as the end of a contentious debate over using embryos in research.
But in Kansas, that fight is expected to continue.
State Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, said he still thinks it is appropriate to push the Legislature to outlaw use of tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research "as a matter of principle."
In a recent discovery, scientists have found they can make ordinary skin cells turn into other types of cells, a process they hope can be refined to some day be used to treat diseases and repair damaged organs.
Kinzer and others who oppose embryonic stem cell research praised the new finding.
Those groups - Kansans for Life, Concerned Women for America, Cures Without Cloning of Kansas and Missouri, and Do No Harm - say the new research means there is now no reason to destroy embryos to extract cells.
But the Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures says the new discovery exemplifies the need to allow scientists to conduct research.
"Keep in mind that all of the recent discoveries resulting in reprogrammed cells depended entirely on previous embryonic stem cell research," said Brad Kemp, director of the coalition.
Kemp said this underscores that "the scientific community should be allowed to aggressively pursue every legal and ethical avenue available to unlock the mystery of disease, including SCNT."
SCNT refers to somatic cell nuclear transfer. The SCNT process transplants DNA into an unfertilized egg to grow stem cells, which are primitive cells that can develop into other types of cells under certain conditions.
Officials with the Kansas University Medical Center have said banning SCNT would adversely affect research in Kansas. This year, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo., suspended plans for a major expansion after conservative Missouri legislators stripped funding for prominent life sciences projects. Officials there said they were having trouble attracting researchers to Stowers because of the "persistent negative political climate."
But supporters of the proposed ban, including anti-abortion groups, said the SCNT process is immoral because it destroys a human life once the stem cells are taken out.