Archive for Sunday, March 22, 2009

State groups divided on embryonic stem cell policy reversal

March 22, 2009


President Barack Obama’s recent decision to lift restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is eliciting a variety of reactions in the region.

Scientists said the new research that could be funded would help determine whether the cells could be used to prevent dangerous diseases or to regenerate tissue.

Opponents of the decision called the measure an assault on human life, and a step in the wrong direction for the country.

Brad Kemp, executive director of the Kansas Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, said Obama’s decision to reverse an executive order signed by President George W. Bush essentially opened funding for new lines of stem cells for federal research — lines that had been funded by private research since 2001.

He said that while the exact benefits of the research are still not yet known, the president’s decision means that the research can accelerate, and the scientific community can know sooner about the cells’ potential for helping the fight against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

“We’re also encouraged that the president has taken a stand that politics generally will not interfere with science,” Kemp said.

Mary Kay Culp, state executive director for Kansans for Life, said she was shocked at how far Obama went in his decision to make additional funds available for research.

“It’s a massive assault on the dignity of human life, and what it means to be human,” she said.

She also said that questioning the humanity of an unborn child could lead to sticky ethical situations later. “You can’t just look at A, B and C,” she said. “You’ve got to look at X, Y and Z down the line.”

She said her group has joined other scientific researchers in supporting the use of adult stem cell research and other forms of research free from ethical issues, but not embryonic stem cell research.

At the Kansas City-based Stowers Institute for Medical Research, stem cell research is ongoing. In a statement, Bill Neaves, president and CEO of the institute, said that while scientists there are not reliant on federal National Institutes of Health funding for embryonic stem cell research, they applauded Obama’s decision to loosen the federal regulations.

“Most people do not consider a few undifferentiated cells in a lab dish to be the moral equivalent of a person and see no reason why research on these cells should have been denied federal funding,” Neaves’ statement said. “Allowing scientists who study human embryonic stem cells to compete for NIH grants is a long overdue removal of unnecessary restrictions on research in regenerative medicine.”

The institute and Kansas University Medical Center are conducting research on the cells, which can develop into nearly all types of other cells in the human body.

Kenneth R. Peterson, professor and vice chairman of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at KU Medical Center, said in an e-mail that two researchers perform human embryonic stem cell research using lines approved under the Bush administration.

“There is renewed interest among some of the scientists to do research with human ES cells now that the ban has been lifted,” Peterson wrote. “However, it will take time for them to develop research plans.”


SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 11 months ago

If I were suffering from paralysis or a life-threatening disease, I would NOT want my potential cure coming from the destruction of human life.

And as a tax payer, I am deeply saddened that my income is being used to destroy human life. Not in my name. Not in my name.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and thank you to the Far Left for allowing me to co-opt their term, "Not in my name." It fits perfectly in this context.

Carol Braden 8 years, 11 months ago

In 1994, through an in vitro fertilization procedure, my husband & I produced 11 embryos. 5 were implanted and 6 were frozen. One of those five took hold and about 9 months later, our youngest son was born. Prior to the procedure, we were given options for the remaining embryos if we chose not to use them: donate to another couple, donate for research, or destroy them. We chose to donate for research. This was before the ban on embryonic stem cell research. I've often wondered what happens to all the embryos such as ours that go unused. Are most of them destroyed? That seems to be more of "a massive assault on the dignity of human life, and what it means to be human". We are hopeful that our remaining 6 embryos went to good use. Maybe their line might help to find a cure to Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. In setting the record straight, embryos produced for in vitro fertilization are destroyed without the option to donate for research. In vitro fertilization hasn't been banned. Our son is thankful for that! So, are my husband and I!

Confrontation 8 years, 11 months ago

Easy to say that, STRS, since you're not someone who is suffering from "paralysis or a life-threatening disease." Feel free to adopt some embryos.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 11 months ago

"This was before the ban on embryonic stem cell research." -cammieb

There has never been a ban on destroying human embryos for research purposes. There was simply an eight-year moratorium on using your and my tax dollars to destroy additional embryos in the name of science.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 11 months ago

"Maybe their line might help to find a cure to Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease." -cammieb

I think cammie hopes their LIVES went to a cure. Regardless, the lives of these embyros were just as likely destroyed in the pursuit of a male pattern baldness cure as they were for Alzheimers or Parkinsons.

alpminn 8 years, 11 months ago

I have read the blogs and the religous have been duped by the Bush administraton. Please go to and read the entire article and the comments section. Be sure to read the comment sent in by MadScientistChick@ 3/21/09 at 905 pm.

Basically the article is whitewashing the Bush decision with stem cell research. Typical revisionist Bush historian at work trying to justify their heartless decisions. However read all the comments and if if the comment made by madscientistchick is true then a lot of federal research money was diverted to try and make useless cell lines work as a payoff to Bush crony's that had stock options with those cell lines.

I guess that is what the Bush slogan of "Compassionate Conservitism" is all about as long as he gets rich off us and a lot of people have died a needless death because of the 8 years of needless delays on this important medical research. I used to work in Kansas and the people there are hard working honest folks who don't like being screwed with, "Why are there still some people out there being screwed over by the Bush crowd'? Unbelivable in this day of reason!

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