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Do you support Congress in voting to ease restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 8, 2007

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Photo of Ian Hrabe

“Yes. I think there are a lot of diseases that stem cell research can eventually cure, and the research is being prevented because of moral arguments that are not in the best interest of medical science.”

Photo of Lara Izokaitis

“No, out of respect for each person’s individual beliefs and how each person values life. I think it’s something that should be funded privately rather than by every federal taxpayer.”

Photo of Jon Gale

“Yes. Even if we don’t know if it will lead to cures, it’s suspected that it will. And I think it’s too important to close that door. I am not concerned about the suggested slippery slope that will lead to the devaluation of human life.”

Photo of Julia Scott

“No, I don’t. I think that is more of a personal decision. I don’t think every American taxpayer should be forced to support it. If people want to support it, they can donate money to the cause.”


sunflower_sue 10 years, 8 months ago

Ease restrictions? Sure.

Friday, Friday, FriDAY!

nlf78 10 years, 8 months ago

I think, even if it's only one life saved by the research, it's well worth the time & money. Then again, haven't stem cells from adults have be found to be a viable alternative also? Not sure on that one.

beatrice 10 years, 8 months ago

Yes, yes, yes! The fact that this became an issue of "destroying life" shows how far out of touch many on the right are with the rest of the country. Of course, our "C" student of a president, with all his wisdom and knowledge of science, will veto the bill when it comes across his desk in order to try to keep that 20% who still think he is doing a good job happy.

Linda Aikins 10 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I do!

Friday, FRIday, FRIDay, friDAY!

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm not terribly fond of my government funding research that will, for a long time, only benefit the wealthiest segments of our society. I suppose I'd feel differently if "the public" were to "own" the patents developed by research benefitting from any public funding.

I don't suppose I could convince anyone that population control is more important than extending our lives and improving our health!~)

jen82 10 years, 8 months ago

While adult stem cells hold promise, they absolutely do not have the same potential as ES cells. The disadvantages to adult stem cells are that they are difficult to grow, difficult to extract, have limited flexibility, become more scarce with age, and often have genetic defects or toxins. They have so far only resulted in 9 human therapies (as opposed to the 60 something occasionally reported). Advantages include less likely immune response and the fact they they are more readily available (brain, heart, bone marrow, placenta, etc...) Funding for Adult cells is in the billions (federal) and has been studied since the 60s.

Embryonic (ES) cells are "immortal" and can continuously reproduce for an infinite amount of time. They can become ANY cell in your body, are easy to extract, and are readily available from discarded IVF blastocyts and relatively easy to product with SCNT. SCNT cells are not likely to be rejected. They are difficult to coax into the desired cell type (research is ongoing) and rejection is possible with IVF-derived cells. So far, there have been successful animal trials (paralyzed mice walking again, for example), but no human trials yet. May be due to the relatively new discovery (1998 at U of Wisconsin) and lower funding ($55M 2002-2004 federal).

Those are the facts. Any questions? Email I recently gave a seminar to some high school students. I work at a KC med research institute, but I'll stress that I'm not an expert (I work in developmental bio, studying scoliosis).


sunflower_sue 10 years, 8 months ago

RI, I've been in the market for some leather davenports. Think I'll run on over and get them off of the porch for you. They would make a nice b. day present for the hubby.

mick 10 years, 8 months ago

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Ceallach 10 years, 8 months ago

Adult stem cell research has thus far proven to be beneficial, why not put the research dollars into something we know is beneficial instead of insisting on research with embryonic stem cells? I hear and read statements such as, 'scientists believe, scientists think, scientists hope,' regarding embryonic stem cells. That's what research scientist are all about--whatever the subject.

Placing researchers in the role of "deciderer", turning them loose with government (*read OUR) tax dollars, and letting them do what THEY believe to be right is just plain stupid.

Ceallach 10 years, 8 months ago

Embryonic (ES) cells are "immortal"

As are we all.

Stephen Prue 10 years, 8 months ago

the next debate will be who gets a new designer replacement body part(s) so they can live 200, 300 or 500 years. it will be the people with power (money) and the rest of us will be their servants. not the future I would want to live in but that's just my opinion.

sgtwolverine 10 years, 8 months ago

Blah blah blah buzzword blah blah partisan jab blah blah false expertise blah blah blah.

And that's what I have to say about that.

imastinker 10 years, 8 months ago

Of course jon isn't worried about devaluing human life. He's a lawyer!

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 8 months ago

Only in a spiritual sense are we all immortal, Ceal.

Aren't you minimalizing the contributions of science and research? Imagine where we would be without the contributions of those scientists who believed, thought and hoped . . . we'd be in the Dark AGes still. Adult cells don't have nearly the potential that embryonic cells do and at the stage of develpment that they are harveted I don't consider that equitable to even a second trimester fetus, let alone to those us us that are walking and talking on Earth, but that's my opinon. I do find it interesting that you give credence to those that promote the use of adult cells (those that agree with you) while discounting those that promote the use of embryonic cells (those that disagree). Seems pretty convenient.

Embryonic stem cell research should not be restricted.

Godot 10 years, 8 months ago

No. Private funding works just dandy.

deec 10 years, 8 months ago

So lets have private funding of shrub's wars as well. Big oil wants it? Let 'em pay for it.

sgl8888 10 years, 8 months ago

The argument that embryonic stem cells haven't cured anything is not an honest one.

Godot 10 years, 8 months ago

sgl8888, what are embryonic stem cells curing today?

james bush 10 years, 8 months ago

Tiller the baby killer should contribute all those worthless fetus strem cells he's incinerating when he's finished his day's work.

james bush 10 years, 8 months ago

Hmmmm......maybe he already is...........!?

Godot 10 years, 8 months ago

Donate?? No doubt Tiller is contributing to lawmakers who will next push to legalize the sale of embryonic stem cells. After all, it would be unjust for a professional to perform a service without pay.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 8 months ago

"If people want to support it, they can donate money to the cause." - Julia Scott, hostess, Gardner

Probably one of the most brilliant comments ever made to "On the Street."

erod0723 10 years, 8 months ago

Once upon a time, the federal government sought to prevent heart transplants and the like, because it was deemed unnatural and "Not God's work". There is no place for this continuing religious zealotry in the federal government. The rights of people suffering from Parkinson's, Alzheimers, Diabetes, Cancer, blindness, deafness, cystic fibrosis (shall I keep going on) must outweigh the rights of an embryo, which cannot be classified as a living person. The federal government facilitates abortions to women who are incarcerated or in mental health institutions. The first wave of baby boomers is starting to retire and they are will be getting diseases and cancers that will be preventable by stem cells. The medical costs for treating these people will become an unbearable burden on our society, but stem cell use can help stem the tide. If forced to make the choice to kill one innocent embryo or potential human in order to save 1 actual living and breathing person, I would do it every single time.

erod0723 10 years, 8 months ago

Fyi Godot, I'm a he, not a she. I happen to know someone who personally benefited from embryonic stem cells. This person had a terminal disease that deteriorated the nerve cells in his spinal cord, and by implanting stem cells into the spinal cord, this was reversed. So yeah, I do believe that stem cells will solve many many afflictions people are currently suffering from. If you spent a minute reading articles in esteemed journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, then maybe you would realize the potential that stem cells have. Secondly, all the embryonic stem cells that we need can come from discarded or unused embryos taken during IVF. The fertility clinics simply through the stem cells out. Tell me, how is it any worse in "God's eye" to use these stem cells to better humanity, rather then let them rot in some dumpster? If my wife and I used IVF, I would be more than happy to donate the unused embryos to science.

Godot 10 years, 8 months ago

Wow, we do not even have a viable treatment for humans from embryonic stem cells, yet erod0273 is comfortable predicting that the procedures will "stem the tide" of the cost of treating us old baby boomers. I should have known that the pure-as-driven-snow stem cell researchers and the pharmas to which they hope to sell their products intend to just give away the "secret to all life, " rather than get rich off of it.

Then she says,

"If forced to make the choice to kill one innocent embryo or potential human in order to save 1 actual living and breathing person, I would do it every single time."

Warms your heart, doesn't it?

jen82 10 years, 8 months ago

Just as an anecdote to the "nothing has come of ES cells yet" argument: It's not a legitimate argument because therapies take billions of dollars (of federal money) and decades to develop (in 40 years, and with billions of dollars, only 9 adult stem cell therapies have been developed, most very recently). We have been working on ES cells for less than a decade, and on only a couple of hundred millions of dollars (of federal money), which is NOTHING in science terms. Give us another 30 years and another billion dollars before it's fair to say "nothing will come of it."

That's the "fact" rant. Now, on a personal level, I don't want to pay for this war and I'm forced to. I'll make you a deal. I won't ask for any more federal money for stem cells, if you stop asking for federal money for this war. It's against my beliefs.


jen82 10 years, 8 months ago

As I said before, 9 therapies in 40 years is nice for adult cells. When we have 40 years for ES cells, maybe we'll have 9 therapies too. There is absolutely no argument in saying that after 10 years it hasn't "proven" itself. 10 years is absolutely not enough. And there is private funding for ES cells, just as much as there is for adult stem cells. You would do well to look at the facts, and there's nothing more I can say. I have already commented on "morality" issue above.

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