Stem Cell Research and HR 810/S471, Why The Senate Should
Oppose S 471 And Support President Bush's Embryonic Stem
Cell Research Funding Policy.
September 1, 2005
This May the United States House of
Representatives, including all three of Nevada’s
Congressmen, voted for a bill (H.R. 810) to change
President Bush’s policy on federal funding of embryonic
stem cell research. The
president’s policy, described below, forbids any funding
of research on embryonic stem cell lines using embryonic
stem cells derived from human embryos after August 9,
2001, the day he initiated the policy.
The policy does provided funding for research on
embryonic stem cells derived from human embryos prior to
August 9, 2001. The new bill would provide federal funding for embryonic stem
cell research regardless of the date embryonic stem cells
are derived from human embryos.
The Senate will vote on a similar measure (S. 471)
Bush is expected to veto this legislation.
Nevada LIFE opposes this bill and these changes to
the President’s policy.
What follows is a brief attempt to educate our
state on embryonic stem cell research and the dangers it
and this legislation present to our nation. It is
excerpted from our briefings to Nevada legislators.
Nevada LIFE urges Nevadans to contact
their Senators and ask them to vote no on S.
Different Kinds of Stem Cell Research.
Not All Stem Cell Research Is Embryonic Stem Cell
All Stem Cell Research Presents Ethical Problems.
Stem cell research attempts to
repair or regenerate damaged tissues in our bodies.
If it can be mastered, it would have a tremendous
impact on humanity. Progress
has already been made with Parkinson’s, blood disorders
like Sickle Cell Anemia, Heart damage, diabetes in animals
and certain types of cancers and leukemia, to name a few
in some areas of stem cell research.
Some have experienced progress with spinal cord
One of the misconceptions about stem cell research
is that all stem cell research is the same.
Stem Cell research can generally be divided into
two types, embryonic stem cell research and “adult”
(non-embryonic stem cell research).
The difference is the source of the stem cells.
The source is the moral difference for opponents of
embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).
Embryonic stem cell research (ESCR)
obtains the cells by destroying human embryos-human
beings in the embryonic stage of development.
Currently, there is no other way to obtain
embryonic stem cells than to destroy the life of an
embryonic human being.
New attempts to procure ESCs (embryonic stem
cells) will be noted below under alternatives.
Adult stem cell research (ASCR) uses stem cells from a person’s own
body or from umbilical cord blood, placental and other
is no moral objection to ASCR because it does not
involve the killing of a human being.
Note: Advocates for ESCR usually lump the results of ASCR
and ESCR when they talk about the benefits of funding ESCR
under stem cell research, as if ESCR and stem cell
research were one and the same and that all stem cell
research was ESCR. This
makes it appear (we believe intentionally) that opponents
of ESCR oppose stem cell research.
The truth is that Nevada LIFE and other ESCR
opponents support nearly all stem cell research.
ASCR is producing outstanding results, is ethical
and should be pursued with vigor.
We only oppose unethical research, that smaller
portion known as ESCR which kills embryonic human beings.
Advantages Of Embryonic Stem Cells. “Why
Embryonic Stem Cell Research?”
Embryonic Stem Cells
That is, they have not yet differentiated and are
thought to be more flexible and capable of becoming any
kind of cell. Supporters
of ESCR believe this is the most important advantage of
working with ESCs instead of ASCs which are multi-potent.
(A single cell embryo is totipotent.
They are capable of becoming a complete
organism and producing all the cells of the body).
If ESCs can be controlled, then some scientists
believe that they could program embryonic stem cells to
become any kind of cell the body needs.
No Harm, The American Coalition for Research Ethics (www.stemcellresearch.org)
notes that “human embryonic stem cells do have the
ability to form every tissue in the body — when they are
left to grow and differentiate as part of an intact human
embryo. But in the lab, researchers have not succeeded in
turning embryonic stem cells into pure cultures of
specific, viable tissue types -- the essential first step
if these cells are to have any therapeutic application.
Even after 20 years of experience with mouse embryonic
stem cells they have been unable to do this.” (“The
‘Political Science’ Of Stem Cells, Lesson 9: Making A
The inability of embryonic stem
cell to work is not the only problem.
Transplanted ESCs have caused teratomas and death
in animal studies. There are no human trials using ESCs. ESCs also pose rejection problems since the cells will not
match the patient’s genetic makeup.
Supporters of ESCR believe cloning will solve the
rejection problem. ESCR
also has the disadvantage of being outrageously expensive.
If cloning were involved, the cost of creating one
groups of cells for therapy are projected at costing at
least $100,000 to cultivate.
Adult stem cells pose no rejection
problems, are found through out our bodies and are
able to be changed into any kind of cell, and as a result
do not pose rejection problems. There are no ethical problems because it does not require
destruction of human life.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have
discovered master stem cells which can be turned into any
kind of cell “Since
2000, at least seven more major studies have demonstrated
the amazing versatility of adult stem cells.”
Harm Lesson 3 “See PowerPoint presentation by
David A. Prentice, Ph.D., “Cloning and Stem Cell
Another advantage of ESCs has
been their ability to multiply.
Recent discoveries at Children’s Hospital of
Pittsburg have discovered that adult, or post- natal, stem
cells have the same ability as embryonic stem cells to
technologies are emerging to make it easier to collect and
culture embryonic stem cells.
These last three paragraphs seem
to indicate that ASCs can do just about everything ESCS
are theoretically supposed to do, without many of the
practical problems and most important to Nevada LIFE, the
moral problem-the destruction of human life.
President Bush’s Policy on ESCR and Stem Cell Research
What is the Presidents policy on
ESCR? This is a summary from the NIH Website, http://stemcells.nih.gov/research/registry/eligibilityCriteria.asp.
The policy can be found elsewhere throughout the
NIH site. (See
August 9, 2001, at 9:00 p.m. EDT, the President announced
his decision to allow Federal funds to be used for
research on existing human embryonic stem cell lines as
long as prior to his announcement (1) the derivation
process (which commences with the removal of the inner
cell mass from the blastocyst) had already been initiated
and (2) the embryo from which the stem cell line was
derived no longer had the possibility of development as a
addition, the President established the following criteria
that must be met:
stem cells must have been derived from an embryo that was
created for reproductive purposes;
embryo was no longer needed for these purposes;
consent must have been obtained for the donation of the
financial inducements were provided for donation of the
This means that the President’s
policy on embryonic stem cell research:
for funding on embryonic stem cell lines existing before
August 9, 2001.
funding for research on stem cells derived from embryos
killed after August 9, 2001.
not bar private funding for research on embryos killed
before or after August 9, 2001.
Congressional Letter and S. 471/H.R. 810-What They
letter signed by 206 Congressmen, including all of
Nevada’s Congressmen, asked President Bush to “relax
the restrictions in the (President’s) current policy
“which limits federal funding only to embryonic stem
cells that were derived by August 9, 2001, the date of the
S. 471/H.R. 810 would write this into law: “In
General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law
(including any regulation or guidance), the Secretary
shall conduct and support research that utilizes human
embryonic stem cells in accordance with this section
(regardless of the date on which the stem cells were
derived from a human embryo).”
These words mean that the signers
of this letter and supporters of S. 471/H.R. 810 want the
President to allow, and the Congress to legislate and
appropriate, federal funding for research involving the
killing of embryos after August 9, 2001.
The letter from the 206 members of Congress implies
that there are not enough pre-August, 2001 embryonic stem
cell lines to do the research certain scientists say are
necessary. Leon Kass PhD is the chairman of the President’s Council on
Kass says there is no shortage of embryonic stem cells.
“…22 lines of eligible stem cells are
available, up from just one line in the summer of 2002,
with more coming -- enough lines for years of essential
basic research that must precede any future therapy.
Nearly 500 shipments of cells have already been made to
researchers; 3,500 more sit ready for delivery upon
request. There is no shortage of embryonic stem cells.” (Washington
Post, October 8, 2004; Page A35).
LIFE does not support the use of these embryonic stem
cells, but we support the funding restrictions on any new
killing of human embryos for research.
Though Nevada LIFE opposes modifying the
President’s Policy and S 471/H.R.810, Chairman Kass’s
letter shows that targeting more embryos for destruction
is unnecessary. There
are plenty of lines now available for basic research and
the President’s policy does allow for funding of
embryonic stem cell lines in existence before August 9,
million was allocated last year for this type of stem cell
policy sets no cap on further increases. The United States leads the world in funding of ESCR.
5. S. 471/H.R. 810’s Ethical
S. 471 offers ethical guidelines
for embryos who can be killed for research after August 9,
The stem cells were derived from human embryos that have
been donated from in vitro
clinics, were created for the purposes of fertility
treatment, and were in excess of the clinical need of the
individuals seeking such treatment.
`(2) Prior to the consideration of embryo
donation and through consultation with the individuals
seeking fertility treatment, it was determined that the
embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would
otherwise be discarded.
The individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the
embryos with written informed consent and without
receiving any financial or other inducements to make the
These guidelines say that
destruction of human embryos for scientific research is
ethical if they were not created for research, are not
going to be implanted and consent is obtained from their
parents or creators.
These guidelines demean human dignity and promote
harmful views of humanity.
They are not ethical because guidelines protect
human lives. There
is no such thing as a left over human being.
There are no human lives who are mere medical
embryo is a human being not human property.
He or she has all the properties of being a human,
but is not personal property.
Human beings can be in custody, but not owned. One’s life and substance belongs to himself, not his
one can legitimately consent to give or throw away another
person’s life away no matter how powerless or small.
Nor does another person’s designs or intentions
for us make it acceptable to experiment upon or destroy
human beings. Whether
anyone wants to help us does not make it acceptable to
kill us either-in this case the willingness to allow
embryonic human beings to be implanted or adopted.
Perhaps the most fundamental problem with these
guidelines is that they ignore the more important moral issue made by the President and begs
the question on the nature of human embryos. The real issue about embryonic stem cell research is the
nature of the human embryo in the Petri dish, fertility
lab or in a freezer, not the terms under which we can
kill, dispose of or use them.
What is the human embryo?
The president answered that when he said that there
shall be no more federal funding for killing of human
human embryo is a human being with inherent dignity.
Even at that stage we cannot dispose of and use
human life for our own purposes, no matter how great the
ends are made to appear to be.
S. 471/H.R. 810 assumes that the embryo does not
have worth or moral standing without proving it.
To oppose this policy, as S. 471/H.R. 810 does, is
to say that human beings in the embryonic stage do not
have worth. That
is the true moral point.
The other guidelines merely spell out the
acceptable terms to commit the embryo to death and
research. They are demeaning because they treat the embryo
as property and as if the intentions others who own them
have for the embryo have anything to do with her or her
right to life. If
the human embryo is a human being, a member of our species
homo sapiens, then no argument for ESCR will ever be
sufficient because we cannot dispose of innocent human
We concur with the President on
the value and dignity of human embryo.
Nevada LIFE opposes ESCR because we believe that
human beings at any stage of development are unique
individuals with infinite value and worth in and of
themselves and without regard to their usefulness to
others and society. We
must never use any human being as a means to another
person’s ends without consent.
Senator Bill Frist has said that his decision to
overturn the President’s policy is not just a matter of
faith, but of science. Nevada LIFE is not a religious organization and has no
religious creed for membership.
But we recognize that society must have values and
morality to guide us on what is right or wrong and what we
can or can’t do to human beings. Society must obtain those guiding values somewhere.
We can’t make those guiding values subject to the
desires of the latest scientist to do whatever he or she
wants to do. It is self evident that science is not
capable of providing them.
Science can describe human life but it can’t give
it value or say what is right or wrong to do with it.
Right and wrong are not found in test tubes, under
a microscope or in the results of endless studies and
are instead found in moral reasoning.
Religions have been thinking about these things out
much longer than the scientific method has been around.
A science that is in conflict with faith that says
that human life and the inviolability of life begin at
existence needs to be stopped.
The truth of these values, not
their source is relevant.
Most people of faith are not anti-science.
They oppose unethical science.
This means that no policy maker should ever
apologize for or fear using the insights and input from
his or her faith.
Opposition To ESCR.
LIFE and other groups oppose ESCR because embryonic stem
cells are harvested by unethical means.
It requires killing human beings in the embryonic
stage to obtain these stem cells.
At any stage in life human beings are unique
individuals with infinite value and worth and must not be
used as means to another person’s ends without consent.
It’s one thing to experiment on animals. It’s another
to experiment on unwilling humans. Humanity is cheapened
by the prospect of human embryo farms and human strip
mines. Human beings are not commodities to be mined,
harvested, bought and sold or manipulated for the benefit
of others. When humanity is cheapened the sanctity of life
and human rights are eroded.
are also opposed because ESCR’s use of “left over”
embryos is just the first step to cloning and the
manufacture of human clones for body parts.
This legislation was crafted as a first step toward
gaining public acceptance of cloning because previous
attempts at ESCR and cloning have been rejected.
As we will note below, there is already legislation
in the states (it has passed in at least one state) where
it would be legal to implant a cloned human embryo in a
womb (natural or fabricated) and allow it to be grown and
used for research or transplantation purposes, as long as
the clone is not birthed, or does not survive long after
is perfectly legal and can be accomplished with state
LIFE believes this makes it important for the Senate to
quit posturing and pass the Brownback Landrieux Cloning
Prohibition Act, which has been passed more than once
by the House, before the bioethical nightmare that awakes
us becomes reality. If
we allow ESCR, we invite cloning for body parts and
is not illegal in the United States and there is nothing
the magistrates can do about it right now.
Nevada LIFE opposes ESCR and H.R. 810/S. 471
because it will lead to cloning for body parts.
Other Arguments Against ESCR and Defeating The
ESCR Will Lead To Human Cloning.
Why will it lead to cloning?
There may be enough embryonic stem cell lines
for research but there will never be enough embryos from
fertility labs to create mass cures for the more than 100
million sufferers who advocates of ESCR say could benefit
from ESCR. The
only way that ESCR could ever result in mass cures would
be through cloning (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer-SCNT).
Cloning occurs when the nucleus of a
body cell is transferred into an unfertilized egg that has
been emptied of its contents.
An electrical charge is applied and a new human
clone is created. As
noted above, scientists believe this will be necessary to
overcome the rejection problems that ESCs and ESCR
ESCR Is Unethical Human Experimentation.
Ethical research requires consent and a possible benefit
to the subject. Embryonic
human beings cannot consent to this research.
ESCR cannot benefit the embryonic human being
because it kills him or her.
ESCR and Cloning Will Lead To Exploitation Of
is inefficient. More
than 250 attempts were made before Dolly the Sheep was
eggs will be harvested by giving women high doses of
hormones to produce them and by using surgery to retrieve
large number of eggs needed to commercialize this therapy
will lead to the exploitation of women.
This year, a 33-year-old woman in Britain died of a
massive heart attack after taking these super-ovulatory
will be common in third world countries where there is
poor health care. It
is a reason that many women who are abortion advocates
support a cloning ban.
Since Cloning Is Impractical And Inefficient,
There Will Be No Mass Cures.
It would probably cost at least $100,000 to create
one stem cell line for use in a patient.
The extra-ordinary costs will ensure that masses of
suffers will not be able to afford it, nor will the
government have resources to pay for these cures. Only the rich will be able to benefit.
ESCR Wastes Valuable Resources And Hurts
ESCR is unethical and ineffective and wastes
valuable tax dollars that could be spent on more effective
taxpayer should not be required to fund what private
enterprise is not willing to fund. The focus on this
embryonic research is a set back to American sufferers.
There are 80 known applications of ASCR. There are no ESCR applications or trials.
In his April 28, 2004 letter to the 206 members of
Congress Richard Doerflinger with the U.S. Conference of
Catholic Bishops wrote, “American patients have found
they have limited access to some new treatments, in part
because U.S. fixation on embryo research has let other
countries take the lead in groundbreaking adult
stem cell therapies for juvenile diabetes (Canada) spinal
cord injury (Portugal and Israel), and cardiac repair
(France, Germany and Brazil).” (Letter attached).
ESCR Will Lead To Fetal Experimentation.
At first ESCR advocates swore they did not want to
engage in cloning. They
only wanted research with embryos donated from fertility
was soon abandoned. Advocates then wanted cloning and
promised that they would not allow the clone to grow to
more than 10-14 days and make implantation illegal. But a
new legislative trend has emerged.
The Catholic Bishops report that “With the
support of groups favoring research cloning, many states
are considering (and some have passed) laws that allow
placing cloned human embryos in women’s wombs, but
forbid any attempt to let them be born alive.”
“Researchers can plant the embryos in the womb,
but ban their birth!”
“‘…Reproductive’ cloning is said to occur
only if a cloned human being is brought to full term and
born alive. In this way a law can be called a ban on
‘reproductive’ cloning even if its only legal effect
is to mandate abortion for any woman carrying a cloned
unborn child in her womb.” “The shift in legislation
is due to a growing realization that human cloning will
probably not produce usable cells and tissues unless
cloned humans can be developed past the embryonic
This has already happened in New Jersey.
Other states are proposing similar measures and the
wording in CA proposition 71 will allow this too.
A New Jersey bill (SB 1909) was passed into law
that defined cloning this way: “As used in this
section, "cloning of a human being" means the
replication of a human individual by cultivating a cell
with genetic material through the egg, embryo, fetal and
newborn stages into a new human individual.”
Until that time when cloning is said to occur,
researchers may use “cadaveric tissue” for
transplantation or research purposes.
8. Ethical Alternatives Exist.
ESCR Is Not Necessary And Has Been Unproductive.
have noted that we may not engage in research at the
expense of human beings unless there are no other
are other alternatives to embryonic stem cell research
which would disqualify ESCR even on this lowest common
denominator of ethical grounds.
a. Non-embryonic stem cells. There are many positive results with ASCR.
In fact all the stem cell research results are from
treatments do not require the destruction of the lives of
humans in the embryonic stage.
There are over 80 treatments right now produced by
this research including treatments for heart damage,
multiple sclerosis, corneal injury, spinal injury,
Parkinson's and restoration in some muscle and bladder
control in paralyzed human patients.
Mice with juvenile diabetes have been cured using
human spleen cells. Liver
tissue has been regenerated by bone-marrow stem cells.
All of this is well
at the University of Minnesota have discovered master stem
cells which can be turned into any kind of cell.
This is much more promising than anything embryonic
stem cell research has achieved so far.
Unfortunately, the medical media have not reported
on this, perhaps with intent. David Prentice, PhD has posted a PowerPoint Presentation of
his testimony to Congress on cloning and stem cell
it he notes the successes and clinical trials currently under way with
URL is: http://www.cloninginformation.org/congressional_testimony/prentice_2005-01-03.pdf.
Embryonic Stem Cell Alternatives. Our
present state of technology does not now allow us to
obtain embryonic stem cells with out destroying human
beings in the embryonic stage of life.
But four new proposals have been made to the
President’s Council on Bioethics.
“The stem cells
be derived: (1) by extracting cells from embryos already
dead; or (2) by nonharmful biopsy of living embryos; or
(3) by extracting cells from artificially created
non-embryonic but embryo-like cellular systems (engineered
to lack the essential elements of embryogenesis but still
capable of some cell division and growth); or (4) by
dedifferentiation of somatic cells back to pluripotency.
(WHITE PAPER: Alternative Sources of Pluripotent
Stem CellS, p. 26)
first three have some moral objections, but the fourth
alternative would turn differentiated cells back to
pluripotent cells without creating
a new organism (embryo).
Other scientists have found a rich source of
embryonic like cells in umbilical cord blood.
“British researcher Dr. Colin McGuckin said the
new cells could be more effective than embryonic stem
stem cells from embryos also has major limitations because
it is difficult to obtain enough cells to transplant as
well as getting the right tissue type for the patient…
Using cord blood gets over that obstacle because we can
produce more stem cells and, with a global birth rate of
100 million babies a year, there is a better chance of
getting the right tissue type for the many patients out
there waiting for stem cell therapy.’" (Umbilical
Cord Blood Produces Ethical Embryonic Stem Cells,
LifeNews.com, August 18, 2005)
makes the establishment of a cord blood bank
imperative and soon.
acceptable sources of ESC’s are miscarriages and animal
ADDEDUM ON OTHER MISCONCEPTIONS.
There Is No Broad “Stem Cell Ban.” There is
no stem cell ban like ESCR advocates want the public to
year the Bush Administration provided over $200 million
for stem cell research, of which about $190 million was
allotted for research on adult stem cells, which is the
only stem cell research that has yielded clinical benefits
for humans to date, and nearly $25 million for research on
embryonic stem cell lines that existed prior to August 9,
only ban is for federal funding of embryonic stem cell
lines created after August 2001.
Opponents of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Are Not
Anti-Science And Support Almost All Stem Cell Research.
Many embryonic stem cell research supporters evade
the moral issues by making the cheap ad-hominen charge
that opponents are anti-research.
Opponents are not anti-research.
They oppose unethical research and strongly support
almost all stem cell research.
ESCR Opponents Are Not The Extremists. A poll by International Communications Research posed
the question “should scientists be allowed to use human
cloning to create a supply of human embryos to be
destroyed in medical research?
13.3% said Yes: 79.8% said no. Wilson
Research Strategies, Inc. asked respondents “which of
the following comes closest to your view?” in regards to
human cloning and embryonic stem cell research. 24% said
cloning to create human embryos for stem cell research
which would kill them should be allowed and only cloning
for reproduction should be banned.
69% said all human cloning should be banned.
74 percent of Americans said that they support
using tax dollars to pay for the kind of stem cell
research that does not require the killing of human
embryos, while only 20 percent opposed.
May 16, 2005 the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops announced the results of a on ESCR. “A majority of Americans, 52 percent, oppose federal
funding of embryonic stem cell
just 36 percent support it, according to a new poll
commissioned by the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of
the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)…. When
respondents were told that scientists disagree on whether
embryonic stem cells, or stem cells from adult tissues and
umbilical cord blood, may end up being most successful in
treating diseases, 60% favored funding only the research
avenues that raise no moral problem, while 22% favored
funding all stem cell research including the kind that
involves destroying embryos.”
Support For S. 471/H.R. 810 Is Not Necessary To Be A
Strong Advocate For Stem Cell Research.
All of the successes in stem cell research have
come from non-embryonic stem cell research.
Indeed this research also provides the most
also does not present any ethical problems because it does
not require the destruction of human life.
It will not have the divisive impact on the nation
that ESCR poses. ESCR
must be opposed because it violates the sanctity of life
and thereby threatens and makes others targets for
and Congressmen can oppose ESCR and be strong advocates
for stem cell research.
LIFE requests that Nevada representatives oppose H.R.
Addendum: Some Current ASCR
The following are some ASCR
therapies from a PowerPoint Presentation we’ve referred
to previously made to the Congress by David Prentice,
Science advisor to Senator Sam Brownback: The list of the
studies supporting his claims and the presentation are
found at http://www.cloninginformation.org/congressional_testimony/prentice_2005-01-03.pdf.
stem cells effective in tissue repair
Stroke—Adult stem cells from brain, bone marrow, and
umbilical cord blood provide therapeutic benefit after
stroke. First clinical trials under way.
Spinal Cord Injury—Adult stem cells capable of re-growth and
Diabetes—Pancreatic, liver, intestinal, spleen or bone
marrow cells can form insulin-secreting islets. FDA
approval of first clinical trial.
Adult stem cells effective in tissue repair Heart
marrow, muscle, and heart stem cells repair heart.
Adult stem cells effective in tissue repair Parkinson’s
stem cells can form all neuronal types, migrate throughout
brain to repair damage, and prevent loss of neurons
associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Current Clinical Uses of Adult
multiple myeloma, leukemias, breast cancer, neuroblastoma,
renal cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer
• Autoimmune diseases—multiple
sclerosis, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis,
scleroderma, scleromyxedema, Crohn’s disease
• Anemias (incl. sickle
human gene therapy
• Bone/cartilage deformities—children
with osteogenesis imperfecta
• Corneal scarring-generation
of new corneas to restore sight
• Stroke—neural cell
implants in clinical trials
• Repairing cardiac tissue
after heart attack—bone marrow or muscle stem cells
stem cells, patient’s own neural stem cells, injected
• Growth of new blood
vessels—e.g., preventing gangrene
• Gastrointestinal epithelia—regenerate
damaged ulcerous tissue
• Skin—grafts grown
from hair follicle stem cells, after plucking a few hairs
• Wound healing—bone
marrow stem cells stimulated skin healing
• Spinal cord injury—clinical trials
currently in Portugal, Italy, S. Korea
Therapeutic Applications Noted By Science Writer Michael
Michael Fumento, Science writer
for Scripps Howard, writes the following on adult stem
cell research advances for Insight on the News, May
16, 2004 in his article “Stem Cell Cover Up.” http://www.fumento.com/biotech/stemcell.html.
“More than 30 anticancer uses
for stem cells have been tested on humans, with many
already in routine therapeutical use.
“By some accounts, the area in
which stem-cell applications are moving fastest is
autoimmune disease, in which the body's own protective
system turns on itself. Diseases for which stem cells
currently are being tested on humans include diabetes,
lupus, multiple sclerosis, Evans syndrome, rheumatic
disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's
disease), among many others.
“Just last February, two
different human-autopsy studies demonstrated that stem
cells transfused into the marrow work their way into the
brain, where they can repair neurons and other vital
cells. Other studies have shown that when injected into
animals with severed spinal cords, stem cells rush to the
injury site effecting repairs. "I think the stem
cells may act as a repair squad," says the leader of
one of the two studies, Helen Blau of the Stanford
University Brain Research Institute. "They travel
through the bloodstream, respond to stress, and contribute
to brain cells. They clearly repair damage in muscle and
“At a conference in late 2002,
French researchers reported that during the last 14 years
they had performed 69 stem-cell transplants with an 85
percent disease-free survival rate. Since improving their
procedure in 1992, all 30 of the last transplants have
“Stem cells have been injected
into damaged hearts and become functional muscle. This
destroyed the dogma that heart muscle cannot be repaired,
just as stem-cell research also wrecked the firmly held
belief that brain tissue cannot regenerate.”