Obama to lift Bush ban on stem cell research. Your opinions?

@spalladino (17926)
United States
March 7, 2009 6:23pm CST
I will admit upfront that my opinions on this subject are very personal and very one sided because I have a granddaughter with Type 1 diabetes. She's 17 years old and her diabetes is out of control dispite the best efforts of numerous doctors and specialists in the greater Maryland/Washington, D.C. area, including Childrens and Johns Hopkins Hospitals. She's in the ER and/or ICU just about every week. If something isn't done for her she WILL die. Stem cell research is her best hope...not for a cure but to regulate her diabetes so that she WILL live. [i]WASHINGTON -- Reversing an eight-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science, President Barack Obama plans to lift restrictions Monday on taxpayer-funded research using embryonic stem cells. The long-promised move will allow a rush of research aimed at one day better treating, if not curing, ailments from diabetes to paralysis -research that crosses partisan lines. Embryonic stem cells are master cells that can morph into any cell of the body. Scientists hope to harness them so they can create replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases, like new insulin-producing cells for diabetics, cells that could help those with Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's, or new nerve connections to restore movement after spinal injury. "I feel vindicated after eight years of struggle, and I know it's going to energize my research team," said Dr. George Daley of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Children's Hospital of Boston, a leading stem cell researcher. But the research is controversial because days-old embryos must be destroyed to obtain the cells. They typically are culled from fertility-clinic leftovers otherwise destined to be thrown away. Under President George W. Bush, taxpayer money for research was limited to a small number of stem cell lines - groups of cells that continue to propagate in lab dishes - created before Aug. 9, 2001. But work didn't stop. Indeed, it advanced enough that this summer, the private Geron Corp. will begin the world's first study of a treatment using human embryonic stem cells in people who recently suffered a spinal cord injury. The aim of the policy is to restore "scientific integrity" to the process, a senior administration official said yesterday. Nor does Obama's change fund creation of new lines. But it means scientists, who until now had to rely on private donations to work with these newer stem cell lines, can apply for government money for the research, just like they do for studies of gene therapy or other treatment approaches. The aim of the policy is to restore "scientific integrity" to the process, the administration official said.[/i] The rest of the article can be found at: http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/World/2009/03/07/8662841-sun.html
5 people like this
10 responses
@MissAmie (720)
• United States
8 Mar 09
Like you, I have a personal stake in stem cell research also. My son has a genetic condition that makes him slow. Perhaps with stem cell research they could cure what he has, along with all the other children that share his illness. I don't support abortion, I don't agree with it for myself, but I sure can't make that decision for other people. If someone else's bad decision helps my family, then so be it.
@spalladino (17926)
• United States
9 Mar 09
It doesn't take an abortion to create these embryos. They're routinely created in fertility clinics every day by fertilizing eggs. As I said earlier, they always try to create more embryos than they need in case there's a problem and only implant so many. The rest are discarded unless they're being used for this research.
2 people like this
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
8 Mar 09
I'm really on the fence with this one. I certainly support the research itself and fully support what it can accomplish. I am concerned, however, with what can be done now that this ban is lifted. There's really nothing to stop a clinic from hiring women for the sole purposes of getting pregnant and having abortions to provide such stem cells. Not only could a clinic do this, but they could do it with taxpayer dollars. That both disgusts and frightens me.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17926)
• United States
8 Mar 09
That wouldn't be effecient or cost effective because you would only get one embryo from each woman that way. The only *potential* abuse was mentioned above in that women could be encouraged to sell their eggs for the sole purpose of fertilizing them to produce an embryo. There are women who already donate eggs to fertility clinics so that women who don't produce any can have these eggs fertilized with their husband's sperm and have the embryos implanted in them so that they can have a child. The normal procedure, whether in cases of donated eggs or eggs retrieved from a woman with fertility issues, is to harvest many more eggs than needed and to fertilize all of them to increase the odds of producing viable embryos to be implanted. Many times there are embryos left over which have a very short self life and are discarded. So, the choice with these left over embyros is do you discard them or use their stem cells to possibly cure an incurable disease? There are no other options for them at this point. The ban hasn't stopped the reasearch itself, it has only slowed it down. Stem cell research has continued through private funding but it can advance so much more quickly with federal funding through NIH. Parkinsons is such a horrible disease, spinal cord injuries can destroy a person's future, and of course, diabetes is so serious...especially when it strikes a child. These and many other diseases can be cured by implantation of these stem cells...which would have been discarded anyway...and the manipulation of them in the body. This is why I brought this up. People really need to understand more about this area of medical science. These embryos are never going to become a baby. The doctors aren't going to implant 14 embryos into a woman just because 14 of them were successfully fertilized. The unused ones are either destroyed or they can be used to help someone who desperately needs it.
2 people like this
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
9 Mar 09
Well he wants to use government money to fund the creation, and subsequent destruction of life. With all our economic woes, why is he now pushing money for this, and abortions overseas? Does he really think this stimulates the economy?
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17926)
• United States
9 Mar 09
No, Taskr, he wants to use government money for continued research which has a very high potential of curing numerous life threatening and life ending diseases. The government is not going to have a hand in the creation of these embryos. Every day parents make the decision whether to donate their left over embryos from an IVF procedure for research or whether to have them destroyed. These are the only two choices for these embryos...they are not destined to be implanted into someone else and to continue to grow. Under federal regulations I predict that the paper trail will be more comprehensive...leading back to the parents who signed the initial consent and their records. IVF is expensive so any research facility funded through the NIH would have a problem if their records indicated a lack of payment by any donors. While stimulating the economy is definitely important, this research is equally important to those who stand to benefit from it...my granddaughter among them...people who currently suffer from so many other diseases as well. And, actually, federal funding would create jobs as this area of research grows.
1 person likes this
@Barbietre (1440)
• United States
8 Mar 09
I know so many people that would benefit from this research. My SIL has MS for one and I know many others. But to be honest any type of research can bring about abuses from some sources. Think about the homeless that used to sell blood. That is more controlled now and there is better screening in place. I think with proper controls this will be a good thimg.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17926)
• United States
9 Mar 09
I agree, there will be more controls and oversight with federal funding. This research represents hope to so many...it looks so promising. Maybe one day both your SIL and my granddaughter will be well because of it.
@dragon54u (31604)
• United States
8 Mar 09
I'm so sorry your granddaughter suffers with that horrid disease. I hope they find something to help her very soon. I don't understand why all the emphasis on embryonic stem cells when the only cures and therapies they've successfully found have been with freely donated adult stem cells. I personally don't agree that embryonic stem cells are the only way and I certainly don't agree with how they are obtained but on the other hand I don't want people to suffer. (And I'm not a scientist so I may be talking up my sleeve here) I think they should concentrate on adult stem cells, that's where they've been making the progress and no living thing must die in order to do the research.
1 person likes this
@spalladino (17926)
• United States
8 Mar 09
Adult stem cells cannot be manipulated as effectively as embryonic stem cells can. Those cells can become anything while there are limitations to what can be done with adult stem cells. I agree that they've been making some progress with adult and cord cells but the progress has been slow because of the limitations of these cells. Had Bush not put the brakes on federal funding perhaps people like my granddaughter and Michael J. Fox would be healthier right now.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
9 Jul 09
I also read the embryonic stem cells can become cancerous and they do not work. Name one successful case that has been cured by embryonic stem cells and how many embyros will you allow before you say "I give up it does not work." Oh and I have diabetes, type two and I would not want embryonic stem cells to be done on me. And when they run out of those stem cells from the fertility clinics, they will encourage women to get pregnant, that is the so called bad women, to donate their embryos. Adult stem cells have been more successful as well as cord blood cells. You have your granddaughter's diabetes on your brain that you are willing to sacrifice future humans for her to get rid of it. There are other means of stopping diabetes. Killing a future human is not one of them. Those left over embryos - what about the couples who cannot have children and are fit potential parents? Why can't the ladies be implanted with them instead of trying something that will not work?
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27231)
• United States
28 Mar 09
I'm so sorry I didn't get around to responding to this before I went on vacation. I can certainly understand why this issue is so close to you heart and I couldn't agree more that this is something that should have been done years ago. What I'll never understand is why the conservatives who don't want the embryos from fertility clinics to be used for stem cell research yet they never speak out against invitro-fertilization itself where more embryos are routinely created than they expect to use and it's taken for granted they will be destroyed or thrown out with the trash. I consider myself pro-life on this one because I'm hopeful lives will end up being saved from this research. My prayers go out for your granddaughter, Hon. Annie
1 person likes this
@ZephyrSun (7385)
• United States
8 Mar 09
I think it's great that the ban will be lifted or left to expire. I guess we only lost eight years of research but worse things could have happened.
1 person likes this
@polachicago (19075)
• United States
8 Mar 09
I was about time. I know many people hoping for help. It can help millions of people in the future. Maybe it can help to keep our society healthy. There is big hope in stem cells research.
1 person likes this
• China
8 Mar 09
The source of the power motivating the progress is discovering the mystery fields. No matter the results of reserch will be good or bad,it's just a testing step on the way.
1 person likes this
@LouieWpHs04 (4560)
• United States
8 Mar 09
On my opinion the Pro's outweigh the Con's and thus i'm definitely for this. I know there are some very "unethical" tactics that may potentially be used but there are also lot's of perfectly ethical ones as well. Either way, this I believe is a step in the right direction as lot's of people are suffering when the answer to a lot of peoples problems might simply be right around the corner so to speak.
1 person likes this