Wednesday, May 25, 2005

King on Stem Cells: Opening one door and trying to slam shut another

The Testaverde Fund for Spinal Cord Injury held thier annual Spinal Victory Golf Challenge on Monday. Before the event a media advisory was sent out that Rep. Peter King would "Introduce Major Federal Stem Cell Research Legislation in Congress" that day.
The legislation is H.R.2541: To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for the expansion, intensification, and coordination of the activities of the National Institutes of Health regarding qualifying adult stem cell research, and for other purposes.
It is co-sponsered by two other Long Island reps Steve Israel and Tim Bishop. This is a commendable effort. But it targets ONLY adult stem cells. Dr. Wise Young M.D. Ph.D, a Testverde Fund advisory board member, world-renound leader in Spinal Cord Injury research and stem cell research and also a close friend of actor Christopher Reeve was honored at the event for his work.
In an panel discussion on Stem Cell research interview, Dr. Young said "I do share his [Christopher Reeve] belief that embryonic stem cells will play a major role in the cure of many neurological diseases. I do want to point out that this does not change the balance between adult or embryonic stem cells. What we need to do is to explore both and we need to get away from the future of harvesting these cells from different sources such as embryos or foetuses. The future is going to be very different. We're going to learn enough stem cell biology to be able to make stem cells out of any cell. But we have to be allowed to do the science to reach this stage and holding back science will only mire us in yesterday's science of harvesting cells. We need to go on ahead."
"... Embryonic stem cells are at the very, very earliest stages of an egg developing. It's during the first two weeks after an egg has been fertilised, it is before the egg has shown any shape or form as an embryo, it is just a clump of cells at that point. Now, the issue of whether or not this is life, I think is irrelevant to the discussion here because most of the cells that will be studied will be thrown away anyway. This is the equivalent to taking an organ from an embryo or a baby that will be dead anyway. Adult stem cells are very different in that they are part of adults, they're part of you and me. Adult stem cells will be very useful for certain types of conditions and in fact, as pointed out by several others, adult stem cells are now being used to treat haematapoietic disorders, these are blood problems. But as of yet, these cells - bone marrow or umbilical cord - have not been shown to benefit anybody with neurological conditions such as Joanna's. It's very important that we leave the way open for all the different kinds of cells so we can find out how to benefit these people."
"... I certainly agree that embryonic stem cells is currently not a cure for Alzheimer's disease, but I really take umbrage at the use of the word 'never'. I don't think we have a crystal ball. I certainly don't have a crystal ball. I think that's one of the reasons why we must actually leave this avenue open for research. I think that we must not forget that there are two driving forces behind this debate. One of the driving forces is a fear of the future and the other one is hope for the future, hope for the cure, and we must balance these two. And there have not been many other situations where government has interfered in science in this same way that it has done so for embryonic stem cells. It's very important that the government really try not to step in the way of science. Let science progress, and I believe in 5 or 10 years, we will get beyond having to harvest cells from embryos or foetuses. Let science do its work."
"... we need to be putting all - everything that we can into investing and developing a scalable source of cells that can treat humans."
On Tuesday, the house held a vote on H.R.810: To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research. The bill passed with a vote of 238-194. How did King vote? In Roll Call Vote 204, King voted NO.
Just like Tom Delay.
All other Long Island representatives voted YES.
Bush is threatening to veto the bill.
Will King vote to sustain the veto? Yes he will.
The fact is we cannot have half-measures when it comes to searching for cures that can help millions of people.
More info at the Stem Cell Research Foundation.

Bush put on a little show yesterday with families with children from adopted embryos. This was a "protest" against the embryonic stem cell bill. Too bad they are so naive and just don't get what is at stake. They assume that every frozen embryo not used in IVF (in-vitro fertilization) will be adopted. That doesn't happen. They are either destroyed or stored for future use by the parents. Some parents opt to donate the embryos for research. That research needs federal funding so that we can cure diseases that affect the living.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your message on consolidation is great! I have a site on consolidate debt credit consolidation
Your readers might find interesting. You can check it out at: