The good news is that phone calls and emails from Texas voters created enough fuss and bother in Austin last week that lobbyists from the UT system joined our efforts to successfully convince the House and the Senate to remove the proposed $41 million bond issue for a biomedical technology center at the UT Houston. The Universities didn’t want a debate on embryonic stem cell research. Were they were afraid that the taxpayers would learn about plans to use tax money on research that isn’t eligible for federal funds? See this note from last week’s Austin American Statesman.
The bad news is that the Universities continue investing and engaging in destructive research on human embryos, rather than focusing on the non-destructive umbilical cord and adult stem cells which show progress and – unlike embryonic stem cells – yield cures.
That Houston facility would have been a first: State taxes would have supported destructive research on embryonic human research subjects that don’t qualify for federal funds. For proof from last year’s debate on these bills (HB 153 and SB 46 were formerly SB 6), use your Real Play to watch the debate on July 25, 2005 at the Texas Legislature Online video archive beginning one hour into the segment. You can also read about it from the August, 2005 article at ReasonOnline, or the at the Journal of American Bioethics and Humanities.
UT Houston didn’t need our $41 million anyway: the privately funded $200 million Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine
with its new $120 Million Sarofim Research Center building, just received a $100,000 grant to do research on frozen IVF embryos that don’t qualify for federal or State funds.
With all those private donations, why come asking for State taxpayer money at all?
Instead, Texas should focus on ethical stem cell research like these examples:
1. UT Medical Branch at Galveston reports “Embryonic-like” umbilical cord stem cells and techniques to greatly expand stem cells for therapy, developed in cooperation with NASA and British researchers.
2. Houston just received approval from the Federal FDA for patient trials using stem cells from patients’ own bone marrow in heart disease and another study that will treat children with brain trauma.
3. Umbilical cord blood stem cell transplants to replace bone marrow are available at all the large medical centers in Texas and Texas has our new Cord Blood Bank.