“. . . there is no compelling scientific argument for the public support of research on human embryos.” . . . Immune rejection, tumor formation, and embryonic development have proved themselves to be profoundly serious scientific challenges, and they are likely to remain so for decades into the future.
Unfortunately, this is not what the public is hearing. The media is focusing on the hype of future possibilities for embryonic stem cells, rather than reports of current, real advances in adult and umbilical cord stem cells that have resulted in treatments for diabetes (both adult and juvenile),functioning liver cells Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) and lung cells, improvement in patients with spinal cord injury, arthritis, and even lupus and multiple sclerosis.
The news today about a new poll is discouraging. You can read the press reports – and about the increased stock prices for biotech companies due to the bill in question – at Forbes, Bloomberg, and BioResearch Online. The actual poll by “The Civil Society Institute” is available online at the in pdf at their website.
There are flaws in the actual poll. However, I’m afraid that the problem is that people believe that their hope is in embryonic stem cell research.
Here are some of the questions from the poll:
From the statement before question C5 (this question was used in the 2004 and 2005 polls):
Embryonic stem cells are special cells that can develop into every type of cell in the human body. The stem cells are extracted from frozen embryos in fertility clinics, donated by couples who no longer want or need the embryo. This process destroys the embryo. These stem cells can then reproduce on their own, creating what is called a “line” of stem cells that many researchers can work with. Scientists believe that there is a chance that stem cells can be developed into cures or treatments for diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, juvenile diabetes, and spinal cord injuries.
Why is Alzheimer’s still in this list?
Leaders of the new Congress have indicated that their “first 100 hours” will include introduction of a bill that would reverse President Bush’s restrictions on stem cell research and expand federal funding for research on stem cells that are developed from embryos frozen in fertility clinics and which otherwise would be discarded. Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the new Congress moving ahead in this way with stem cell research in its first 100 hours?
Some people say that gridlock on such major issues as stem cell research is one of the reasons why Americans are so frustrated with elected officials in Washington, D.C. Would you say you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with this?