Bioethics, ethics for sale, media bias, medical ethics, politics, research finance, stem cells

Proof there’s no stem cell “ban”

Wesley Smith, at his blog Secondhand Smoke, notes that American Cell Technology has received a grant from the National Institute of Health for research on embryonic stem cells. He also points out what should be obvious: ACT must have received this funding for research on the stem cell lines that are authorized under President Bush’s August, 2001 policy.

(In case you can’t remember who ACT is, they’re the organization that claimed to have cloned human embryos back in 2001, and who claimed to have found a way to produce embryonic stem cells without killing the embryo when in fact they killed every one of those human embryos they used. The company is one of the best examples of the sort of ethics that make people like me think of “ethics for sale.” ACT has employed ethicists Art Caplan and Glenn McGee and is very closely associated with Geron, WARF (the research foundation at the University of Wisconsin).

So much for the myth that these cells can’t be used or that there is any sort of “ban.”

The focus of the research is basic research on how Embryonic Stem Cells divide and differentiate.

From the Washington Business Journal:

The money will support an ongoing collaboration between Alameda-based Advanced Cell (OTCBB: ACTC) and The Burnham Institute of Medical Research in La Jolla.
Researchers are investigating the genetic mechanisms and proteins believed to control how basic embryonic stem cells develop and differentiate. That understanding is essential in harnessing the regenerative powers of stem cells in medical applications, the company says.

This is very basic research, not an actual attempt to produce cells for use in treatments. Hopefully, the added knowledge will point to ethical, non-destructive ways to obtain stem cells for treatment in actual patients.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Proof there’s no stem cell “ban”

  1. >No offense, Dr. Nuckols, but if you're going to link Dr.'s McGee and Caplan to ACT, you should also be honest in noting that Dr. McGee resigned from ACT's ethics board years ago, for the very reason that they were not being an ethical company, and that both Dr. McGee and Dr. Caplan have written extensively about ACT – in a very negative light – at the American Journal of Bioethics Editor's blog, testified for Congress, and written major, syndicated papers – also negative – about ACT.If that's buying ethics, I suspect ACT would have rather they didn't.Furthermore, I don't know of anyone who says there's a stem cell ban – because that would be a patent simplification of the situation. What there is, is a ban on new stem cell lines, which would be extremely important to have. There are what, at most two dozen lines available, and less than that are truly viable. Add on top of that the ownership issue, and the fact the lines cost an awful lot of money, and it's more than understandable it's in our best interest to have new stem cell lines – and those are what's been banned. There are enough nuances between positions on bioethics, that it doesn't seem necessary (and in fact, comes across as somewhat sloppy) to paint either side with such a broad and basic brush.

    Posted by Kelly Hills | February 18, 2007, 4:43 pm
  2. >What there is, is a ban on new stem cell lines, which would be extremely important to have. There are what, at most two dozen lines available, and less than that are truly viable. Add on top of that the ownership issue, and the fact the lines cost an awful lot of money, and it's more than understandable it's in our best interest to have new stem cell lines – and those are what's been banned.There's a ban on funding for new embryonic stem cell lines, for any embryos killed after 8/9/01.However, your post implies more, and a simple Google search on "stem cell ban" will reveal lots of people saying there's a stem cell ban.There's no restriction or regulation on any method of producing stem cell lines, at all – other than the laws against assault of legal persons, I guess.Any cell lines that don't depend on the destruction or harm to a human embryo may still be funded by US taxpayer funds.And, you're right, I should have been more clear explaining the actual relationship of Caplan and McGee to ACT and Green, which has become more than contentious.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | February 18, 2007, 7:02 pm

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