Obama Pushes Killing Kind of Stem Cell Research with Taxpayer Funds

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SAN FRANCISCO, March 9, 2009 (updated March 12)-- Today President Barack Obama is rescinded President Bush's executive order that prohibited the use of taxpayer funding of research on new stem cell lines created by the destruction of living human embryos. In addition, with little notice or media attention, he rescinded another executive order requiring funding of research seeking ethical alternatives to producing embryo-like (pluripotent) stem cells.

Embryonic Stem Cells - Alternative Source Found

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, that President Obama is making taxpayer funds available for the kind of stem cell research that requires killing living human beings -- technology that is unnecessary and obsolete,” said William B. May, Chairman of Catholics for the Common Good. “Embryo-like stem cells can now be created more easily and economically using ethical means.”

Every living human being goes through the embryonic stage in a continuum of stages from conception to old age if not interrupted by death. This is a matter of science.

“During the last couple years, scientists have learned to create iPS or "induced pluripotent stem cells" from skin cells that have the same qualities as embryonic stem cells," said May. "They also have the advantage of being cheaper and easier to produce, and can be genetically matched to the patient circumventing obstacles in the development of practical treatment for diseases and eliminating the need for therapeutic human cloning.

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“It is unfortunate, that the President in not only making this unethical choice, but is wasting more taxpayer funds on technology of the past rather than ethical technology with better potential for saving lives and treating diseases for the future.”

In 2007, the scientist who cloned Dolly the Sheep, Sir Ian Wilmut, announced that he saw no further need for cloning human embryos to develop patient specific therapies because “he is convinced that this new work overcomes key practical and ethical issues in obtaining embryo cells that [are] potentially capable of generating all cell types for treating disease,” according to the Daily Telegraph of London .

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The March 6, 2009 Los Angeles Times reported a new breakthrough in iPS cell research and added, “The reprogramming of skin cells into iPS cells, which have the potential to become any type of cell in the body, is one of the hottest areas of biological research. The cells seem to offer all the benefits of embryonic stem cells without any of the ethical drawbacks. They are also ideally suited to making genetically matched tissues for patients, such as insulin-secreting islet cells for people with diabetes or brain tissue to treat stroke victims.”

Bernadine Healy, MD, former Director of the National Institute for Health wrote for the  US News and World Report Blog “during the first six weeks of Obama's term, several events reinforced the notion that embryonic stem cells, once thought to hold the cure for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and diabetes, are obsolete. The most sobering: a report from Israel published in PLoS Medicine in late February that shows embryonic stem cells injected into patients can cause disabling if not deadly tumors. For more details refer to “Why Embryonic Stem Cells Are Obsolete”.

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