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Adult Stem Cell Research Should Command Our Focus

By Paul Long, Detroit Free Press, October 31, 2007

"Embryonic stem cell research did not save me; cord blood research did. I am living proof that there are promising and useful alternatives to embryonic stem cell research and that embryos do not need to be killed to achieve medical breakthroughs."
--Nathan Salley, of Arvada, Colo., before a congressional subcommittee

Statements such as the one above have been publicly absent while legislatures across the country and Congress continue to debate the question of stem cell research.

The question is why has this been the case.  The answer may be discovered soon with cloned embryos nearing legalization and the destruction of human embryos on an enormous scale a distinct possibility as the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to address legislation to potentially allow all of the above, today.

Considering that the University of Michigan is currently conducting embryonic stem cell research with the help of taxpayer dollars, it can be seen as a devious ploy that Michigan residents have been deceived into believing there is a ban on embryonic stem cell research.  Researchers here are free to experiment with them, as long as those embryos are unconscionably destroyed outside the state.

With numerous sources throughout the human body such as the amniotic fluid that surrounds unborn babies, bone marrow, and of course umbilical cord blood; gathering adult stem cells do not involve the killing of human embryos.  This is the advantage of adult stem cell research, but certainly not the least.

Type 1 diabetes, various forms of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Autism, and many other conditions adding up to more than 70 are being treated right now thanks to adult stem cell research.  However, embryonic stem cell research has never produced a single treatment or a cure.

The success of adult stem cell research has some how been disregarded by embryonic stem cell research supporters.  Meaning that they do not have the power to regenerate into any different type of cell in the body, they have labeled adult stem cells as "pluripotent".

That argument is unlikely to resonate with Carron Marrow, a 58-year-old mother of two from Alabama, who, after receiving adult stem cell treatments following a heart attack, stated: "I don't understand why we have this huge political mess going on about stem cells. I'm living proof that adult stem cells work far better than embryonic. I'm here to say: 'It saved my life.' "

An April Public Opinion Strategies survey determined that 77% of those polled said they were opposed to killing human embryos for research purposes, thus Michigan residents identify with Marrow's testimonial.  But apparently, destroying mass quantities of human embryos have some sort of economic advantage say proponents of House Bill 4616.

The notion that Michigan's damaged economy will be aided by providing big biotechnology corporations with embryos is ridiculous.  As citizens have understood the consequence of their vote, a proposed $300-million research facility is now unlikely to be constructed after Missouri voters last year enshrined human cloning and embryonic stem cell research in that state's constitution.

"It has turned out to be a big disappointment," said  Kevin Eggan, a cellular biologist at Harvard.  He recently told the New York Times that he no longer will be moving to Missouri because of their failure.  But thanks to the medical advances made with bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, both of which can be donated; adult stem cell research has and will continue to be tremendously successful.

At the same time as protecting human life in its earliest stages, Michigan has a unique opportunity to help those who are suffering.  Opposing House Bill 4616 is an option and opportunity that the Judiciary Committee now has in front of them.


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