Dustin Siggins

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Funding of embryonic stem cell research down dramatically, report notes

Dustin Siggins
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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Once dismissed as the talk of right-wing social conservatives, stem cell funding data shows that two of the nation's most liberal states prefer adult stem cells to embryonic stem cell research.

A report on the funding in California and Maryland written by the Charlotte Lozier Institute – the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List – has found that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and the state government of Maryland are funding far more adult stem cell research projects, while embryonic stem cell research has decreased nearly to nothing.

“Money talks,” said Charlotte Lozier Institute President Chuck Donovan. “Our new report shows a growing preference to fund ethical stem cell projects nationwide.”

In 2007, CIRM funded 100 embryonic stem cell research projects. In 2012, it was only six. Meanwhile, CIRM gave 15 grants to scientists conducting non-embryonic stem cell research.

In Maryland, 11 embryonic projects and four adult stem cell projects were funded in 2007. Five years later, 28 non-embryonic grants were made, but only one embryonic stem cell grant.

Because it destroys a human life, embryonic stem cell research been opposed by many in the religious and ethics community. Adult stem cells have no such moral concerns.

“A decade ago researchers, media, and Hollywood alike dismissed moral and ethical concerns to hail stem cell research using, and destroying, human embryos, as the ‘only hope’ for developing efficacious therapies,” Donovan said. “Despite the millions spent on this research, cures by embryonic cells have proven elusive, while adult stem cell research applications have exploded.”

Today's funding decreases seemed out of the question when some scientists and many pro-abortion politicians began lobbying on its behalf. Pro-life forces who opposed any federal funding, or testing, were derided as holding up scientific progress that could discover cures to everything from cancer to paralysis.

In 2001, President George Bush provided federal funding for embryonic stem cell research on a series of embryos that had already been aborted but refused to fund research on any further embryo. His policy, which was attacked by politicians, the media, and scientists across the country for having too firm a line on research, was overturned in 2009 by President Obama in a way that embryonic stem cell research proponent Charles Krauthammer said left “no line at all.”

But embryonic stem cell research has failed to demonstrate the promised miracle cures and created dangerous side effects. The scientific community's former excitement over the potential of embryonic testing has quietly dissipated, as has funding.

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that the biotechnology company Geron ended ESCR testing in November 2011 and moved to cancer research.

Meanwhile, success stories with non-embryonic stem cells abound. In August, a two-year old girl was able to breathe on her own for the first time due to stem cells taken from her bone marrow.

On the NIH website, readers can click on an option to see if there are ethical issues with stem cell research. The information provided does not address any of the ethical concerns raised by social conservatives. It merely admits that:

BLOCKQUOTE

Research on one kind of stem cell—human embryonic stem cells—has generated much interest and public debate. Pluripotent stem cells (cells that can develop into many different cell types of the body) are isolated from human embryos that are a few days old. Pluripotent stem cell lines have also been developed from fetal tissue (older than 8 weeks of development).

As science and technology continue to advance, so do ethical viewpoints surrounding these developments. It is important to educate and explore the issues, scientifically and ethically.

/BLOCKQUOTE

The NIH does have a page that briefly examines multiple forms of stem cell research, acknowledging the benefits seen by non-embryonic stem cell research.

This bioethical campaign has crossed the oceans.

In Europe, the “One of Us” campaign collected nearly 1.9 million signatures opposing embryonic stem cell research, almost twice the number needed to force the European Commission and Parliament to consider the campaign's ethical concerns.

The signatures were collected in 20 European Union member states.

Once the national authorities in each nation certify the number of valid signatures, the Commission and Parliament will consider the campaign's concerns and hold a public hearing, probably in February 2014. 

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