BioethicsThu Feb 9, 2012 - 3:54 pm EST
Komen: embryonic stem cell research ‘has not shown promise’ for breast cancer cure
February 9, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the midst of the firestorm of controversy over whether the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation would continue its funding of Planned Parenthood, Komen released a statement this week about embryonic stem cell research that has further rankled pro-abortion advocates.
“A recent review of our funded grants revealed that human embryonic stem cell tissue has not been used in breast cancer research funded by Komen,” said the February 5th statement. “To this point, embryonic stem cell research has not shown promise for application in breast cancer.”
The statement was prompted by online reports that Komen had defunded some of its grantees due to their involvement in embryonic stem cell research, a claim which the organization has denied.
The reports were based in part on a November statement from Komen in which the organization said it only supported research using stem cells “derived without creating a human embryo or destroying a human embryo.” This statement has since disappeared from the organization’s website, but a copy posted at motherjones.com is still available.
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Some of the organization’s grantees, such as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Yale University, do have embryonic stem cell research programs, but Komen says that grant money is not used for these programs, and never has been.
However, the organization did not clearly rule out the possibility of sending its money in that direction in the future, claiming in its recent statement: “Embryonic stem cells are currently considered to have the most potential for use in the regeneration of diseased or injured tissues. Whether embryonic stem cells will have a role or will be of value in the fight against breast cancer has not been clearly determined.”
“Komen will continue to focus its research efforts on the most promising areas of science which have the greatest potential for breast cancer patients,” the statement continued.
Supporters of embryonic stem cell research, however, are not appeased. Huffington post writer Don Reed called on the organization to “undo the damage” caused to its reputation by renouncing “any ideological prejudice against stem cell research.”
The claim that embryonic cells have not shown promise for breast cancer research is “weak, and unsupported by fact,” Reed fumed. “Many scientists are doing work with various stem cells, including embryonic, to answer the devastation of cancer.”
But according to Dr. Theresa Deisher, CEO and Founder of AVM Biotechnology which is dedicated to the development of pro-life medical technology, work with embryonic stem cells is driven by economic, rather than scientific, considerations.
“The attractiveness of using embryonic or fetal stem cells to a company is the ease of scalability. These cells will grow readily and rapidly in their manufacturing facilities. You can expand them to treat a lot of patients,” she has said.
“That rapid growth is attractive economically to companies. Unfortunately, that exact property is what makes these cells not optimal for treating patients, because that rapid growth doesn’t cease. It doesn’t become dampened or controlled when we put them in patients. So, the economics of these companies are in direct conflict with the best well-being for the patients,” Deisher also commented.
While myriad cures have been produced using adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells continued to lag far in the rear. Recently one of the two major companies doing embryonic stem cell research in the United States, Geron Corp., announced that it was abandoning the field, delivering a major blow to the hopes of advocates of the unethical research.
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