By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
WASHINGTON, February 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are preparing new guidelines for funding embryonic stem cell research, which destroys human life at its earliest stages, the Washington Post reported today.
Although the Bush administration permitted such research on already existing lines of embryonic stem cells, it prohibited the creation of new stem cell lines. Advocates of the research anticipate, however, that the Obama administration will lift this restriction soon, although they are expressing some concern over what they perceive as a delay in doing so.
“We were surprised and disappointed it wasn’t in there,” Amy Comstock Rick of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research told the Washington Post, referring to Obama’s package of reforms during his first week in office. “We’re wondering why it’s taking so long.”
However, Obama administration senior advisor David Axelrod told Fox News last Sunday that the president is considering issuing an executive order, and that a decision would be coming soon. Earlier in the month Obama himself said he would be issuing an executive order on stemcells. “I guarantee you that we will sign an executive order for stem cells,” he said at a meeting of Congressional Democrats, according to the Washington Times.
Although embryonic stem cell researchers claim that embryonic stem cells may someday be used to replace damaged tissue in patients, so far the procedures haven’t yielded a single cure, according to Dr Insoo Hyun of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, who recently told the Scotsman newspaper that “patients need to know there are no proven therapies using embryonic stem cells.”
In fact, thus far embryonic stem cell research has only produced harmful results, a point highlighted by the case, currently being widely reported on in the international news media, of an unnamed Israeli boy whose parents took him to Russia for an embryonic stem cell treatment for a neurological disorder. According to the Journal PLoS Medicine, where a study on the case was published, the boy received injections of embryonic stem cells taken from aborted fetuses directly into his brain. He now suffers from brain tumors caused by the stem cells.
The results in the case are similar to those of other embryonic stem cell experiments, which have also resulted in tumors.
Sean Savitz, a neurologist at Houston’s University of Texas Medical School, recently told Scientific American that “there is simply not enough evidence from animal studies, let alone human studies” to indicate that embryonic stem cells can be used in medical therapies, according to the magazine.
Savitz, who is doing research on adult stem cells, told Scientific American that the difference between adult and embryonic stem cells is that the former do not proliferate and grow, but die after conferring their benefit, thus eliminating the possibility of tumor growth.
Adult stem cell research, which does not destroy human life, has been approved for over one hundred treatments, and has been used to reconstruct heart tissue, nerve tissue, a trachea, and other damaged body parts.
Related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Amid Media Excitement, Embryonic Stem Cell Trial Far Behind Adult Stem Cells, Says Expert
Embryonic Stem Cell Therapies to Cure Disease is “Pure Folly”, Says MIT Prof