Stem Cells In Plentiful Supply |
Bush Must Say "No" To Human Embryo Experiments
The Department of Health and Human Services is still reviewing a policy adopted during the Clinton administration that allows embryonic human beings to be killed so that their stem cells can be harvested and used in scientific experiments, in violation of the federal law against such practices. The Bush administration has yet to put a stop to it.
Evidence continues to mount showing that stem cells, which scientists think can be coaxed to grow into bone, muscle, organs and tissue for use in the treatment and cure of serious diseases, are available from many sources other than embryonic babies. Nearly every day there is a new discovery. Here are just a few examples:
(Nature Medicine 6, 278-282; March 2000)
Researchers at the University of Florida announced that they had reversed diabetes in mice using adult stem cells. The pancreatic stem cells were harvested from adult donors and grown in culture, where they formed small functional organs known as islets of Langerhans (the insulin-secreting parts of the pancreas.) The cells were then injected under the skin of the diabetic mice, where they began secreting insulin. Within 7-10 days, the mice were able to regulate the levels of glucose in their blood , and survive without further need for insulin shots.
WASHINGTON An adult stem cell that may be able to create any organ in the body has been discovered in bone marrow, offering wide-ranging promise for curing disease similar to that of embryonic stem cells but without the ethics debate, researchers said. Dr. Neil Theise of New York University School of Medicine, who made the discovery along with Dr. Diane Krause of Yale University School of Medicine, said the finding in a study involving mice provides the strongest evidence to date that the adult body harbors stem cells that are as flexible as embryonic stem cells. The finding appeared in the journal Cell.
(Los Angeles Times, 4/10/01; Stem cells isolated from fat; Finding would end embryo controversy)
A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Pittsburgh has isolated stem cells, primitive cells with the potential to become virtually any type of tissue, from fat collected by liposuction and converted them into bone, cartilage and muscle. "This could take the air right out of the debate about embryonic stem cells," said Dr. Mark Hedrick of UCLA, the lead author. "The newly identified cells have so many different potential applications," he added, "that it makes it hard to argue that we should use embryonic cells." The research was reported in the April 10th issue of Tissue Engineering.
(Reuters - 5/2/01)
LONDON Researchers have isolated and cultivated brain cells from human corpses in a scientific feat that could provide a new source of stem cells for research and developing medical treatments. ProfessorFred Gage and his colleagues at the Salk Institute in California obtained the brain cells that can grow, divide and form specialized brain cells from tissue samples of people shortly after their deaths. Their achievement, reported in the science journal Nature on May 2nd, could overcome the ethical obstacles of using stem cells derived from embryos. "I find it remarkable that we have pockets of cells in our brain that can grow and differentiate throughout our lives and even after death," Gage said in a statement.
(The New York Times, 4/12/01)
A New Jersey
company said on April 11th that it had developed a method to extract a novel kind of stem cell from the placenta and that the cells were the equivalent of human embryonic stem cells, which can transform into every tissue in the adult body. This will make obsolete the need to use human fetuses or blastocysts [embryos] as sources of stem cells, John Haines, chief executive of the Anthrogenesis Corporation of Cedar Knolls, N.J., said.
(PR Newswire, 5/5/01)
Wanda D. Dearth, President & Chief Operating Officer of CRYO-CELL International, Inc., announced today that the company continued to achieve record monthly sales increases for its Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cell Preservation Program. Physician and midwife referrals now account for 26% of the company's new client sales. In addition, 22% of enrollments resulted from customer referrals and independent contractor mother-to-mother sales. Gerald Maass, Executive Vice President, stated that the number of clients storing their second or third child's umbilical cord stem cells also rose to record levels. CRYO-CELL pioneered America's most affordable cord blood stem cell processing and storage service. The initial fee of $275 includes the specimen collection kit, processing, testing and first year's storage. The annual storage fee thereafter is fixed at $50 for specimens already in storage. The company cryopreserves cord blood only for the potential medical
benefit of newborns and/or their siblings.
Contact President Bush at: The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20500
Biomedical Discoveries Cause Ethical Dilemmas
One Man Puts Right to Life Over Career
Celera Genomics Corporation, the leading company involved in the revolutionary mapping of the human genome, along with the U.S. Government-funded National Institutes of Health Human Genome Project, announced on January 10, 2000, that it had completed the sequencing of 90 percent of the human genome. The following June, Rick Scheeler ended his career at Celera because of its corporate decision to harvest stem cells from human embryos. Less than 12 days after his resignation, his second child was born. Little Mary was diagnosed soon after birth with Down Syndrome. Rick and his wife see her as a perfect little person and are grateful to God for choosing them to be the parents of one of His special children. Portions of Rick's letter of resignation are printed below and we share it with you as a heroic example of what it means to truly walk the Pro-Life walk.
June, 2000 "After the astounding accomplishment of seqencing the entire human genome, Celera now teams up with Geron. Geron obtains parental signatures for donation of their fertilized eggs [human embryos] during the in-vitro fertilization process. Geron then picks apart the embryo, taking what they desire, discarding the rest. One of these parts they are interested in are pluripotent stem-cells. Celera is collaborating with Geron to sequence parts of these cells' DNA that once formed a fellow developing human.
"This is not a matter of a 'clump of cells' it is a human life which is being destroyed in the name of science, knowledge, medicine and money. No man or woman of God or even of good will can tolerate this! Every one of us has the same dignity; each one of us was created in the image and likeness of God. This likeness does not come about at birth or a certain number of months and it does not expire. The dignity of man is infused into matter at the moment of conception and does not degrade in the least until the moment of natural death. To deny this is to delegate man's dignity and self worth to time, class and economic output.
"Consider what this world would be like if someone made a choice about you when you were only a 'clump of cells' or a 'mass of undifferentiated tissue.' You would not exist; you would not have the chance to experience life, family, friends, or God.
"How long can we look the other way? How long can we rationalize the exploitation of our unborn brothers and sisters, our own children? Every one of us has to make a choice, and we have to answer for that choice when the vale of this life is torn and we are standing before our Maker, our Judge, and our Father. I plead with all not to turn from the truth; not to dress it up as something else to make it look nice and acceptable, but to face it and act upon it. To write this is very difficult for me. I have a wife, a little boy and one that is days from being born, and I realize that my career here at Celera is coming to an abrupt end. Yet, I recall how Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed on God's command. He trusted in God in the most difficult of circumstances and for that God not only spared his son, but also made him the father of all Jews, Christians and Muslims."
MASSACHUSETTS is joining other states in considering legislation that would require doctors to tell women they may be at greater risk for breast cancer if they have an abortion. Pro-life groups are supporting the bills, while pro-abortion-choice advocates call them a scare tactic to frighten women away from an abortion decision. Both the American Cancer Society and the American Medical Association have refused to acknowledge clear evidence of a link between abortion and breast cancer (ABC-Link). At least 16 state legislatures are considering similar bills. Mississippi is the only state with a law in effect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The Massachusetts bill would require doctors to give women "a written summary of current information linking abortion to breast cancer in certain women".
(Taken from an AP story by Steve LeBlanc, May 7, 2001)
ILLINOIS is home to the Coalition on Abortion/ Breast Cancer, an international women's organization whose objective is to prevent breast cancer caused by induced abortion. "More than two dozen studies link this elective procedure with a deadly disease, and 13 out of 14 American studies report increased risk," Karen Malec, president of the Coalition, said in a press release.
"Approximately 175,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year," said Mrs. Malec. "More than 43,000 women die from this disease each year. Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D., rightly called abortion a 'health care time bomb' in his August 24, 1999 letter to his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Joel Brind, president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, has estimated that there are an additional 5,000 to 8,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year because of previous abortions and that by the year 2020 there will be an additional 40,000 to 50,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed yearly."
"In 1995 the former director of the National Institutes of Health, Bernadine Healy, M.D., cautioned: 'Some 1.5 million women undergo abortion in this country each year; if the breast cancer connection is valid, we will be seeing a continuous rise in breast cancer in this country for many years into the future.'"
"Women have the right to know that these peer-reviewed studies exist. It is especially urgent that our teenagers hear this message because they are at such great risk, especially those who have a family history of the disease. Should women be expected to unknowingly place their lives at risk in order to achieve an elective outcome?" asked Malec. (The Wanderer, 2/15/01)
The Right to Life A Practical Matter
The following letter-to-the-editor appeared in the May 7, 2001
edition of the Investor's Business Daily. Rarely do we see someone address the economic impact of the past 28 years of legalized abortion, and we thought it would be of interest to our readers.
|Wrecking Our Own Foundation |
In "Congress to Face Stark Choices" (National Issue, April 27) a reference was made to the fact that immigration might help in the short term by providing more tax revenue for Social Security. That may be true, but 28 million aborted children [the actual figure is 40 million, Ed.] would also provide the needed cushion, had this genocide not taken place. We are destroying the very foundation that was to provide support for us.
Yes, we deserve the end of the system that we have selfishly destroyed because we were too self-serving to take control of our lives and prevent all these terminated pregnancies.
Shame on the conservatives who are too compassionate to get angry and fight for what is right.
Glen A. Carroll