In addition to the vast majority
of Americans, literally thousands of U.S. scientists and doctors, and every major independent medical association, are in favor of embryonic stem cell research.
President Bush disagrees, perhaps because he is trying to appease religious conservatives. Meanwhile, conservative ranters doing his bidding embarrass themselves with their partisan hyperbole. Rush Limbaugh shows ignorance
when discussing Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's Disease. Mark Levin shows ignorance
when he calls embyronic stem cell research a "hoax."
None of the three are doctors. They hope that by speaking out with fact-challenged claims, they will create the perception that there is a "debate" on the issue. That's just empty conservative spin.
Support in the medical community and among more thoughtful Republicans for embryonic stem cell research is near universal. Here are some of the long list of supporters:
"Those who would pit research with adult stem cells against research with early stem cells [also embryonic stem cells] are trying to mislead laypeople
. The overwhelming majority of scientists and physicians in the U.S. support research with both adult and early stem cells. The organizations to which they belong support research with early stem cells, including those produced by SCNT [Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer]. These include the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Schools, and the National Academy of Sciences."
Dr. William Neaves, Ph.D. President, Stowers Institute for Medical Research
"It is not evident to many of us that cells in a petri dish are equivalent to identifiable people suffering from terrible diseases. I am and have always been pro-life
. But the only explanation for legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law."
Former Sen. Jack Danforth (R-MO); now an ordained Episcopal priest
"While stem cells have been isolated from both embryonic and adult tissues, they differ in several properties including the ability to differentiate into specialized cell lineages. ... Most scientists agree that research must be conducted in parallel on both adult and ES cells since each has advantages and disadvantages (e.g., plasticity, longevity, expansion, immune compatibility). For any particular disease, both embryonic and adult stem cells may have to be evaluated to determine which is most efficacious."
American Medical Association
"Given the enormous promise of stem cells therapies for so many devastating diseases, NIH [National Institutes of Health] believes that it is important to simultaneously pursue all lines of research and search for the very best sources of these cells."
National Institutes of Health
"Embryonic stem cells have specific properties that make them uniquely powerful and deserving of special attention in the realm of medical science. These special properties explain why scientists and physicians feel so strongly about support of embryonic as well as adult stem cell research. Unlike other stem cells, embryonic stem cells are "pluripotent." That means they have the capacity to become any type of tissue in the human body. Moreover, they are capable of renewing themselves and replicating themselves over and over again – indefinitely. Adult stem cells meet certain medical needs. But embryonic stem cells – because of these unique characteristics – meet other medical needs that simply cannot be met today by adult stem cells.
They especially offer hope for treating a range of diseases that require tissue to regenerate or restore function."
Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) Senate Majority Leader and Doctor
"Most scientists believe and studies show that embryonic stem cells will likely be more effective [than adult stem cells] in curing diseases because they can grow and differentiate into any of the body's cells and tissues and thus into different organs…Up to 100 million Americans may benefit from this research."
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research
"As a right-to-life Senator, I believe that a critical part of a pro-life, pro-family philosophy is helping the living. ...
The purpose of [stem cell] research is to save life, not terminate it."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
"Recent studies in adult stem cell research have shown promise, but because these cells are not as pliable as embryonic stem cells, they may not be as useful for therapeutic interventions.
Research into the transplantability and differentiation of human embryonic stem cells appears to have the greatest potential to lead to important therapies for a large number of intractable diseases. ... ASH believes that stem cell research offers a significant degree of promise and hope to the approximately 100 million Americans suffering from deadly and debilitating diseases, including cancer, stroke, heart attack, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, diabetes, and traumatic brain and spinal cord injury."
American Society of Hematology
"Throughout my lifelong pursuit of better health for my patients, there has never been a more promising breakthrough than that of early stem cell research.
While this technology is relatively new, the early results hold tremendous promise for relieving human suffering and finding cures for hundreds of thousands of our citizens who are afflicted by debilitating diseases for which we currently have no good answers."
E. Grey Diamond, M.D., Former President, American College of Cardiology
"The Society supports research, done in the highest ethical fashion and within the bounds of federal, state, and local regulations, using all human cell types that might further the development of treatments and a cure for MS. Thus the Society — along with the American Medical Association, other voluntary health organizations, and many scientific societies —opposes regulations that would limit the full exploration of this important area."
National MS Society
"Neuroscientists agree that there is great potential, although no guarantees, for breakthroughs in therapies for diseases such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, and stroke, through embryonic stem cell research. While adult stem cell research is believed to hold less promise
, the AAN and ANA believe both embryonic and adult stem cell research should be pursued rigorously and under close scrutiny."
American Academy of Neurology and American Neurological Association
"The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) recognizes that stem cell research encompasses stem cells of many types, and stresses that each facet of stem cell research is in fact complementary – not duplicative. Research on adult stem cells (tissue-specific stem cells found within adults) may uncover the body’s innate maintenance and repair mechanisms. This area of research includes important classes of blood-forming stem cells, such as the hematopoietic stem cells resident within bone marrow or the umbilical cord blood stem cells harvested at childbirth, as well as emerging studies of cancer stem cells. Embryonic stem cells (unspecialized stem cells found within very early stage embryos called blastocysts) have the ability to transform into the cells of every major organ system. If this characteristic, called pluripotency, can be controlled, then medical researchers could determine the signals directing the development of human tissues, including cancers."
American Association for Cancer Research
"Stem cell research holds much promise in the search for better treatment and for a cure for the more than 18 million Americans with diabetes."
Lynn B. Nicholas, Chief Executive Officer, American Diabetes Association
"United Spinal supports all legal cutting-edge research that will make progress toward finding a cure for paralysis and prevention of secondary complications of SCI [Spinal Cord Injury]. Upwards of 700,000 people in the United States have some type of spinal cord disability; stem cell research has the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans."
Gerard Kelly, Executive Director of United Spinal Association
"As you may know, Ronnie will observe his ninety-second birthday soon. In earlier times, we would have been able to celebrate that day with great joy and wonderful memories of our life together. Now, while I can draw strength from these memories, I do it alone, as Ronnie struggles in a world unknown to me or the scientists who devote their lives to Alzheimer’s research. Because of this, I am determined to do what I can to save other families from this pain. I’m writing, therefore, to offer my support for stem cell research and to tell you I'm in favor of new legislation to allow the ethical use of therapeutic cloning. Like you, I support a complete ban on reproductive cloning. However, I believe that embryonic stem cell research, under appropriate guidelines, may provide our scientists with many answers that are now beyond our grasp
Nancy Reagan, Former First Lady