Monday, October 30, 2006

Embryonic stem cell research

So what is the real story behind embryonic stem cell research? Political ads by suffering celebrities. Remarks by insensitive radio talk show hosts. So what's the real deal?

U.S. President George W. Bush has endorsed limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The complex and controversial issue has divided members of his own party and pitted the scientific community against religious leaders. Bush said federal funds would only be used for research on 60 existing embryo stem cell lines "where a life-and-death decision has already been made." The embryos for these lines have already been destroyed. (

Click here for a CNN powerpoint-like presentation of the science involved in such research. It is short and very clear, I promise you. It is worth watching if you don't really know what embryonic stem cells are.

The problem arises when harvesting the stem cells, which destroys the embryos from which the cells come. The cells are thought by scientists to have the potential to cure such diseases as diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinsons.

Many people, particularly those who are Pro-Life, believe the embryo is human and therefore should not be destroyed under any circumstances: even if the stem cells could possibly cure people who suffer with the awful diseases mentioned above.

A new wrinkle in the argument is that scientists have been able to create human embryos for the express purpose of cell research. Up until now the embryos are ones that have been left over from fertility treatments or abortions. That's how the word "cloning" enters the picture. And there are a lot of people who are for stem cell research but don't know where they stand on cloning.

Scientists believe there is great promise in this field of study and research. In the U.S. to date most of the stem cell research is privately funded. And up to this point no cures have been developed using stem cells. But if the research is stopped or held up there would be NO CHANCE for cures.

There's more to the story so click here if you want to read further. the teach

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