June 30, 2009
Scientists at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California, are discovering a potential cure for leukemia and sickle-cell disease. How? By using blood stem cells from the placentas of women who have had Caesarian deliveries.
But researchers at the hospital are frustrated. State agencies have made multi-million-dollar grants available for embryo-destructive research, but money is scarce for its ethically sound counterpart, adult stem cell research.
In the Contra Costa Times, lead Children’s Hospital researcher Frans Kuypers says, “No one has been cured by an embryonic stem cell. We are able to cure folks with [adult] stem cells.”
So why isn’t adult stem cell research receiving more funding? Josephine Quintavalle, director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, says “What you get from [the adult stem cell] approach is a patient-specific cure. There's no middleman . . . and there's no drug company that's going to get rich as a result of it.”
But, she explains, a lot of the pressure for stem-cell research is to find products that they can sell, as opposed to a treatment they can do to cure you.
Quintavalle is just one of many experts from both sides of the debate interviewed in the new documentary, Lines that Divide, produced by the Center for Bioethics and Culture.
In the documentary you’ll hear first-hand testimonies from people whose lives have been saved through adult stem cell research. Like Barry Goudy, who suffered with multiple sclerosis. Since undergoing adult stem cell replacement therapy, he’s been free from MS for five years.
“They reboot your immune system,” he explains. “I live a normal life. I coach hockey, I play racquetball, I golf.” Without the adult stem cell transplant, Goudy would probably be in a wheelchair.
Twenty-two-year-old Corrina Archuleta also shares her dramatic recovery from a flesh-eating auto-immune disorder. Her family was making her funeral arrangements before adult stem cell therapy saved her life.
The film also covers why even traditionally pro-choice advocates are speaking out against embryo-destructive stem cell research. In order to extract enough eggs for embryonic stem cell research, a woman’s ovaries are hyper-stimulated so that she will produce a dozen or more eggs at a time.
But doctors know that ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome and the drugs themselves have caused blood clotting, stroke, and even death. The former chief medical officer of the FDA warms that potential egg donors “need to be aware that this is not a procedure that is without risk.” Even the risk of death.
That’s not what you are seeing in the media. What you do see, however, are celebrities and politicians gushing over the potential for embryo-destructive stem cell research. Even while lives are being saved today by adult stem cell therapy.
We need to be informed in order to help shape the public debate—and encourage our leaders to fund proven, morally unproblematic adult stem cell research.
That’s why I urge you to get a hold of the film Lines that Divide. Visit BreakPoint.org, and we’ll tell you how.
Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.