November 17, 2011
In a surprising move, the company that launched the nation's first FDA-approved embryonic stem cell trial last year is halting further research because of "capital scarcity and uncertain economic conditions," but pro-life leaders say the decision confirms long-held doubts about the value of embryonic stem cells, Baptist Press reports. Geron, which launched the trial in 2010, said it would stop funding its stem cell trials and move the money to cancer research instead, a move that eliminates 66 jobs, or 38 percent of its workforce. Mailee Smith of the pro-life Americans United for Life, said there was an obvious explanation for the decision: "There simply is no money in research that yields no results. ... Clearly, investors don't want to put money into research that will not pay off." Embryonic stem cell research, which requires destroying the embryo, has received much attention in recent years but has not yet produced any treatments for diseases or medical conditions. Pro-life activists say adult stem cell research, which uses cells found throughout the adult body and does not require the killing of an embryo, is far more promising.