Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stem Cell Science Vs. Politics

In Minneapolis right now, there is a rally taking place to try to stop a bill from being passed that would ban stem cell research.   The story can be found in the Minneapolis StarTribune.  The group that is driving this debate is the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.  If this bill would pass, it would not only hinder important research done in Minnesota, but could spread to other research centers as well.

Their argument is under the guise of human cloning, but would cut much deeper.  The stem cell research that is focused on curing diabetes and other diseases is not based on cloning at all.  Much of this research uses adult stem cells which are taken from living humans and sometimes uses cells from the patient's own body.  Embryonic stem cell research uses cells from cell lines that are already created.  The cells are not fertilized with only research as an end result.  They are already present and would eventually be discarded.

Our country is already behind many others because of the strict ban imposed by President Bush.  Many of our citizens are going to other countries for treatment in centers that might not be as accredited or even as safe as our own would be.  This science is destined to evolve with or without the support of groups like this one.  It will be a major milestone in the human condition when we have the capability to cure or suppress terrible diseases with this mechanism. Our country should be a part of this.

It is a shame that a small group of single minded people could have such a devastating effect on research that could save so many lives.  I wonder how many of them really understand the biological and ethical implications of what they are trying to accomplish.

1 comment:

Kaitake said...

People get scared of what they don't understand. The problem is, as soon as those people get sick they expect the latest and best healthcare - we're not living in the Middle Ages, right? Well, to get the best healthcare you have to be prepared to support modern medical research. Certain diseases and conditions may be able to benefit greatly from stem cell research, and thousands of lives could be saved or lengthened. As long as the medical research is conducted in an ethical manner, why would you ban it?