Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CIRM To Bush: Harmful and Wrong

The California stem cell agency is accusing President Bush of distorting facts and performing a disservice to millions of Americans who suffer from chronic diseases and injuries.

The agency said Bush intends to "further limit" research into human embryonic stem cells.

The CIRM statement is contained in a press release on its web site that concerned Bush's speech Tuesday night. Interestingly, the CIRM statement is not attributed to either Bob Klein, chairman of the agency, or its new president, Australian stem cell researcher Alan Trounson. In the past, statements such as this have been linked to either the president or chairman.

Here are excerpts from the release followed by the two paragraphs from the president's speech.
"President Bush distorted the scientific facts on stem cell research and did a disservice to the millions of patients suffering from chronic disease and injury for whom stem cell research holds great promise for future therapies and cures."

"The President’s proposals to further limit medical research in this area fail to take into account the intricate realities of the state of stem cell research. Indeed, the recent advances in which skin cells were induced to become pluripotent would not have been possible without research involving human embryonic stem cells."

"Therefore it is critical that all avenues of stem cell research be aggressively advanced. To do otherwise would increase the already devastating restrictions that have burdened Federal support of stem cell research and patients who are depending upon it. This Administration’s position on stem cell research has already cost years in lost research productivity. Further restrictions would result in more lost time in developing stem cell based therapies and cures that hold great promise to alleviate suffering for the most destructive and costly diseases such as spinal injury, loss of sight, heart muscle injury, Parkinson’s Disease, ALS and diabetes."
Bush's comments:
"On matters of life and science, we must trust in the innovative spirit of medical researchers and empower them to discover new treatments while respecting moral boundaries. In November, we witnessed a landmark achievement when scientists discovered a way to reprogram adult skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells. This breakthrough has the potential to move us beyond the divisive debates of the past by extending the frontiers of medicine without the destruction of human life.

"So we're expanding funding for this type of ethical medical research. And as we explore promising avenues of research, we must also ensure that all life is treated with the dignity it deserves. And so I call on Congress to pass legislation that bans unethical practices such as the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life."
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