Inspired by their perceived medical potential (and blind to their potential as living human beings), researchers continue to destroy human embryos to harvest and experiment with their stem cells. Texas Right to Life worked with Representative Scott Turner toward a budget amendment in this year’s legislative session that would have cut funding to the destruction of such cells – and the amendment, which was struck from the budget in committee, was not inspired by ethical concerns for human Life alone. Embryonic stem cells have failed to become the panacea that scientists once touted they would, and evidence suggests that continuing to funnel taxpayer dollars into their destruction is not only unethical, but also scientifically futile.
Despite years of development and experimentation on human patients, embryonic stem cells have not been credited as a viable treatment for any condition. In fact, the very qualities that draw researchers to embryonic cells – their ability to develop into any human tissue and their rapid reproduction – are also the reasons why embryonic stem cells do more harm than good for the patients who have developed cancer because of embryonic stem cell treatments. To date, not one condition has received “clearly effective” treatment from the use of embryonic stem cells.
Adult stem cells, however, do not carry a cancer risk, and have seen wild success in the one million patients who have received adult stem cell treatments. In hospitals today, adult stem cell procedures are widely used to treat a multitude of conditions. Stem cells can either be transplanted from donor to patient, or doctors can remove a patient’s own stem cells and manipulate them before re-injecting them into the patient as a self-treating agent.
In May, Texas Right to Life shared the story of Leah Still, the five-year-old daughter of NFL player, Devon Still, whose Stage 4 neuroblastoma is in remission. Because, as her father explained, a “remission” diagnosis does not mean doctors are certain all of the cancer cells have been eradicated, her family opted for an adult stem cell procedure that could help to ensure that the cancer does not return. Leah has responded well to the treatment. And there are a million others like her.
So why aren’t adult stem cells (ASCs) getting the credit they deserve, and why do problematic embryonic cells persist in the spotlight? In a World Magazine feature, clinical psychologist Julie Borg reports:
When most people hear the term “stem cell,” they immediately think of embryonic cells because that research that has been publicized and politicized, said David Prentice, vice president and research director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Few people, including physicians, realize there are ethical, life-preserving alternatives to the use of embryonic stem cells.
In short, lack of education of the general public and even of physicians – stifled by the inappropriate fanfare surrounding embryonic stem cell research—is a huge roadblock. To that end, the Charlotte Lozier Institute has created the website Stem Cell Research Facts. The website was meticulously and professionally designed to educate the public about the efficacy of adult stem cell research. Stem Cell Research Facts features many videos with both patient and physician testimonies, a running compilation of ASC success stories in the media, and the tools needed to disseminate the important information to the public.