FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Tuesday March 10th 2009.
“President Obama’s repeal of restrictions on embryonic stem cell research will have little impact on the new, embryo-free, era of stem cell science” said Dr David van Gend, National Director of Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research.
“Cloning died, and embryonic stem cell science entered death row, in November 2007, with the advent of ‘direct reprogramming’ of adult skin cells to the exact equivalent of embryonic stem cells” Dr van Gend explained. [See his article at http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6970]
“No longer are embryos the only way to obtain these specialised ‘pluripotent’ stem cells; no longer is cloning the only way to get patient-matched embryonic-type stem cells. The superior, and ethically uncontentious new science of iPS reprogramming has left cloning and embryo experimentation to wither on the vine”.
“All that scientists can say now to justify embryo stem cell research is that they need it as a ‘standard of comparison’ with the new iPS cells. Embryo cells are playing second fiddle to iPS cells – because only iPS cells exactly match the patient, and only iPS cells can be created easily in labs around the world, without any ethical concerns.
“Consider the mixed messages coming to Obama from the scientists themselves. Obama has asked the National Institute of Health (NIH) to devise guidelines for further embryo research – yet the former director of the NIH, Dr Bernardine Healy, wrote an article only this week on “Why embryonic stem cells are obsolete.” (see http://www.usnews.com/blogs/heart-to-heart/2009/3/4/why-embryonic-stem-cells-are-obsolete.html)
“Gone are the days of snake-oil scientists promising miracle cures from embryos. Here are the days of ethical stem cell research that does not violate human life in the process.
“Obama is keeping his promise to cultural ‘progressives’, who want yet another assertion from this extreme pro-abortion President that life before birth is to be trampled underfoot. For science, however, his promise of increased funds for embryo exploitation is flogging a dying horse, and will not alter the new, entirely ethical course of stem cell research.”