Obama told House Democrats Thursday at their retreat at a Virginia resort he will sign an executive order widening federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
NEW YORK – In a closed-door meeting with House Democrats at their retreat at the posh Kingsmill Golf Resort in Williamsburg, Va., President Obama gave his “guarantee” he will sign an executive order overturning President Bush’s executive order restricting federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
Obama’s reversal of Bush’s policy comes in the face of scientific evidence that more than two decades of embryonic stem cell research have failed to produce medically valuable results, while adult stem cell research has resulted in successful medical treatments for a wide range of illnesses.
By using an executive order to approve embryonic stem cell research for human therapeutic uses, the Obama administration plans to bypass congressional discussion and debate, seeking instead to reverse the Bush executive order without introducing any new legislation, the Washington Times reports.
Obama appears determined to push the embryonic stem cell political agenda, despite medical concerns that therapeutic results in human medical treatments over decades have proved that adult stem cells and stem cells derived from human placenta produce results, while embryonic stem cells produce tumors hazardous to human health.
“Most of the media report only ‘stem cell’ research, not distinguishing between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells,” David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council, told WND.
“Embryonic stem cell research relies upon the destruction of a young human embryo,” he emphasized. “You have to cannibalize a young human life to get embryonic human stem cells, something you do not need to do if you work with adult stem cells.”
Dr. William R. Prather, RPh, MD, a registered pharmacist as well as a board certified internist and geriatrician, told WND there’s a “very good chance we will never get an FDA-approved product from an embryonic source.”
Dr. William R. Prather, RPh, MD
Prather has decided not to work with any corporation involved with embryonic stem cell research, preferring instead to devote his energies to companies advancing adult stem cell therapies.
He currently services as senior vice president for corporate development for Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., a publicly-listed bio-therapeutics company dedicated to commercial medical applications of adult stem cell therapies applied to a variety of severe nerve and autoimmune disorders where current medical therapies are unavailable or inadequate.
“In order to be defined as an embryonic stem cell, those cells by definition form tumors, called teratoma tumors,” Prather said.
“Because embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, embryonic stem cells able capable of developing into all the rest of the tissue that comprise the human body,” he stressed. “But being pluripotent is a double-edged sword. Those favoring embryonic stem cell research want to use embryonic stem cells because they are pluripotent, but that is also the reason not to use embryonic stem cells.”
Prather explained that teratoma tumors typically result from embryonic stem cells.
Teratoma cells are typically tumors that contain a wide variety of differentiated cells, including cells that produce hair, limbs, teeth, muscles and bone, all embedded in the tumor mass.
Medicine.net defines tertoma as a tumor that contains several different types of tissue, including mature elements such as hair, muscle and bone.
Evidence of limb, hair and teeth can be seen in teratoma cell
“Embryonic stem cell companies try to get around the teratoma problem by genetically engineering the embryonic stem cells to the point where the scientists feel the cells will focus more on developing into neurological tissue, instead of heart tissue or limb tissue,” Prather explained.
“As a result, embryonic stem cells are very expensive to produce for medical purposes, and you may end up with a product that might work, but even if you get a product that is working to some degree, it will be prohibitively expensive to distribute to people,” he said.
“You always have to ask when the embryonic stem cells injected into humans are safe,” he pointed out. “Is it safe if the embryonic stem cells don’t form a teratoma tumor after one year, or do you have to wait two years, or more?”
StemCellResearch.org documents peer-reviewed references showing applications of adult stem cells that have been proven to produce therapeutic benefits for human patients in a wide range of medical conditions and illnesses, including cancer, autoimmune diseases, immune-deficiencies, anemia, other blood conditions, metabolic disorders, replacement of ocular tissue and heart damage.
In sharp contrast, StemCellResearch.org lists no proven medical applications of embryonic stem cells applied to deliver therapeutic benefits for human patients.
WND reported the Food and Drug Administration approved within three days of President Obama’s inauguration the first permission ever granted to begin testing embryonic stem cell treatments on human subjects. The FDA approved an application from Geron Corporation, based in Menlo Park, Calif., to inject stem cells derived from human embryos into people paralyzed from the chest down by spinal cord injuries.
“It will be years before we know if Geron has an embryonic stem cell product that is provable to produce positive therapeutic results on human subjects,” Prather said.
Adult human stem cells include human bone marrow cells as well as human placenta cells that do not involve killing a fetus in order to derive the cells.
“It’s very confusing when doctors or journalists just talk about ‘stem cells,’ without differentiating between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells or stem cells derived from the placenta,” Prather emphasized. “At Pluristem Therapeutics, we get our stem cells from the placenta. We are not killing babies, and we get our stem cells from the medical waste of the placenta that remains after a live birth.”
Pluristem Therapeutics obtains stem cells from placentas of mothers who deliver Caesarian births.
“The reason we use placentas from Caesarian births is that the mothers have already gone through the infections disease testing,” he said. “So, it is a simple decision for the mother to donate placenta tissue that otherwise will be thrown away.”
“People need to understand not all stem cell research involves embryonic stem cells,” he said. “While adult stem cells have been repeatedly been proven for over 40 years to be efficacious for human medical treatments of a variety of ailments, embryonic stem cells have yet to produce a single beneficial medical treatment for human illnesses.”
Prather contended proponents of embryonic stem cell research “do not want the word out that adult stem cell research has 40 years of successful human medical treatments, because embryonic stem cell research has become a political cause.”
“People who want to have continual abortions push embryonic stem cell research, because they want to be able to cite a reason that killing babies is beneficial to human health,” Prather concluded.