Monday, January 24, 2005

Bush Embryonic Stem Cell Policy: End of the Line

As reported today in the Mercury News:
All human embryonic stem-cell lines approved for use in federally funded research are contaminated with a foreign molecule from mice that may make them risky for use in medical therapies, according to a study released Sunday.

Researchers at the University of California-San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego report that if the stem cells are transplanted into people, the cells could provoke an immune system attack that would wipe out their ability to deliver cures for diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes

All of the lines? Well that doesn't leave many of the cell lines created under the brilliant policies of President Bush for therapeutic purposes.

So what does the White House have to say about that? According to Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary:
the president is satisfied those existing lines are "adequate" for the "basic research that needs to be done."

Satisfied? Adequate? Is this White House aware of what it has already said about Embryonic Stem Cells?

In 2001, when this ill-conceived policy of limiting stem cell lines to those already in existence was established, the White House itself pointed out:
Many scientists believe that embryonic stem cell research may eventually lead to therapies that could be used to treat diseases that afflict approximately 128 million Americans. Treatments may include replacing destroyed dopamine-secreting neurons in a Parkinson's patient's brain; transplanting insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells in diabetic patients; and infusing cardiac muscle cells in a heart damaged by myocardial infarction. Embryonic stem cells may also be used to understand basic biology and to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new medicines.

Well what about the 128 million Americans? As a matter of fact, as of July, 2004, according to CIA estimates, there were only 293 million Americans. So according to the White House itself, the potential for Embryonic Stem Cells is hardly trivial. They might be helpful to treat over one of every three Americans alive today!

But then again, as Governor Pataki at the Republican National Convention pointed out about President Bush:
George W. Bush says what he means, he means what he says.

You wouldn't want him to change his mind would you? My goodness, a rash action like that would amount to a "flip-flop"! Just like Horton, who in Dr. Seuss was an elephant (some coincidence?):
"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant...
An elephant's faithful-one hundred per cent!"

I mean if Horton was faithful, shouldn't President Bush?

And John Kerry? As reported in USA Today before the election:
If Kerry wins, he promises to lift Bush's restriction. Dozens of newer stem cell lines, undamaged by long periods of cell replication, would become available for federal financing.

Well Senator Kerry, 128 million Americans afflicted with disease are waiting for you to pull them from the waters of disease and disability. We have a President who finds mediocrity and failure in science "satisfactory" and "adequate". We have a President who would rather trade consistency for progress, and fundamentalism for fundamental advances in Science.

See what you can do about this in Congress Senator Kerry. Until 2008, when we shall be working to have you as President!



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