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Stem Cell Advocates Meet, Plan Strategy
Newsday & AP ^ | June 10, 2005 | Wendy Benjaminson

Posted on 06/10/2005 1:33:49 AM PDT by hocndoc

HOUSTON -- Scientists gather routinely at the Texas Medical Center to share research. But they are meeting this weekend in enemy territory for a war-room session on political strategy. Advocates of embryonic stem cell research from the fields of academia, politics, health care and medicine -- including South Korean cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk -- are plotting ways to quell opposition and get the research money flowing.


Houston's medical center is an oasis of support for the proponents gathering this weekend.


Siegel said legislation like some of the measures considered in Texas "sends a message to the biotech community: 'We're not in favor of scientific research.'"

About 150 people are expected at the stem cell policy summit, where Siegel said he hopes to come away with lobbying and campaign tactics for pushing favorable legislation through the states and Congress.

Of the dozen sessions over two days, only two focus on pure science. The rest have titles such as, "The Stem Cell Agenda for the Second Bush Term" or "Building the Stem Cell Constituency: Effective Advocacy at the Grassroots Level."


Lane said persuading an entrenched opposition is tricky. "If you believe that a human egg is now suddenly a human life, it's very difficult to have a discussion," he said.

"Scientists need to engage the public and explain the potential."

Lane and Paul Mandabach, the lead political consultant on California's successful Proposition 71, in which voters approved $3 billion for stem cell research, said educating opponents is the only way to win.

"As the realities of these cures become clear, the morality arguments will be lessened," Mandabach said.

* __ On the Net:

Genetics Policy Institute:

Texas Medical Center:

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: antibush; being; bioethics; callitwhen; cloning; healthcare; itsallabout; medicine; prolife; science; stemcells; whatdoyou
"""""The choice of Texas for the meeting is symbolic," said Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, the host of the meeting at Baylor Medical Center. "Lost in the focus on the federal legislation are the brutal state-by-state battles being waged for this research."

President Bush's home state is one of several debating limits on stem cell research. As the legislative session ended last month with no action on the issue, Republican Gov. Rick Perry said it was "fine with me" if another state took the lead role in such research.

"This is a war on behalf of science," said Neal Lane, a senior research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, a co-sponsor of the meeting.""""

And then there's my favorite sound bite:

"Dr. Beverly Nuckols, a board member of Texas Alliance for Life, said she plans to listen but remains unconvinced.

"I'm all for stem cell research," she said. "I'm just not going to kill anybody for it."""

1 posted on 06/10/2005 1:33:54 AM PDT by hocndoc
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To: neverdem; MHGinTN; Mr. Silverback; Coleus

15 or 20 minutes of talking, telling her about my grand daughter's umbilical cord transplant, and that I'd have to leave the conference for a while in the middle of the day to give an address on this very subject to the Texas Democrats for Life at their annual conference, and what gets quoted?

This Summit is an example of pure politics, aimed specifically at our President and our tax money, under the guise of science and medicine. The event will be on the campus of Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. DeBakey will open, and Woo Suk Hwang,DVM,Ph.D (the much-publicized cloning of human embryos and harvesting of stem cells has been under the supervision of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, y'all) will receive an award Saturday night.

Beverly Wooley, Rick Hardcastle, and Ron Eisler are supposed to take part in Saturday afternoon's "Panel Discussion: Policy & Advocacy Issues in the 50 States."

2 posted on 06/10/2005 1:45:37 AM PDT by hocndoc (Choice is the # 1 killer in the US)
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To: hocndoc
Lane said persuading an entrenched opposition is tricky. "If you believe that a human egg is now suddenly a human life, it's very difficult to have a discussion," he said.

I would be very interested to hear when Dr. Lane considers something to suddenly become a human life. You gotta draw the line somewhere. It seems to make sense to draw the line at where two things become one very different thing.

Of course, you sometimes get the feeling that these mad scientists feel like they don't have to draw the line anywhere. Embryo, foetus, infant or toddler - if the potential gain is great enough, would not the same line of argument apply to them? If running one brain-damaged toddler through the Cuisinart would yield enough Toddler Juice to cure a hundred cancer patients, you get the feeling that Dr. Lane would be there with his hand on the switch.

"Scientists need to engage the public and explain the potential."

The only way the potential is important is if we adopt a utilitarian argument over the value of human life. The problem with utilitarian arguments is that they don't stop there. At the risk of being accused of the fallacious debating technique of reducto ad naziim, utilitarian arguments about the value of life for the sick, brain damaged, retarded and insane was the first step the NAZIs took down the path to the gas chambers. I fail to see the difference between those arguments and Dr. Lane's notion that stem cells may be human life, but the value of the potential research is so much more.

"As the realities of these cures become clear, the morality arguments will be lessened," Mandabach said.

And there it is, in a nutshell. If the potential is great enough, people will overlook the sacrifice of innocent human life. But, you know, a lot of people would shoot a bank guard for a million dollars, but that doesn't make it right.

3 posted on 06/10/2005 3:18:37 AM PDT by gridlock (ELIMINATE PERVERSE INCENTIVES)
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To: hocndoc

What drives me insane is that the concept that embryonic stems cells are the way to go is being sold when the scientists can't get it to work without cancer of some sort popping up. From everything I've read, adult stem cells and those from peri-natal (umbilical cords and placenta) sources are proving to be far more reliable. Study after study is proving this and most of us would be happy to fund more research along these lines, where no one dies and it seems to be working.

This is just one more media war that's being fought with half the facts. Drives me nuts.

4 posted on 06/10/2005 4:44:40 AM PDT by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: hocndoc

If this is such a wonderful idea, why do the researchers need tax dollars at all? Wouldn't all the venture capitalists be throwing money at them, wanting to get in on the ground floor? This is just another scam for tax dollars, it seems.

5 posted on 06/10/2005 5:00:00 AM PDT by Thorin ("I won't be reconstructed, and I do not give a damn.")
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: FrPR
Who is anyone kidding here. The long term object of stem cells is to grow parts and sell them. Everything else is secondary. If they can use embryos for now, that will work for preliminary stuff.

But the day will come when someone says: "These are NAMELESS, UNIDENTIFIABLE embryos that we have grown" with viable parts which will save lives." It's much quicker and we can grow it to a size comparable to the life it will save.

Jane and John Doe will take on a new meaning.

7 posted on 06/10/2005 6:51:15 AM PDT by Sacajaweau (God Bless Our Troops!!)
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To: hocndoc
When one utters such a dissembled farce such as the following, it is difficult to believe such people aren't planning a campaign of lies and deceit: "If you believe that a human egg [science dictates the use of 'ovum' when referring to human female gametes, to avoid the ambiguity the speaker appears to want to exploit] is now suddenly a human life, it's very difficult to have a discussion," he said. ... Is the speaker trying to insinuate that a zygote is a human egg? Is the speaker merely insulting those who don't agree to the cannibalism the speaker lusts for, so the speaker floats a clearly absurd strawman? Is the speaker purposely being disjunct and obtuse? All of the above, for how else can these people inveigle the American public to endorse cannibalism?
8 posted on 06/10/2005 8:46:34 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: hocndoc

You tell 'em, Bev!

9 posted on 06/10/2005 8:47:29 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: gridlock

Just as the Nation adjusted to the abolition of slavery, medicine and science can and must adjust to understanding of ethical violations. (Of course, it would be better to just "Do no harm" in the first place.)

From 1988 to 1994, the AMA Code of Ethics statements addressed and discouraged the use of anencephalic neonates for organ harvest before actual brain death.

""By 1994, things had changed. In June 1994, “after more than a year of deliberation,” the Council issued a lengthy report, a version of which was subsequently published in JAMA [8]. The extensively researched and documented report grounded its conclusions on 3 facts or assumptions: anencephalic newborns faced certain death, usually within 3 days; they lacked any degree of consciousness; and parents of such newborns often requested that their children's organs be donated. The Council reached the conclusion that, with prior consent of the newborn's parents, it was ethically acceptable to transplant the organs of anencephalic neonates without waiting for them to die naturally."

""Reaction to the report and opinion was immediate, widespread, and highly critical. During the year following the opinion's release, the AMA and CEJA received protests from individual parents and physicians, advocacy groups such as the Anencephaly Research & Help Line, the American Association of Pro-Life Pediatricians, the Christian Medical and Dental Society, and medical specialty societies. And the Council became aware that its new opinion on anencephalic newborns as organ donors was incompatible with the policy of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization established by the US Congress in 1984 to administer the nation's Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. UNOS policy stipulates that organ procurement must occur after declaration of death by medical and legal standards."

""The Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs considered the clear message it had received from members of the profession and the public. Society was not about to tolerate alteration of principles derived from the closely held value it placed on the sanctity of life, no matter how damaged that life might be. If the owner of that life, himself or herself, vehemently refused treatment to sustain it, that was one thing, but others who had never known the will of the person in question should not end its life. In its December 1995 report entitled, “The Use of Anencephalic Neonates as Organ Donors—Reconsidered,” the Council rescinded its 1994 opinion, pointing to concerns about accurate diagnosis of anencephaly and incomplete understanding of the possible level of consciousness in these newborns [10]. The report urged the scientific community to continue to investigate the consciousness of neonates and provide knowledge to guide future policy making on this topic. Promising to continue assessing relevant information, the Council recommended—and the House of Delegates approved—reinstating the 1992 opinion. Nearly a decade later, the 1992 opinion remains in the Code."

""This history of the AMA Code's opinion on anencephalic newborns as organ donors is an “action shot” of the social contract and professional self-regulation.""""

10 posted on 06/10/2005 9:05:25 AM PDT by hocndoc (Choice is the # 1 killer in the US)
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To: MHGinTN; diotima; gridlock; Desdemona; Thorin; FrPR; Sacajaweau

One more story on adult, non-destructive stem cells:

""Stem Cell Clinical Trial Proves to Be Effective

By Park Jung-youn
06-09-2005 22:51

Korean scientists have succeeded in treating cerebral infarction and other blood vessel-related diseases through stem cell therapies.

A clinical trial of 74 patients with severe blood vessel-related illnesses using the stem cell from their own bone marrow showed that 64 benefited from the treatment, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday.

The Neuroscience Genome Research Center, Catholic University of Korea, and Chonbuk University took part in the study on five cerebral infarction patients, 23 Berger's disease patients, and severe blood vessel-disease patients.

The clinical trial showed that the stem cell treatment produced no significant side effects, and patients showed no signs of adverse

It also revealed that after the implantation of the stem cells in
organs, the respective organs' function improved dramatically.

There are close to 350,000 patients with blood vessel-related diseases in Korea, and roughly 5 trillion won is spent every year on treatment.

However, even after costly treatment, blood vessel-related diseases, namely cerebral infarction, leave many with physical trauma, such as paralysis and speech disorders.

``The results of the study are forecast to encourage and speed up stem cell-related clinical trials," the research team said in a statement.

``Because most of the patients were elderly, stem cells from their bone marrow were weak. We need to find ways to use healthier stem cells extracted from younger people," it said. ""

This week's Science Magazine is chock full of another kind of stem cell stories:

Your JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association CiteTrack Alert
has found 4 articles matching your criteria in Science.
Below are results 1 to 4.
Alert Criteria
Anywhere in Article: "stem cells"

CELL BIOLOGY: Human Embryonic Stem Cells May Be Toxicology's New Best Friends
Gunjan Sinha
Science. 2005; 308(5728): p. 1538
Tells how animals will be saved by the use of human embryonic stem cells in toxicology studies.)

BIOMEDICINE: Giving Stem Cells a Chance
Stephen J. Simpson
Science. 2005; 308(5728): p. 1519d

CELL BIOLOGY: Ready or Not? Human ES Cells Head Toward the Clinic
Gretchen Vogel
Science. 2005; 308(5728): p. 1534-1538
(Some scientists believe that hESC are soon to be used in human trials, some don't)

CELL BIOLOGY: Still Waiting Their Turn
Gretchen Vogel
Science. 2005; 308(5728): p. 1536-1537
(Patients who want their hESC's now)

11 posted on 06/10/2005 9:30:19 AM PDT by hocndoc (Choice is the # 1 killer in the US)
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And from the Washington Post this week:

"""Stem Cell Advances May Make Moral Issue Moot

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 6, 2005; Page A07

If only human embryonic stem cells could sprout anew from something other than a human embryo. Researchers could harvest them and perhaps harness their great biomedical potential without destroying what some consider to be a budding human life."

""In recent months, a number of researchers have begun to assemble intriguing evidence that it is possible to generate embryonic stem cells without having to create or destroy new human embryos.

The research is still young and largely unpublished, and in some cases it is limited to animal cells. Scientists doing the work also emphasize their desire to have continued access to human embryos for now. It is largely by analyzing how nature makes stem cells, deep inside days-old embryos, that these researchers are learning how to make the cells themselves.

Yet the gathering consensus among biologists is that embryonic stem cells are made, not born -- and that embryos are not an essential ingredient. That means that today's heated debates over embryo rights could fade in the aftermath of technical advances allowing scientists to convert ordinary cells into embryonic stem cells.""

12 posted on 06/10/2005 9:41:42 AM PDT by hocndoc (Choice is the # 1 killer in the US)
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