News Release: Michigan Catholic Conference Urges Public Support for Adult Stem Cell Research

65 Different Diseases Currently Being Treated by Ethically Sound Research

March 21, 2006

(LANSING)—Research using adult stem cells is currently producing treatments for some 65 different medical conditions and deserves the recognition and support of the public to further assist those who are suffering, the Michigan Catholic Conference told the House Health Policy Committee today in Lansing. The Conference offered its support of adult stem cell research while testifying against legislation that seeks to amend the state’s human cloning ban in order to clone then kill living human embryos for their stem cell lines.

“Public support for adult stem cell research is necessary to augment the increasing number of treatments that are today helping thousands of our friends and relatives who suffer from conditions such as muscular sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and brain cancer,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long. “Without the dedicated support of the public, including elected officials and the media, the ongoing successes of adult stem cell research will continue to be overshadowed by those who have failed to distinguish politics from science regarding stem cell research.”

Adult stem cells are retrieved from such locations in the human body as umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, blood, muscle, fat, nerves and even dental pulp, and pose no ethical problems related to retrieval. The gains made by adult stem cell research are helping to treat some 65 different diseases and are even eliminating certain blood diseases, such as severe combined immunodeficiency. Last year Congress set aside some $79 million to create a national data bank of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, which is a treasure-trove of stem cells.

Addressed at today’s House Health Policy Committee hearing was the Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer process, a euphemism for human cloning, which clones a living human embryo then kills that embryo by extracting the stem cell lines. To date, such “clone and kill” public policy has failed to discover one single treatment or cure at the expense of live embryos. Once understood solely within the scientific community, the public is increasingly being made aware that research using embryonic stem cells is tumorigenic, consistently forming tumors in laboratory animals.

“The benefits of adult stem cell research are making headlines across the globe as thousands of people are walking, seeing and moving again after undergoing adult stem cell therapy,” said Long. “The facts are that nearly 30 years of public and private financing for embryonic stem cell research have failed to produce any positive gains, while advancements with adult stem cells are occurring on a daily basis.”

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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