While pro-lifers are busy fighting FOCA, we must also be fighting with equal enthusiasm the likely expansion of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research that will take place during the next administration. Not only is the research itself morally and ethically reprehensible, but expanding the amount of money taxpayers are already spending on this unethical research is fiscally irresponsible as well, as Rebecca of Mary Meets Dolly explains:
There are limited tax-payer dollars for medical research, so for the sake of those who at the greatest need, we should spend the money where we will get more bang for our buck. Better treatments, faster. If some scientist wants money for “cutting-edge” research that will not result in “cures” for decades, then let him or her get venture capital. When it comes to the money earned by hardworking Americans, the science better have the promise of treating patients.
Just this week a report by Nature suggests that researchers are still battling some major problems with ESCs. From the Nature.com Niche Stem Cell Blog:
Are ruddy cheeks a sign of health or a symptom of sickness? New work from Mickie Bhatia and colleagues at McMaster University suggests that, when it comes to embryonic stem cells, the very qualities researchers use to pick out a robust cell line may in fact be bestowed by precancerous transformations. “Current measurements are not capable of distinguishing the difference between great stem cells and cancer stem cells in vitro,” says Bhatia.
For years scientists have been trying to work out the problems with ESCs that prevent them from being safe to use in human clinical trials. These are no minor kinks, either. We’re talking about the cells becoming cancerous or forming deadly tumors inside animal test subjects and researchers being unable to control them or even determine before implantation which cells will cause cancer. Given this serious hurdle that scientists see no immediate end in sight to, if ever, and the current economic climate, it would be irresponsible to force taxpayers to spend even more money (yes, the Federal Government already spends over $100 million on human ESCR) on research producing such negative results – especially when more productive and ethical alternatives exist. Private vendors understand this, which is why their investments in ESC research are way down, why can’t our politicians catch on??
Wesley Smith weighs in as well.