National Review Online Michael Fumento July 18, 2006
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) receive tremendous media attention, with oft-repeated claims that they have the potential to cure virtually every disease known. Yet there are spoilsports, self included, who point out that they have yet to even make it into a human clinical trial. This is even as alternatives — adult stem cells (ASCs) from numerous places in the body as well as umbilical cord blood and placenta — are curing diseases here and now and have been doing so for decades. And that makes ESC advocates very, very angry.
How many diseases ASCs can treat or cure is debatable, with one website claiming almost 80 for umbilical-cord blood alone. Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council, using stricter standards of evidence, has constituted a list of 72 for all types of ASCs. But now three ESC advocates have directly challenged Prentice’s list. They’ve published a letter in Science magazine, released ahead of publication obviously to influence President Bush’s promise to veto legislation that would open wide the federal funding spigot for ESC research. The letter claims ASC “treatments fully tested in all required phases of clinical trials and approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration are available to treat only nine of the conditions” on his list.
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