Thank you, thank you, Mr. PresidentAs I read the year end article on science breakthroughs in the paper yesterday I could only whisper a Thank You to George W. Bush for holding the line on embryonic stem cell research. Perhaps you've forgotten, but that issue became a subplot in the 2004 election. Like the Iraq War, stem cell research was off the political agenda in 2008. GWB held out.
- "In an effort to cause the country to abandon this conviction [ethical principles], some advocates of the research, including nearly every prominent Democrat in Congress, have made reckless and irresponsible promises, offered false hope to the suffering, depicted their opponents as heartless enemies of science, and exploited sick people for crass political gain." Link.
- "A crescendo of discoveries pushed stem cells from the lab dish to news headlines this year. Only two years ago, a Japanese research team led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University announced a method for turning mouse skin cells into unspecialized ones that resembled embryonic stem cells, prized by biomedical researchers for the potential to turn into any kind of tissue. This year, teams made use of the discovery in human cells to earn "Breakthrough of the Year" status from Science magazine.
For the first time, two teams created families of induced pluripotent cells — unspecialized cells derived from specialized cells — from patients suffering 11 different diseases, including Parkinson's disease and juvenile diabetes. And a team led by Harvard's Doug Melton demonstrated "lineage switching" in a Nature journal study, switching ordinary kidney cells into specialized tissues that produce insulin in mice. The end goal of cell reprogrammers is to create immune-system-friendly transplant tissues for patients." USAToday
- "In one fell swoop the politics of the issue shifted, says Ramesh Ponnuru, a harsh critique of the Democrats' stem cell policy and author of "The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life."
"I am not surprised to see that politicians running for office on the Democratic side are talking about this issue less because there is not as much profit to it anymore," Ponnuru said.
Democrats had downplayed the possibility that adult stem cells could be used as an alternative. They argued instead that embryonic cells represented the cutting edge of science.
"Now that same argument can be turned against them," Ponnuru said. "If they want to go based on clinical results, adult stem cells are better. If they want to go based on which has more promise, these (new) alternatives are better." Link