Stem Cell Conference Focuses On Education
The International Society for Stem Cell Research wants people to realize they are not dismembering babies.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay calls it the “dismemberment of living distinct human beings”. The ISSCR disagrees with Mr. DeLay’s assessment.
The organization, at its recently completed third annual meeting in San Francisco, announced a modest investment of $50,000 in educational programs. They hope to have it distributed to schools and hospitals. “We’ve ramped up our educational program over the past year and designated part of our budget toward it,” Leonard Zon, president of the ISSCR, said.
The ISSCR has found audiences in Asia and Europe more tolerant of embryonic stem cell research, the kind that Mr. DeLay criticized in his comments to the House. Though the House did pass HR 810, which amends the Public Service Health Act to allow for funding of the controversial research.
While the measure did pass the House, President Bush has already threatened to veto it and any other measure that would fund embryonic stem cell research with taxpayer dollars. The President’s stance is in line with such concerns as the Family Council and the National Right to Life Organization.
The topic has become as polarizing as any other in US politics. And a lack of education may be part of the reason why that has happened. The ISSCR feels that if people better understood the topics and the potential for research, there would be less resistance on the issues.
The Hoboken Reporter, based in New Jersey where state money can be used for embryonic stem cell research, reported on a woman who faced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Jamie Needel, a Hoboken teacher, was diagnosed with the disease in 2003. In her case, transplants of her own stem cells allowed for more aggressive chemotherapy treatments.
Today, her cancer is in remission. And has been for over a year. Ms. Needel now helps advocate adult and embryonic stem cell research issues to state lawmakers.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.