Judge’s Decision On ESC Overturned

On August 23, 2010, a judge ruled based on the Dickey-Wicker Amendment of 1996 which prohibits funding for research that destroys human embryos! Liberals in support of this research were reeling and took up arms, as well as publications like Nature whose editors wrote…

“Congress is unlikely to have a huge appetite for a bruising, highly polarizing debate in the weeks immediately preceding November’s midterm elections.  Yet time is of the essence, and a great deal is at stake.  The House may revert to Republican control in November, in which case action to affirm the funding would be highly unlikely….

Congress should take up the issue speedily when it reconvenes mid-month.  And if ever there was a time for scientists to let members of Congress and the public know what they think, it is now.”

This political statement from a science magazine goes to show, its not about the research but about the money because the science breakthrough of the year in 2009 continues to have momentum which is ethically-untainted adult stem cell research. Furthermore, embryonic stem cell (ESC) researchers are free to seek private or corporate funding which lacks interest. One of the reason why it lacks interest is because adult stem cells are progressing well for treatments such as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) might be able to treat immune diseases says Medical Xpress while the other not so much but contains a lot of hype and promises for possible future treatments.

“Many countries have tried to research embryonic stem. Embryonic stem cells bring with them transplant rejection issues…”

Last Friday, the high court overturned the decision“The ruling was hailed by both the White House and the National Institutes of Health, which allocated about $40 million to human embryonic stem cell research in 2010 and has set aside $125 million this year — a tiny fraction of its $31 billion budget.”

This is a classic case of taxation without representation, if there was evidence of ESCs being so promising for health, private investors would flood research labs with big bucks to make profits.  The only way the ESC-greedy research community can proceed is by taking money from taxpayers, many of whom are appalled by killing embryos!

4 thoughts on “Judge’s Decision On ESC Overturned

  1. Let’s face it. The court battle here concerns interpretation of a poorly written law. This latest decision does not settle the case; it concerns a preliminary injunction, which could be reversed at a full trial. So forget the legal histrionics.

    In fact, the judge in the appeals case actually took the common-sense view of looking at the balance of equities: who would be harmed, and to what extent, if the law were interpreted one one as opposed to another?[1]

    Michael’s view is that advances in adult stem-cell research obviate any need for research with embryonic cells.

    This is false.

    If adult cells have all the advantages over embryonic cells, and if embryonic cells were no longer needed, why are all the researchers in both embryonic and adult fields so vocal in preserving rights for embryonic research? That would be like General Motors arguing against a law on cruelty to horses. Why would they care?

    The truth is that the ban on research using embryonic cells also shuts down 80% of the research on adult stem cells! The University of Minnesota has four adult-cell efforts. All of them had to terminate when the ban was imposed.

    Adult stem cells are not here yet, despite the glowing press reports. Practical, widespread applications are years away. And they are not significantly ahead of applications using embryonic cells, as much as everyone would desire this to be true.

    Michael also believes that private capital would rush into embryonic research if federal funding were withdrawn.[2] Apparently he is as ignorant in economics as in science. Capital is concerned about risk. Why are oil prices so high? Did the world’s wells suddenly go dry? No. The Mideast turmoil creates enough risk that businesses pull back from the investments needed to support further production.[3] Stem-cell research is not far enough along that private capital wants to risk gambling on it—they live from one quarter to the next. Only a government can look ahead far enough to overcome the inevitable failures and uncertainties.

    Michael thinks governments can’t do anything well. Yet, if it were not for government projects, we would have no computers, no internet, no GPS. Looking backward, what if the government had not built highways, or provided railroad rights-of-way? The United States would still be a nation of isolated hamlets on subsistence farming. So Mitchael’s theory that industry will finance embryonic stem-cell research ranks right along with Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake.”


    There are valid opposing points of view on embryonic stem-cell research. But Michael is too ignorant in both science and economics to argue his view. So he resorts to wishful thinking. But, as my sainted mother used to say, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”[4]. .


    [1] The law prohibited Federal funding for “the destruction of embryos.:” The two interpretations are:
    . . . > The law covers only research which itself destroys embryos;.
    . . . > The law covers all research employing embryonic cells, regardless of how or where they were obtained.

    [2] Although it remains a mystery why the destruction of embryos by private industry is less offensive than their destruction by government institutions.

    [3] Ironically, this is what evolution would do if it had any foresight: It would be guided by future goals, not just reproducing in the present generation.

    [4] We have lost almost all the epigrams that once dotted our mental pastures that involve horses. Old people are no longer “long in the tooth.” No one tells a beneficiary not to “look a gift horse in the mouth.” No one offers “a leg up” to someone in need of help. Rebellious youth no longer “kick over the traces,” or “take the bit in their teeth.” Ah well. Even nostalgia ain’t what it used to be. (Wait: we still use the word “headstrong” to describe a stubborn person. Aha! A living relic of the horse-drawn era.)

  2. Soc Puppette reminds me that Michael probably is ignorant that “headstrong” refers to a horse that resists following directions–its head pulls against the reins. Or that giving someone his head originally referred to allowing a horse to go wherever it pleased.

  3. Michael wishfully believes that private businesses will follow any opportunity, regardless of risk—such as embryonic stem-cell research.

    The current issue of Science contains an example that this is not so in the pharmaceuticals industry. “Shortages of Cancer Drugs Put patients, Trials at Risk” (Science 332:523, 29 Apr. 2011) notes that a major reason for the continuing shortage of many cancer chemotherapy drugs is that “nearly all the scarce drugs are generics, which aren’t very profitable, so companies have little incentive to add backup capacity.”

    A similar situation exists for “orphan drugs” — treatments for diseases affecting less than 200,000 people in the US. The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 gives tax credits, market exclusivity, and government grants to companies to develop treatments for these diseases.

    Prior to 1983, few victims of cystic fibrosis lived past 12 years of age. Pulmozme and Tobramycin, developed at government expense, now improve their quality of life and greatly expand their lifespan.

    A Nobel prize was awarded for the discovery of statins, now universally employed to lower cholesterol. Yet statins were discovered by scientists supported by the government under the Orphan Drug Act to find a cure for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a very rare disease.

    Penicillamine was developed under the Act to cure a rare hereditary disease. That drug later became a major treatment for arthritis.


    So much for the foresight and willingness of private industry to undertake risky or unprofitable ventures such as stem-cell research.

  4. Unfortunately, another adult stem cell effort has failed. Nature reported last week that a trial of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) has revealed an autoimmunity response—even when implanted back into the same patient from whom they were taken.

    Previous results ghad also shown that the adult cells suffered from genetic anomalies that embryonic cells do not.

    As much as we all might wish for it, adult stem cell treatments are not just around the corner.

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