What to do about this controversy?
What if you could create embryonic stem cells without using embryos? Well, researchers can. Since November 2007, Japanese and U.S. scientists have used reprogramming to turn normal cells into embryonic-like stem cells that are identical to embryonic stem cells, without using human embryos, eggs, or cloning. Researchers call these cells induced pluripotent stem cells. They function like the human embryonic variety, can be created for disease-specific lines, and would genetically match the patients. How significant is this alternative? When the creator of Dolly the cloned sheep, Ian Wilmut, turns away from human cloning to pursue this kind of research, you know you're on to something big.
Federal resources are vast, but they are limited. Federal funding should prioritize stem cell research on what is benefiting patients now. One piece of legislation everyone can agree to is that sponsored by Reps. J. Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican, and Daniel Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat. It would direct funding to build on the successes over the past years to the benefit of patients.
Putting patients first is a strategy we can all embrace.
- Tell us what you think: Should Stem Cell Research Be Permitted?
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, promoting "the sanctity of human life in national policy."