The June 6 Rocky Mountain News reports advances in stem-cell research and argues against restrictions:
The announcement Tuesday that an Aurora spinal surgeon performed the first disc surgery in the United States using somatic (adult) stem cells to repair the patient’s injured spine is the latest tangible advance in this path-breaking therapy. The company that grew the patient’s stem cells from his own bone marrow, Regenerative Sciences Inc., is based in Westminster.
Another potential breakthrough comes from the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. Last fall, physicians used somatic stem cells to treat recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare but fatal genetic skin and digestive disorder in children.
Remarkably, seven months after surgery, 25-month-old Nate Liao shows signs of normal development — and a brother who also has the disease received similar treatment May 30.
The editorial is critical of Bush’s restrictions of stem-cell research: “The president refuses to update a 2001 executive order limiting federal research on embryonic stem cells to a few dozen existing lines – twice he has vetoed legislation reversing that order.”
For those looking for a bit of good news about the presidential candidates, here it is: “Sen. Barack Obama has said he would reverse the executive order; Sen. John McCain hasn’t publicly gone that far, but he voted for both earlier bills” to overturn Bush’s order.
The simple fact is the U.S. Congress cannot possibly predict which lines of research will prove useful. The federal government ought not be involved in scientific research, but, so long as it is, it should not discriminate based on religious dogmas. Faith that God infuses a fertilized egg with a soul is the only “reason” to restrict stem-cell research. The consequence is that real people risk pain and death that might otherwise be treatable.