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Corzine right on stem-cell pursuit

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If the negative vote on stem-cell research was because of a reluctance to spend more taxpayer dollars, it was most unfortunate. I commend Gov. Corzine for promoting this research despite the vote, because doing so will result in better health care for all of us.

Readers who watched the PBS program “Innovation,” which documented advances in health care already taking place using stem cells, learned spinal cord injuries are being treated in Lisbon, Portugal, using stem cells isolated from the person’s nasal septum. Several patients have improved feeling and mobility.

In Germany, a person who had suffered a heart attack was healed using stem cells isolated from his bone marrow. In a third case, a 2-year-old boy in the U.S. whose immune system was destroyed by cancer chemotherapy was successfully treated with stem cells isolated from his newborn brother’s umbilical cord blood. He was lucky his mother was ready to deliver and the birth beat the one-in-four chance the brothers were a genetic match.

That little boy would have died because there was no other source of stem cells. Why not?

Either through ignorance or stupidity, a minority of people has thwarted a field of scientific endeavor that shows unbelievable promise in combating some horrendous diseases. Stem cells from an adult may not work. Other sources of stem cells are needed. Because stem cells are not yet available, we have become a second- or third-rate health care entity. Someone with a spinal cord injury or a debilitating heart attack must go overseas for such treatment.

I resent that ignorance and stupidity are controlling the ability of many people to obtain effective treatment for diseases.

There is a cure for ignorance. It is called education. Unfortunately, not even stem cells can cure stupidity.

James G. Vincent Jr.

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