UK research centre’s ‘IVF-for-eggs’ plan opens up debate on stem cell research

Published: August 3, 2006  |  Source: inspiremagazine.org.uk
215

Leading UK-based Christian charity CARE has expressed concern at the recent Council of Europe decision to continue allowing EU taxpayers’ cash to fund embryonic stem cell research, where embryos already exist (often from IVF processes) for the next six years.

Calling for more funding to become available to expand research into adult stem cells, CARE reveals that there are more scientific results from adult stem cell research than research into embryonic stem cells.

This week the Council of Europe decided, that although no EU cash should be spent on projects where human embryos are created solely to be destroyed for research purposes, money from its £37 million science budget could be spent on embryonic stem cell research where these cells have been already extracted.

The week before saw Mr Bush use his presidential veto for the first time to defeat a bill in the US Senate that would have expanded federal funding of research using stem cells from human embryos created for this purpose.

Quadriplegic, author and speaker Joni Eareckson-Tada – who last year launched CARE’s ‘Life Valued’ initiative against euthanasia – was among the high-profile campaigners who gathered at the White House in support of Mr Bush’s veto.

In an official statement, she shared some stories of how adult stem cells (that are extracted ethically from a patient’s own tissue) are already being used to treat some serious conditions such as spinal cord damage, a punctured heart and cancer – with impressive results.

A wheelchair-bound teenager was able to move her foot and regained a significant amount of feeling in her back and legs, after receiving treatment from Portugese specialist Dr Carlos Lima. He used stem cells extracted from the patient’s nose.

Other success stories include – a teenager with a punctured heart that was healed through a stem cell transplant from his blood, and a young boy who allegedly no longer has cancer since receiving stem cells from his brother’s umbilical cord.

Dr Lima published his research in the Journal Of Spinal Cord Medicine. His work was also featured in a programme called Innovation: Miracle Cell on America’s PBS television channel.

“Something is changing to give not just hope,” the specialist told his TV audience, “but to give function to patients with spinal cord injury. All of our patients have some kind of recovery.”

CARE’s General Director Nola Leach said: “CARE is greatly encouraged by these results and hopes that many more people will benefit from adult stem cell research development.

“The therapeutic use of adult stem cells in treating some of the most difficult and serious conditions, is no longer just the subject of numerous successful scientific studies – but is now providing real solutions for patients. This is in contrast to the research studies using embryonic stem cells that are consistently failing to provide therapeutic solutions, even on paper.

“We need to get the truth out. Adult stem cells – which are the body’s very own ‘repair cells’ – have already proved their effectiveness.”