Embryonic Stem Cell Research Not Best Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 11, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Not Best Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 11, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — While the media focuses on Nancy Reagan and embryonic stem cell research in light of President Ronald Reagan’s death from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, leading scientists say other approaches will be more likely to benefit the disease.

"I just think everybody feels there are higher priorities for seeking effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and for identifying preventive strategies," Marilyn Albert told the Associated Press.

Albert, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who chairs the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association, says there are more promising efforts to treat the disease than waiting on the decades it could take to see results from embryonic stem cells.

Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad, associate director of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience and neuropsychology of aging program, agreed.

"There’s an awful lot going on right now that perhaps holds a little bit more immediate promise for trying to slow the disease, or even cut off its development," Morrison-Bogorad added.

Both scientists pointed to efforts to block amyloid from building up in the brain, which causes the disease. Such research could yield results in 5 to 10 years, much sooner than dividends from embryonic stem cell research.

While some are using Reagan’s death to lobby President Bush to reverse his position against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a White House spokesman says the president isn’t budging.

"There’s a perception that if we go forward there would be a cure tomorrow,” Bush spokesman Trent Duffy said. "That’s not the case.”

"The president remains committed to exploring the policy of stem-cell research, but continues to believe strongly that we should not cross that fundamental moral line of destruction of human embryos," White House spokesman Ken Lisaius added.