Adult Stem Cell Research Successes Featured at Human Cloning Event

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Adult Stem Cell Research Successes Featured at Human Cloning Event

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 26, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Laura Dominguez and Susan Fajt never thought they would walk again after near-fatal automobile accidents that left them paralyzed with severe spinal cord injuries. But, once they received treatments with their own adult stem cells, they were able to walk with the aid of braces.

Their stories were the focus of a press conference this week hosted by pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, on the issue of human cloning and stem cell research.

Brownback has led the charge to pass a ban on all forms of human cloning and he hoped the success stories would help turn the tide of the media and lobbying onslaught for embryonic stem cell research that has increased in intensity in the wake of President Ronald Reagan’s death.

At the Thursday event, Brownback talked about how adult stem cells, taken from numerous ethical sources such as umbilical cord blood, fat cells, and bone marrow, have proven effective while embryonic stem cells have yet to cure or help any patients.

Because of the vast differences in effectiveness, private companies and investors are focusing their money on adult stem cells.

"The vast bulk in the private field is going into adult stem cell research because that’s where the bulk of the results are," Brownback said.

Focus on the Family Senior Policy Analyst for Bioethics Carrie Gordon Earll said Laura and Susan’s stories are proof that adult stem cells are more effective.

"Embryonic stem-cell research has not treated one patient," Earll said. "The only thing it has offered is mice with tumors and a lot of public relations noise.

"Non-embryonic stem-cell research, on the other hand, literally helps the lame to walk and the blind to see — without destroying one human life in the process," Earll explained.

Dominguez was a quadriplegic at the age of 16 after the accident, but treatment using her olfactory sinus stem cells helped her walk with braces. Fajt benefited from an experimental new adult stem cell treatment.

Adult stem-cell transplants have also successfully helped to restore sight to patients with chemical or heat eye burns, including victims of Iraqi mustard gas attacks, according to Earll.

Meanwhile, a bill designed to overturn President Bush’s limitations on taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research has been introduced in the House of Representatives. A similar bill is expected in the Senate.

However, it won’t get an up or down vote in the House, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert says.

Though pressure against the bill from Speaker Hastert helps the cause, pro-life organizations aren’t taking any chance. They want grassroots pro-life advocates to hit the phone hard in opposition to the bill.

"It is important for pro-life citizens to tell their federal representatives that they support President Bush’s policy against funding research that requires the killing of human embryos," Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life, told