by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 4, 2005
Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — The governor of Washington state is joining the race to fund embryonic stem cell research — even though such research has had no impact in fighting disease.
Gov. Christine Gregoire has proposed a billion-dollar Life Sciences Discovery Fund for biomedical research, claiming that Washington state can become a world leader in the field.
Gregoire is trying to sell the proposal by claiming that it could generate thousands of jobs.
She’s proposing using $350 million in bonus money that Washington is getting from a legal settlement with the tobacco industry. She would then use matching grants to boost the fund to a billion dollars.
Critics say the money is intended to fund health care, not unproven research.
The Washington governor has gone so far as to say that the plan is the centerpiece of her economic development program.
"The idea behind the Discovery Fund is to leave a real legacy by leveraging the bonus money from the tobacco settlement to transform the future of health care in the state of Washington and literally around the world," she said.
But before the plan can be put into action, Gregoire needs the backing of the state legislature. She also wants the legislature to rework an ethics law that sometimes makes it hard to make commercial use of publicly funded research findings.
"We’ll be able to build our legacy of having world-class public and private research institutions by providing the glue that will more seamlessly transform our scientific breakthroughs into commercial products," she said.
However, embryonic stem cell research has not resulted in any medical breakthroughs so far. In fact, the initial trials have proven disastrous. A number of bioethicists also object to such research on ethical grounds because it involves the destruction of living human embryos.
In contrast, adult stem cell research, which does not involve the taking of human life, has resulted in numerous successful therapeutic treatments.
For example, in one case, two American women have testified before Congress after receiving adult stem cell treatment in Portugal. While American doctors told them they would never get out of their wheelchairs, after adult stem cell treatment, “they can both stand and walk with the assistance of braces,” said Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America.
And, as Bradley Mattes of Life Issues Institute has written, "To date, current research on embryonic stem cells has resulted in no promising results. Ironically, a leading pro-ESCR advocate is the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, but ESCR research has failed in fighting this disease."
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