Senate Democrat Leader Misstates Embryonic Stem Cell Research Promise

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrat Leader Misstates Embryonic Stem Cell Research Promise Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 25, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The top Senate Democrat on Wednesday urged a quick vote on a bill the House approved Tuesday that would use taxpayer funds to pay for unproven embryonic stem cell research. However, scientists are taking him to task for claiming the research will help patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid asked for quick vote on the bill and said President Bush was "wrong politically, morally and scientifically” for opposing the measure.

Reid claimed the bill would help Americans deal with the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease.

However, leading Alzheimer’s researchers say the destructive research is nowhere close to helping patients.

Because Alzheimer’s is not a disease involving one type of cell, one scientist says the use of embryonic stem cells is unlikely to have much effect.

"Alzheimer’s is a more global disease, with an effect on numerous kinds of cells," Steve Stice, a stem cell researcher at the University of Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. "That makes it much more difficult for a cell therapy to be effective."

Other researchers agree that potential cures, if they come about, won’t happen soon.

"I just think everybody feels there are higher priorities for seeking effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and for identifying preventive strategies," Marilyn Albert, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who chairs the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association, says.

Meanwhile, lawmakers say the Senate shouldn’t waste its time voting on the bill, approved in the House 238-194, because Bush will veto it and there aren’t enough votes for it to become law.

"There’s no chance it will become law,” Rep. Dave Weldon, a doctor and Florida Republican told the Associated Press. "I don’t know why the Senate would bother taking it up.”

Related web sites:
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Won’t Help Alzheimer’s Patients Soon –