by Steven Ertelt
May 22, 2006
Topeka, KS (LifeNews.com) — In the final version of the state budget lawmakers approved, Kansas will spend $150,000 to fund a research project at Kansas University on adult stem cell research using umbilical cord blood. They weren’t able to get a ban on human cloning but hope the adult stem cell studies will lessen the desire to support embryonic stem cell research.
Rep. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a pro-life Republican legislator, inserted the adult stem cell research funding in the bill. She said the funds are a good alternative to embryonic stem cells, which require the destruction of human life to obtain and have not seen the same success as adult cells.
“Some of the leading-edge research is coming from stem cells extracted from umbilical cords,” she told the Lawrence newspaper.
She hopes embryonic stem cell research will "fade away" because of the controversy surrounding it and the fact that it hasn’t yet been successful in animals — yet alone humans.
Kathy Mitchell, the KU assistant professor who will get the funds for her lab, told the Lawrence Journal World newspaper that she favors both kinds of stem cell research and is happy to get the funds.
“I believe that all types of stem cell research should be done because there is much to be learned,” she said.
Her lab is studying the basic characteristics of cells from umbilical cord blood and how they compare with other adult stem cells.
She told the newspaper the umbilical cord cells are useful because the are better accepted by a patient’s immune system than embryonic ones and are much less likely to cause tumors or other problems when injected.
Pilcher-Cook says the money is well spent.
“I wish it could’ve been a lot more” in funding, she told the LJW. “Each of us have some diseases in our family that are very painful. This would give people the ability to put their money toward research where there is new progress every day."