Pro-Life News: Singapore Stem Cells, South Dakota Abortion, Save Teeth

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life News: Singapore Stem Cells, South Dakota Abortion, Save Teeth Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28, 2006

Singapore Biotech Firm Says It’s Made New Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
Singapore ( —
A Singapore-based biotech firm says it has made four new human embryonic stem cell lines, obtained only by destroys days-old unborn children. It also says it expects to have another four lines in the next few weeks. ES Cell International claims to be the first to make embryonic stem cells designed for clinical use by not using mouse feeder cells to grow the embryonic stem cells. The company also said the lines would be available for researchers to use by the end of the year. "We are very excited about this development, which has tremendous implications for the research with hESCs as a source of new cell therapies in the future," ESI CEO Alan Colman said. The embryonic stem cells came from the destruction of human embryos from a fertility clinic in Sydney, Australia. Scientists wanting the embryonic cells for research will pay nonprofit rates while those wanting them for clinical purposes will pay higher fees. Pro-life groups favor adult stem cell research because it doesn’t involve the destruction of human life and has already produced dozens of treatments helping patients. Embryonic stem cells have yet to help a single patient.

Political Group Files IRS Complaint Against South Dakota Pro-Lifers
Pierre, SD ( —
A political group has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service about two pro-life organizations and claims that their director failed to properly report lobbying she did in support of the state’s abortion ban. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a liberal advocacy group, claims Leslee Unruh, who’s with the Alpha Center and the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, failed to report her lobbying activities. The group says Unruh failed to disclose lobbying for 2003-2006, but the two groups say she has done nothing wrong and only lobbied during 2006. In fact on the Secretary of State web site, Unruh is listed as a lobbyist for 2006 but not for any other years. They also say her 2006 lobbying hasn’t been reported to the IRS because the forms aren’t due until the end of the year. KELO-TV says the IRS wouldn’t comment.

Company Opens First Stem Cell Bank for Adult Stem Cells From Baby Teeth
Austin, TX ( —
Children who lose their teeth could gain more than just a dollar if they give them to Austin, Texas-based startup company BioEDEN Inc. The company has opened up the first stem cell bank dedicated to stem cells harvested from baby teeth. The cells form a child’s tooth could one day be used to treat the child herself to help with a debilitating disease or condition. Right now, scientists have only been able to use the teeth stem cells to create new teeth for others broken by accidents, but they may have other potential uses as scientists examine them over the coming years. "I think these cells have more therapeutic potential than we realize," BioEDEN spokeswoman Robin Remaley said. "We can’t prove it, but we believe it." BioEDEN touts its work as an ethical alternative to embryonic stem cell research. The month-old company’s business model is based on a 2003 study by scientists from the National Institutes of Health, who found baby teeth contained stem cells that appeared capable of becoming a variety of cell types. BioEDEN founder Jeff Johnson, an Oklahoma entrepreneur, hopes dentists will refer patients to the service, which is available to anyone in the United States.

Parkinson’s Patient: Bush Veto of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Right
Dayton, OH ( —
Linda Burton, 69, of Brookville, Ohio, says that President Bush’s veto of a bill spending taxpayer money on embryonic stem cell research was the right thing to do. Burton, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s eight years ago, said "If I was told by a doctor that stem-cell research could make me normal again at the cost of a baby, I wouldn’t do it." There’s really no reason to take the life of an unborn child when you can use the cells of an adult so easily," Burton said. Though her Parkinson’s has limited her abilities in recent years, she still opposes the research. But even if embryonic stem cells pave the way for Parkinson’s treatment, Burton said she hopes she wouldn’t give in. "At this point, that’s something I wouldn’t consider," she said.

Maryland Stem Cell Research Funding Committee Picks Chairman
Annapolis, MD ( —
The Maryland Stem Cell Commission, which is charged with spending the $15 million Maryland has set aside for stem cell research, has selected venture capitalist Linda Powers as its chairman. Powers is managing director of Toucan Capital and an appointee of the Senate President and House Speaker. Members of the committee unanimously selected her in its first meeting on Thursday. The 15 member panel will eventually dole out the grants and pro-life advocates are worried some of the money will be directed to embryonic stem cell research, which involves the killing of days-old unborn children. Scientists who work with both embryonic and adult stem cells have been waiting for the funding. Dr. Curt Civin, a Johns Hopkins cancer and stem cell researcher, said he hopes the panel will give out 15 to 20 grants of $200,000 annually for three to four years. He says that’s the best way to shell out the money.

Abortion Business, Pregnancy Center Both Vandalized in Fredericton, Canada
Fredericton, Canada ( —
An abortion business and a crisis pregnancy center in Fredericton, Nova Scotia have both been vandalized in the last 10 days. Last week, vandals broke windows at Mother and Child House, a pregnancy center that is next door to the Morgentaler abortion facility. Last night, vandals spray-painted pro-life slogans on the walls of the abortion business. Fredericton city police are investigating both instances of vandalism, and increasing patrols in the area. "We’ll have the officers take some extra time to look over the location to make sure everything’s OK," Staff Sgt. Gary Forward told the CBC.