Top Pro-Life Bioethicist Receives American Physiological Society Award

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 5
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — A top bioethicist who has been one of the national leaders in arguing against human cloning and embryonic stem cell research has received an award from the American Physiological Society. David Prentice, the senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council, was the recipient.

Prentice is a longtime watchdog on bioethics issues and his status as a leading critic of policies that go too far towards the destruction of human life began during his tenure as a biology professor at Indiana State University.

Prentice received the 2007 Walter C. Randall Award in Biomedical Ethics from the APS and he delivered the award lecture at their annual meeting in Washington, D.C. last week.

The award is given for promoting the honor and integrity of biomedical science through example and mentoring in the classroom and laboratory. It is sponsored by APS and Taylor University, based in Indiana.

"I can think of no more deserving recipient than Dr. Prentice, who is as tireless as he is gracious in pursuing the highest standards of science," FRC president Tony Perkins told about the award.

As a result of his speaking out on such biotechnology topics, Prentice has come under fierce attacks from the industry for exposing flaws, errors and problems — especially with regard to the failure of embryonic stem cell research to cure any human patients.

They focused their attacks on a list he developed showing how nearly 80 diseases and conditions have been treated in humans using adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research advocates directly challenged Prentice’s list and published a letter in Science magazine attacking it.

The letter claims adult stem cells “treatments fully tested in all required phases of clinical trials and approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration are available to treat only nine of the conditions” on his list.

Prentice responded saying that not all of the treatments have received FDA approval and that many of them are done in other countries because they’re not allowed here yet.

He said those who claim to care about patients should promote approval of successful adult stem cell treatments rather than promoting the destruction of human life in embryonic stem cell research that has treated no one.

Previously talking about taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research, Prentice said the tide is shifting.

"People are becoming more aware that there is another way to get to what we’re all after: helping patients, without the ethical concerns and without the bickering," he says.

Prentice has also been an affiliated scholar in clinical bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center.