Pediatricians Group Wants Funding Directed to Adult Stem Cell Research

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 14, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pediatricians Group Wants Funding Directed to Adult Stem Cell Research Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 14
, 2007

Washington, DC ( — A national doctors group for pediatricians says it wants state and federal governments to look to adult stem cell research as the vehicle for public funding rather than throwing money at studies using embryonic stem cells. The group says adult stem cell research has been significantly more successful.

The American College of Pediatricians recommends that public officials consider supporting adult stem cells exclusively.

Michelle Cretella, MD, a fellow of the American College of Pediatricians, told that "Not only does embryonic research require taking the life of human embryos, it also prolongs needless suffering by delaying the development of more promising adult stem cell treatments and cures."

Dr. Cretella said that using non-embryo sources of stem cells, including amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, placenta and adult blood, fat and various organs, has yielded impressive results.

Adult stem cells are now routinely used in certain forms of cancer therapy, Cretella explained.

Over the last decade, these cells have been used to successfully treat spinal cord injuries, heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and dozens of other conditions in human trials.

"This has not been the case with any embryonic stem cell trial," the pediatricians’ group’s spokeswoman said. "Instead, there have been catastrophic results with these cells producing the wrong tissue, forming tumors and triggering immune rejection."

"Every dollar spent on the failed and unnecessary process of embryonic stem cell research steals resources away from the established utility and potential of adult stem cell research," Cretella concluded. "This is fiscally irresponsible and medically unconscionable."

The spending priority on embryonic stem cell research isn’t limited to government entities.

In April, scientists in Brazil showed that adult stem cell treatments can help patients with diabetes to be insulin free.

However, leading diabetes groups in the U.S., which heavily funded lobbying efforts to get the Congress to approve a bill to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, wouldn’t put money behind the study.

Publishing their findings in the most recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the scientists found that adult stem cell treatments helped 14 of 15 patients became insulin free.

Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, worked with the scientists.

"It’s the first time in the history of Type 1 diabetes where people have gone with no treatment whatsoever … no medications at all, with normal blood sugars," he says of the groundbreaking study.

That would seem like a real miracle for the millions of Americans who suffer from diabetes.

However, the JAMA article lists the sources of funding for the study and the researchers involved had to get funds from a private corporation and the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

That’s because the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation did not put amy money behind it and, instead, have spent countless funds lobbying Congress to fund embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to help any patients.

Emails to both organizations from asking why they did not get involved with the Brazil diabetes study went unanswered.

Burt confirmed their non-participation, telling AP that they "were not interested in the approach."

Related web sites:
American College of Pediatricians –