Pro-Life Senator: FDA Shouldn’t Allow Human Embryonic Stem Cell Trials

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Senator: FDA Shouldn’t Allow Human Embryonic Stem Cell Trials Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 11
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Sen. Sam Brownback, a leading pro-life advocate, is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to reject bids from two human cloning companies to start trials on humans with embryonic stem cells. Brownback says there are moral issues involved and medical risks for patients.

FDA officials are meeting with representatives of Geron Corp. and Advanced Cell Technology Inc. today to discuss the possibilities.

“I am deeply concerned that the Food and Drug Administration is discussing procedures for conducting experiments on humans with embryonic stem cells,” Brownback told

Brownback said the embryonic stem cell trials could easily put patients at risk and pointed to "devastating patient results" with trials several years ago involving fetal tissue from babies victimized by abortion.

"The problem was the cells were too immature and tended to form tumors or grow in uncontrolled ways that could not be reversed in the humans who underwent experimentation," the senator explained.

Embryonic stem cell research has not yet been successful in animals because of two significant reasons.

Unlike adult stem cells, when embryonic stem cells are injected as a treatment they form tumors and the immune system rejects the foreign cells. Brownback pointed to those concerns in his remarks to

"I am astonished that the FDA is proceeding with human experimentation again, with even younger human cells that have shown an even greater propensity to form tumors," he said.

"Human beings are not guinea pigs," he adding, calling any decision to allow the companies to proceed "irresponsible."

Brownback said human trials involving embryonic stem cell research are unnecessary given the enormous success scientists have had with adult stem cells.

“What makes this even more troubling is that there is a viable ethical alternative with adult stem cells," he said.

"They are currently being used in the treatment of well over 70 different diseases and conditions, including spinal cord injury, type-I diabetes, heart failure, and Parkinson’s disease as validated by peer-reviewed, published results."