Barack Obama Stem Cell Research Ad Ignores Best Diabetes Hope: Adult Cells

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama Stem Cell Research Ad Ignores Best Diabetes Hope: Adult Cells

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Barack Obama is running a misleading radio ad on the issue of stem cell research — falsely accusing presidential candidate John McCain of voting against it. The ad, which features a mother of a child with juvenile diabetes, also ignores how adult stem cell research provides the most hope for patients.

The Obama ad features a woman named Jody Montgomery. In the commercial, she says "my daughter Maddy was diagnosed with Type I Juvenile Diabetes at age 3."

"Six times a day, I take her blood. Six times a day, I pray for a cure. Researchers are working hard to do just that. Our best hope is stem cell research, and that’s why we support Barack Obama," she continues.

Actually, the best hope for children who have Type I Juvenile Diabetes is adult stem cell research — which John McCain strongly supports and has repeatedly voted for as a member of the Senate.

Last year, Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Obama’s hometown, worked with scientists from Brazil. Their research showed adult stem cell treatments can help patients with diabetes to be insulin free.

The scientists published their findings in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and found that 14 of 15 patients became insulin free after the adult stem cell treatments.

"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," Dr. Burt said in the groundbreaking study.

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

Ironically, while the adult stem cells were successful and embryonic stem cells have never been used on human patients because of several major problems in animal studies, the Obama ad criticizes McCain.

"John McCain has stood in the way … he’s opposed stem cell research. Picked a running mate who’s against it," the Obama ad falsely claims.

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

The JAMA article featuring Burt’s research 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 any 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.

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