Majority of Doctors Say Focus on Adult Stem Cells, Embryonic Concerns Valid

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Majority of Doctors Say Focus on Adult Stem Cells, Embryonic Concerns Valid

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 15
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A new poll of physicians finds a majority say they favor the use of adult stem cell research only or believe it could be a way to avoid the ethical debate surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells. Another majority say they have concerns about the moral status of embryonic research or that concerns are valid.

The Jackson & Coker Industry Report conducted the survey of 550 doctors and medical professionals during September.

Of the respondents, 68 percent were medical doctors, 10 percent advanced practitioners, 3 percent hospital administrators and two percent were medical scientists. The rest were unidentified health care providers.

The poll found 66 percent indicated stem cell research should include embryonic stem cells while 24% were strongly opposed to this line of research. But, that wasn’t the end of the debate.

Some 55 percent of those polled believe that there are valid concerns about embryonic stem cell research on the premise that "it’s creating life to destroy life" (20 percent) or that both sides of the ethical debate deserve to be addressed (35 percent). Just 44 percent indicated there is no valid concern.

Meanwhile, 35 percent of those polled worried embryonic stem cell research has the possibility of being a "slippery slope" that can possibly lead to human cloning or some other form of extraordinary genetic manipulation.

The survey also found 26% believed relying solely on adult stem cells would be appropriate and another 26% favored sole reliance on adult stem cells as a possible way of sidestepping the heated ethical debate. That’s 52 percent total who say adult stem cells should be used solely or as a method of diffusing the debate.

Jackson & Coker highlighted that majority with some of the comments from the medical professionals involved in the survey.

"Stay away from the embryonic stem cells. This eliminates the ethical debate," one person said.

Another added: "Avoid the inevitable controversy of embryonic stem cell research by focusing all funds and research on adult stem cells."

"Clarify the advantages to adult stem cell research. Also expose the financial gains that are the real issue behind the embryonic stem cell research," a third said.

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