Obama Pushes Embryonic Stem Cell Research at Notre Dame, Ignores Adult Cells

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 17, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Pushes Embryonic Stem Cell Research at Notre Dame, Ignores Adult Cells

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 17
, 2009

South Bend, IN (LifeNews.com) — During his graduation speech at the University of Notre Dame, President Barack Obama pushed embryonic stem cell research for juvenile diabetes. However, Obama ignored how research scientists have already had tremendous success using adult stem cells.

During a section of Obama’s commencement speech focusing on the political and cultural disagreements Notre Dame students will encounter as they enter the world, Obama turned to stem cell research.

He made it appear as if opponents of embryonic stem cell research, which has never helped any patients and requires the destruction of human life, stand on the other side of cures for patients.

"Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son’s or daughter’s hardships can be relieved," he said.

However, just last month, new research using adult stem cells slowed further insulin independence for Type 1 diabetes patients.

The study, led by Richard Burt of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, is the second in the last two years to show significant progress in diabetes using the noncontroversial stem cells.

It showed patients receiving injections with adult stem cells were able to go as long as four years without having to rely on insulin shots.

In a new paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Burt and his colleagues show how the majority of patients with type 1, or juvenile, diabetes who underwent a certain type of stem cell transplantation became insulin free.

Several became insulin free for more than three years, with good glycemic control, and also increased C-peptide levels, an indirect measure of beta-cell function, according to the report they published in the April 15 issue of JAMA.

A previous study found that the use of adult stem cells in 15 patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes resulted in the majority of patients becoming insulin free during the follow-up, which averaged about 19 months.

The study involved 15 diabetic patients and who had been diagnosed in the previous six weeks and required insulin. The doctors harvested the patients’ own stem cells and injected them intravenously.

In the follow-up, 14 of the patients became insulin free — 1 for 35 months, 4 for at least 12 months, and 7 patients for at least 6 months. Two patients responded later to the treatments and were insulin free for one and fifteen months respectively.

That Obama ignores adult stem cell research and its ability to help patients now who have juvenile diabetes is not surprising to some.

Last September, during the presidential election, Obama ran a misleading radio ad that falsely accused presidential candidate John McCain of voting against stem cell research.

The ad, which featured a mother of a child with juvenile diabetes, also ignored how adult stem cell research provides the most hope for patients.

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