New NIH Web Site Promotes Obama’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Tax-Funding

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New NIH Web Site Promotes Obama’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Tax-Funding

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 29
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The National Institutes of Health has set up a new web site that will further implement the decision by President Barack Obama to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research. The research has yet to help any patients, unlike the use of adult stem cells which has proven particularly useful.

In March, Obama signed an executive order forcing funding for the unproven research that requires the destruction of human life.

in July, he directed the NIH to adopt rules implementing the decision and now the agency launched a website through which scientists can request their human embryonic stem cell lines receive taxpayer funding.

Eligible lines will appear on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry and NIH director Dr Francis Collins has appointed a working group to assist him in deciding which lines will be approved for federal funds.

The working group reportedly will consist of experts in genetics, law, medicine and ethics and will be chaired by Dr Jeffrey Botkin, a medical ethicist at the University of Utah.

Botkin said he believes he was picked as chairman because of his extensive background in ethical treatment of subjects involved in medical research, and the lack of potential conflicts of interest.

Botkin said he can’t predict how many requests the board will review, but he thinks there will be a plethora of requests for taxpayer funding.

"So many are very anxious to move ahead," he said.

"Stem cells show a lot of promise in medical care because they have the unique capacity to become any tissue type in the human body," Botkin told the Deseret News. "For example, if stem cells can be coaxed into developing into pancreas cells, it may be possible to use them to treat diabetes."

However, the use of adult stem cells has already helped diabetes patients.

Research from April found using adult stem cells is showing 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.

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