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[IP] Funds Proposed for Embryo Research
For those of you who don't think fetal cell research is a violation of any
religious or ethical rules, please read on...If you DO think it is wrong,
please skip this post!!!
WASHINGTON (AP) - Research using master cells derived from human embryos will
be funded by the government for the first time under tightly controlled
guidelines proposed by National Institutes of Health. The draft guidelines,
to be published Thursday, would ``help ensure that NIH-funded research in
this area is conducted in an ethical and legal manner,'' the agency said. The
research rules specifically forbid human cloning or mixing human stem cells
with animal or human embryos.
Groups opposed to abortion immediately objected to the plans. The National
Right to Life Committee said the guidelines ``would result in federal
sponsorship and funding of experiments in which living human embryos are
dissected and killed - a clear violation of federal law..
On the other side, the Patients' Coalition for Urgent Research described stem
cell research as ``a new area of science with tremendous promise for
alleviating and even curing catastrophic illness.'' It said therapy from stem
cell research could benefit more than 100 million patients nationwide.
The research involves what are called pluripotent stem cells. These are the
basic biological building blocks of the body. During gestation, they evolve
into the many organs and tissues. Scientists believe it may be possible to
use these cells to grow new organs to replace ailing hearts and treat brain
disorders, or even cure diabetes by growing new insulin-producing cells.
(CURE??? THEY DARE TO USE THE "C" WORD!! WHHEEEEEEEE!!! sara)
Pluripotent stem cells used in research are isolated from human embryos to
create an endless-growing population of identical cells. The cells can then
be manipulated to create other types of cells and, possibly, whole organs,
Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the NIH, has contended that using stem cells
does not violate laws forbidding federally funded human embryo research
because the cells were developed by researchers using private funds. And
lawyers in the Department of Health and Human Services have concluded that
federal funding of stem cell research is legal because the cells are,
technically, not embryos.
In effect, NIH funding would not be involved in working with embryos
themselves, but only with the cells that were derived from embryos by private
However, the guidelines would allow federal funding for research that
includes extracting stem cells from human fetal tissue, as well as research
utilizing such cells. An embryo becomes a fetus in about the eighth week of
President Clinton directed the National Bioethics Advisory Commission to
consider the issue. The group's report recommended that the NIH be permitted
to fund pluripotent cell research, and the new guidelines generally follow
the commission's recommendations.
A number of groups, including 70 members of Congress, have objected to
federal funding of stem cell research because the cells must originate from
the death of a human embryo. The lawmakers sent a letter last February to HHS
secretary Donna Shalala claiming that human stem cell research would be a
violation of federal law.
Rep. Christian Smith, R-N.J., a leading opponent of the research, called the
new guidelines ``a sham.'' ``They attempt to give a glow of respectability
to truly barbaric and grotesque experiments on human beings,'' Smith said
Many members of Congress, however, support the research. Rep. Nita Lowey,
D-N.Y., said in a statement that stem cell research ``offers Americans the
promise of better treatment and perhaps even cures for diseases like cancer,
Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and diabetes.. Douglas Johnson, the right to life
group's legislative director, said in a statement the guidelines mean that
``for the first time, human embryos will be deliberately killed under the
sponsorship of the federal government.''
Johnson said his organization encourages research on stem cells ``obtained in
ways that do not kill living members of the human family.''
Under the guidelines, pluripotent cell research would be funded by NIH only
if the cells were already removed from the embryos, or removed from fetuses
under existing federal guidelines.
At least two privately funded research groups have established cell lines - a
group of cells that endlessly multiply - which originated from human embryos
or fetuses. The cells are now being used in private research. The
guidelines also require that cells in NIH-funded research be derived only
from embryos that were ``in excess of clinical need'' at fertility clinics,
and that the donors of the embryos must give fully informed consent to the
ultimate use of the embryos.
Additionally, the guidelines call for:
Establishment of a Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Review Group to assure that
the rules are followed.
Excluding from federal funding any research linked to human cloning.
Excluding research involving adding stem cells to human or animal eggs or
embryos, a procedure that theoretically could lead to cloning.
Excluding funding for research using human embryonic stem cells extracted
from embryos that were created expressly for research. In effect, all embryos
that produce the stem cells must have been discarded by fertility clinics and
not created in the laboratory.
The draft guidelines were drawn up by an advisory committee named by Varmus
and will be published in the Federal Register for 60 days of public comment.
The NIH said the research would not start until final guidelines have been
published and an oversight committee is in place.
GO FOR IT!!! SOUNDS GREAT TO ME
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