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Re: [IP] Article in WSJ today re: stem cells

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Winer" <email @ redacted>
To: "Parents List" <email @ redacted>; "Insulin Pumpers"
<email @ redacted>
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2001 8:33 AM
Subject: [IP] Article in WSJ today re: stem cells

> Politics & Policy
> Stem-Cell Research Stirs Passions
> On Both Sides of Political Debate
> WASHINGTON -- When the leaders of the Coalition for the Advancement of
> Medical Research began their weekly conference call on June 7, they got
> news.
> For months, the alliance, made up of patients' groups, scientists, medical
> schools and the biotech industry, had been pressing the Bush
> to support federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Now, Chairman
> Lawrence Soler was passing on word that President Bush was poised to side
> with antiabortion activists and announce a ban on the funding. The group
> promptly issued an urgent alert to its grass-roots supporters, who flooded
> the White House with so many protest calls that one administration
> asked the coalition to call off the dogs.
> As it happened, President Bush didn't make the stem-cell announcement last
> month. But a decision is due any day now. And the display of passion by
> alliance's supporters showed how the politics of the stem-cell are
> rapidly.
> Embryonic stem cells are building-block cells that have the ability to
> develop into muscle, organ and other types of cells and tissues.
> say they hold promise as replacement cells for patients afflicted with
> degenerative illnesses or injury.
> GOP House Leaders Urge White House to Uphold Stem-Cell Research Ban (July
> Revolt Against Embryonic Research Begins Locally, Spreads Nationally (June
> 22)
> NIH's Move to Cancel Meeting Worries Backers of Embryo Stem-Cell Research
> (April 13)
> Conventional wisdom once held that President Bush, who campaigned against
> the government funding, wouldn't change course and risk the ire of
> conservatives, who complain that extracting stem cells destroys the
> from which they're taken. But in recent weeks, polls have shown strong
> public support for the research and dozens of GOP lawmakers, including
> prominent abortion foes, have announced their endorsement. Moreover,
> research advocates such as the alliance have warned that a ban would spark
> outrage from people who might benefit from the research, and showed that
> it's not just the antiabortion side that feels fervently about the issue.
> That has sent some administration officials scurrying to find a middle
> ground -- perhaps by approving funding for research on already extracted
> cells -- on an issue that's about as amenable to compromise as the Middle
> East conflict.
> "Six months ago, we were just hanging on by a thread," says Michael
> Manganillo, vice president for government affairs at the Christopher Reeve
> Paralysis Foundation, a member of the coalition. "Now everyone is talking
> about it."
> To be sure, the pro-research forces still face long odds in securing the
> federal funding. President Bush ultimately may be loath to turn his back
> his base of antiabortion supporters. And whatever his decision, the battle
> will move to Congress, where most of the House GOP leadership has vowed to
> fight the funding.
> But, after a slow start earlier in the year, the pro-research forces have
> picked up surprising momentum. At least part of it is due to the efforts
> Mr. Soler, an earnest and somewhat harried 32-year-old who looks 10 years
> younger.
> The chief lobbyist for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
> International, the driving force behind the coalition, Mr. Soler has all
> standard-issue accoutrements of the Washington lobbyist -- dark suit,
> cellphone, cluttered desk. But on his belt, he wears a small device that
> looks like a pager and provides him with a steady trickle of insulin.
> Diagnosed with Type 1, or juvenile diabetes, a decade ago, Mr. Soler for
> years injected insulin four times a day. He checked his blood sugar
> frequently, even during lobbying calls on Capitol Hill, before getting an
> insulin pump two years ago that keeps his blood sugar stable.
> Now, he wants a cure, for himself and the other million Americans with
> juvenile diabetes. Of all the ailments that may be helped by stem-cell
> research, scientists say, juvenile diabetes is at the top of the list. The
> outlook is so promising, in fact, that the juvenile-diabetes group funds
> embryonic stem-cell research itself.
> After last year's election, Mr. Soler decided to form a new group to push
> the stem-cell issue. Under President Clinton, the National Institutes of
> Health got approval to fund research on stem cells extracted from frozen
> embryos left over from fertility treatments. The money was to begin
> later this year but has been put on hold while the Bush administration
> reconsiders the issue.
> Six months ago, Mr. Soler co-founded the coalition with Tim Leshan, who at
> time was director of public policy for the American Society for Cell
> Biology, a scientific group. (He has since taken a job at NIH and is no
> longer involved in the coalition.) The key, they decided, was a campaign
> that showcased both scientific expertise and human need.
> They signed up groups including the Parkinson's Action Network, the ALS
> Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the
> Biotechnology Industry Organization. They began having weekly conference
> calls to plot strategy. To beef up the coalition's GOP connections, they
> hired Vicki Hart, a Republican lobbyist who has long worked for Bob Dole.
> Separately, Linda Tarplin, a lobbyist for BIO who once worked for current
> White House lobbyist Nick Calio, also pressed the pro-research case.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> Stem Cells Controversy: A Way Out?
> The Bush administration is under pressure from scientists to permit
> funding of embryonic stem-cell research, and from anti-abortion groups to
> bar it. It's exploring a possible compromise that is drawing criticism
> both sides:
> The basic idea: Fund research on the 10 or so embryonic stem-cell lines
> already developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and others.
> Rationale: That would allow some research to go forward, but additional
> embryos wouldn't be destroyed.
> Pro-research groups' beef: The existing supply isn't adequate. Scientists
> need many diverse stem-cell lines, with varying characteristics.
> Anti-abortion groups' beef: Research on existing cell lines is unethical
> because embryos were destroyed. A "slippery slope" would result in
> additional research down the road.
> Sources: administration officials and lobbyists for and against the
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> But the coalition's biggest asset has been its grass-roots firepower,
> trained relentlessly on the Bush administration and undecided Republicans
> Congress. In recent months, dozens of doctors, researchers and patients
> written op-ed pieces for newspapers around the country. Some 70,000 faxes
> have been sent to members of Congress from research supporters. Patients
> with everything from spinal-cord injuries to amyotrophic lateral
> or ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease, have knocked on congressional
> doors, pleading for the funding.
> In late June, under Mr. Soler's guidance, 200 children with juvenile
> diabetes visited Congress. The ostensible reason was to ask for increased
> funding for diabetes research, but the backdrop was the stem-cell debate.
> Three-year-old Cody Anderson of West Jordan, Utah, paid a call on Sen.
> Hatch, the Utah Republican who had earlier announced his support of
> stem-cell research. Afterward, Sen. Hatch mentioned the boy's visit on
> national television while arguing in favor of the embryonic stem-cell
> research. Just before the July Fourth break, the coalition leaders urged
> their troops to try to call or meet with their member of Congress over the
> holiday.
> All this action has frustrated and angered right-to-life opponents, some
> whom remember that the juvenile-diabetes group also pushed hard for
> fetal-tissue research, which has been a disappointment. Scott Weinberg, a
> spokesman for the American Life League, an antiabortion group, says the
> coalition has deliberately played down the importance of recent advances
> research involving stem cells derived from adults. He and other abortion
> foes say adult-stem cell research is the ethical alternative and should be
> accelerated.
> Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life
> Committee, complains that the research advocates insist on referring to
> product of conception as "fertilized eggs" rather than human embryos.
> "That's plainly inaccurate," he says.
> Coalition officials defend their use of "fertilized egg," saying it hasn't
> yet been implanted in the women's uterus. In addition, they say that both
> embryonic and adult stem-cell research should be funded but that they
> believe embryonic is more promising.
> In any case, opponents of the research are looking for ways to counter the
> emotional impact of ailing patients pleading for research money. Rep.
> Smith, a New Jersey Republican, and 13 other House members recently wrote
> President Bush to ask him to meet with three young children. Hannah, Luke
> and Mark were created through in-vitro fertilization and kept in storage,
> frozen embryos, until they were adopted by infertile couples.
> Research opponents hope that the children will drive home the point that
> some cases the frozen embryos at fertility clinics are available for
> adoption. "A decision to authorize the federal funding of human embryo
> destruction is a decision to deny life" to thousands of children," the
> letter says.
> ----------------------------------------------------------
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