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ASCs Saved My Life Education & Awareness Campaign Launched

A few members of Missouri Right to Life attended the launch of the Family Research Council’s Adult Stem Cells Saved My Life campaign last Saturday. Here is a local news story about the launch:

It was very well done and the testimonies were encouraging as always. The event was held in Kansas City where over 1,500 adult stem cell transplants have taken place! How nice it is to actually see positive results in human patients! Shamefully an intellectually dishonest campaign of junk science and emotional manipulation has largely dismissed or ignored the benefits of adult stem cells and lead many to believe that our greatest hope for therapies and cures lies in research that requires the creation, use and destruction of tiny human beings (despite growing evidence to the contrary). This manipulation and misinformation is what lead Missouri voters to approve “Amendment 2″ in 2006, creating a constitutional right to clone and kill human embryos in our State.

We were going to take our own video of the testimonies while we were there, but they already have a few very nicely done little videos that tell some of the patient’s stories. They are featured on the new website StemCellResearchFacts.org:

Laura Domingues has a spinal cord injury and is now starting to walk again with the help of Adult Stem Cells taken from her own nose. She’s working with Dr. Carlos Lima from Portugual who has been studying olfactory mucosa autografts in human spinal cord injury – you can see his pilot study here. Another patient of Dr. Lima has given her testimony several times as well, which you can see here. More on ASCs and SCI: here, here, here, here and here.

Little Joseph Davis was cured of sickle cell anemia with his little brother’s umbilical cord blood stem cells. These guys were super cute on Saturday. Joe’s little brother went up to the mike and told the audience, “I gave my brother my cord blood and now we can play together!” See this story on sibling cord blood transplantation for sickle cell and the Sickle Cell Information Center’s Bone Marrow and Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplant page for more.

Amy Daniels has had a near complete recovery from Scleroderma- a disease that causes the tissue in the skin, blood vessels, and muscles to harden. More on ASCs and Scleroderma here, here, here, here, and here – for starters.

We also heard from Doug Rice who was at end-stage heart failure and was not a candidate for transplant because of his diabetes. Doug was at death’s door, and preparing for it, until he met with scientists (from Israel and Bangkok) who isolated stem cells from his blood, cultivated them and implanted them into his coronary artery. According to Doug the effects were immediate with his heart increasing to 41 percent efficiency from 11 percent before the procedure. After seeing this man’s testimony and meeting and talking with him for a few minutes I can tell you this man does not look like anyone in the advanced stages of heart failure! Watch video of Doug telling his story here: part 1 and part 2 (Windows media). And yes, there is more on ASCs and heart treatment: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here)

Here is MRL Executive Director Patty Skain and MRL Legislative Liaison Susan Klein at the event:

See more pictures at our MRL Facebook Fan Page.

Stem Cell Documentary and Panel Discussion Airs Tonight Online!

At 7 p.m. Central time tonight (Sept. 1) Total Living Network will air the stem cell documentary Lines That Divide with a stem cell discussion/debate to follow. Tune in at this link.

h/t Wesley Smith

MRL Denounces Obama’s Actions

Missouri Right to LifeMemo from Missouri Right to Life:

Missouri Right to Life denounces President Obama’s Executive Order mandating taxpayer funding of research that will destroy living human embryos. Obama’s reversal of the Bush administration’s policy limiting taxpayer funding to research that did not promote the further destruction of human embryos will result in the wide-scale destruction of human life.

“President Obama’s action today illustrates a profound disregard for the unalienable right to life acknowledged by our founding fathers and mandates that taxpayers will be forced to subsidize life-destroying research,” said Pam Fichter, President of Missouri Right to Life.

“Missouri Right to Life supports ethical research using adult stem cells, which have produced treatments for many diseases and ailments, including Parkinson’s Disease, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Obama’s action comes at a time when scientists now possess the ability to produce embryo-like stem cells that do not involve the destruction of human embryos. President Obama is advancing an extreme anti-life agenda that sacrifices human lives in complete disregard for scientific reality.”

All citizens who oppose the use of their taxpayer money to support life-destroying and unproven research are urged to contact their elected representatives and President Obama and express their outrage at this Executive Order.

(view memo online)

It Looks Like Carnahan’s Done it Again

From the Kansas City Business Journal, 1/30/09:

A Missouri group seeking to ban the use of tax dollars for abortion, human cloning or other similar procedures is criticizing ballot language proposed by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

In a statement issued Friday, Missouri Roundtable for Life Executive Director Todd Jones contended that Carnahan has “unnecessarily politicized” the ballot language it seeks for the November 2010 election.

“We submitted a very short, clear amendment of only 44 words because we wanted to give voters a clear amendment that stopped taxpayer dollars from going to abortion, cloning and other prohibited research,” Jones said in the release. “Ms. Carnahan has re-written our amendment into a 128-word ballot title and has created the false impression of what that amendment does.”

The language Carnahan proposed Thursday reads:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to make it illegal for the Legislature or state or local governments to expend, pay or grant public funds to hospitals or other institutions for certain research and services, as defined by the general assembly in section 196.1127, Revised Statutes of Missouri, 2003, such as abortion services, including those necessary to save the life of the mother, and certain types of stem cell research currently allowed under Missouri law?

“This proposal could have a significant negative fiscal impact on state and local governmental entities by prohibiting the use of public funds for certain research activities. Federal grants to state governmental entities for research and medical assistance programs may be in jeopardy. The total costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown.”…

Jones said, “We appeal to (Carnahan) to reconsider and rescind this ballot language; if she will not, we will consider all our options, including going to court to fight her.”

Read more

This is similar to the language she gave pro-lifers who tried to get an initiative petition to let voters ban cloning almost a year and a half ago. See here and here.

“SciFest” in St. Louis

St. Louis ReviewSt. Louis has been chosen to host a five day science festival this October 9 to 13 at the St. Louis Science Center, which will include discussion of stem cell research. When it comes to embryonic stem cell research, I wonder if it will accurately address the fact that human embryos (whether they’re created by in vitro fertilization or somatic cell nuclear transfer) are human life and that this research destroys these human lives in the process. I’m not sure why, but something tells me it probably will not.

The Real Future of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

In 2006 Missouri voters narrowly passed an amendment giving scientists a constitutional right to clone and destroy human embryos for scientific research. Among the claims made by pro-cloning supporters of Amendment 2 was that cloning and embryonic stem cell research offered the greatest hope for cell based therapies and cures, potentially offering great relief for those suffering from terrible diseases and disabilities. But some scientists and researchers have been backing off these claims in recent years. The latest to do so is James Thompsonembryologist James Thompson, who isolated the first ESCs. In a Q and A with Forbes he says:

I do think there will be some niches where transplantation is important, but I think people are grossly underestimating how hard it is going to be for most diseases. I think there is some low-hanging fruit people can go after, but for things like neurological disease, it’s just so hard to get things reconnected. It’s so much better to understand why cells are dying and to prevent it

It just captures the imagination, the whole idea that you could just make a new part, and it is very seductive

In other words, it’s really just a fantasy. Where was this guy when we needed him two years ago?

But, if it’s not going to lead to transplantation therapies and cures as we’ve all been promised, then what is the real future and promise of ESC research?

I really believe personally that the value of these cells is not in transplantation. It’s hard to predict the future, but my guess is 20 years from now if you look backwards, 90% of the value of these cells will be in things that don’t make the front pages. It will be things like drug screening, which is kind of boring, but it does get drugs to market that are safer and faster…

These cells suddenly give us access to all the bits of the human body we’ve never had access to. That’s going to lead to understanding why certain cells are dying, and more traditional therapies are likely to prevent them from dying. Parkinson’s, if you can diagnose somebody early in the course of that disease and arrest it, that’s as good as a cure. And that I think is fairly probable.

So instead of using human embryos as crops for harvesting stem cells, Thompson suggests that they’ll be used more effectively as human guinea pigs for drug testing and monitoring the early development different diseases. I suspect this was the intent of such research all along, they just needed a better marketing strategy for promoting the use of human embryos for research and CURES! CURES! CURES! proved to be more effective at winning the public over than just drug testing. Neither end, however, justifies the use of human life as an instrument of scientific experimentation.

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