Stem Cell Research Daniel Hanison, Carrie Oliver, Dane Livelsberger, Andrew Burks Danny Shay, Daniel Swingle
Topic • D1. Remove Restrictions on federally-funded embryonic stem cell research OR Authorize federally-funded stem cell research only on adult and cord blood stem cells.
Defn: Stem Cell Research • A current field of research involving the manipulation of adult and embryonic stem cells • Future prospects: solutions to physical trauma, degenerative diseases, and possibly genetic disorders • One of the most controversial issues in modern science
What is a Stem Cell? • Two categories: Embryonic and Adult • Unspecialized cells • Constantly renew themselves • Can develop into entire organs, such as the brain, heart, lungs, and other vitals • Are found in the developing human embryo, or in certain adult tissues
Embryonic (Fetal) Stem Cells • Found within the first 5 days of human embryonic development • Have the highest potential of all types of stem cells • Do not come from a woman’s body, but from labs • Cells are transferred to another dish
Embryonic (Fetal) Stem Cells (cont.) • Cells will self-replicate and crowd dish • Scientists can harvest cells for up to 6 months • Researchers will modify the culture’s surface, composition, and conditions to stimulate differentiation • Cells will become brain, muscle, or organ tissues
Adult (Somatic) Stem Cells • Undifferentiated cells found in a differentiated tissue • Primary purpose is to renew the medium tissues and help support tissue growth • Origins of somatic stem cells still unknown • Much harder to force differentiation on than embryonic stem cells
Adult (Somatic) Stem Cells (cont.) • Have a tendency to differentiate into the host tissue that they were harvested from • Large usage in transplants • Blood-forming stem cells have been used in transplants for 30 years • Have less potential, but also less controversy surrounding the issue
Adult vs. Embryonic Embryonic Adult Less controversy Less expensive Can be reintroduced to host with no organ rejection Less potential and differentiation ability Very hard to grow and find • Greater potential • Higher differentiation abilities • Easily grown in labs and cultures • Large controversy • Expensive in life and resources
Stem Cell Research and the Presidency • In 1995, Clinton signed the Dickey Amendment into law • Dickey Amendment: Prohibits all federal funding for research resulting in the destruction of an embryo regardless of its origin • Clinton would not provide federal funding for research on embryos created purely for research • Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005: to allow federal funding on stem cells from human embryos created for fertility treatments. Passed in the House by 238 votes to 194 votes (May, 2005). Passed in the Senate by 63 votes to 37 votes (July, 2006). First and only veto by President Bush (July 2006).
Stem Cell Research and the Presidency • “The bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others…it crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect. So I vetoed it” “American taxpayers would, for the first time our history, be compelled to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos” President Bush • Vote fell short of a two-thirds majority to override the veto • Both Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Bill Frist (R-TN) supported the bill while social conservatives sided with Bush • Congress is still trying to provide federal funding but will find this hard with Bush in office • The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (HR3) passed the house by 253 votes to 174. If it passes through Senate (which is likely) then it will be vetoed once again by the President. • Unless there is enough support for a two-thirds majority override then nothing will change until there is a new President.
Proposition 71 • Established the California Institute for Regenerative Medicines (CIRM) • Established the constitutional right to conduct stem cell research (NOT human reproductive cloning research) • Authorized the state of California to allocate up to $3 billion over the next 10 years ($350 million annual limit) towards research grants given out through CIRM
CIRM Funding • As of this year, CIRM is the largest funder for stem cell research in the United States and one of the largest in the world • $12.1 million last year for educating 168 college students in the field of stem cell biology • $45 million to 72 two-year grants (February, 2007) • $76 million to 12 four-year grants (March, 2007) • The next round of grants is scheduled for sometime in July and is expected to total to $48.5 million for laboratory space
Advocacy - Supporters • Stem Cell research can lead to treatments and cures for many diseases, cutting health care costs • Proposition 71 prohibits funding for human cloning research in keeping with California law • Proposition 71 will generate thousands of new jobs as well as generate millions of dollars in new state revenue • Main supporter: The Alliance for Stem Cell Research
Advocacy - Opponents • There is already billions of dollars in bond debt, further borrowing is irresponsible • Pharmaceutical companies and venture capitalists are using taxpayers to fund the very narrow field of stem cell research • Proposition 71 is a constitutional amendment, making it impossible for the governor or the legislature to control how the money is spent • Main opponent: Doctors, Patients, and Taxpayers for Fiscal Responsibility
View of scientists • Treatment for Degenerative Diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson • Struggle with balancing ethnical views with scientific views
What cells to use? • Adult vs. embryonic • Animal ( mouse) vs. human • Affected vs. normal • Supernumerary vs. Created
Recent views • “ It is very clear from my point of view that the current cell lines will not be sufficient to do research we want to do…It’s not possible for me to see how we continue the momentum of science and in stem cell research with the lines we currently have.” -Elias Zerhouni, National Institutive of Health Chief ( March 20,2007)
Common Religious Misconceptions • Adult Stem Cell Research has eliminated the need for embryonic stem cells. • All religious organizations oppose embryonic stem cell and somatic cell nuclear transfer research. • Adult stem cell research makes nuclear transfer research unnecessary.
General Christian Views • Oppose Embryonic Stem Cell Research • Encourages Adult Stem Cell Research • Denominational Beliefs • Interest Groups
Biblical Proof (NIV) • Psalm 139:13 – “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” • Psalm 139:16 – “your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
General Jewish Views • Fully Supports Stem Cell Research • Halakic Doctrine of Pekuach Nefesh • 14-Day Embryo is equal to water • Christian Thought: Epikiea
General Islamic Views • Fully Supports Stem Cell Research • Recommends Minimal Use of Embryonic Stem Cells • Obligatory to Pursue Research • Recommends Adult Stem Cells as Primary Vessel
Issue Groups – The Greatest Representatives • Student Society for Stem Cell Research (SSSCR) • Supports ethical embryonic stem cell research • Ends justify the means • In vitro fertilization • Nuclear transfer • Reproductive cloning • Embryo donations “Don’t deny our generation the opportunity to offer hope and to fulfill the promise of stem cell research to treat disease and disability”
Issue Groups – The Greatest Representatives • Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics • Does not support embryonic stem cell research • Ends do NOT justify the means • Human embryonic stem cell research violates existing law and policy • Human embryonic stem cell research is unethical • Human embryonic stem cell research is scientifically unnecessary “If anything is to be gained from the cruel atrocities committed against human beings in the last century and a half, it is the lesson that the utilitarian devaluation of one group of human beings for the alleged benefit of others is a price we simply cannot afford to pay”
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