Dr. Coburn Statement on Stem Cell Breakthrough
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding news that scientists have achieved a major breakthrough by making adult human skin cells behave like embryonic stem cells.
"This breakthrough provides further evidence that the most promising avenues of stem cell research are also the most ethical. Politicians should note that the scientific community is moving rapidly without the assistance of laws requiring the taxpayer-funded destruction of human life," Dr. Coburn said, noting that research involving adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood have yielded more than 70 treatments and therapies for disease while research using embryonic stem cells has produced zero proven therapies.
"This breakthrough highlights an important truth about the intersection between science and policymaking in our society: Congress is always several years behind science, yet, when we act, the precedents we set reach decades into the future. This breakthrough helps vindicate President Bush's policy and his vetoes of Congress' short-sighted and outdated approach to stem cell research. History will note the wisdom of President Bush's refusal to set a dangerous precedent that could not be easily undone," Dr. Coburn said.
"When Congress revisits this topic we should do so with an added sense of humility. The gap between the scientific community's expertise, reason and progress and Congress' fear-mongering, demagoguery and hype is one reason why only 11 percent of the American people have confidence in this body. Liberal and conservative policymakers should give one another the benefit of the doubt and trust that both sides want to see this research development cures and treatments. However, we should also note that science will march on toward an ethical destination regardless of what we do, or do not do, in Congress," Dr. Coburn said.