Brownback Applauds New Stem Cell Advances
U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today congratulated two scientific research teams for proving a new technique that could allow the creation of embryonic-type stem cells without the need to clone or destroy human life.
"This exciting breakthrough means that we can conduct embryonic-type stem cell research without destroying human life, and I call on supporters of embryonic stem cell research to recognize that we have no realistic need to destroy embryos," said Brownback. "I congratulate the research teams led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin for pioneering a route away from questionable science that is destructive to human life."
Previous embryonic stem cell research methods cloned and destroyed a human embryo to harvest stem cells at an early stage of development. This new technique allows scientists to "directly reprogram" older cells, which are readily available and can be obtained ethically, such that they revert to an earlier stage of development. This removes the need to destroy a human embryo to access younger stem cells.
Brownback continued, "These findings identify a more promising embryonic-type stem cell research method that also meets the ethical bar. Now we have the strong possibility that scientists who want embryonic-type stem cells can have them without creating or destroying embryos. Although this new route to embryonic-type stem cell research is great news, we should keep in mind that adult stem cell research has demonstrated a vastly greater potential to generate real treatments for real people."
This Saturday, Ian Wilmut, know as the father of the cloned sheep "Dolly," announced that he is abandoning cloning as a method to obtain embryonic-type stem cells in favor of this new approach developed by Yamanaka and Thomson.
Brownback is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Appropriations Committee.