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Brownback Showcases Merits of Ethical Adult Stem Cell Research

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Brownback Showcases Merits of Ethical Adult Stem Cell Research

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback today described the superior track record of ethical adult stem cell research in Senate floor debate about the appropriate role of federal research funds in the controversial field of stem cell research:

"We should not use taxpayer dollars to go down the road of unethical, speculative research. This research might be fascinating to scientists, but the government should pursue what is best for patients suffering from diseases and injuries without compromising key moral principles.

"We have no human treatments or applications despite 25 years of embryonic stem cell research in animal models and a decade of work with human embryonic stem cells. What we have learned about embryonic stem cells is that they are very good at forming tumors.

"Adult stem cells have no ethical strings attached. They can be obtained from umbilical cord blood or amniotic fluid without causing harm. Just yesterday, news reports described a promising study in Brazil in which diabetic patients were treated with stem cells obtained from their own blood."

"Which road will we choose? Will we focus on ethical adult stem cells, which hold great promise and have produced real treatments? Or will we choose speculative and unethical embryonic stem cell research, which so far has only produced tumors?

"In recent developments, scientists have confirmed pluripotent stem cells derived from adult sources. Pluripotent cells, previously thought to only exist in embryos and require destructive research, can turn into virtually any cell in the body.

"There are no human treatments with embryonic stem cells, and given the rate of tumor formation, none seem to be on the horizon. Some scientists have acknowledged this. A 2005 article in Science notes that, '... the clinical benefits of the research are years or maybe decades away. This is a message that desperate families and patients will not want to hear.' "

Brownback is opposed to S.5, the Reid-Harkin Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, and supports S.30, the Coleman-Isakson HOPE Act.

Brownback is a member of the Senate Judiciary and Appropriations Committees.

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