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States Turning Away from Embryonic Stem Cell Research

stem cellFunding for stem cell research in two of the most liberal states in the nation - California and Maryland - appears to be shifting away from embryonic to adult stem cells.

Newsmax is reporting that Gene Tarne, who serves as Senior Advisor of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony list, is confirming that a large share of funding for stem cell research in both states is moving toward more ethical research involving adult stem cells.

For instance, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which issues state grants for stem cell research, gave all 100 of its 2007 grants embyronic stem cell research. By 2012, only six out of 21 grants went to embryonic, while the remaining 15 went to non-embryonic research projects.

A similar trend is occurring in Maryland. In 2007, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission issued 11 grants for projects using cells from human embryos and only four using adult stem cells. By 2013, only one grant went to embryonic stem cell research with 28 grants being awarded to non-embryonic projects.

In addition, the federal government awarded $504 million to non-embryonic projects with just $146.5 million to embryonic stem cell research.

According to Chuck Donavan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the shift is due to a preference in the science community for "ethical" stem cell projects.

"The best hope for rapid medical advances lies with morally unproblematic alternatives," Donovan said.

Dr. David Prentice, Senior Fellow at the Family Research Center and an internationally recognized expert on stem cells and cloning, applauded the trend away from embryonic stem cells, saying this only confirms what advocates of ethical stem cell research have said for years - that adult stem cells are the true gold standard for stem cells.

"They are certainly golden for patients; more than 60,000 people a year around the world are currently treated with adult stem cells," Dr. Prentice said.

"We heard for years that embryonic stem cells were the 'only' stem cells for treatment as well as lab research, and the federal government as well as several states rushed to pour money onto this research. But even in states previously devoted exclusively to embryonic stem cell and cloning research, the majority of grants now are going to ethical, successful adult stem cell studies."

On the other hand, embryonic stem cell research relies on the destruction of a human life and has had no success in patients.

"Adult stem cells provide effective treatments now for dozens of diseases and conditions, with many more therapies under development. They're the best cells for the job, and all without harming the stem cell donors," said Prentice, an internationally recognized expert on stem cells and cloning.

"Adult stem cell research is showing tremendous progress, while holding the ethical line that defends all human life at every stage of life," he added. "Adult stem cells save lives."

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