Purchase the book Right to Recover

Right to Recover ~ Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America presents scientific facts that challenge readers to think for themselves rather than accept political or religious views on stem cell research.

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This book is available by request in bookstores nationwide.


RIGHT TO RECOVER is an Award-Winning Finalist in the Current Events: Political/Social of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. Amazon Best-selling book in biomedical category.


View a presentation about stem cell research on YouTube.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stem Cell Treatment Reduces Inflammation and May Repair Damage of Kawasaki Syndrome and Seizures

International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) has successfully treated patients (including children) with seizure disorders, problems with the circulatory system, and immune deficiency.

International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) has successfully treated patients (including children) with seizure disorders, problems with the circulatory system, and immune deficiency.

Jett Travolta, the 16-year-old son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston died on January 2. An autopsy report identified the cause of death as the result of a seizure. The public is yet to know what might have caused the seizure; however, Jett was diagnosed with Kawasaki Syndrome as a toddler. Even though it was not the cause of his death, it created serious health challenges for the family.

Affecting the mucous membranes, the skin, and the lymph nodes, Kawasaki Syndrome occurs in 19 out of every 100,000 children. It is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in the United States. This inflammatory, autoimmune disorder can lead to inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis) and major arteries in the body, and may also cause myocarditis, aneurysms, arrhythmias, and abnormal functioning of the heart due to inflammation of the heart muscles, lining, valves, or the outer membrane that surrounds the heart.

Rita Alexander, Executive Director of the International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), believes it’s very possible that the symptoms of Kawasaki Syndrome could be substantially lessened and may even be reversed with placental stem cell treatment. She bases this belief on the positive responses of more than 2,000 patients who have sought treatment at a clinic just over the border in Mexico during the past 17 years. The clinic has used placental stem cells to treat cerebral palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, skin disorders, auto-immune conditions, liver and kidney disorders, and viruses (including Hepatitis C). Some stroke patients have regained complete function of their bodies.

At the age of 35, W. R. Haynes, began having seizures. She was referred to several facilities and was examined by numerous physicians. She spent thousands of dollars seeking answers, but none of the doctors could find a reason for the seizures. In 1991, Ms. Haynes had a stroke that left her mobility challenged and unable to conduct her normal speech pattern. She had been in this condition for approximately one and a half years when she was referred to ISCI. She received her first placental stem cell implant in Mexico. Within a few days, she noted improvement in her kidney function, and a greater level of energy. Within three weeks, her speech had returned to normal. Within five weeks, she had full use of her limbs, and she returned to her full-time job six weeks after treatment.

“I am seizure free,” says Haynes, “and have reduced my medicine intake by half. I still receive a placenta stem cell treatment every six to seven months. I am thankful to God for receiving placenta stem cell implants and I now have the quality of life that I was meant to have.” (2)

“If we step outside of our traditional medical toolbox, it is easy to see how placenta stem cell treatment could offer hope to parents of children with Kawasaki Syndrome or seizure disorder,” says Rita Alexander. “We’ve observed several cases of children and adults plagued by ongoing seizures enjoy a seizure-free life after receiving placenta stem cell therapy. It’s obvious that the Travolta family used every method available in the US to treat, manage, and monitor Jett’s condition. Our heartfelt condolences go out to John Travolta, Kelly Preston, and daughter Ella at the unimaginable loss of Jett, their son and brother.”

While ISCI has not treated a child with Kawasaki Syndrome, they have successfully treated patients (including children) with similar seizure disorders, problems with the circulatory system, and immune deficiency. Perhaps it’s a big leap, but this type of stem cell treatment may be worth considering when parents run out of conventional treatment options for their child who is suffering.

Scientists have known for many years that stem cells restore the body's health by targeting sites of injury and disease, clearing toxins from threatened tissue, and replacing dead and dying cells. In a 2004 study, Dr. Evan Snyder, a stem cell biologist at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California, reported that stem cells transplanted into an animal will travel to sites where an abnormality exists and stimulate the body's ability to repair itself. (2)

What many people may not be aware of is that well-documented placental stem cell implant therapy has been safely and effectively improving and restoring the health of patients in Europe for 25 years. Because they are harvested after the birth of a healthy baby, placental stem cells are not encumbered by the political and religious trappings of their embryonic counterparts.

The US has fallen behind other countries in stem cell research and it could be decades before the FDA approves and makes safe, ethical stem cell treatments available to the general public. International Stem Cell Institute was launched in April and is managed by its founder, Rita Alexander, a businesswoman who has a desire to bring stem cell treatment to those who are suffering with a condition that has not responded to traditional medicine. She hopes to someday bring placental stem cell therapy to the US.

About ISCI

International Stem Cell Institute was launched in April 2008 as a result of 17 years of stem cell treatment experience. ISCI assists with patient education, pre- and post-treatment support, travel logistics, and financial matters regarding treatment. The company is managed by Rita Alexander, a businesswoman with a desire to bring stem cell treatment to those who are suffering with a condition that has not responded to traditional medicine. Rita’s passion for this treatment comes from her own experience when she found her way back to a healthy life after being brought to her knees by a very humbling illness. ISCI assists with patient education, pre- and post-treatment support, travel logistics, and financial matters regarding treatment. For more information about ISCI or to arrange a consultation or schedule an appointment, please visit http://www.iStemCelli.com.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Placenta Stem Cell Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis

After writing my book about stem cell research, I kept hoping that a breakthrough that didn’t have any controversy attached to it would come forth to help people who suffer with illnesses and medical conditions. I found such a breakthrough when I met Rita Alexander, the founder and executive directorof International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), and learned about placenta stem cells.

The use of placenta stem cells is non-controversial and has been proven successful for 25 years in treating a variety of conditions in people from all over the world. The drawback is that the treatment is not yet approved by the FDA; therefore, it is not available in the United States. It’s a shame that our treatment options are determined by a restrictive regulatory agency that keeps our nation’s citizens shackled by diseases that could be cured, or at least significantly improved, through stem cell treatment.

For those who are able to travel to Mexico, a placenta stem cell treatment can be given to help alleviate cancer, cerebral palsy, dermatomyositis, diabetes, hepatitis C, HIV, immune deficiency, kidney disorders, multiple sclerosis, migraines, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's, retinitis pigmentosa, rheumatoid arthritis, spina bifida, and stroke. Rita has reported astounding benefits that are positively life altering for the patients who are treated at the clinic.

Twenty-six years ago, Rita was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). She tried every conventional medication and alternative/complementary option available and even traveled to the Bahamas and Mexico looking for a treatment that would relieve her suffering. Most physicians told her that RA was something she would just have to learn to live with. But, even when she became extremely debilitated and practically bedridden, she refused to accept this reality. Out of sheer desperation and feeling she had little to lose, she decided to go to a treatment center in Mexico to receive placental stem cell therapy.

The physician administering the stem cell treatments at the Mexico clinic was trained by a physician in Europe where placental treatments have been done for 25 years. Within four months of her first stem cell treatment, Rita improved significantly and experienced a reduction of pain and swelling in her joints. She immediately noticed a dramatic increase in energy. She required several treatments over the next few years to bring her condition under control, but at age 52 today, her back pain has been completely eliminated, and her overall health has improved significantly. Now, she enjoys a quality of life she once thought was lost. She sincerely believes that her disease will be in complete remission with additional stem cell treatments.

Because she was fortunate enough to find her way back to a healthy life through placental stem cell therapy, she formed International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), soon to be headquartered in San Diego—the epicenter for the biotech industry. Rita is now assisting other patients who are desperate for a solution. Her goal is to help patients access placental stem cell treatment at the Mexico clinic where she received treatment. She hopes to acquire the funding to begin clinical trials and bring placenta stem cell treatments to the United States.

If you are suffering with arthritis, I encourage you to contact ISCI (800-609-7795) to learn how Rita Alexander can assist you with patient education, pre- and post-treatment support, travel logistics, and financial matters regarding treatment. Visit http://www.iStemCelli.com for more information.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Placenta Stem Cell Treatment for Kawasaki Syndrome

Scientists have known for many years that stem cells restore the body's health by targeting sites of injury and disease, clearing toxins from threatened tissue, and replacing dead and dying cells. In a 2004 study, Dr. Evan Snyder, a stem cell biologist at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, California, reported that stem cells transplanted into an animal will travel to sites where an abnormality exists and stimulate the body's ability to repair itself.

What many people may not be aware of is that well-documented placenta stem cell implant therapy has been safely and effectively improving and restoring the health of patients in Europe for 25 years.For more than 18 years, a clinic in Mexico has successfully used placenta stem cell treatmentsto help patients (including children) with seizure disorders, problems with the circulatory system, and immune deficiency. Because they are harvested after the birth of a healthy baby, placental stem cells are not encumbered by the political and religious trappings of their embryonic counterparts.

Affecting the mucous membranes, the skin, and the lymph nodes, Kawasaki Syndrome occurs in 19 out of every 100,000 children. This inflammatory, autoimmune disorder can lead to inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis) and major arteries in the body, and may also cause myocarditis, aneurysms, arrhythmias, and abnormal functioning of the heart due to inflammation of the heart muscles, lining, valves, or the outer membrane that surrounds the heart.

Jett Travolta, the 16-year-old son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston who died on January 2, 2009, was diagnosed with Kawasaki Syndrome as a toddler. Even though it was not the cause of his death, it created serious health challenges for the family. Rita Alexander, Executive Director of the International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI), believes it’s very possible that the symptoms of Kawasaki Syndrome could be substantially lessened and may even be reversed with placental stem cell treatment. She bases this belief on the positive responses of more than 2,000 patients who have sought treatment at a clinic just over the border in Mexico during the past 18 years. The clinic has used placental stem cells to treat cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, skin disorders, auto-immune conditions, liver and kidney disorders, and viruses (including Hepatitis C). Some stroke patients have regained complete function of their bodies.

It’s obvious that the Travolta family used every method available in the US to treat, manage, and monitor Jett’s condition, but perhaps they didn’t know about placenta stem cell treatments. While ISCI has not treated a child with Kawasaki Syndrome, they have successfully treated patients (including children) with similar seizure disorders, problems with the circulatory system, and immune deficiency. Since several cases of children and adults plagued by ongoing seizures enjoy a seizure-free life after receiving placenta stem cell therapy at the clinic in Mexico, it is easy to see how placenta stem cell treatment could offer hope to parents of children with Kawasaki Syndrome. Perhaps it’s a big leap, but this type of stem cell treatment may be worth considering when parents run out of conventional treatment options for their child who is suffering.

Isn’t it a bit ironic to think that the most revolutionary medical treatment of our time will come from places other than the richest, most powerful nations in the world? Yet, the U.S. has fallen behind other countries in stem cell research, and more importantly, actual treatments. Rita Alexander hopes to someday bring placental stem cell therapy to the U.S. Rita’s passion for this treatment comes from her own experience when she found her way back to a healthy life with placental stem cell implants after being brought to her knees by rheumatoid arthritis.

Why wait two decades, one decade, or even five years for safe, ethical stem cell treatments to be available to the American people? For more information about ISCI or to arrange a consultation or schedule an appointment, please visit http://www.iStemCelli.com or contact Rita Alexander at International Stem Cell Institute 800-609-7795.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Area Child Battling Cerebral Plasy

By Angela Cummings / Special to The Journal August 17, 2009

MARTINSBURG — Two years ago, the Kee family had never heard of a little town in Mexico called Nuevo Progresso, so obviously they didn’t know what a great role it would play in their lives. Brodie Kee, 20 months old, made his trip to Nuevo Progresso when he was only 14 months old. This wasn’t a vacation to see the sights of Mexico, but a visit to a clinic called the International Stem Cell Institute.

“I had the perfect pregnancy. Nothing was wrong,” said 20-year-old Kayla Kee, Brodie’s mother. But two weeks before her due date, she became very ill and started having severe contractions. She noticed Brodie hadn’t been moving as much as usual. The pain was so severe she decided to go to the emergency room, and after a through examination, her doctors at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown decided she needed an emergency Caesarean section because the baby’s heart rate was extremely slow. When he was born, Brodie wasn’t breathing. Brodie’s father, 22-year-old Adam Kee, said it took eight minutes to revive him.

The doctor’s recommended Brodie be immediately flown to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., for a treatment called “total body cooling.” According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, body cooling is a procedure used to protect against brain injury in full-term infants born with birth asphyxia. The hope of body cooling is that it will increase the infant’s chances for survival and possibly decrease the severity of neurological disability.

Read more here.. http://ow.ly/lxfR

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stem Cell Treatments Boost Medical Tourism

As technology and standards of care in many countries improve, more and more Americans are seeking treatment outside the US.

Medical tourism is the term used to refer to the practice of seeking healthcare services by crossing international borders. While there continues to be an increase in inbound medical tourism in the US, a large number of Americans are traveling outside the US for medical procedures.

Medical tourism is popular because people like to travel to an exotic destination and save money on elective and alternative medical and dental treatments. But, some patients are seeking treatments that are not available in their own country due to national governmental regulations. For example, treatments using placenta stem cells have not been approved in the US, but they have been showing remarkable results for more than 25 years in other countries.

Umbilical cord blood and bone marrow stem cells have been used for treating several illnesses and conditions, but placenta stem cells harvested from the discarded placentas of healthy newborn babies have even more potential. Not only are they more plenteous and easier to safely extract for transplantation, the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland says placenta stem cells can be used to treat more disorders and the recipient does not have to be perfectly matched to the donor.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) spent $938 million on stem cell research in 2008. The state-funded California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has approved approximately $693 million on research grants since its inception in 2005. Approximately 30,000 patients have received stem cell-based therapy outside the US within the past three years.

International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) was launched in April 2008 as a result of 17 years of stem cell treatment experience. The company was founded and is managed by Rita Alexander, a businesswoman with a desire to bring stem cell treatment to those who are suffering with a condition that has not responded to traditional medicine.

The cost of stem cell therapy is generally about $40,000 in China, $30,000 in the Dominican Republic, and about $25,000 in India. The price for placental stem cell treatment at the ISCI clinic in Mexico is $9,950 (excluding travel expenses). ISCI specializes in helping people with financing medical procedures at the clinic by providing low-interest loans and a 12-month interest-free option. ISCI also assists with patient education, pre- and post-treatment support, and travel logistics regarding placenta stem cell treatment.

Rita Alexander says “The benefit for US and Canadian citizens is that they can travel to Texas, spend just a couple of hours across the border in Mexico and receive a very effective stem cell treatment at a fraction of the cost of other treatments half way around the world.”

Jeff Blank is an ISCI patient diagnosed with a condition known as ataxia, which is a genetic neurological disorder effecting motor skills and cognitive function similar to that of Parkinson’s disease. Jeff traveled to China twice for stem cell treatment at a cost of over $60,000. After minimal results from two China stem cell treatments, Jeff found ISCI and was elated when all of his symptoms, including slurred speech, balance, gait, and motor skill issues improved a few days following this stem cell treatment.

“ISCI’s patient volume has doubled over the last six months due to the positive responses of our patients,” says Rita Alexander. “Patients are discovering that lower cost treatment does not mean giving up quality of care and cutting edge treatment options such as stem cell treatment for a wide range of conditions are only available outside of the US. The impending healthcare plan may actually drive more US patients to consider treatment in other countries and we are rapidly preparing for this expected growth.”

Stem cell therapies are estimated to generate $8 billion in annual revenue in the U.S. by 2018. Hopefully, by then, placenta stem cell therapy will be part of standard medical treatment in the US, so that those who are unable to travel abroad may access this promise of restored health and life.

For more information about ISCI or to arrange a consultation or schedule an appointment, please visit http://www.iStemCelli.com or call 800-609-7795 toll free.


Rita Alexander
Executive Director
International Stem Cell Institute
Rita@iStemCelli.com
770.231.3500
http://www.iStemCelli.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cambridge Can Retain Stem Cell Lead in Obama Era

Cambridge has kept a global market lead over the newly-liberalised US in stem cell science after adding manufacturing capability, a leading local proponent has claimed.

Dr Hermann Hauser, chairman of the East of England Stem Cell Network, believes the region’s progress in the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine, will repel the looming threat from across the Atlantic.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/m9hyoy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

NY to Pay for Eggs for Research

New York has become the first and only state to opt to pay women for eggs donated for human embryonic stem cell research. The Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB), which oversees New York's $600 million stem cell research program that was launched last year, came to the decision last week (June 11) following "extensive deliberation" from its ethics committee.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/nczrqw

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stem Cells Used To Reverse Paralysis In Animals

A new study has found that transplantation of stem cells from the lining of the spinal cord, called ependymal stem cells, reverses paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries in laboratory tests. The findings show that the population of these cells after spinal cord injury was many times greater than comparable cells from healthy animal subjects. The results open a new window on spinal cord regenerative strategies.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/cc49vw

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Adult Stem Cells Show Wider Potential Than Previously Thought

Chemists are developing new insights and techniques in an effort to expand the therapeutic potential of stem cells, which includes possible treatments for Parkinson's disease, diabetes, spinal cord injury and other devastating conditions.

Embryonic stem cells are the most versatile stem cells, capable of being transformed into any other cell type, depending on their desired therapeutic use.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/nryz5v

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Healing Power of Stem Cells

Someone is finally starting to see the potential of stem cells derived from placenta (afterbirth). Rita Alexander has been witnessing the healing power of these stem cells on more than 2,000 patients who have sought treatment at a clinic just over the border in Mexico during the past 17 years. She has personally received several treatments that have been effective in relieving the rheumatoid arthritis that nearly crippled her. We’ve been writing about this for nearly a year.
Read more . . .

Sunday, July 5, 2009

India Ready for Profits from Stem Cell Research

India is not far behind the US in practical use of stem cells for treatment and technology. The cost for conducting research and clinical trials is less expensive in India than in the US.

Not one to miss a dollar, pharmaceutical companies are geared up and ready to develop new drugs and make a profit from embryonic stem cell research. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) holds patent rights for development of new drug therapies using human embryonic stem cells. Pfizer has already signed an agreement with WARF hoping to determine how new medicines may be able to improve the way stem cells regenerate damaged tissues.

Read more . . . http://tinyurl.com/mcnlu6

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stem Cell Transplant Study Shows Promise For Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin sheath protecting nerve cells. It affects 2.5 million people globally and can cause mild illness in some people and permanent disability in others. U.S. researchers have reversed multiple sclerosis symptoms in early stage patients by using bone marrow stem cell transplants to reset the immune system.

Read more … http://tr.im/oob7

Monday, June 29, 2009

Editorial: Promising news on stem cell research

Here is some good news amid the general gloom: Scientists at the Salk Institute in La Jolla say they have cured a cell.

In a paper in the journal Nature, the Salk team reports it has fixed a defective gene in cells taken from patients with Fanconi anemia, a disease that can cause bone-marrow failure, leukemia and other cancers.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/o8effx

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stem-Cell Guidelines Are a Good Start

The storm raised by stem-cell scientists about the failure of the National Institutes of Health draft guidelines to grandfather in stem-cell lines already in use is overshadowing other important issues raised by these guidelines ["New Rules on Stem Cells Threaten Current Research," news story, May 25].

The guidelines admirably add certain protections for those who make the difficult decision to donate, for stem-cell research, embryos remaining after in vitro fertilization treatment. Such protections did not appear in the Bush-era guidelines. While the protections complicate the informed-consent process, the grandfathering issue they raise can be remedied by adopting sections of the National Academy of Sciences guidelines addressing it.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/qmrgzv

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Saving Cord Blood

I have four grandbabies coming this year. One is already here and the next one is due today. I hope they never have to use it, but I have encouraged each of my daughters to save their baby’s cord blood.

I believe there are cures to be found in stem cells—the younger the cells, the more potential they have. In fact, I know that people have been helped and even cured of many illnesses using placental stem cells at a clinic in Mexico.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/m5gznu

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Embryonic Stem Cell Research for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease, but the face of ALS today is Stephen Hawking. He's the wheelchair-bound British astrophysicist who has lived with the crippling disease for almost 50 years.

He got married, had children, and rose to international fame as a professor at Cambridge after his diagnosis. His web site, http://hawking.org.uk, chronicles the life of this remarkable man. My favorite part is the photo: he can still smile.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/kwmajb

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another Attack on California Stem Cell Research Program?

Action Requested: share this information with friends. Consider sending polite letter of support for the California stem cell program to: littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov, attention Stuart Drown. Watch www.stemcellbattles.com for a potential new law attacking the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Dear Stem Cell Research Supporter:

On May 27th, an open meeting of the Little Hoover Commission was held to discuss ways to drastically overhaul the California stem cell program.

It was a disaster.

First, a little background. The Little Hoover Commission* (LHC) is a California "efficiency organization" with the power to suggest new laws to "improve" the function of California programs. That sounds okay, doesn’t it?

But the California stem cell program has already been "improved" half to death; much more such "improvement" and the patient may not survive!

As you know, the CIRM (California Institute of Regenerative Medicine) has endured three lawsuits, (which nearly shut it down for two years); been audited five times (came up squeaky clean, thank you very much), and has had seven (7) laws thrown at it; can anyone name a government program which has been more systematically investigated, almost to the point of harassment?

And yet it has prevailed. All seven laws were defeated, the audits found the CIRM open and honest, the lawsuits were defeated on every point.

But now comes the Little Hoover Commission anyway, to take its turn.

Friends of this column might remember I have been worried about this group.

As you know, stem cell research’s greatest enemy in California is probably Senator George Runner. Mr. Runner, described by one newspaper (the Los Angeles City Beat, 3/24/05) as "virulently anti-embryonic stem cell Republican George Runner" is against our research in general and Proposition 71 in particular. He is, I believe, co-author to every anti-CIRM law that has been proposed. One of his bills was the source of the original request for the Little Hoover Commission to study the California program, and his wife, Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, was until very recently a member of the Little Hoover Commission.

However, at the first meeting of the LHC discussing the stem cell program, several board members complimented it. One said Bob Klein deserved "an A plus" for leveraging $272 million in California dollars into $1.15 billion in purchasing power; another said the program should be studied as an example of government at its best: successful public/private partnership.

So was I worried for nothing?

Unfortunately, no. My worst fears were just realized.

Here are three of the LHC’s proposed changes. (They said a lot more, but they were talking very fast, and I am only a two-finger typist—not to mention they provided zero written documents as to their recommendations, which made things rough on people trying to provide accurate coverage of the public meeting.)

1. The Little Hoover Committee would gut the leadership board of the California stem cell program, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC): weakening it, and putting it under political control. They would reduce the ICOC by half, from 29 to 15 members. And, in place of the non-political structure of the board, the LHC would impose a new way to select the membership, politicizing it.

The ICOC is a non-political governing board, designed to be above ideology and partisan politics.

It is deliberately large, 29 members, so as to provide a diverse cross-section of opinion: science, education, business, patient advocates.

The LHC was quite open about their intention: they wanted to impose a "more traditional board where the Governor and Legislation have control". This not only opens up the possibility of removing our funding, but flouts the voters’ will; California voted for a program where science would be judged on its own merits, not subject to the changing winds of political ideology.

2. The Little Hoover Commission would take away the ICOC board Chairman’s salary, as well as the vice-Chair’s. They would deliberately weaken the Chair’s authority by transferring most of his responsibilities to the President. Also, they would shorten his term in office from 6 years to two; there was even talk of eliminating his position altogether, or passing it around the ICOC membership, taking turns, making the position a "non-executive executive"!

This is ludicrous.

To understand what a mistake this would be, consider what skills the chairperson must provide, both by need, and by California law.

First, how is our program funded? Our only source of money is the sale of California bonds. No bond sales, no funding. Fortunately, our current Chairperson, Robert N. Klein II is an acknowledged expert on these bonds, having worked with them since 1975. (Klein set up and helped run the highly successful California Housing Finance Agency, also financed by bonds.)

Second, the success of our program depends on deep knowledge of and experience in interaction with state and federal law.

The chair is Bob Klein, the man who designed the California stem cell program, and who has steered it through innumerable crises. He served unpaid for the first five years, before financial conditions forced him to take a salary, $150,000 a year, small compared to most executives.

Could he be replaced by a board member or even the President of CIRM?

Under the law, "Mandatory Chairperson Criteria" Proposition 71 requires:

"...(ii) Experience with state and federal legislative processes that must include some experience with medical legislative approvals of standards and/or funding."

It also suggests: "(B) Additional criteria for Consideration:...

(iv) Direct knowledge of and experience in bond financing."

Do we know anybody like that? Hmm, let’s see. The President, esteemed scientist Dr. Alan Trounson, (being Australian) would not be eligible under the law, because he has no such experience; also according to his testimony, he has no understanding of bond sales, which are the lifeblood of our program.

Who does know about bond sales, and whose idea was it to use them to fund the stem cell program? Bob Klein.

Whose idea was it to develop and sell "bridge anticipation notes"—BANs, another form of bond—which got us through the first two years when law suits blocked our funding? Bob Klein.

And who is trying right now to negotiate federal guarantees for our loans to biomed companies—as much as a billion dollars backup funding? Bob Klein.

One false step, and we could lose millions of dollars of new money for California.

We must have a chair who understands not only the twists and turns of stem cell politics, but also the complications of bond finance.

To the best of my knowledge, there is exactly one person in the world with a skill set like that—
the man the Little Hoover Commission would "term out" of office.

3. The LHC proposes hiring more staff to help with the work at CIRM. That sounds pretty good, at first—except they would not authorize any more money for this. Prop 71, by law, can only spend 6% of total funding on employees. The LHC noted that, but suggests no provision to change it. Apparently they expect current employees to take a pay cut to hire the new workers.

So, if we cut everyone’s salary in half, we could hire twice as many people! An interesting concept. I wonder which of the LHC members would like to go first, and reduce his or her income, by way of example? Throughout the hearing, LHC board members displayed a staggering lack of knowledge about the program they would so radically change.

Example: as a reason to change the ICOC governing board, one LHC member stated that biotech was "locked out of representation on the (ICOC) board"...apparently not realizing four biotech representatives are in fact installed on that board.

Example: Objections were raised to the alleged "throwing out" of the CIRM’s strategic plan. CIRM spokesperson Don Gibbons pointed out that this was incorrect: the "new" strategic plan was an addition to and extension of the previous one, not a replacement: and this fact was plainly labeled as such, from the front page onward. These additions included the new loan program, and also reflected some major changes in science.

Example: One member came close to slandering the men and women of the ICOC, accusing them of "giving themselves grants... anyone would want to play cards, if they could be guaranteed a stacked deck." This is not only insulting, but factually inaccurate; board members are not even allowed to speak about grants affecting their institutions, let alone vote on "giving themselves grants".

The public was not allowed to view the LHC draft document.

True. The board members and staff were allowed to have copies of the proposed changes, but not the public. This would seem contradictory to the LHC’s mission of increasing transparency of government. Apparently, the only time the public will see the actual document-- will be after it is too late to offer comments on it!

Important: LHC members stated several times that they were against any legislative changes which would require "going to the people", i.e. needing a public vote. They much preferred a legislature-only approach. The people, one individual noted, are "not interested in change".

Others agreed, calling it (popular vote on change) "arduous" and "futile". At an earlier meeting of the LHC, a member stated his opinion that at least some of the changes sought by critics could not be achieved without a Constitutional amendment, which means a public vote.

Prop 71 was passed by initiative, and approved by the voters of California; much of the law was placed in the Constitution, meaning a vote of the public would almost certainly be required to amend it.

So would the LHC changes be Constitutionally legal?

"That’s for the courts to decide," one member said, shrugging off the possibility of a few more years in court.

As the father of a paralyzed young man, I cannot be so casual about anything which may delay cure research. This struggle is personal to me, not some sort of intellectual exercise. The scientific challenges are difficult enough, without needless political delay.

When the meeting was over, a member of the LHC came up to me and said, "We want the CIRM to thrive and flourish!"

To which I responded, "Then why gut it? Why remove the heart and soul of a highly successful program?"

By any objective measure, the California stem cell program is an enormous success. Just one example: remember the $272 million budgeted for construction—which was leveraged into $1.15 billion in buying power. How did the ICOC and its Chairman accomplish this? They insisted that matching funds be required from institutions seeking facilities grants. In this manner the purchasing power of California dollars was multiplied three times over. How many programs, public or private, can bring in more funds than they put out? I know of none. And this is the Committee the LHC would weaken; this is the chairman whose salary the LHC would take away.

The ICOC board is a convergence of expertise, not a conflict of interest. Their diversity is a strength, and their chair makes sure every viewpoint is heard, which is probably why most decisions are close, often unanimous; they wrestle out their decisions, arguing, struggling, working it out, finding what is right—in the full light of public view-- and California benefits.

The old expression applies: "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."

Does that mean the program is perfect? Of course not. No institution on earth should be beyond correction. If a speed-reader was to wade through the endless pages of the public record of the ICOC meetings, he or she would find countless arguments about policy and performance, as problems are identified, dealt with, and policies set up to prevent their recurrence. That is healthy.

Positive interaction with our governmental leadership in Sacramento and Washington is actively sought; witness our new Vice-President, cancer-survivor Art Torres, whose sole job that is. Mr. Torres is a veteran of many years public service, including working with Cesar Chavez and the farm workers union, and he came out of retirement just to work with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Well, there it is.

The final draft of the Little Hoover Commission report will be released soon.

If you want to offer your thoughts and recommendations, or just voice your support for the California program, send an email to littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov, attention Stuart Drown. (On a personal note, I have met Mr. Drown several times, and corresponded with him, and he has always been polite and professional.)

So what do we do now? Consider writing the letter.

Above all, get ready.

Update your email lists. If you live in California, consider the idea of visiting Sacramento in the near future. If Senator Runner or someone else puts up a law based on LHC, which he almost certainly will, there will be hearings to attend.

If you don’t live in California, we will still need your help. This will be an interactive effort. If an attack law develops, we who support the CIRM will be going through our phonebooks and e-lists, organizing our defense.

Across America, wherever you live, the success or failure of the California stem cell program
affects you and your loved ones: all who hope and work for cure.

Let there be no doubt in anybody’s mind. We in the patient advocacy community appreciate, support, and will defend the CIRM and the ICOC. It is the concrete realization of our hopes for cure, an institution dedicated solely to finding cures for illness and injury which afflict our families-- we will not sit idly by when it is attacked.

Any law calling for a weakening or political "do-over" of California’s stem cell program must and will be vigorously opposed. Don C. Reed, co-chair, Californians for Cures Californians for Cures sponsored the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, source of the first state-funded embryonic stem cell research in America.

*Important: Not all the LHC board members were present that day, (this is budget crisis time at the California capitol) and I know of at least one member who strongly opposes the direction the committee is taking. It may be that the committee will reconsider their current position-- a good reason to send them your thoughts: littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stem cell grant seals the deal

Unlike what you may have heard or read, stem cells are very unlikely to cause cancer. Right-wing groups used this lie to distract people from supporting embryonic stem cell research. The truth is that these stem cells may actually be the cure for cancer once they are fully understood.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/r236wu

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Activated stem cells in damaged lungs could be first step toward cancer

DURHAM, N.C. – Stem cells that respond after a severe injury in the lungs of mice may be a source of rapidly dividing cells that lead to lung cancer, according to a team of American and British researchers.

"There are chemically resistant, local-tissue stem cells in the lung that only activate after severe injury," said Barry R. Stripp, Ph.D., professor of medicine and cell biology at Duke University Medical Center. "Cigarette smoke contains a host of toxic chemicals, and smoking is one factor that we anticipate would stimulate these stem cells. Our findings demonstrate that, with severe injury, the resulting repair response leads to large numbers of proliferating cells that are derived from these rare stem cells."

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/nbnoap

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Medical Council finalises stem cell regulation

The deadline for submitting comments to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is over and the guidelines will soon be established to monitor federal funding for blastocystic (embryonic) stem cell research in the U.S.

The Medical Council of Thailand has completed a draft regulation on clinical trials using stem cell technology to provide consumers with better protection. Once it is submitted to the public health minister for approval, the guidelines will be published in the Royal Gazette.

Read more http://tinyurl.com/m2urob

Monday, June 1, 2009

Geron: Strong Investment in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Geron is scheduled to begin the first ever human clinical trial with human embryonic stem cells (hESC) as the treatment this summer. The goal is to repair and regenerate the myelin sheath of spinal cord injuries. It is also using hESC to develop cardiomyocytes for heart disease which is in product development; islets for diabetes, chondrocytes for cartilage regeneration, osteoblasts for bone regeneration, and hepatocytes for liver disease.

Read more of Ryan Pollack’s article at http://tinyurl.com/mq9tjb

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Donation or destruction frame dilemma

There are about 500,000 frozen blastocysts are in storage at fertility centers across the nation. Couples who don’t need the cells remaining after in-vitro fertilization can donate them to other couples, to medical research, or have them destroyed. Many do nothing, which poses a storage problem for fertility clinics. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stem Cell Research Book on Kindle and iPhone

Yvonne Perry's stem cell research book is now available as an e-book for Kindle Reader or iPhone www.amazon.com.

Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America is an award-winning finalist in the current events: political/social category of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. It was also an Amazon best-selling book in biomedical category.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today is the Last Chance to Comment on New Stem Cell Guidelines

Today, Tuesday, May 26, 2009, is the last day allowed for public comment on the new stem cell guidelines proposed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If you click on http://nihoerextra.nih.gov/stem_cells/add.htm, (before 11:00 Eastern Standard time tonight) you will come to the public comment page. It is all set up for you, easy as pie.

Why should you take the trouble to say something important like “I support the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s position on the new stem cell guidelines” (which would be my recommendation)--?

Three reasons:

1. The new guidelines are so cautious and conservative they would disqualify funding for almost all the embryonic stem cell lines made since 1998, when the field began. We owe the brave men and women scientists who worked in a terrifically hostile political climate—their courage, and their work, deserve to be supported now.

2. The economy of the world depends on cure research. Last year, America alone spent $2.3 trillion on medical care costs—more than all federal income taxes put together ($1.8 trillion)—and 75% of that mountain of money went to pay for chronic (incurable) illness and disability.

3. Your family deserves the best medical care science can provide.

We’re out of time, folks. Today is quite literally the last day.

Click, comment, and then share this note with your friends.

Today, please, or the opportunity is gone.

Don C. Reed, father of Roman, paralyzed, and brother of Barbara, who has cancer. For more information, go to www.stemcellbattles.com

Why is Research Not Pro-Life?

I use the term "blastocyst" whenever possible; I understand it is technically a "pre-embryo." "Embryo" falsely conjures up some kind of entity from which cells can be torn and has been very costly in getting the public to understand what we are talking about.

This unfortunate appellation has allowed opponents of ESCR to confuse it with the abortion issue. Apparently the IVF clinics don't consider it to be a person as they dispose of the extras without penalty or much fanfare. There is no big movement to shut down IVF clinics. Are those thousands of blastocysts to all be adopted, thrown away, stored forever? What should happen to them?

Why is research not pro-life?

I really believe if people could see what we are talking about, they would favor ESCR. I don't consider a blastocyst to be any more sacred than a sperm or an egg and all of them don't become people and they also contain DNA. I still see fetuses and "tiny humans" referred to on the internet by opponents when they blast ESCR. This proves that they don’t understand the science behind the research.

Rayilyn Brown
Director AZNPF
Arizona Chapter National Parkinson Foundation rbrown@aznpf.org

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bones Made From Human Skin Connective Tissue

ScienceDaily (May 1, 2009) — Cartilage, bones and the internal walls of blood vessels can be created by using common connective tissue cells from human skin. Researchers in reconstructive plastic surgery at Link√∂ping University have successfully manipulated these tissue cells to take on different shapes depending on the medium they have been cultivated in.

“This means that it will be much easier to produce autologous tissue, which is tissue created from the patient’s own body”, says Gunnar Kratz, Professor of Experimental Plastic Surgery and team leader for the research group.

The results of the group’s research are now published in three simultaneous scientific articles.

Bone, cartilage and blood vessels are important components in reconstructive surgery, where damaged tissue needs to be recreated. Minor fractures can heal spontaneously but for major bone damage and cartilage injuries there is the need to transplant tissue from other parts of the patient’s body.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/ca4orq

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Comments to the NIH for Guidelines on hESC

I encourage all my readers to take action and leave comments for guidelines regarding how the National Institute of Health (NIH) should conduct research on embryonic stem cell research. I thought it would be hard to submit, but it isn't. I typed up my suggestions and simply copied and pasted them into the form at http://nihoerextra.nih.gov/stem_cells/add.htm. In case you are interested in what I suggested, I'll share my comments with you. Perhaps this will give you some ideas of what to put in your response.

I want to thank President Obama for allowing the public to give input to the NIH, and I thank the NIH for receiving our comments.

Let me begin by saying that I dislike the term “embryonic” stem cell research because it gives people the idea that these undifferentiated laboratory-germinated cells have body parts and are a tiny baby. Some even think that embryos are being removed from a woman’s womb, and they equate it to abortion. Please change the terminology and help educate the public about the science involved and its potential.

1. Please do not allow minority religious organizations to sway your decision about how stem cell research is conducted. These groups have the power to influence people without having full knowledge of the science involved in using in vitro blastocysts for research. These powerful and wealthy groups are many times supportive of torture, war, and capital punishment of living, breathing human beings. Therefore, I cannot understand why they are so concerned about saving cells that are not human beings. Their vocal public opinion and organized efforts have hindered science long enough. It’s time for America and the world to see what potential lies within blastocystic stem cells. Our own family members and friends could be cured or treated with technology created as a result of a better understanding of these primordial cells.

These religious groups are able to organize letter-writing campaigns that make it seem as though the majority of folks disapprove of using IVF blastocysts for research. When preparing the manuscript for my book, Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America, I gathered statistics from several nationwide surveys: Harris Interactive®, Newsweek, ABCNEWS/Beliefnet, Genetics and Public Policy Center (GPPC), and the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR). The results of those polls show that approximately 65 percent of American voters favor the use of hESC research. Please listen to our scientists and researchers on this issue.

2. Allow and accelerate blastocystic stem cell research to include funding for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) also known as therapeutic cloning. This research may very well prove helpful in finding a cure for many illnesses and conditions.

3. Don’t be fooled by the non-factual information the media has presented regarding the effectiveness of hESC research. Many have said that this research will not prove useful in the future because it has not shown promise. This is not true. At an October 24, 2006, press conference, Proposition 71 advocate Don Reed (Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act) said, “On March 1, 2002, I held in my hands a laboratory rat, which had been paralyzed, but which now walked again. It had been given human embryonic stem cells. I felt the tiny muscles moving—muscles which had been still and limp before—and this while my paralyzed son watched from his wheelchair.” Don’s story and others that give hope have not been in the forefront of the media.

These religious groups have said that adult stem cells can do the same things as blastocystic stem cells. Dr. Elias Zerhouni thinks the claim that adult stem cells are able to do all that blastocyst stem cells can do is overstated: “The presentations about adult stem cells having as much or more potential than embryonic stem cells, in my view, do not hold scientific water…I think scientists who work in adult stem cells themselves will tell you that we need to pursue as vigorously embryonic stem cells.” The Prentice list gives 58 to 100 alleged cures, treatments, or “improvements” misleadingly attributed to adult stem cells research. The source of this list is an employee of a religious right lobbying group. The truth is only nine conditions have demonstrated both safety and efficacy in all three phases of clinical trials using adult stem cells and are considered as standard therapy by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) treatments. These are: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, Aplastic Anemia, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplasia, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome-X1, and Thalassemia Major.

I have personally worked with International Stem Cell Institute founder Rita Alexander, who is affiliated with a clinic in Mexico that is already using placental stem cells (derived from afterbirth) to successfully treat Parkinson’s and other conditions. Political red tape has kept treatment using these younger stem cells from being approved for use in the U.S. However, if placental and older, differentiated adult stem cells have shown this kind of hope in Mexico and Europe for over 25 years, it stands to reason that even more potential for cure lies within blastocystic stem cells that have not begun to differentiate.

The private sector has been funding blastocystic research under restrictive conditions for years, and, while we have seen tremendous progress, a lack of greater funds has definitely limited advancement toward a cure for many conditions. Scientists are still in the early stages of exploring blastocyst stem cells, so we do not know what potential lies within this scientific territory. Compare that to the medical technology we now have available using adult stem cells and you will see how much government funding helps in developing new treatments for disease. The fundamental challenge in stem cell research is not just to replace things, like in adult stem cell transplantation. Blastocyst stem cells will help us understand for the first time in the history of mankind how DNA is programmed to reprogram.

4. Allow research on stem cell lines developed from sources other than surplus blastocysts from in-vitro fertilization at fertility clinics. Since we do not yet know what may be discovered once research is in full progress, we do not want to construct barriers by stating that only surplus blastocysts can be used. SCNT may offer a new line of viable stem cells.

5. Encourage research that can be quickly transferred to those who are currently suffering. Allow human clinical trials on cases where a patient has a terminal illness and is willing to participate in experimental trials. Help Geron and other research and technology companies get their clinical trials proposals passed through FDA.

6. Allow collaboration and information sharing among NIH-funded and privately-funded researchers. This will lessen the overall costs of doing research because efforts would no longer need to be duplicated in separate labs that isolate research conducted through federal funds from research conducted through private funding.

I believe that cures for diseases could be found using blastocystic stem cell research. The only way we are going to discover the potential contained in blastocyst stem cells is to allow research to take place with more funding, fewer restrictions, and good oversight.
I appreciate your consideration of my suggestions and I look forward to a time when, as a result of blastocystic stem cell research, diseases such as Parkinson's, diabetes, and paralysis due to spinal cord trauma can be reduced or eliminated.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Editorial: California stem cell policy keeps paying dividends

One of the most compelling arguments for California's bold experiment in funding stem cell research — Proposition 71 — was that it would remove the political whims of Washington as a barrier to scientific advances.

That was obvious in 2004, when state voters overwhelmingly approved the proposition while George W. Bush was president. But it's still proving to be true with Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

Stem cell advocates rejoiced in March when Obama signed an executive order lifting Bush's restrictions, which had limited federal research to only two dozen stem cell lines. This cleared the way for federal funding for a wider range of research. In addition, the economic stimulus package included $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which could use some for stem cell research.

But the NIH guidelines released last week still include some limits on federal funding — probably an effort by Obama to deal with ethical concerns and move toward a more bipartisan consensus.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/c2o4h4

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Two Valley families plan journey of hope

People are going out of country to receive stem cell treatments not available in the US. This story by Barbara Anderson of The Fresno Bee shows how desperate people are to get help for their children and to treat adult illnesses.

Two families living in the San Joaquin Valley will travel to China for an umbilical-cord stem-cell therapy treatment for their children.   Read More...


Did you know you can receive proven placental stem cell treatments in Mexico that costs less money and requires less time for travel days? My friend, Rita Alexander, is the founder of International Stem Cell Institute and has seen multiple illnesses cured at the Mexico clinic. She isn't just talking the talk; she has actually received several treatments to improve rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Read her story...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stem cell research into blindness given boost by drug company

British stem cell research into the commonest form of blindness has been given a major boost after the world's biggest drug company backed the work.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Last Updated: 8:48PM
BST 24 Apr 2009

Scientists at University College London teamed up with Pfizer to develop a treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that affects more than 500,000 people in Britain.

The deal will help the research team to turn its scientific discoveries into treatments for AMD, which causes loss of sight through progressive loss of cells in the retina.

The UCL group, led by Professor Pete Coffey, has already used embryonic stem cells to grow eye tissue that is destroyed in AMD and has transplanted it into animals to reverse eye damage from the disease.

Prof Coffey's team intends to begin patient trials in 2010 or 2011 and will receive funding and back up from the drug company who in turn will have the right to exploit commercially any cure.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/dyyerr

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The National Institutes of Health is asking for public commentary

This post is from Rick McGirr, who suffers with Parkinson's disease. Please read what he has to say:

The National Institutes of Health is asking for public commentary on the proposed changes in guidelines for the use of stem cells in medical research. The Obama administration wants to loosen the restrictions to allow use of certain stem cells, derived from excess embryos developed by fertility clinics in support of efforts by couples to conceive, with the consent of the persons owning the embryos, and when the embryos would otherwise be discarded.

This is by no means a large change, nor a wholesale reversal of the cautious position of the previous administration. But it would open the door for researchers to be supported by federal dollars as they carry on the noble work of finding cures and better treatments for millions of people who suffer from a wide array of diseases, like Juvenile Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, to name a few.

Surprising to some, there is much opposition to this change, a large portion of it coming from religious organizations. An example is the Catholic Church. This is the position of the US Conference of Bishops regarding the use of stem cells in medical research...

“NIH & Congress: Oppose Funding of Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research - Support Cures We Can All Live With!

Following President Obama's March 9 executive order, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has proposed guidelines for federally funded embryonic stem cell research. The guidelines would - for the first time - use taxpayer funds to encourage the killing of embryonic human beings for their stem cells.

This marks a new chapter in divorcing biomedical research from its necessary ethical foundation, respect for human life at all stages.

Embryonic stem cell research treats innocent human beings as mere sources of body parts, as commodities for our use.

Even if, like the embryos targeted by the NIH policy, an embryo may be at risk of being abandoned by his or her parents in a fertility clinic, that does not give researchers or the government a right to kill that human being - much less a right to make the rest of us subsidize that destructive agenda.

Some in Congress and the Administration want an even broader policy. They want to obtain stem cells by destroying human embryos specially generated for research through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or cloning procedures - a "create to kill" policy.

Neither of these policies is ethical or promotes responsible science. They both violate the fundamental right to life.

Patients suffering from devastating illnesses deserve our compassion and our committed response - but not at the cost of innocent life. The Church supports ethical stem cell research and treatments that do no harm and respect the inherent dignity of persons - cutting-edge medical advances that are already benefiting patients with dozens of conditions in clinical trials.

It is time to focus on cures and treatments we can all live with.”

Embryonic human beings?? Body parts?? Abandoned?? Create to kill?? Respect??

These are outrageous distortions of plain facts. It is obvious that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops must not have done due diligence, know nothing of medical research, have no respect for my life nor of the millions of other afflicted persons, know nothing about the true nature of the materials being made available by President Obama’s executive order, and are doing their own parishioners a great disservice, nay, dishonor by opposing what is clearly one of the most promising areas in the search for cures and better treatments of disease.

My friends, embryos can hardly be called human beings, any more than a germinated seed can be called a flower, or squash, or seaweed. I encourage you all to research what embryos are. There is no basis in law, in ethics, in morals, in history, in medicine, in science, nor even in the bible itself to speak against the use of embryonic stem cells for legitimate purposes of helping find cures for many diseases afflicting millions.

Even the suggestion that the microscopic group of cells as it sits in a Petri dish is indeed a human being brings up a shipload of difficult questions which have never arisen before, such as when to grant citizenship and constitutional protections. Such ridiculous scenarios play out as to make one’s head hurt.

Consider the status under law of those who would potentially benefit from a cure using stem cells. If these embryos are to be considered citizens, what does that do to the status of the millions who have been born, lived as autonomous beings, and who have suffered for years with a myriad of disorders? Are they to be granted no rights? Are their rights to be held in abeyance while we take pity on these poor little Petri dishes? Am I not as worthy of consideration in the eyes of God, or the US conference of Catholic Bishops?

Further, let me point out once more that these embryos are actually being saved from being garbage. That’s right, excess embryos created at fertility clinics are routinely discarded! How could this be allowed if embryos are people? If their use in research is not allowed, then there is nothing good that can be said of their existence, and millions of people with many illnesses will be relegated to a status lower than the medical waste in the dumpsters behind fertility clinics. Is my life or yours not sanctified? I have raised children, paid taxes, voted. I’m a citizen. Do I have no rights at all? Will I not be allowed the right to seek a cure for my Parkinson’s disease? Will doctors be barred from even pursuing a most promising area of research on the grounds of wholly non-scientific dogma which has no basis in science, law, or indeed any religious text?

Rest assured that careful government oversight of the use of these controversial cell lines will continue, and researchers will have to adhere to a very narrow code of ethical use of such materials.

The deadline for public comments is May 26, 2009. See links below for the NIH draft document itself, lots more information, and instructions on how to comment online.

However ill-informed the position of those opposed to stem cell research may be, make no mistake – the opposition is organized and mobilized. Every one of us will have to make our voices heard again and again in order to thwart this threat to our rights and our very well-being.

On behalf of the afflicted, I urge you to 1) read the backward, ignorant, anti-science view of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops 2) go to the web sites below to learn more about the changes being proposed 3) most importantly, I urge you to make your opinion known to the NIH, and to the Obama administration, and to your own elected officials on every level.

I have informed the NIH of my approval of robust federal support for this and all research which could lead to the alleviation of suffering for millions of people now living with horrible diseases that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. I hope that you will do the same, and encourage your friends and family to do so as well. Thank you.

To read the draft policy:
http://stemcells.nih.gov/policy/2009draft

For more information:
http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp

To give your opinion on what the NIH should do regarding ESCR:
http://nihoerextra.nih.gov/stem_cells/add.htm