Friday, March 30, 2007

Some advances in adult stem cell research this week

German researchers used adult stem cells from the hip bones of liver cancer patients to help grow their livers to a point where they were large enough so doctors could remove the cancerous parts.

Researchers have extracted adult stem cells from the legs of patients suffering from heart failure and then injected them into the patient's heart. The researchers saw improvement in the health of patients who received the adult stem cell treatment while the health of patients who received traditional treatment worsened.

For more advances in adult stem cell research, be sure to visit

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Deceptive Definitions of Human Cloning

Wesley Smith recently had an article published in the Weekly Standard where he examines federal legislation recently introduced in Washington. Wesley notes that while S. 812 is entitled the "Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007," the legislation actually makes human cloning legal by providing a false and misleading definition of human cloning. Instead of defining human cloning as the actual scientific process of cloning, the falsely named "Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act of 2007" defines human cloning as the "implanting or attempting to implant the product of nuclear transplantation" (also known as a cloned human embryo) into a uterus.

At the state level in Michigan, we are faced with similar legislation. In the Michigan Senate, Gretchen Whitmer has introduced a bill, S.B. 52, which attempts to change the definition of "human cloning" in Michigan's current ban on human cloning as well as allow the destruction of human embryos for research purposes.

Michigan's current law defines human cloning by saying, "‘Human cloning' means the use of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology to produce a human embryo."

Somatic cell nuclear transfer of SCNT is the scientific term for cloning. This is the technique scientists used to create Dolly the sheep and the various other animals which have been cloned.

Now, here's how Whitmer's legislation, if passed, would change this definition:
"‘Human cloning' means creating or attempting to create a human being by using the somatic cell nuclear transfer procedure for the purpose of, or to implant, the resulting product to initiate a pregnancy that could result in the birth of a human being."

That language doesn't actually outlaw human cloning. It just outlaws attempts to place a cloned human embryo into a womb if that pregnancy could result in birth by deceptively changing the definition of "human cloning" from a factual, scientific definition to one used for political posturing. Once a cloned human embryo has been created, the cloning has already occurred. Placing a cloned embryo into the womb isn't cloning.

The language of this legislation also seems to leave open the possibility of implanting cloned human embryos into wombs (real or artificial ) as long as the purpose of the pregnancy isn't birth but rather growing the cloned child to a point where the child could be aborted and fetal stem cells could be removed. This is a process also known as fetal farming.

Those who favor the creation and destruction of cloned human embryos for their stem cells are typically very careful to avoid saying they are in favor of scientists being allowed to try to create cloned human embryos because they know the public is, for the most part, not comfortable with human cloning and also not comfortable with the idea of creating human embryos solely to destroy them.

The prolife people in Michigan need to pull the curtain back and expose the crooked plans of human cloning proponents to their friends and family.

Friday, March 23, 2007

LifeFacts: Woman saved from acute leukemia using ethical umbilical cord blood stem cells

A 27 year old woman from Israel contracted acute secondary leukemia that endangered her life. She received umbilical cord blood stem cells from two mothers who had just given birth, which saved her life. The beauty of using cord blood is that it does not necessarily have to be an exact match, unlike bone marrow transplants. Only 25% of patients needing a bone marrow transplant actually match up with someone in their family, otherwise a search for a suitable match is located and asked to donate. This is a cumbersome and time consuming process.

Another major advantage to using umbilical cord blood stem cells is that the graft "took" in two weeks, rather than one month for bone marrow transplants. By cutting hospital stays in half, the potential cost savings for health care will be enormous. Every new mother should consider donating her cord blood to either private or public banks when she delivers her child. By building up cord blood donations in the network, matches can be readily available and by using two doses the life saving benefits are quicker. Last but not least, investing in cord blood banks will save health care untold amounts of money.

For more information, you can read this article.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Correcting the Detroit Free Press's Stem Cell Mistakes

On March 18, 2007, the Detroit Free Press published an editorial on stem cell research which contained a number of claims which weren't true. The editorial claims that the state of Michigan has a "ban on embryonic stem cell research." Michigan doesn't have a ban on embryonic stem cell research. Research with human embryonic stem cell has been occurring at the University of Michigan for a 3 years with the support of federal tax dollars.

The law the Free Press was likely referring to is Michigan's law which prohibits the use of living human embryos, human fetuses, and human neonates in research which isn't therapeutic for them. This law prohibits researchers from killing human embryos for their stem cells but doesn't prohibit researchers from importing embryonic stem cells from other state and experimenting on them in Michigan.

Or the Free Press might have been referring to Michigan's ban on human cloning. Of course, a ban on human cloning is much different than a ban on embryonic stem cell research especially since attempts at human cloning for research have yet to even get embryonic stem cells from a cloned human embryo. If the Free Press editorial board is opposed to Michigan's ban on human cloning then they should provide arguments for why the ban on human cloning should be removed instead of arguing against a ban which doesn't exist.

One might wonder if the Free Press staff is just not very familiar with Michigan's laws on these complex issues except this editorial is one editorial in a long line of editorials and news stories in which the Free Press has inaccurately described Michigan laws relating to bio-ethical issues. Numerous times, Right to Life of Michigan staff have contacted the Free Press and Free Press reporters to correct these errors. Unfortunately, the Free Press has continued to persist in providing its readers with information which is intentionally misleading.

Friday, March 16, 2007

LifeFacts: Some cancers happen when stem cells go haywire - U of M researchers make significant find

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center are the first to identify the stem cells that fuel the growth in pancreatic tumors. This is huge because pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly of cancers with the worst survival rate. By identifying these particular stem cells, drugs can be developed to effectively aim and kill these tumor forming cells. Currently cancer treatments fail because they are designed to shrink the tumor by killing as many cells as possible, but may miss the cancer stem cells responsible. This small sub population of cancer cells can not only copy themselves, but can live longer than ordinary cells. To date, when embryonic stem cells have been transplanted in laboratory animal tests, they also go haywire and cause tumors.

For more information about this research, visit this site.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

True Hope vs. Real Hype

The editorial below was submitted by Right to Life of Michigan to the Greenville Daily News.

True Hope vs. Real Hype

Hardly a day goes by that The Daily News doesn't highlight some new discovery in medical technology. One exciting area of research is stem cell research. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about this research, which research has the most potential and the laws in Michigan.

The Research -While embryonic stem cell research receives the lion's share of attention, most people are unaware that research using stem cells from adults and umbilical cord blood is so far ahead of embryonic stem cell research that if they were in a race - embryonic stem cell research wouldn't be able to catch a glimpse of adult stem cell research with binoculars. The number of ailments in humans which have been treated or helped by stem cells from life-affirming sources is more than 70 while the number of treatments from research which requires the destruction of human embryos is zero. There are more than a thousand clinical trials underway or soon to be underway using adult stem cells or stem cells from umbilical cords while there is not a single clinical trial using embryonic stem cells. The reason for this is embryonic stem cells have a number of huge hurdles to get past before they can even be tested in humans. First off, in animal studies embryonic stem cells form tumors which can be deadly. Second, embryonic stem cells face the possibility of being rejected by a patient's immune system since the stem cells won't have the same DNA as the patient. Researchers hope to overcome the second obstacle by creating cloned human embryos and then killing those cloned embryos for their stem cells.

The Potential - Despite the huge obstacles embryonic stem cells have to overcome and the amazing progress made with adult stem cells, for the last 5-plus years we've heard over and over again about how embryonic stem cells have the "most potential" or the "most promise." It's time for a reality check. The state of California plans to spend $3 billion dollars on embryonic stem cell research and human cloning for research experiments in the next 10 years. Even though California researchers will have an almost inconceivable amount of funding at their fingertips, the group in charge of the funding recently revealed that at the end of the 10 years, they hope there will be some research with embryonic stem cells in "early stage clinical trials." In other words, they are hopeful that after 10 years and $3 billion dollars, embryonic stem cell research will be at a place which is still far behind where adult stem cell research is right now. That "potential" just doesn't sound too promising.

The Law - Embryonic stem cell research is not banned in Michigan. It is going on right now at the University of Michigan with federal tax dollars. Michigan law prohibits the killing of human embryos for research purposes. Michigan law also makes it a crime to try to clone human beings. Michigan has the strongest ban on human cloning in the United States. The legislation Rep. Andrew Meisner and Sen. Gretchen Whitmer support doesn't strengthen Michigan's ban on human cloning. It does just the opposite. It overturns Michigan's ban on human cloning and makes it legal to create cloned human embryos for experimentation.

Don't be swayed by the hype. Science has shown us researchers don't need to create and kill human embryos to treat human beings suffering from horrible ailments. Let's focus our resources on research which works and doesn't kill human embryos and not on research which doesn't work and requires the deaths of human embryos.

Monday, March 12, 2007

LifeBeat for March 10, 2007

Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, discusses how the prolife movement is changing hearts and minds. He also talks about the future of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and what churches can do to stop abortion.

LifeBeat for March 3, 2007

Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Gospel of Life, speaks again about how abortion has affected the African-American community.

LifeBeat for February 24, 2007

Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Gospel of Life, speaks about her personal experience with abortion.

LifeBeat for February 17, 2007

Georgette Forney of the Silent No More Awareness campaign talks about how abortion often comes with aftereffects. Too often women choose abortion because they feel they have no other choice.

LifeBeat for February 10, 2007

Georgette Forney of the Silent No More Awareness campaign speaks about her experience at the March for Life. Georgette also talks about how pro-choice advocates react to the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

LifeBeat for February 3, 2007

Georgette Forney of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign talks about the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, its activities and its goals. Women involved with Silent No More share their experience with abortion and its aftermath.