Wednesday, May 30, 2007

LifeBeat for May 26, 2007

Clarke Forsythe, President of Americans United for Life, talks about why the recent Supreme Court ruling on partial-birth abortion was different than a past ruling by the court on this issue. He also talks about how states can now pass new prohibitions on partial-birth abortion.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Life Facts - Insulin-secreting cells produced from ethically extracted stem cells found in umbilical cord blood

No need to look any further than umbilical cord blood from living babies to ethically obtain stem cells to produce insulin needed by diabetic patients. Colin McGuckin, professor of regenerative medicine at the University of Newcastle, Ireland, made a major breakthrough by producing insulin-secreting cells from cord blood for the first time. Although insulin has also been derived from embryonic stem cells (ESC), it is not transplantable because the tissues do not match, and ESCs tend to have a problem of growing into cancerous tumors.

McGuckin explains that this "process [using cord blood stem cells] is so effective that embryonic stem cells are not needed altogether." There is no controversy extracting cord blood for experimentation or transplantation since obtaining it is not harmful to the donor, it is in ready supply, and with proper banking, tissue matches will be plentiful. Investing in this vital life science will in turn, save massive amounts of health care dollars.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

LifeBeat for May 19, 2007

May 19, 2007 - Clarke Forsythe, President of Americans United for Life, again discusses the recent ruling on partial-birth abortion by the U.S. Supreme Court. This ruling implies that states may have greater room to pass legislation which limits abortion.

Monday, May 21, 2007

LifeFacts - University of Michigan snatches highly sought after biochemistry researcher from the University of Nebraska

The competition is fierce among research universities securing top world renown scientists and the grant dollars that come with them. Anuja Ghorpade, the University of Nebraska Medical Center's top researcher, has gotten offers for more money, more lab space and more prestige for the last 13 years. It wasn't until she was offered a position from the University of Michigan that she could not refuse.

Does this suggest that the laws in Michigan governing biotechnology research are not too restrictive? Could Dr. Ghorpade's decision to move, suggest that Michigan is a prestigious hub of life science's best and the brightest? U of M currently has 349 endowed chairs and is in the process of raising "$425 million to supplement the salaries of top professors and researchers." Dr.Ghorpade's expertise is not in stem cells, but in brain diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and HIV-related dementia. She will truly be an asset to our state's life science corridor. For more information, click here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Letter to Detroit Free Press on stem cell research

The following letter was submitted to the Detroit Free Press regarding this misleading editorial by Liz Barry in the Free Press.
A recent editorial in the Free Press by Liz Barry insinuated that embryonic stem cell research "could boost Michigan(‘s) economy." Absent from the editorial was any explanation of how allowing the killing of human embryos for research would help Michigan's economy. Other states which are supposedly leading the way in embryonic stem cell research have provided researchers with millions upon millions of state tax dollars (which Michigan doesn't have with its current budget crisis). In other words, embryonic stem cell research doesn't bring money in, it typically asks taxpayers to foot the bill.

The editorial also states researchers have "voluntarily adopted rigorous guidelines" including "only using embryos slated for disposal." Why then are embryonic stem cell researchers like Sean Morrison strongly behind the legislative efforts of Rep. Andy Meisner to legalize the cloning of human embryos so they can be killed for research?

Proponents of embryonic stem cell research have been promising cures for years and they've received more than $100 million dollars from our federal government to conduct their research. Yet no human disease is anywhere near being treated with embryonic stem cells. Now they're promising an economic "boost" without any explanation. Don't buy the hype.
If space permitted the letter would have also discussed the fact that the vast majority of human embryos at fertility clinics aren't available for research. Instead, around 90% of those human embryos are being saved by their parents in the hopes of initiating a pregnancy in the future.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

LifeBeat for May 12, 2007

Clarke Forsythe, President of Americans United for Life, discusses the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

LifeBeat for May 5, 2007

Lauren Migliore, President of Students for Life of Michigan, talks about her organization, their goals and what they're working on. Students for Life of Michigan work to make sure the prolife message is heard on college campuses because a large number of abortions are performed on college-aged women.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Letter to the Oakland Press

The following letter was submitted to the Oakland Press in response to this misleading story regarding stem cell research:
An article in the May 10th edition of the Oakland Press focusing on the efforts of the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures (MCSCRC) got a number of facts wrong.

First, the article claims Michigan is "one of the last states in the nation not allowing" embryonic stem cell research. This is an odd claim considering the University of Michigan has received more than $2 million dollars from the federal government to work with embryonic stem cells. Michigan law doesn't ban embryonic stem cell research. It bans human cloning and the killing of human embryos for research purposes.

Second, blastocysts are not "fertilized eggs." Blastocyst is a scientific term used to describe embryos, in this case human embryos, at a certain stage of development. Embryos don't develop from blastocysts since blastocysts are embryos.

The article also fails to note the legislation (H.B. 4616) sponsored by Andy Meisner would legalize the creation of human embryos by human cloning through a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer. Proponents of this legislation don't want the public to know they're in favor of human cloning for research because they realize most people in Michigan recognize it is never ethical for a researcher to create human embryos solely for the purpose of killing them for their cells.
For a group which is supposedly dedicated to educating the Michigan public about stem cell research, the Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research and Cures sure do spend a lot of time providing reporters with inaccurate information.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Life Facts - Embryonic Stem Cell "Whoppers"

No wonder the public is confused about the advancements and failures of stem cell research, embryonic or otherwise, when the following double-speak is published by prominent political figures who have either been mislead or intentionally misrepresent the truth for political purposes. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, "I've met with two patients that have been treated with embryonic stem cells." To date, no human trials using embryonic stem cells are even close to being done.

Speaking of 'whoppers', former U.S. Congressman, Joe Schwarz stated, "Hundreds of thousands of unwanted blastocysts are discarded as medical waste each year." What are his sources? Another false claim he made was, "Another thing happening because of restrictions is, (research is) going offshore." Nothing could be further from the truth.

The former Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, stated in his 2006 State of the State address that at the time he signed the original ban on cloning, "... we never dreamt that new treatments dependent upon such [nuclear cell] transplants [sic] would be developed so quickly. Well, they have been, and as a result we should revisit our ban on nuclear cell transplants."

Huh? There are no treatments.

Iowa's State Rep. Patrick Murphy wrote that, the legislation to lift the ban on cloning, " ... authorizes the creation of embryonic stem cell lines, which are not even close to actual embryos. There is no sperm involved in somatic cell nuclear transfer, so there can be no embryo." How does one get embryonic stem cell lines without embryos? James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, the first to isolate embryonic stem cells, explained that, "If you create an embryo by nuclear transfer, and you give it to somebody who didn't know where it came from, there would be no test you could do on that embryo to say where it came from ... you're creating an embryo."

For more information visit here and here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Letter Printed in the Detroit News

On May 2, the Detroit News printed a letter from Right to Life of Michigan regarding embryonic stem cell research and legislation introduced in Michigan to legalize human cloning for research.