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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH--Amniotic Fluid, Not Embryos

Washington, DC (TLS). A major scientific breakthrough involving stem cells retrieved from amniotic fluid rather than human embryos has turned the debate about stem cell research into a whole new ballgame. The announcement came from scientists who have discovered that stem cells are found in plentiful supply in amniotic fluid. This would throw the argument by the Left and victims such as Michael J. Fox into a tailspin.

If it is not necessary to retrieve stem cells from embryos in order to help those afflicted with debilitating illness, then several pro-life politicians were voted out of office in vain this past November.

This technology is a major breakthrough that will give researchers, and victims of illness, an endless supply of stem cells in their fight against disease.

Here is the story from CNSNEWS:

New Discovery Stokes Debate Ahead of Dems' Stem Cell Bill
By Melanie Hunter Senior Editor
January 08, 2007

( - A new study has found that stem cells are in plentiful supply in amniotic fluid, but at a time the charged issue of experimentation involving human embryos is back on the political agenda in the U.S., a group that favors the controversial research insisted Monday the discovery does not make embryonic stem cells (ESC) obsolete.

Two Republican lawmakers - both with medical backgrounds - announced Monday they would introduce alternative legislation on Tuesday, authorizing federal funding for stem cell research that does not involve creating or destroying human embryos.

Two days later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to reintroduce legislation to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Currently, federal funding for embryonic research is restricted to a small number of ESC colonies that existed in 2001, when President Bush announced the policy. ESC research proponents want to expand that dramatically, but the president last July vetoed previous legislation seeking to do so.

In a study reported at the weekend, American researchers said they were able to obtain stem cells from amniotic fluid - the substance surrounding babies in the womb - without harming either the baby or mother.

They found the cells to be "pluripotent" - that is, able to differentiate into various types of cells, including brain and bone.

This is the capability scientists believe ESCs will have, thus offering the possibility of future treatments for injuries and degenerative diseases. But the use of embryonic cells is controversial, because the early-stage embryos are destroyed in the process.

Dr. Anthony Atala of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University of School of Medicine, who led the study, said in a statement that while ESCs were considered the most adaptable, "our hope is that these cells will provide a valuable resource for tissue repair and for engineered organs as well."

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said Monday they will introduce "an ethical alternative" to the Democrat bill.

"As a scientist who studied advanced embryology earning both a Master's and a Doctorate in Human Physiology, I know and confirmed with leading scientists that it is unnecessary to harm or kill embryos to obtain cell lines for research," Bartlett said in a statement.

"With the accelerated federal funding under our bill, there could be rapid progress expanding the number of ethical pluripotent stem cell lines for research," he added.

Gingrey said the bill would allow lawmakers "to side-step the moral questions surrounding embryonic stem cell research."

"In America, we do things the right way," he said. "We don't take organs from death row prisoners because they are 'going to die anyway.' Neither should we steal the life of a fertilization clinic embryo just because there's a chance it won't be used to impregnate a woman."

For the complete story, click here:
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