Brownback Makes Case for Adult Stem Cell Research

When car accidents left both Laura Dominguez and Susan Fajt paralyzed, both received treatments from their own adult stem cells. Now they are able to walk again with the help of braces.

Conservative Sen. Sam Brownback (R.-Kan.), who has led the charge against cloning and other manipulations of human life for scientific purposes, introduced Dominguez and Fajt at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday to demonstrate the promise of adult stem-cell research.

Their stories, Brownback said, illustrate the fact that despite a near-blackout of media coverage, adult stem-cell research has already led to tremendous advances and has far more potential for cures than the highly controversial embryonic research being pushed by some liberal politicians and even the wife of former President Ronald Reagan.

Adult stem cells–pluripotent cells taken from human tissues like bone marrow and umbilical cord–have yielded far more results and are less controversial than their counterparts, embryonic stem cells. Cultivation of the latter requires the creation and destruction of a five-day-old cloned human embryo. Even then, no one has ever been cured of anything by embryonic stem cells, part of the reason why embryonic research has attracted relatively little private funding.

Although some have clamored for government funding for embryonic stem cell research, Brownback noted that one can tell which research holds more promise by looking at where private investors and donors are putting their money.

“The vast bulk in the private field is going into adult stem cell research because that’s where the bulk of the results are,” Brownback said.