ICOC Members Address Stem Cell Research Technique in San Francisco Chronicle Opinion Piece
A "crucial distinction" exists between human reproductive cloning and "the research that may create disease-specific therapies through somatic cell nuclear transfer," Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee members Edward Penhoet and Sherry Lansing write in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece.
According to Penhoet and Lansing, opponents of SCNT, including Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Ka.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), "have confused the cloning of cells with the cloning of people." SCNT could lead to treatments for "more than 70 debilitating diseases," such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, sickle cell anemia and thalassemia, Penhoet and Lansing write.
They continue that President Bush's 2001 policy restricting the number of stem cell lines eligible for federal research funding "had a severe chilling effect on progress in stem cell labs around the country," adding that the policy "paved the way for citizens and patients, such as those in California, to approve alternative stem cell research funding."
Penhoet and Lansing conclude that "[a]ny further delay or potential roadblock" to stem cell research "not only constitutes its own ethical transgression but violates the hope and expectation of millions of patients and their families" (Penhoet/Lansing, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/25).