Republicans: Human Embryonic Stem Cells Not Needed —National Academy of Sciences Disagrees


The Republican Party platform advocates a big increase in stem cell research, just not human embryonic stem cell research. In fact, the platform apparently advocates banning both publically and privately funded human embryonic stem cell research:

…we call for a major expansion of support for the stem-cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases — with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life. We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.

It is, of course, wonderful news that researchers have developed new sources and kinds of stem cells. So do researchers no longer need to develop and use human embryonic stem cells? Not so fast, says the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. The Committee's newly released stem cell research guidelines noted: 

At this time it is still undetermined which stem cell types will prove the most useful for regenerative medicine, as most likely each will have some utility, noted the committee that wrote the report.  Therefore, the need for research with human embryonic stem cells still exists despite the availability of new cell sources.

The NAS guidelines press release here