More MS news articles for July 2001

Allen says he supports stem-cell research but not embryo creation

http://www.pilotonline.com/news/nw0724all.html

By LIZ SZABO, The Virginian-Pilot
© July 24, 2001

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. George Allen announced his support Monday for human embryonic stem-cell research but denounced the creation of fertilized eggs for that purpose, a procedure pioneered at Norfolk's Eastern Virginia Medical School.

The Virginia Republican's view is emerging as a popular compromise even among some of the country's most conservative legislators, including Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

In the debate over federal funding for stem cell research, the facts about surplus frozen embryos have been obscured by polemics. The truth is that donating them to science may be the only way they will ever be used in the ultimate preservation of human life.

"I am moved by the many stories of individuals who believe their conditions or those of their loved ones -- including juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, macular degeneration, heart disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's -- might benefit from stem-cell research," Allen said in a statement. "At the same time, I am uncomfortable, along with many other Americans, at the prospect of the creation of human embryos for the specific and sole purpose of destroying them, all in the name of research."

The federal government should fund the use of stored frozen embryos that are "left over" from fertility clinics and would be destroyed anyway, provided there are "strict, enforceable and ethical guidelines governing this research."

Allen added that human cloning should not be legal, although he did not specify which type of cloning. While few scientists advocate cloning individuals -- making a replica of that person -- many are interested in cloning specific cells, such as that of the pancreas, in order to produce tissues or organs for transplant that would not be rejected by the patient's immune system.

Copyright 2001, HamptonRoads.com / PilotOnline.com