Friday, May 02, 2008

Paying for Politics, Not Cures

The Family Research Council draws on a recent Nature report that shows how political ideology controls the purse of medical progress in California. Dr. Bertram Lubin, a pioneer of ethical sickle-cell anaemia treatments, saw his research request for $5 million turned down by a 10-5 vote of the purse-keepers at California's Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) because, in part, he "lacked work on embyronic stem cells." No matter that he's already treating patients and seeking only to perfect his treatments through stem-cell research. What matters is that his research and treatment by-passes embryonic stem cells in favor of what happens to be the most promising path of stem-cell research -- adult stem cells. But the CIRM, with its $3 billion fund, is more committed to embryonic stem-cell research than to whatever line of stem-cell research is most effective. So the already-promising therapies are denied funding that would improve them and cure patients within a couple of years!

"We're not part of the 'in' crowd," Dr. Lubin told Nature. FRC President Tony Perkins' "Washington Update" for May 1, 2008 continues: "Even though embryonic stem cell therapies haven't yielded a single clinical trial, CIRM is willing to hold patients hostage who could be helped now by alternative research. It should be noted that one of the most controversial issues surrounding CIRM is that it has stacked its board with members who stand to benefit from ESC funding."

Chalk it up to ideology/political correctness and . . . "follow the money."