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December 14, 2018

Scientific experts tell House subcommittee there are many proven alternatives to using tissue from aborted babies for research

Scientific experts tell House subcommittee there are many proven alternatives to using tissue from aborted babies for research
A congressional subcommittee heard testimony yesterday from three experts on the now-more-important-than-ever issue of ethical alternatives to scavenging fetal tissue from aborted babies.

Tara Sander Lee, Ph. D., an Associate Scholar with Charlotte Lozier Institute, told the subcommittee

I stand before you today with a message of hope. We do not need fetal body parts from aborted babies to achieve future scientific and medical advancements. … [S]cience speaks for itself. After over 100 years of research, no therapies have been discovered or developed that require aborted fetal tissues.

David Prentice, Ph.D, an advisory board member and Chair for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center, talked specifically not only about the ethical issues raised, the importance of federal funding going to therapies that work, but also a number of alternatives:

There is no scientific necessity for the continued taxpayer funding of fresh fetal tissue, organs, and body parts from induced abortion. Ample scientific alternatives exist, and modern alternatives have overtaken any need for fresh fetal tissue. Moreover, the practice of using fetal tissue from induced abortion raises significant ethical problems, not least of which is the nebulous interpretation of the term “valuable consideration” or compensation for expenses in the harvest and processing of fetal organs and tissues. Taxpayer funding, which is what this discussion is really about, should go to successful, patient-focused.

In his written testimony, Prentice offered a detailed overview of alternatives to fetal tissue. He began with adult stem cell transplants about which NRL News Today has written frequently:

A 2015 review found that as of December 2012, over one million patients had been treated with adult stem cells. The review only addressed hematopoietic (blood-forming) adult stem cells, not other adult stem cell types, so this is a significant underestimate of the patients who have benefitted from adult stem cell therapies.

A public face for such patients can be found at the educational website stemcellresearchfacts.org, where patients successfully treated with noncontroversial adult stem cells tell their stories in short video vignettes, backed by peer-reviewed publications.

There are at present at least 3,500 ongoing or completed clinical trials using adult stem cells listed in the NIH/FDA-approved database, with over 70,000 people around the globe receiving adult stem cell transplants each year for different conditions. Use of adult and cord blood stem cells in clinical therapy is growing rapidly.

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