by Bruce R. Williams, D.O.
As a physician, I was heartened by last month's news that scientists had successfully created the equivalent of embryonic stem cells without human cloning experimentation. This new scientific breakthrough holds real promise for finding new cures and treatments. It should put an end to the human cloning debate that has been central to Missouri politics for years.
The new method, referred to as “direct reprogramming” allows researchers to use skin cells to reproduce stem cells identical to those that were previously taken from human embryos. No cloning. No destruction of human life. No ethical controversy.
How big is this breakthrough? The scientist who created Dolly the cloned sheep, Professor Ian Wilmut, has already announced he is abandoning cloning research in favor of the new method. Professor Wilmut believes this new method holds more promise for find treatments, including treating strokes, heart attacks, Parkinson’s and other diseases.
The fact that a human cloning pioneer like Professor Wilmut would shun human cloning experiments in favor of new and more promising research is rocking the scientific community. Many, including Professor Wilmut himself, are declaring this new process as the future for stem cell research. Medical and scientific experts are already predicting the end to human cloning experimentation.
As the journal Science reported last week, with the new procedure, “we would not need human embryos or (eggs) to generate patient-specific stem cells – and therefore could bypass the ethical and political debates that have surrounded the field.”
With this new breakthrough that makes human cloning irrelevant, private research money to support human cloning experiments will be almost impossible to find. Fortunately for the cloning proponents in Missouri, they have access to our tax dollars to fund their research. Now, more than ever, they are going to turn to us to fund their multi-million dollar human cloning agenda.
That is why the Missouri Cures Without Cloning initiative seeks to prohibit taxpayer funding of human cloning, as well as the unnecessary research. It would ensure that human cloning is prohibited within the state of Missouri, and no taxpayer funding could be used to fund such research anywhere.
Why should we, the taxpayers, foot the bill for research that is so obviously fruitless?
While this new scientific breakthrough holds the promise to new treatments for diseases including diabetes and Parkinson’s, why do some continue their battle to support human cloning? The time has come to say no to human cloning in Missouri and to ensure our hard earned tax dollars are not used for human cloning experimentation.
Dr. Williams is a family physician in Blue Springs, Missouri.