Monday, February 25, 2008

"Mo. judge sides with anti-cloning forces"

The Baptist Press , in a story by Michael Foust, has reported on our recent court victory.
Pro-lifers in Missouri won a major court victory Feb. 20 when a state judge rewrote the ballot language of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban all types of human cloning.
Read the full story.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Ballot Summary

The following is the language that the judge handed down and is now certified to the Secretary of State:
Should the Missouri Constitution be amended to change the definition of cloning and ban some of the research as approved by voters in November, 2006 by:
• prohibiting human cloning that is conducted by creating a human embryo at any stage from the one-cell stage forward;
• prohibiting expenditure of taxpayer dollars on research or experimentation on human cloning; and
• allowing stem cell research for therapies and cures that complies with these prohibitions and the prohibitions of Section 38(d) of theConstitution?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Press Release: "Cures Without Cloning Statement on Court Ruling Upholding Challenge to Carnahan Ballot Summary"

This statement was released by Cures Without Cloning in response to today's court ruling.

Cures Without Cloning Statement on Court Ruling Upholding Challenge to Carnahan Ballot Summary

ST. LOUS, MO – Lori Buffa, MD, chairwoman of Cures Without Cloning, released the following statement regarding the ruling of Circuit Judge Patricia S. Joyce upholding the coalition’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s misleading and inaccurate ballot summary:

“This ruling proves what we’ve said along: that our clear, concise initiative would prohibit human cloning and the taxpayer funding of human cloning in Missouri.

“We are pleased that the courts have upheld our challenge to Secretary of State Carnahan’s blatant attempt to mislead the Missouri voters with her inaccurate ballot summary.

“It is unfortunate that Ms. Carnahan’s actions have needlessly delayed the democratic process, but we are now prepared to move forward with our efforts to prohibit the cloning of human beings here in Missouri.”

Cures without Cloning (CWC) is leading a broad-based, statewide coalition of grassroots organizations committed to prohibiting the cloning of human beings in Missouri. Interested citizens are invited to visit for more information.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wesley Smith on the latest claims of the Stowers Institute

There are a couple of stories out recently regarding the Governors' summit and Wesley Smith at Secondhand Smoke responds to the claims of William Neaves of the Stowers Institute. The following is one of the topics touched on in Smith's blog post.

William Neaves, head of the Stowers Institute, is perhaps the most disingenuous advocate for human cloning that I have ever encountered. To say that I disrespect the man is to say the sky is blue. Well, he's at it again in this story about human cloning and stem cell research in Missouri.


"Those that oppose this research still threaten to overturn the stem cell amendment and the struggle to keep Missouri safe for medical science must continue." A new bill to ban Stowers research is pending in the General Assembly."We remain optimistic that most Missourians will oppose misguided efforts by some politicians to outlaw legitimate biomedical research," Neaves said.

I don't know about any bill in the Assembly and a search did not turn up any. There is a planned initiative to outlaw human cloning. But many believe human cloning is not legitimate medical research, which is why Neaves pitches so much junk biology to pretend that the new planned initiative would outlaw ESCR, which it would not.

Be sure to check out the full post over at Secondhand Smoke.

"Scientists Show [iPS] Stem Cells Don't Cause Cancer"

There has been more good news on the research front: another hurdle in the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) looks to have been cleared. U.S. News and World Report announced the good news last week: "A major concern with using [induced pluripotent] stem cells [iPS] to treat disease has been the possibility that the retrovirus used to implant the cells might cause cancer, but now a group of scientists appears to have solved that problem." The major breakthrough on iPS stem cells only happened a last November, so the pace of the progress on clearing the hurdles in its path highlights the practicality of this new line of research.

In November, two groups of researchers -- one in Japan and one in the United States -- showed that adult human and mouse skin cells could be reprogrammed into stem cells similar to embryonic stem cells, which can be made into any type of cell. These cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), could be the key to using stem cells to cure a variety of diseases.

In this latest study, published in the Feb. 14 issue of Science, the Japanese researchers prove these stem cells are made from normal mature adult cells, and they show that these stem cells can be implanted using a retrovirus without fear of causing cancer.

"This is a real nice follow-up and confirmation of the previous papers that looked at inducing normal cells to become stem cells," said Dr. Hugh Taylor, an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine.

"The question that still existed from the previous paper was whether these stem cells were some sort of adult stem cells," Taylor said. "This paper shows that these
stem cells are fully differentiated adult cells, that they can be reprogrammed into stem cells," he added. "You can probably take almost any adult cell and turn it into a stem cell."

In addition, there has been a fear that using a retrovirus to implant stem cells results in an increased risk of cancer. This study showed that doesn't happen, Taylor said. "It proves, without a doubt, that these cells are safe for human use," he noted.
"Using adult cells to create what appeared to be embryonic stem cells solves the ethical dilemma that some people have in creating or destroying embryos to create stem cells," Taylor said.

Read the full article here.

"Guest Column: Doctor backs anti-cloning initiative"

By Dr. Michael Acuff, Columbia, MO

As a spinal-cord injury specialist, I have dedicated my career to improving the lives of my patients. Over the years, as medical research has progressed, one of the biggest challenges for physicians like me has been to bridge the gap between providing hope and providing false hope.

The new Cures Without Cloning initiative, which would amend the Missouri Constitution to prohibit human cloning and taxpayer funding of human cloning, is about hope.

It is about allowing us to focus our medical research on promising, safe methods to find lifesaving cures and treatments, but doing it without human cloning, which is dangerous, unproven and outside the mainstream of society.

Those who allege human cloning is necessary in the pursuit of these cures and treatments are providing false hope.

The Cures Without Cloning initiative would only prohibit research involving human cloning - nothing more, nothing less. There are plenty of promising research methods, including many forms of stem-cell research, that do not involve human cloning.

Perhaps this is why so many doctors across the state are supporting this common-sense initiative.

Why do we need a prohibition on human cloning? Simple: Because the Missouri Constitution currently only prohibits some cloning. It does, though, permit the same form of human cloning that created Dolly the sheep.

This isn't a religious issue; this isn't an economic-development issue. It's an issue of doing what's right for our patients; it's about allowing medical researchers to focus on safe, proven research techniques, rather than throwing away our tax dollars.

But it seems to me that turning our backs to safe, proven research techniques, while continuing to throw endless tax dollars toward dangerous, unproven human cloning experiments, is wrong.

The Cures Without Cloning initiative does not prohibit stem-cell research. Actually, by prohibiting human cloning, the researchers of our state will be able to focus on the exciting areas of stem-cell research that show real promise and real hope.

The cloning prohibition simply prohibits human-cloning experiments.

We should embrace the exciting promise of cures and treatments that stem-cell research can bring, but we should do so by resoundingly rejecting the practice of human cloning.

My patients deserve hope, and they deserve the best efforts from medical researchers.

By supporting the Cures Without Cloning initiative, we can provide hope, we can provide an honest search for lifesaving cures and treatments, and we can do so without the dangerous, unnecessary practice of cloning human beings.


Originally published by The Maneater

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UCLA team latest to replicate breakthrough

Another team has created pluripotent stem cells, this time from UCLA. The Daily Breeze reports:

Researchers at UCLA have become the first in the state to successfully create skin cells that can be used to treat a number of fatal or debilitating conditions without the use of human embryos or eggs.

The work, which has broad political and ethical implications, appears today in the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings confirm earlier research by Wisconsin and Japanese scientists reported last fall.

The manufacture of these cells provides a potential coup for opponents of embryonic stem cell research, which involves destroying cells that some equate to destroying human life and raises ethical issues associated with regeneration of cells through human cloning.

The laboratory cells created at UCLA "were virtually indistinguishable from human embryonic stem cells," said Kathrin Plath, an assistant professor of biological chemistry at UCLA and lead author of the study. "We're very excited about the implications of this."

Candidates for Governor on Human Cloning

The Columbia Tribune reported yesterday on the views of the candidates for governor on human cloning. U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof and state Treasurer Sarah Steelman are both opposed to human cloning, while Attorney General Jay Nixon opposes the Cures Without Cloning initiative.

Steelman and Hulshof voted against a ballot item that placed provisions in the Missouri Constitution that, among other things, prohibited the legislature from applying any regulations against stem cell research allowed by federal law.

The two also are opposed to somatic cell nuclear transfer. That process involves transferring an individual’s DNA to an unfertilized egg to grow stem cells that could be integrated into that person’s body. That creates an early stage embryo that must be destroyed to harvest embryonic stem cells.

Nixon, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, supports abortion rights and condemned a ballot item submitted last year for circulation that would ban somatic cell nuclear transfer.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thank you!

We want to extend a big thank you to all of our volunteers around the state who braved the weather and handed out literature at the polls on Tuesday.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Grassroots Organization?

Pro-Cloning Group Relies on “Paid Volunteers” to Work Polls on Election Day

The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures claims it is a broad-based grassroots organization, so why is it paying big bucks to hire workers to staff polling places on Election Day?

What happened to the organization’s grassroots volunteers?

Following is a copy of a flier distributed by the pro-cloning coalition:

In case you can't read the flier, it says:

Do You Support Stem Cell Research?

Would You Like to Make $12 Per Hour?

Do You Have Free Time on February 5th, 2008?


The flier also states that the poll workers will be used to educate "thousands of Missourians" on the organization's goal: to oppose a prohibition on human cloning.

They claim to be a grassroots organization, but continue to rely on major contributions from a few wealthy contributors to fund the protection of human cloning.

Clearly if they must pay poll workers there is no real base of volunteer support.

PRESS RELEASE: "In Case You Missed It"

Here is the press release that Cures Without Cloning released today:

In Case You Missed It:
Finnish Researchers Transplant Bone from Stem Cells:
Derived Without Human Cloning

ST. LOUS, MO – Reuters reports on scientists in Finland who say they have “replaced a 65-year-old patient's upper jaw with a bone transplant cultivated from stem cells isolated from his own fatty tissue and grown inside his abdomen.”

This new development comes on the heels of three separate teams of researchers who have been able to “reprogram” ordinary skin cells to take on the properties of embryonic stem cells.

In all cases, no cloning of human beings took place.

Reuters reports (

Scientists in Finland said they had Researchers said on Friday the breakthrough opened up new ways to treat severe tissue damage …

"There have been a couple of similar-sounding procedures before, but these didn't use the patient's own stem cells that were first cultured and expanded in laboratory and differentiated into bone tissue," said Riitta Suuronen of the Regea Institute of Regenerative Medicine, part of the University of Tampere.

A very significant aspect of this latest stem cell success is that stem cells from fat were differentiated into bone cells. Those who want to promote a human cloning agenda have been trying to convince the public adult stem cells cannot do this. Clearly, they can and they work.

The evidence continues to mount that human cloning is not necessary in the pursuit of lifesaving cures and treatments. Furthermore, it underscores the need to pass a common sense prohibition on this dangerous, unproven and unnecessary practice.

Cures without Cloning (CWC) is leading a broad-based, statewide coalition of grassroots organizations committed to prohibiting the cloning of human beings in Missouri. Interested citizens are invited to visit for more information.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Missourinet - "Legal Challenge to Stem Cell Summary Has Day in Court"

Yesterday there was a hearing on our legal challenge in Cole County Circuit Court. Steve Walsh has an article on the subject that gives a summary of what happened.

The legal challenge to Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's summary wording of an initiative to limit certain forms of stem cell research in Missouri has its day in court - but there could be more such days.

Attorney Eddie Greim, representing the plaintiffs led by the group Cures Without Cloning, argued before Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce that the summary is not an honest attempt to let voters know what a yes vote or a no vote would mean. He adds the signature collectors would have to spend a lot of extra time by having to explain to voters why the wording on the summary is so vastly different from the goal of the plaintiffs.

Assistant Attorney General Karen Mitchell, representing the state, argued the ballot summary is just that - a summary - and is not intended to tell all about an initiative. Mitchell insists the summary language is sufficient and fair.
The judge expects to have a ruling on at least part of the challenge by the middle of the month. If more arguments are needed, a February 20th court date has been set aside.

You can also hear his audio story here.