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The Obama administration has opened the floodgates on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which advocates insist have the potential to cure virtually every malady from Parkinsonism to piles. Maybe. But paraplegics shouldn't post their wheelchairs on EBay just yet.
As I discuss in my Forbes Online piece today, "Decades Away: The Dirty Secret of Embryonic Stem Cell Research," even honest ES cell researchers and advocates admit that therapies and cures are "decades away." That may be 20 years, 30-50 years, or perhaps not in any of our lifetimes. What if Americans knew that?
And what if they knew that in any case the technology is "obsolete," as former NIH director Bernadine Healy - and former ES cell research advocate - puts it.
That's because there are competing therapies, such as adult stem cells, which have been curing people since the 1950s, have treated scores of different diseases, and have been the subject of over 2,000 clinical trials.
Yet, federal research spending is a zero sum game. Every new dollar spent on dead-end ES research will steal from more promising avenues, including adult stem cell research.
So what's behind the '"the embryonic-research economic juggernaut," as wheelchair-bound activist Jim Kelly puts it? Why, there's gold in them thar stem cells!
As I discuss in my New York Post piece, which also appeared today, "Embryonic Research Driven by Greed, not Science," patents on ES cells and material related thereto is making researchers and speculators into millionaires - all without treating a single patient. And what research is more dependent on taxpayer support than that which has no real benefit?
"People are dying, and they're going to continue to die, and people are paralyzed and will continue to stay paralyzed," says Jim Kelly, "all of them a victim of the embryonic-research economic juggernaut."