Adult Stem-Cell Success Stories Hailed

Meanwhile, a Son of Reagan Assails Use of Embryos

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A press conference focused on two women helped by adult stem-cell treatment, and a bishops' aide hailed their examples as "a powerful witness against the embryonic research PR machine."



The press conference Thursday, conducted by U.S. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, featured the women whose severe spinal cord injuries have been treated with adult stem cells.

Laura Dominguez was a quadriplegic at 16 after a car accident severely damaged her spinal cord, but after treatment using her own olfactory sinus stem cells she can now walk with the aid of braces.

A car accident also left Susan Fajt paralyzed, but she, too, can walk with braces today because of experimental new adult stem cell treatment.

"These brave young women give a human face to the fight for ethical stem cell research," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, a spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.

Adult stem cells and other ethically acceptable alternatives have already helped hundreds of thousands of patients, and new clinical uses expand almost weekly, the bishops' conference said on its Web site.

In fact, non-embryonic cell therapies have quickly moved forward to perform many of the tasks once thought to be possible only with embryonic stem cells.

"These and other inspiring breakthroughs in the area of adult stem cell research show the power of ethical research -- and its beauty," said Ruse.

"There is an ugliness to embryonic stem cell research that even its proponents cannot hide," Ruse added. "When we decide to subjugate one vulnerable class of human beings for service of another, we are all diminished."

Meanwhile, Michael Reagan, a son of former President Ronald Reagan, insisted that his father was firmly opposed to embryonic stem cell research.

"I'm getting a little tired of the media's insistence on reporting that the Reagan 'family' is in favor of stem cell research," Michael Reagan writes in an editorial posted by the weekly Human Events.

"The truth is that two members of the family have been longtime foes of this process of manufacturing human beings -- my dad Ronald Reagan, during his lifetime, and me," he states.

"The media should keep in mind that we are also members of the Reagan 'family' and my father, as do I, opposed the creation of human embryos for the sole purpose of using their stem cells as possible medical cures," Michael Reagan continues.

He adds: "Moreover, using the widely promoted and thoroughly discredited junk science argument that stem cell research can lead to a cure of Alzheimer's disease, the media and proponents of stem cell research have suggested that had the research been done a long time ago, my dad might have avoided the ordeal he endured. This is junk science at its worst."