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Thread: Reeve, Execs Tout Cloning Research

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Reeve, Execs Tout Cloning Research

    Reeve, Execs Tout Cloning Research


    Story Filed: Thursday, February 21, 2002 4:37 AM EST

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Actor Christopher Reeve, paralyzed in a 1995 horse-riding accident, believes he can walk again if scientists are allowed broad rights to research the closely related fields of human therapeutic cloning and human embryonic stem cells.

    But that's a big if, conceded Reeve who appeared on a panel at a biotechnology conference Wednesday that was sponsored by the industry's lobbying organization BIO.

    Critics from liberal women's reproductive rights groups to conservative abortion foes are opposed to much of the cloning and stem cell research on various moral grounds. They advocate making all forms of human cloning illegal and oppose stem cell research that destroys human embryos.

    President Bush in August severely restricted the use of federal funds in embryonic stem cell research to the 64 known cell lines in existence.

    The U.S. House of Represenatives voted last year to outlaw all cloning, regardless if it's for reproductive purposes or exclusively therapeutic. The U.S. Senate is preparing to debate the issue next month, with BIO backing legislation that would ban reproductive cloning, but permit therapeutic cloning, which is done in a laboratory for the sole purpose of creating cures. Reeve and his fellow panelists all held similar positions.

    ``The main issue is time,'' Reeve said, sitting in the Waldorf Astoria alongside former Florida Sen. Connie Mack, a Republican, and two biotechnology company executives, Geron Corp. chief executive Thomas Okarma and Acorda Therapeutics chief executive Ron Cohen.

    ``You remember a more normal life and wonder if you can ever get that back,'' Reeves said.

    Human embryonic stem cells are developed in the first days of pregnancy and ultimately ``differentiate'' into the more than 200 cells that make up a human body. Scientists believe they can someday coax the stem cells to grow into any number of adult cells to cure disease and injury, like repairing Reeve's damaged spinal cord with new cells.

    Scientists say cloning technology promises to allow this therapy to occur without immune rejection that often occurs when foreign substances are introduced into the body.

    ``That's virtually a miracle,'' said Reeve, who is chairman of the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which funds spinal cord injury research.

    To some, though, the ``miracle'' Reeve talks about is morally repugnant.

    To obtain stem cells, fertilized embryos donated by fertility clinics and grown a few days must be destroyed, rising the ire of some, including religious groups who view the practice as murder.

    Women's reproductive rights advocates, meanwhile, fear the researchers' need for eggs could someday become an industry and exploit poor women. Many also oppose researchers' attempts to clone embryos for their stem cells, viewing an embryo as a life, regardless if it's fertilized in a petri dish or cloned for therapeutic uses.

    ``We call it clone and kill,'' said Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington D.C.

    ------

    On the Net:

    BIO: http://www.bio.org

    Reeve Foundation: http://www.paralysis.org

    Right to Life Committee: http://www.nrlc.org/

    Copyright © 2002 Associated Press Information Services

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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    About this exploiting of poor women.....can eggs needed for therapeutic use be harvested just as organs are from the brain dead who carry donor cards? Unlike IVF there are no drugs needed to make a release of multiple eggs is there??

  3. #3
    Good thought, Sue, but from I know of IVF, the drugs are not only to produce more eggs, but to also mature them. In a normal cycle, only one egg is matured by the ovaries for the most part.

    The comment that was made re the researchers destroying the embryos donated from IVF clinics is so off the wall. The procedure the IVF clinics follow is that they will 'store' the embryos for as long as the family wishes (some people have gone for 2-3 IVF's); then when their family is 'complete', the clinic destroys the remaining embryos. It's already being done! I hate the right-to-lifers and their information is so skewed, it really makes me furious!!!

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    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    My problem with that comment is that many politicians assume because someone is poor they are dumb. I'm sure many women with SCI would gladly donate some eggs with no more payment than some pain medication for afterwards, if needed.

  5. #5
    Senior Member kilgore's Avatar
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    I think it a bad sign to be attacked from both the right and left.
    Do plasma donation centers also exploit the poor? What about sperm banks? I don't see any protesters around those institutions, even though they exist and the ovum donation centers do not.

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