Stem cells are medicine’s next frontier. Stem cells are political thin ice. Stem cells mark our moral Armageddon. The positions on stem cell research are as various as the diseases they are purported to cure.
Obama’s move last week to specify a research framework for stem cells advanced the conversation a little bit. Under his new policy, stem cells derived from fertility clinics, but no other sources, will be eligible for federal funding. Currently under federal law, no stem cells can be used in federally supported labs that were developed exclusively for research. The law has strong bipartisan support.
To get a view from the trenches, Big Think talked fifteen-year-old Kyle Loh who is taking a year off from his undergraduate degree work at Rutgers to help out at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
When he spoke about the university stem cell research programs he said, “There’s thousands of universities many of which have very of bright people trying to advance stem cell research and that blockading federal money to those laboratories really hurts us a lot because we can’t hope to bring cures into the market by just having private funding to universities and corporate funding for pharmaceuticals.”