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Obama Stem Cell Research Policy

US President Barack Obama has lifted Lift Stem Cell Restrictions and has signed an executive order ending an 8½-year ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Reversing Bush policy cleared the way for a significant increase in federal dollars for embryonic stem cell research and promised no scientific data will be "distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda."

"Our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values.”

This was one of the juicy statements addressed by President Barack Obama in his speech in front of his supporters as he was about to sign the order on the continuance of federal funding on embryonic stem cell research on Monday, March 8, 2009.

In his speech, Obama ensured the existence of scientific data should not be twisted to serve political agendas. To him, awarding funds to stem cell research is synonymous to putting an end to deadly diseases such as leukemia, spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease.

What is Stem Cell?

For those people who remain to be doubtful what truly a stem cell is, it’s simply defined as a cell that has the ability to generate new tissues over a period of time. According to Wikipedia, there are three types of stem cells beneficial to human treatment. These are embryonic, fetal and adult stem cells.

The type of cells deriving from epiblast tissue of an earlier stage of protein-rich embryos is called embryonic stem cells. These cells are reportedly pluripotent (biological compounds which have more than one potential outcome) and has three germ layers namely ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm. More than two hundred cells can developed inside an adult body if only these embryonic stem cells are given sufficient functional activity.

Fetal stem cells refer to as primitive types of cells seen in several organs of a fetus. These days, the real purpose of fetal stem cell to treatment remains obscure.

The last type of stem cell is adult stem cell. These types are reportedly rare and in small numbers but has the special ability to self-renew differentiated cell itself. For many years now, the use of adult stem cells has been in assurance to treat leukemia and tendon-ligament injury in horses. The therapy involving adult stem cells is not controversial compared to embryonic stem cells.

Bush Out-of-Touch Decisions

Until now, there’s a huge debate behind stem cell research. Back in 2001, Former President George W. Bush, Jr. signed an order not supporting the funding research of embryonic stem cells. This was the first bill the Congress has passed which Bush refused to approve.

"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life of the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush commented.

Due to this event, scientists were disappointed and angered Bush’s administration. In fact, Nashville’s associate vice-chancellor in Vanderbilt University, Jeffrey Balser, said; "It makes no sense to say that you're in favor of finding cures for terrible diseases as quickly as possible and then block a bill that would authorize funding for promising and ethical stem cell research.”

Two Sides of Obama’s Overturns

Eight years later, President Obama finally decided to reverse Bush policy by agreeing to further research on embryonic stem cell existing lines. His action garnered several praises and criticisms from several grounds. Reports reveal that House Minority Leader John Boehner commented,

"The president has rolled back important protections for innocent life, further dividing our nation at a time when we need greater unity to tackle the challenges before us.”

In contrast with Former First Lady Nancy Reagan who was in bliss upon knowing Obama’s decisions. His husband and former President, Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2004.

"These new rules will now make it possible for scientists to move forward. Countless people, suffering from many different diseases, stand to benefit from the answers stem cell research can provide. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to do everything in our power to find cures for these diseases -- and soon."


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