HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Stem Cell Research - A Solution?

The AMA News reports on a development that may provide a solution to the embroyic stem cell research debate.   During the November 2003 meeting of the President's Council on Bioethics, council member William B. Hurlbut, MD, a Stanford University consulting professor in human biology, presented a plan to create a new entity that produced embryonic stem cells but would lack the ability to later develop into an embryo.   The report states,

"The proposal involves creating a new type of biological entity that can produce stem cells but would not rise to the moral status of a human embryo. Reaction has been mixed, but with embryonic stem cell research opponents -- including an influential official of the Catholic church -- expressing interest, both sides might be persuaded to give it another look."

Of course, as the report also notes, this does not end the debate.  It quotes Dr.  Hurlbut acknowledging this fact,

"The chief complaint from one side is that I was proposing to create true embryos with a defect," he said. "The criticism from the other side is, 'Why should science accommodate the private religious views of a small number of people?' "


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Drug Companies vs Embryonic Stem Cell Research

It is my contention that there is no incentive to cure juvenile diabetes through embryonic stem cell research because there is too much money to be made, and that shareholders are more important than patients. A representative of a foundation funded by a major insulin manufacturer told me that “it was against their corporate policy to ever support anything that would cure diabetes – after all, look at the good things we do with some of the profits from insulin sales!” According to its 2003 Annual Report, 20% of Eli Lilly’s gross profits of over $12 billion for 2003 were derived from its sales of insulin alone.

Posted by: b. cole | Jan 3, 2005 6:47:48 PM

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