No growth for stem cell research

The president has used his veto power to hinder scientific progress.

Last week President George W. Bush, for the first time, utilized his veto power to send the message that he does not believe in the morality behind stem cell research. His veto of the new stem cell policy approved by Congress is illustrative of his wrongheaded leadership, especially in the area of scientific progress.

There is no reason the president should discourage study in one of the most promising areas of scientific research. Stem cells – parent cells for all the body’s tissues – have the ability to change into any other types of cell. The promise of new medical treatments and cures is exponential. This life-saving potential trumps any ineffectual argument the president might have for the sanctity of life. This is not to mention that an overwhelming majority of Americans support the expansion of stem cell research. Clearly, Bush is on the wrong side of the issue.

Further, the stem cell lines that already exist are no where near the levels they need to be for proper research. Of the 70 lines that were thought to be available, only a few dozen have been approved by the National Institutes of Health. These lines are either contaminated or deteriorating. Perhaps most importantly, the few lines in existence represent an infinitely small portion of the human gene pool, which impedes research of diverse human illness and cures.

The president’s decision to continue to dramatically limit the study of stem cells is especially important to the University community, as the University’s Stem Cell Institute is a leader in the field. It is a shame this veto will hinder the pursuit of knowledge at our campus.

The president’s administration continually has stood in the way of the nation’s progression. Under this leadership, whether it is the war, education, health care or scientific research, the nation has stagnated.

Growth in the area of stem cell research and in the United States in general is long overdue.