Michigan Radio News

NPR News

« Interview: Andy Meisner - 11/6/07 | Main | Interview: Donna McKneelen - 11/7/07 »

November 06, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The University of Michigan is "free to work on stem cell research."

Researchers at the University of Michigan are working on human embryonic stem cells right now and have been doing so for a number of years. They even received a 3-year federal grant for more than $2 million dollars (around $750,000 a year for 3 years) for this research in 2003.


The University of Michigan has a policy statement on which human embryonic stem cells they use.


The University also has a question and answer on embryonic stem cell research which notes:

"What kinds of human embryonic stem cells can be used in U-M research?

U-M research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health or other federal funding agencies are restricted to existing stem cell lines, created before August 9, 2001, and listed on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry. Privately funded U-M research studies can be conducted with new cell lines not listed in the NIH registry, as long as they meet the conditions outlined in the university’s official policy statement..."


The University of Michigan even has a Michigan Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.


So it seems that the University of Michigan is "free to work on stem cell research" and has been doing so for quite some time. What they're preventing from doing is killing human embryos for research or attempting to create cloned human embryos through somatic cell nuclear transfer. Why does Jack Lessenbery act like Michigan law prevents researchers from using embryonic stem cells when it is clear as can be that they do use embryonic stem cells?

The existing lines are well known to be inadequate for necessary research, and in any event are contaminated with mouse DNA. Scientists say new lines are needed.

Dear Mr. Lessenberry,

Your column of November 6th opened with an analogy, which mentioned Christian Science as an imaginary culprit preventing citizens of Michigan from using the healthcare system of their choice. You went on to say that your real concern, the prevention of stem cell research, had nothing to do with Christian Science.

Do your readers and listeners know that Christian Science has never stood in the way of any kind of medical research? We work with the state legislature to protect our own religious freedoms within the law, not to impose restrictions on others.

Your position on stem cell research ultimately had nothing to do with Christian Science, but I wonder if everyone listening caught the disconnect. Your clarification would be welcomed.


David Harned
Christian Science Committee on Publication for Michigan

Mr. Lessenberry,
You can make that claim and argue for it but you shouldn't be making false claims about whether embryonic stem cell research is allowed in Michigan. Your essay claims Michigan has "outlawed it totally" That claim is simply false. You should issue a correction.

You also claim Bush "veto bills denying this research federal funding." He vetoed bills which would have expanded federal funding. Bush is actually the first president to allow federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. The federal government has provided more than $100 million dollars to human embryonic stem cell research.

Your claim in the comment above seems to mean that you recognized that embryonic stem cell research is legal in Michigan. If so, why were you intentionally misleading your listeners? Propping up laws which don't exist and then attacking them instead of accurately describing the current law and then making a reasoned argument for why the law needs to be changed are two very different things.

If you want to make the claim that Michigan researchers need to kill human embryos to get new embryonic stem cell lines - fine - but don't act like U of M researchers aren't allowed to work with embryonic stem cells especially when you seem to know the truth.

Second, you've provided no argument for why Michigan researchers need to be the ones killing embryos. Why can't they just import new embryonic stem cell lines (not grown on mouse feeder cells) from other states? Why go to all the trouble of a ballot initiative when researchers can import new embryonic stem cell lines?

Third, researchers like James Thomson (who was the first to create embryonic stem cell lines) have shown that embryonic stem cell lines grown on mouse feeder cells can be cleaned of mouse DNA.

Also, Thomas Okarma (president of Geron, a company involved in embryonic stem cell research) said this regarding the mouse feeder cells: "We've got the world's only GMP master cell bank of human embryonic stem cells with lines that are fully qualified for human use which, by the way, are two of Bush's approved lines. So the stuff you hear published that all of those lines are irrevocably contaminated with mouse materials and could never be used in people -- hogwash. If you know how to grow them, they're fine."

Maybe you should have more sources for your stem cell information than misleading advocates like Rep. Meisner and Sean Morrison.

When are all the backward folk going to just go back in their caves?

Our state is hurting but these knuckle draggers don't care at all. They are going to keep Michigan suffering for many years to come. Thanks Engler. It was you and your ilk that has destroyed our once great state. It takes years of laws to affect a state. Our's is suffering from the Engler years.

The comments to this entry are closed.

A Production of

***UPDATE 9/2/09: Read the user agreement, effective immediately.***

The Podcast


April 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30