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PRO: STEM CELL RESEARCHPresident’s stem cell decision gives patients hope

Alyssa D. Stumbo

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President Bush attacked a very controversial topic this summer, whether or not to continue federal funding for stem cell research.

It is one thing to watch a documentary or flip through a magazine about scientific progress, but it is quite another to be alive as a result of it.

I am a cancer survivor, and I can’t help but approach this topic from a personal viewpoint.

As a cancer survivor, and a pro-life Republican, I am cautiously optimistic about his decision.

I recall the seven months that I spent in chemotherapy, the days when I couldn’t even walk to the mailbox and missing out on my senior year of high school. Thinking of all that I went through and the millions of Americans who have suffered the same, I realize that scientists must have the opportunity, and the funding, to continue to do research. Many of us have been burdened with diseases that have yet to be cured.

Stem cell research is one of the most promising things going on in biomedical research today. Scientists have found that stem cells are the cornerstone of human growth, because they can transform themselves into any tissue in the human body.

These types of cells are found in few adult tissues, but are abundant in all human embryos. Most scientists would agree that stem cells harvested from embryos have the greatest possibilities for research for new ways to treat disease. President Bush’s decision to limit funds for stem cell research was controversial because of the source of the cells.

The president’s decision included the important point that embryos could not be created for research. Instead, these embryonic stem cells can be taken from leftover frozen embryos after a completed infertility treatment.

This treatment is called in vitro fertilization, and it can produce many excess eggs. After the woman has some of the embryos implanted, the excess embryos are stored frozen for years or simply discarded.

The donation of these embryos by consenting couples, combined with new federal funding, will give scientists the op-portunity to move forward in the field of embryonic stem cell research. Obviously, it would be wrong to waste something that could potentially save the lives of people.

Life is a precious thing, and I stand behind my religious beliefs and political values when I consider this topic. The fact that President Bush has chosen to take a step in the direction of research instills hope that someday people won’t have to suffer the way that I did.

This is not about research, money or even ethics. For me, this is a personal matter of life and death.

I was blessed enough to beat my disease, but it is a fear that still plagues me today. I know that I am not alone in this fight.

Every American family probably knows someone who has lost the battle with cancer. However, stem cell research offers hope for people in pain, a hope for a cure. Thanks to President Bush’s decision, ethical stem cell research can now be funded and explored.

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The news site of Bakersfield College
PRO: STEM CELL RESEARCHPresident’s stem cell decision gives patients hope