Santorum Launches Campaign for Stem Cell Research Institute

Nora Sullivan, M.P.A  

Last week, Former GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum returned to Iowa.  This time he was not there to campaign for public office but to instead announce his new position as the official spokesman  for the Give Cures campaign.  The Give Cures campaign is the John Paul II Stem Cell Research Institute’s “national gift campaign that raises funds to advance ethical, non-controversial stem cell research to find cures or therapies, and provide education.”  Give Cures also intends to fund the opening of the Institute’s cord blood bank, which will make it possible for parents to donate their newborn’s cord blood.

 

“There is an ethical way of doing this,” Santorum remarked.  ”Of providing stem cells for research necessary for therapy and treatment, and it’s not as dynamic or as sexy as (embryonic) stem cell research but it solves a category of diseases, cancer being one of them.  Why don’t we pursue that?”

 

 

The John Paul II Stem Cell Research Institute is a non-profit organization that was founded to create a more streamlined process for conducting regenerative medicine research that will find cures and therapies using adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, rather than embryonic stem cells which can only be obtained by destroying living human embryos.  The Institute also plans on developing preclinical research technologies in order to advance drug discovery and regenerative medicine for many diseases.

 

 

The high-profile endorsement is no doubt a good thing for the organization, which was founded in 2006, especially inasmuch as it stands in the minority among research institutions by virtue of its position that adult, rather than embryonic, stem cells have superior therapeutic value and are ethically non-contentious.   The Institute’s website notes the need for its work, pointing out that there are over 300 nonprofit research foundations and academic centers expressly devoted to research using embryonic stem cells.

 

 

However, evidence seems to support the idea that it is the John Paul II Institute that is on the right track.  A recent report by the Charlotte Lozier Institute demonstrates that more and more publicly funded research grants are going to support adult stem cell research, as it is in adult stem cells where results are being found.  CLI President Chuck Donovan commented, “Despite the millions of dollars spent on this research, cures brought about by embryonic stem cells have continued to prove elusive, while adult stem cell research applications have exploded.”

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