Eugene C. Tarne is a senior analyst with the Charlotte Lozier Institute. He is also the president of Tarne Communications Inc., a communications and issue advocacy company he founded in 1999. Beginning in 1989 and continuing to the present, Mr. Tarne has been a communications and media relations consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. In this capacity, he works closely with the Pro-Life Secretariat to develop messages, promote issues and legislation, develop new programs and materials and implement communications strategies designed to educate the public and promote pro-life issues in the public square. These issues include abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, and bioethical issues, especially cloning and stem cell research. In 1996, Mr. Tarne helped found the Physicians Ad Hoc Coalition for Truth (PHACT), an organization of doctors and other medical professionals formed to bring the medical facts to bear on the partial-birth abortion debate. Mr. Tarne graduated from Georgetown University in 1977 with a B.A. in Theology. He received his M.A. in History of Religions from The George Washington University in 1979. He was offered scholarships to Harvard, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a Ph.D. in South Asian Studies. He attended the University of Chicago and later the University of Pennsylvania, where he completed his Ph.D. studies, except for dissertation.
Eugene C. Tarne
Latest Research & News
Minnesota Funds Progress through Adult & Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells | September 27, 2017
The third and most recent round of grants awarded earlier this year for stem cell research by the state of Minnesota tracks a pattern established with the two earlier rounds of grants: a noticeable lack of support for human embryonic stem cell research.
New Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Study Shows Progress with Parkinson’s Disease | September 7, 2017
Ever since human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) were first successfully grown in the lab in 1998, Parkinson’s Disease has featured prominently as one of the major diseases that such cells would supposedly eliminate.
Netherlands Forcible Euthanasia Case and the Slippery Slope | July 21, 2017
Proponents of assisted suicide often dismiss “slippery slope” arguments on the grounds that proper safeguards will assure that assisted suicide will not devolve into euthanasia, either voluntary or not.
Earlier this year, for example, Hawaii became another of several states to consider legislation to legalize assisted suicide (the effort failed). During debate, one lawmaker who supported the bill dismissed concerns over where legalization might lead, saying “the inclusion of protections, such as euthanasia bans, helps allay the fears of critics who worry about the ‘slippery slope.’”
In 2013, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) – the nation’s largest funder of stem cell research outside of the federal government – authorized a new program, the Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network.
The Network’s goal, according to CIRM, “is to accelerate the development and delivery of stem cell treatments to patients.” To achieve this, CIRM approved $70 million “to create a new statewide network of sites that will act as a hub for stem cell clinical trials.” CIRM envisioned a network of “up to five clinic sites at established academic institutions.” To date, three Alpha Stem Cell Clinics have been created, housed at City of Hope, University of California San Diego, and UCLA/UC Irvine.
Minnesota’s Funding of Stem Cell Research Echoes Trend toward Ethically Non-Contentious Approaches | October 25, 2016
In 2014, Minnesota became the most recent of a handful of states that provide state funding for all types of stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research. The law provides for 10 years of funding with $4.5 million approved for the first year and $4.35 million each year thereafter.
Grants for Stem Cell Research Favor Ethical Approaches | October 10, 2016
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) has awarded two rounds of grants since the Charlotte Lozier Institute last analyzed the Fund’s pattern of grant making for stem cell research, in the fall of 2013. That study found that since MSCRF first began awarding grants in 2007, its pattern of giving shifted over the years from strongly favoring projects focusing on ethically contentious human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) to projects focusing on ethically non-contentious adult stem cells and other non-embryonic stem cell research.
iPSCs: A New Gold Standard in Regenerative Medicine? | July 28, 2016
A recent press release from the National Institutes of Health calls attention to a study, published in Stem Cell Reports, that researchers have “developed a clinical-grade stem cell line, which has the potential to accelerate the advance of new medical applications and cell-based therapies for millions of people suffering from such ailments as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy.” The development of these clinical grade stem cells, the release notes, “removes a significant barrier in the development of cell-based therapies.” But is NIH’s promotion of “stem cells” anything new?
Next Station Stop: The Embryo Farm? | June 9, 2016
One of the earliest attempts to square this circle of trying to conduct morally problematic research within ethical guidelines is the “14-day rule” for embryo research. The rule has allowed embryo research outside the womb for up to 14 days post-fertilization, after which time the embryo would be destroyed. Although the origins of the rule go back over 40 years, it has been much in the news lately as scientists have developed methods to considerably extend the life of embryos outside the womb.
Fox Foundation Funding Patterns Favor Ethical Approaches | April 18, 2016
Beginning in the 1990’s, and throughout the first years of the 21st century, perhaps no other political or social cause célèbre attracted as many celebrities as human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR).
Christopher Reeve, Kevin Kline, Michael J. Fox and Mary Tyler Moore, among others, all made their way to Capitol Hill to testify in support of increased federal funding of hESCR (during her congressional testimony on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Ms. Moore famously said human embryos have “no more resemblance to a human being than a goldfish”)…
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) ended 2015 by adopting a new Strategic Plan, calling it a “bold new vision for the future” designed to streamline, over the next five years, the process of bringing stem cell research to clinical trial.
Dubbed “CIRM 2.0” the plan is characterized as “a radical overhaul” of business as usual in order to achieve CIRM’s mission to “accelerate the development of stem cell therapies to patients with unmet medical needs.”
According to Jonathon Thomas, CIRM’s chair of the board, the first step in developing the new plan was “us throwing out all our preconceived notions.”
Time to End Embryo-Destroying Stem Cell Research | November 17, 2015
Will induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) finally replace human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) in the field of regenerative medical research?
Results of a recent study published in Nature Biotechnology argue that they should.
First, some background.
In 2007, Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka discovered a method to create fully pluripotent, embryonic-like stem cells from ordinary somatic (body) cells. The ability to do this had been characterized as the “holy grail” of stem cell research and, indeed, Yamanaka’s achievement changed the field of regenerative medicine. So groundbreaking was his discovery that he was awarded the Nobel Prize just five years after announcing it.
Stem Cell Awareness Day: Major Research Center’s Quest for Cures Uses Ethical Sources Only | November 5, 2015
Recently, numerous research facilities, both public and private, marked “Stem Cell Awareness Day,” holding lectures, issuing statements and highlighting ongoing progress in the field of regenerative medicine.
Among those participating was the University of California, Davis, one of the country’s leading institutions for stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Writing in her local newspaper, the Davis Enterprise, Jan Nolta, the director of the Stem Cell Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine, highlighted the program’s “numerous novel clinical trials ongoing and in the pipeline” and its 16 disease teams testing stem cells to treat the following…
Clarifying a White House Letter on Stem Cell Research | September 23, 2015
The White House recently launched a site on Tumblr to feature letters sent to the president by the American people.
The handful of letters posted so far cover a variety of subjects, including the usual suspects such as jobs, wages, healthcare and the economy.
But one letter in particular stands out and has garnered attention in the media — including media overseas e.g., here and here.
The letter is from 15-year-old Gavin Nore of Iowa. Early in 2013, Gavin was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Gavin courageously fought back against his diagnosis. Doctors utilized stem cells to treat Gavin and this treatment, combined with Gavin’s bravery, led to victory in his battle against this cancer.
Stem Cell Research: Predictions, Predilections and Progress | June 8, 2015
A recent blog posted on the science/technology website Gizmodo conducts an interesting thought experiment. The author goes back 10 years to the December, 2005, issue of Scientific American. In that issue was the “Scientific American 50” – a list of the 50 leading scientific trends for that year.
The author wanted to see what has happened, 10 years on, in realizing “the highly-touted breakthroughs of the era that would supposedly change everything.” The author writes that she chose 2005 “because 10 years seemed recent enough for continuity between scientific questions then and now but also long enough ago for actual progress. More importantly, I chose Scientific American because the magazine publishes sober assessments of science, often by scientists themselves.”
Ethical Adult Stem Cell Treatments Result in “Profound Improvement” for MS Patients | March 19, 2015
British media are reporting a significant development in the use of ethical, non-embryonic stem cells to treat patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and, perhaps, other auto-immune diseases.
Auto-immune diseases are caused by an abnormal immune response which causes the immune system to attack and destroy healthy tissues in a person’s own body. Such diseases include Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and lupus, among many others. While the exact cause is not known, many researchers believe multiple sclerosis occurs when a person’s immune system attacks tissue of the brain and spinal cord, resulting in severe pain, impaired movement and in the most extreme cases, death.
The Continuing Promise of Non-Embryonic Stem Cells | December 8, 2014
The California based City of Hope, one of the country’s leading cancer research hospitals, recently sent out birthday greetings to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the nation’s leading funder — apart from the federal government – of stem cell research.
“On its 10th birthday, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine celebrated 10 stem cell therapies that have been approved for clinical trials, including an HIV/AIDS trial at City of Hope,” the message read.
The birthday greeting contained an unintended irony, for while CIRM was approved by California voters a decade ago to give priority funding to human embryonic stem cell research, eight of the 10 approved clinical trials referenced by City of Hope were for research projects using adult and other non-embryonic stem cells.
Scientific Advances in Stem Cell Research Continue to Make Use of Embryos Outdated and Unnecessary | November 17, 2014
Diabetes has long been one of the main diseases for which human embryonic stem cell (embryo-destroying) research, or hESCR, was claimed to hold the greatest promise of curing.
But for well over a decade now, ethically contentious human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) has notably failed to live up to all its hype, with promises of miracle cures within “five to 10 years” remaining unfulfilled.
That remains true today, despite all the renewed hype that accompanied recent reports that researchers had coaxed hESCs into becoming insulin-producing cells.
Ethical Stem Cells Provide Model for Progress in Down Syndrome Research | August 20, 2014
Researchers using ethically uncontroversial induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have achieved what appears to be a major breakthrough in understanding the origin and development of Down syndrome, according to a new study recently published in Nature Communications.
Cloning is Cloning is Cloning | June 1, 2014
This primer on cloning examines the nature and purpose of human cloning in light of recent developments in stem cell technology. The paper points out that all cloning is reproductive and reflects on the immediate outcome of human cloning – a human embryo – while examining the terminology used by cloning advocates to obscure the facts.
Maryland Joins the Trend for Ethical Stem Cell Research | October 1, 2013
This paper continues the investigation of stem cell research funding in the United States by examining the funding patterns at the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. This investigation reveals that the Maryland Commission is keeping with the trend of investing more money in ethical stem cell research as opposed to embryonic as it is this route which is providing demonstrable results.
Ideas Have Consequences | May 9, 2013
The horrors revealed at the trial of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell have put abortion advocates in a defensive pose. Among the charges Gosnell faces are murder in the death of a woman undergoing an abortion, murder in the deaths of four newborns, and performing late-term abortions beyond Pennsylvania’s legal limit for such procedures.
The most recent round of grants by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) demonstrates – again – where the future of stem cell research lies. As documented in a previous publication on this website, since its first round of grants to specific research projects in 2007, CIRM has been steadily moving away from its […]
Great Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which oversees fertility treatments and embryo research in that nation, recently approved fertility procedures that would amount to the genetic engineering of children through cloning (nuclear transfer) technology and germ-line modification, resulting in a “three-parent embryo” that would have genetic material from two mothers and one father.
Justice Not Sought for Unborn Victims of Violence | February 4, 2013
A recent pretrial hearing of Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan provides the opportunity to again raise the question as to why prosecutors are not seeking justice for all the victims of the 2009 massacre. At the hearing, attorneys for Hasan again confirmed their client’s willingness to plead guilty to 13 counts of premeditated […]
Major Step Forward for Ethical Stem Cell Research | December 20, 2012
A major New England biotech company recently announced that it would begin the process that it hopes will result in the first clinical trial using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This is hardly surprising, as the discovery, by Shinya Yamanaka, of the process to produce embryonic-like, fully pluripotent stem cells from ordinary somatic (body) cells has […]
The Ethical Stems of Good Science | December 1, 2012
This paper examines the funding pattern of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, an institution which characterizes itself as the “largest source of funding for stem cell research outside the NIH.” Tarne demonstrates that funding has moved from grants directed primarily towards embryonic stem cell research toward primarily ethical stem cells research – which has been the only stem cell research to date to result in positive treatments for illnesses.
Possible Adult Stem Cell Therapy for Blood-Disorders in Down Syndrome | November 29, 2012
A recent study from researchers at the University of Washington announced a major step forward in the treatment of genetic diseases and specifically in treating Down syndrome patients. Down syndrome occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome 21 (hence its alternative name, Trisomy 21) in the individual’s genetic makeup, causing the physical and mental […]
Dr. Yamanaka’s Nobel Prize a Victory for Ethical Stem Cell Research | November 13, 2012
The Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded to Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka last month is a thoroughly deserved recognition of his groundbreaking work in regenerative medicine, work that just five years ago forever changed the way stem cell research is conducted around the globe. It is also welcome recognition for a man who took seriously the ethical […]
The Trend Towards Ethical Stem Cell Success Continues | August 6, 2012
Two recent developments involving the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) again serve to underscore the reality that adult and other non-embryonic avenues of stem cell research are advancing at a far more dramatic pace toward providing actual therapeutic benefits for patients than is human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR).
No Run on this Bank | July 24, 2012
It would seem that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is not alone as it increasingly moves away from human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) and towards adult and other non-embryonic avenues of stem cell research.
Fetal Pain and a Benevolent Society | May 24, 2012
The Subcommittee on the Constitution of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on legislation that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks fetal gestation, based on the ability of the fetus to experience pain at that point and beyond.
As required by law, the Public Health Department of the Oregon Health Authority has released its annual report for 2011 on physician-assisted suicides under that state’s Death with Dignity Act (DWDA). The 1997 law required physicians involved in an assisted suicide to file a number of standardized forms, providing information on such particulars as sex, age, race […]
The Dark Ladder of Logic: After-Birth Abortion | April 27, 2012
The Journal of Medical Ethics (JME) is one of those highly specialized, relatively expensive publications that cater to a targeted group of professionals. Because these journals are expensive (a print/online U.S. annual subscription for the JME is $431) and have such a very specific audience, they are rarely read by laypeople outside the professional circles they are intended to address.