Doctors in Stem Cell Case Speak out

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Two scientists involved in the lawsuit that has blocked federal funding for embryonic stem cell research say they acted because of ethical objections.

Dr. James L. Sherley and Dr. Theresa Deisher both say embryonic stem cell research is morally objectionable and unlikely to produce promised treatments or cures.

“We have a responsibility and are taught to do ethical research,” Sherley told The Wall Street Journal. “This is impacting the quality of science in this country.”

Many scientists see embryonic stem cell research as a path to treat a range of diseases because the cells can develop into any type of tissue.

But the embryo must be destroyed to harvest the cells, which critics see as taking a human life.

Embryos left over from fertility treatments are typically used.

The public has “been sold this hype and this promise that embryonic stem cells are going to cure everyone and we’re all going to get up and dance,” Deisher said.

Some scientists have criticized the involvement in the lawsuit of Sherley and Deisher, who were recruited separately by lawyers seeking to challenge the government’s stem cell policy.

“These guys are using a court process in what should be a scientific process,” said Curt I. Civin, director of the University of Maryland’s stem cell biology center.

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