Senator Tom Coburn Discusses Stem Cells (in Warwick!)
After delivering a luncheon speech this past Saturday at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was asked what he thought about President Bush’s veto of the stem-cell bill. Here is Senator Coburn’s answer…
Senator Tom Coburn: I’ve made it my goal to stay more informed on this issue than anybody in Washington. I’ve read the science. I’ve read the reports.
There’s some things you should know. We’ve been studying pluripotent embryonic stem cells for 25 years as a nation and throughout the world. Despite this fact, there is not one treatment available today for anybody in the world from embryonic stem cells. You’ve spent, of your money, over the last five years, over a half-a-billion dollars on human embryonic stem cell research with no results and no accomplishments.
The second point you should know — and you should tell to anybody who comes up to you and says Republicans and the President don’t care about my child — is that for every disease group listed in the debate, there is already an ongoing study with great results curing those diseases with adult/cord blood stem cells. That includes juvenile diabetes, that includes lupus, that includes Parkinsons, with ongoing human trials with tremendous results.
The final thing you should know is that the only way embryonic stem cells will ever be available to Americans will be with the taking of tremendous drugs to block the rejection from the body. That’s part of the debate. The reasons they want hundreds of thousands of embryonic stem cell lines is to try to deal with the rejection issues in what’s called the HLA system of antigens.
The wonderful difference with adult stem cells is you take your own stem cells. There’s no foreign tissue. There’s nothing foreign, so there’s no rejection. With every embryonic stem cell program, there will be rejection. Even if you clone yourself, unless you are woman who clones yourself with your own egg, there will be rejection.
We’ve have a tremendous untruth spread, without the real facts of what’s going on being told. There are 72 treatments and they’re growing every day and that’s before we get to the latest scientific discovery, germ cells, which are pluripotent (they can produce any tissue in the body) but don’t have the side-effects of embryonic stem cells. That’s just been discovered in the last six to twelve months.
So do we talk about what the truth is or do we talk about what’s politically expedient? I had three members in the Senate after the vote come up to me and say you’re absolutely right, but I couldn’t vote with you because I had so much pressure from the disease groups and I had already committed my vote. Now think about that character trait. I’m not going to do the right thing, because I’m more interested in getting elected in than in doing the right thing. That’s the mindset too often we see in Washington.
More information from Senator Coburn about the science and ethics of stem cells is available at the Senator’s website.
By the way, for those curious about what Senator Coburn was doing in Warwick, I�ll be explaining that part later today…