Science Academy Creating Panel to Monitor Stem-Cell Research

Dianne N. Irving
Copyright February 16, 2006
Reproduced with Permission

The "guidelines" published last year by the National Academy of Sciences mentioned below were ushered in by cloning researcher, Irving Weissman (of California Proposition 71 fame).

Weissman chaired two NAS committees: on human cloning, and on human embryonic stem cell research. In both of these reports, as well as in the NAS "guidelines", the same false "science" Weissman used to pass two laws on human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research, and Proposition 71, in California was incorporated. E.g., according to him "therapeutic" cloning isn't really cloning; it is just "stem cell research". Why? Because, he claims, the product of "nuclear transfer" (as also with the product of fertilization) is just a "cell" -- not a single-cell human organism, a human being. And the human blastocyst (from which "stem cells" are derived) is just a "ball of cells" -- rather than a developing human being at the blastocyst stage. Thus all one is killing in the process of deriving "stem cells" is a "ball of cells".

Weissman's "science" also defines "reproductive" cloning as true cloning (thus not only making "therapeutic" cloning disappear, but also all of the other multiple kinds of cloning techniques besides "somatic cell nuclear transfer"). Indeed, according to his "scientific" definition of "reproductive" cloning, no embryo or fetus in utero is a human being until and unless it is "born"!

If this isn't scientific fraud, I don't know what is.

And now the same National Academy of Sciences is going to create a panel to monitor this "stem cell" research?!

Hello? Anybody out there?

[See Irving, "What Human Embryo? Funniest Mental Gymnastics from Medicine and Research" (Oct. 14, 2004), at:; "Framing the Debates on Human Cloning and Human Embryonic Stem Cells: Pluripotent vs. TOTIPOTENT" (July 23, 2005), at:; "Definitions of a "human organism" and a "human cell" (Oct. 3, 2004), at:; "Conflict of Interests Haunt Weissman, NAS, Bioethics and California Institute for Regenerative Medicine" (July 9, 2005), at:; Comments: "A Voice of Balance in Stem Cell Program" [California Prop. 71] (July 5, 2005), at:; Comments: "Costly Cloning Isn't a Cure-All", or "The Great Human Embryonic Stem Cell Fairy Tale Exposed" (December 1, 2004), at:; Comments: "California court rejects false science in Proposition 71" (Nov. 1, 2004), at:; Comments: "The California ÔStem Cell" Initiative" (Aug. 8, 2004), at:].
New York Times
February 16, 2006
By Nikolas Wade

Science Academy Creating Panel to Monitor Stem-Cell Research

To fill a void in federal supervision, the National Academy of Sciences is setting up a committee to provide informal oversight over research with human embryonic stem cells.

Contentious issues in biological research are usually handled by the National Institutes of Health, the government agency that finances most biomedical research. Because of the Bush administration's reservations about embryonic stem cell research, which it has allowed to proceed but only with cell lines established before Aug. 9, 2001, the N.I.H. has been unable to specify what kinds of research are ethically acceptable. With their patron agency sidelined, researchers have looked to the academy to provide guidance.

Unlike many of the academy's committees, which are financed by the government, the new committee will be paid for by private sponsors, like the Ellison Medical Foundation.

"Our very strong feeling was that some sort of oversight was vastly preferable to the vacuum we have now," said Richard L. Sprott, executive director of the foundation. Dr. Sprott said he hoped the academy's committee would "fill the gap in federal oversight and make sure the private sector does not call all the shots."

No researchers using human embryonic stem cells will be eligible to serve on the panel, a restriction that led some scientists to express concern that the academy was succumbing to political pressure.

Frances Sharples, an official at the academy's National Research Council, said she had instituted the exclusion simply to avoid the conflict of interest that would arise if researchers working with human embryonic stem cells were to write the rules governing their own activities. She said the White House was not paying for the committee, had no leverage over it and had "nothing whatsoever" to do with the exclusion policy.

Dr. Sprott said he had received the same explanation from the academy but could not say whether the Ellison Foundation was satisfied with it until hearing back from its scientific advisory board.

Because of recent reports of White House pressure on government scientists to toe the administration's line, the exclusion "kind of stood out," he said, "but only because we are now looking for those things."

Last April, the academy issued voluntary guidelines on research with human embryonic stem cells, recommending that universities set up local panels for their scientists to consult. The new committee is intended to be a standing body that will update the guidelines in the light of new scientific findings and resolve issues too difficult for the local groups.

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