Tuesday April 28 | Stem Cell Research

April 27, 2009 at 9:34 am | Posted in Coming Up | 4 Comments

Dr. Irving Weissman has done groundbreaking work in the field of stem cell research. He joins us for a conversation about the work to repair diseased tissues. We’ll also discuss the ongoing public policy debate about whether government should fund human stem cell research and how the Obama Administration may change the face of scientific research around the country.

Guest
Dr. Irving Weissman – Professor of Pathology and Developmental Biology and Director of Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

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  1. It was a very informative and interesting discussion. Thank you for squeezing in my question and correcting the record. My answer to Dr. Weissman is that I would rescue the child even though rescuing 10,000 embryos may ultimately save more lives. My main disagreement is with the premise that no federal funding equals no research.

  2. While I appreciate the clarification I must point out that it should have been made clear from the start that Bush did not ban research on embryonic stem cells. Here was my email: President Bush did not have a ban on embryonic stem cell research, just the Federal funding of it. His administration spent 130 million dollars for research on existing cells. Adult stem cell research was not affected by lifting the ban on Federal funding. We’ve funded it all along. The moral issues of embryonic stem cell research are real. I support all the research but I can absolutely respect the right of those opposed to embryonic stem cell research to not be forced to pay for it. Please correct the record or correct me.

    I previously made this same observation here on “Charlotte Blogs” regarding this subject when raised on the most recent episode of “Average Joes”. This morning my email was read. I was placated and prepared to let it go until I did some checking. I discovered that when he reversed President Bush’s ban on the Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research Obama also rescinded Executive Order 13435 of June 20, 2007. This executive order funded research into adult stem cells which is Dr. Weissman’s primary work. It also encouraged research into ways of obtaining embryonic stem cells without harming human life. The goal was to eventually fund research on embryonic stem cells obtained using the results. Here’s an overview.

    Why was this information omitted? Mike Collins is the most prepared, smartest and thorough personalities on radio. President Bush was portrayed unfairly. Why? Certainly the guest knew of this. Even if he didn’t it’s no excuse. This was very sloppy and not up to the high standards your show is known for. That assumes that it was not intentional.

    My politics is most likely known to Charlotte Talks as I have frequently stated them here and by emailing the show, as well as the “Watercooler”. I was an “Average Joe” on the second edition and have always been treated fairly. I have tried to show respect and given evidence for my concerns. This is not a partisan issue. It’s about truth and honest debate. I strongly feel that someone, preferably Mike, should explain how this could have happened. The truth matters a great deal to me and I presume the same goes for “Charlotte Talks”.

  3. Hi Gregg, thanks for listening and for your comments during and after the show.

    I think if you go back and listen to the archive of the show, you’ll find that your questions and concerns are addressed as much as they could have been, given the time and format. Regarding federal funding, Mike brought it up at the beginning of the show in his opening remarks (in addition to it being addressed later). Here’s a part of his script:

    “The Bush Administration took a position on the use of embryonic stem cells that severely curtailed their use. The Obama Administration almost immediately reversed the Bush limitations. But to use embryonic stem cells or not isn’t the only bone of contention, there is also the question of whether government funds should be used at all – given the controversial nature of the research.”

    As for your additional comment, our show had several points of focus, and we tried to get to everything we could in 48 minutes and 30 seconds, and take calls and emails from listeners(like yours). There was no hidden agenda and no piece of information was purposely omitted. Sometimes we’re not able to get to everything we’d like in a discussion, especially on a topic that is so complex and multi-faceted. Perhaps we’ll revisit the topic again in the future and get to more valuable information.

    • Wendy,

      I listened to the entire show live and again archived before I posted. I didn’t want to be unfair. Far be it for me to write the script but if Mike had simply said, “The Bush administration banned federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. The Obama Administration almost immediately reversed it” then it would have been FAR less misleading and saved time. While technically true, Mike’s intro seemed like verbal gymnastics to me. He did address it later and he did read my email, so cool. I’m sorry, but I think that Obama’s cutting off funding for adult stem cell research, which Dr. Weissman clearly stated was his priority over embryonic stem cell research, was the issue that should have been highlighted…actually, neither should have been highlighted. The discussion was interesting and informative enough without being politicized at all. Either way, it was not a matter of “time”.

      I’m not trying to suggest any “hidden agenda”. It’s no secret that “Charlotte Talks” is often accused, rightly or wrongly, of having a liberal bias. In my humble opinion, it’s just a lack of curiosity. I doubt that Mike even knew that Bush had spent 130 million dollars on embryonic stem cell research. I doubt he knew anything about Obama rescinding executive order 13435. It was not widely reported. Most people do believe that Bush banned research on embryonic stem cell research because it was widely (and incorrectly) framed that way. I expect more. Mike was careful not to say that but he was fuzzy and did admit to “dancing” around it. I know first hand that you especially want to be fair and represent all sides. You practically beg conservatives to participate. It’s an uphill battle because your audience is mostly liberal. There’s a reason for that. I won’t belabor it beyond this post but I do plan on contacting Dr. Weissman.


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