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Monday, July 17, 2006

Guest Blogger: US Cannot Fall Behind on a Frontier Science

A friend of mine emailed me a more business based perspective of the US falling behind the rest of the world on stem cell technologies:

Some additional thoughts on this----raw, but anyways.
Let us look at this issue from a slightly different angle.

    Is there any debate that ESC [embryonic stem cell] technology could be the single greatest revolution in medicine? I don't think so.

    Will the IP [intellectual property] on ESC-based technologies be valuable? That would be an understatement.

    Are other countries actively pursuing it? Emphatic yes.

So, from a purely 'businesslike' perspective (and bear in mind that the business of America is business) can we afford not to do it? Absolutely not.

The cat's out of the bag; someone's gonna do it. I say, might as well be us. Either we can pay China or Korea or Japan or Singapore massive amounts of money in the coming decades (or go to war over it I guess), or get our asses in gear and get into a lead position here while the race is still in relatively early stages. I can assure you that, for instance, if a Korean group makes a breakthrough and figures out a way to cure Parkinson's or diabetes or cardiovascular disease using ES cells, flights to Korea would be sold out for years. At that point are the fundies relying on future Secretary of State Ann Coulter to enforce her policy of "we should invade their countries, kill all their men and convert the women and children to Christianity" to resolve their ethical dilemma?

The point that should not be ignored is that this is a FRONTIER issue. When the USA was in danger of losing the space race, or the nuclear race (different ethical issues in those, but I hope you get my point), our reaction was not to bury our head in the sand. Rather, the reaction was to throw a gazillion dollars at it and ensure that we would not be beholden to a foreign land when it came to those frontiers. Why is this frontier any different? Like space or nuclear tech, who knows what lies beyond this frontier and why would you trust someone else with it? Wouldn't you rather do it fast, do it big, do it right and at least have the chance to maintain some degree of control over it? [Editor's note: emphasis mine.] I simply do not understand this 'head in sand' attitude.

Amen. Yet another facet of this argument. Unfortunately, the one person who matters does not seem to be interested in hearing it.

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Comments on "Guest Blogger: US Cannot Fall Behind on a Frontier Science"

 

Blogger CDBrown said ... (11:31 PM) : 

President Bush is going to veto this bill to demonstrate that when he makes up his mind there is no wavering. He issued an executive order in August 2001 strictly limiting federal funding of stem cell research. Over the intervening five years, the scientific community has moved forward and has demonstrated the even greater potential that stem cell research can have to cure diseases such as juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
President Bush is a man of his word. Valid scientific research from places like Harvard University showing the potential of embryonic stem cells to cure millions of Americans while saving American families years of suffering and grief are no match for President Bush’s convictions. President Bush’s steadfastness and the single “vote” of his veto will override the judgment of the majority of senators, representatives, and the American people. It will negate the facts of cutting edge medical science and technology. It will leave Americans and their families to wonder who could have been cured sooner if the President was more concerned about his citizens and less concerned about his resolve.

 

Blogger Gen said ... (10:05 AM) : 

Bush and his Christian constituents see stem cell research as the ultimate evil because the Buba mantailty toward such things is a fear of cloning. They fail to see the bigger picture of how many lives could be saved and enriched. This ignorance is typical of the entire Bush presidency. Good Blog.

 

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