A newly-awarded U.S. patent, with fantastic ramifications for cures and treatments of conditions including Parkinson’s Disease, is further evidence of the importance of the recent lawsuit seeking to halt federal grants for embryonic research.
After seven years, Kansas State University’s Research Foundation has obtained proprietary rights for obtaining, culturing and banking “matrix” stem cells from the cushioning material (‘Wharton’s jelly’) inside umbilical cords, both human and animal.
Some of the purposes for these K-State-patented stem cells will be repairing nerve damage, cardiac muscle, and blood vessels.
Grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH) helped the researchers achieve this breakthough in accessing a plentiful source of reparative stem cells that do not involve the destruction of embryos.
However, such crucial NIH funding became threatened after President Obama issued an April 2009 executive order directing that tax funded NIH grants be given to projects using stem cells obtained by destroying human embryos.
Researchers James Sherley and Theresa Dreisher (not from K-State) filed federal suit last September to stop the Obama grant directive. Their suit claims that NIH funds will disappear for researchers like themselves, who use non-embryonic cells, despite the thousands of successful non-embryonic projects and the utter failure of embryonic ones.
Furthermore, their suit argues that Congress has forbidden hESC (human embryonic stem cell) grants under the 1996 Dickey-Wicker appropriations proviso which is renewed annually.
On Aug.23, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sided with the plaintiff researchers, granting a temporary injunction against further NIH hESC funding while the lawsuit proceeds. On Sept. 7, Lambreth refused to reconsider his ruling, scoffing at the Obama administration’s proposed “parade of horribles” that would ensue without government-funded hESC.
Today, the Obama administration is again challenging the ruling. UPDATE, 5pm: the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. overturned the temporary injunction. Dr. Deisher says NIH director Francis Collins has issued a declaration paper to the court that misleads about the science.
KANSAS POLITICS AGAINST ETHICAL RESEARCH
The K-State matrix cell research has been under appreciated at the statehouse, particularly during the push for our state to become an ESC center –begun in 2005 by pro-abortion forces and Gov. Sebelius.
The same political forces fighting to unseat AG Kline and pro-life legislators like Mary Pilcher-Cook shamelessly linked support for abortion law enforcement with a willful stance against ending disease.
However, as pro-lifers have advocated, exciting and successful therapies for treating debilitating conditions, including degenerative diseases of the nervous system, have only developed in non-embryonic (also called ‘adult’) stem cell based projects.
The K-State matrix cell research was done by researchers Kathy Mitchell, Deryl Troyer, and Mark Weiss of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Duane Davis of the College of Agriculture. Mitchell, said, “Our results indicate that Wharton’s jelly stem cells can be expanded in vitro, maintained in culture and induced to differentiate into neural cells [serving] many therapeutic and biotechnological roles in the future.”
Without the Dickey-Wicker proviso, worthless and immoral research that destroys human embryos would have sucked up countless federal grants, and the game-changing discovery of Wharton’s jelly might not have been found.