Legislators were urged Thursday to allocate money next year for adult stem cell research and to consider a measure that would ban research using embryonic stem cells. "Embryonic is more flashy because that’s what the big media talks about,” said Rep. John Enns, R-Enid. "Adult stem cells is where it’s at. Adult stem cells have been proven. They work.” Enns wrote legislation approved this past session that authorizes state funding for adult stem cell research. The measure also allows umbilical cord blood stem cells to be researched. It does not permit research involving embryonic stem cells. Revenues for this fiscal year were estimated to be flat and no money for research was allocated. Enns, after appearing before members of the House health subcommittee, said he would like to see at least $1 million made available next session for adult stem cell research.Comments
Scientists share viewsRita Abousleiman, a doctorate student at the University of Oklahoma, said her research using adult stem cells to repair torn tendons will not continue after she graduates this year because of a lack of funding. Daniel McConchie, vice president of Chicago-based Americans United for Life, said adult stem cells are used to treat more than 70 injuries and diseases in humans, including multiple sclerosis, arthritis and lupus. He said the use of embryonic stem cells still is being researched. He asked that Oklahoma pass legislation to ban embryonic stem cell research. Jim Mason, vice president of technology initiatives with The State Chamber, suggested ideas for adult stem cell research, such as using interest from money put into the state’s research endowment fund and funding the work of graduate medical students conducting the research.
What are stem cells?Stem cells have the potential to develop into almost all types of cells. They could be used to repair damaged or defective tissues and treat degenerative diseases for which there are no effective therapies. Oklahoma’s law authorizes funding for stem cell research so long as it is conducted "without the use of a human embryo.”