However, sometimes those of us who do research and/or act as patient advocates here in the U.S. need to wake up from a bit of tunnel vision and realize that there are critical fights going on over stem cell research elsewhere in the world. These are crucially important.
One such case is Ireland.
On one side of the stem cell “war” as they are calling it in Ireland is the Irish Stem Cell Foundation, led by Dr. Stephen Sullivan. On the other side are a number of anti-embryonic stem cell/pro-adult stem cell groups including the relatively newly minted Adult Stem Cell Foundation of Ireland (ASFI).
This week I’ve done a couple blog posts here and here on the situation in Ireland that received a huge amount of reads internationally. My posting on the Ireland stem cell situation was stimulated in part by a great article in The Business Post. The article is behind a pay wall, but you can read it here via these PDFs (1 and 2). These are included with permission of Susan Mitchell. Thank you, Susan.
My original blog post resulted in me being threatened with litigation and receiving some nasty emails. Is that fun? Uh, no. But if you want to make a difference sometimes you have to put up with such things and also personal attacks, which I have been the subject of by the extreme anti-stem cell crowd on numerous occasions. After a while you develop a thick skin.
I have offered ASFI the opportunity to have a statement posted verbatim on my blog, but so far have not received one. Dr. Sullivan has indicated to me that he and the Irish Stem Cell Foundation are “pro all stem cell research”. They are in favor of both adult and embryonic stem cell research so they are really not the reciprocal of ASFI, which only favors adult stem cell research.
What’s my view?
I think adult stem cell research is fabulously exciting and has great promise for future treatments of specific diseases. Embryonic stem cells and IPS cells are also very exciting and promising as well. My goal is to help the most people using stem cell research. So I would say that I am “pro all stem cell research” as well, although I am not pro all stem cell treatments by any means given that so many are not properly vetted these days.