One of the arguments used by American proponents of embryo-destructive research is that there is a great brain-finance drain from the US to other countries as a result of federal limits on the morally controversial theory. But a recent special report from Britain's Financial Times makes it clear that the US is far ahead of most of the world in the number of embryonic stem cell lines that are available for research and in the number of dollars dedicated to embryo destructive research.
"The Future of Stem Cells," a 35-page special report produced by the Financial Times and Scientific American magazine and inserted into copies of the June 20 edition of the Financial Times, contained an analysis of the status of embryo destructive research in nine countries and the European Union. According to the report the US far outpaces other countries in terms of funding for embryo destructive research. Private funding for such research is $200 million and the US federal government provides $24 million dollars for research on embryonic stem cell lines that were created before August 2001. California and New Jersey have already committed to providing more than $3 billion in funding and four states are considering an additional $1.775 billion. By comparison, in the United Kingdom both government and private funding comes in at $100 million; in Sweden government funding accounts for between $10 and $15 million; and in South Korea where scientist have recently created the first embryonic stem cell line from a human clone, private and government funding add up to $60 million. The European Union spends just $650,000 of $170 million stem cell budget on embryonic stem cells and the report claims that the "EU will not increase funding for [embryonic stem cell] projects despite a doubling of the total research budget."
America also stands out in the number of human embryonic stem lines, 46, that are available for research. The nearest competitor is South Korea with 29 such lines. Sweden has eight; the UK has three; and Brazil, Singapore, Israel and Australia have just one each. The report also highlights how little the whole science surrounding embryonic stem cells is regulated in America. Currently there are no federal law forbidding human cloning, prohibiting any kind of stem cell research, or restricting what can be done to "extra" embryos that come about from in vitro fertilization. Cloning for the purpose of research is illegal in Brazil and embryos from in vitro fertilization must be three years old before they can be destroyed for research. The EU parliament passed a ban on all cloning though the ban is non-binding on member states. Cloning for research purposes is also banned in Australia.
Despite America's overwhelming dominance of embryo destructive research and the lack of regulations, many have bemoaned President Bush's refusal to support legislation that would provide funding for the research. On MyDD.com, one of the most highly trafficked liberal blogs, Chris Bowers has written that South Korea's successful human cloning resulting in 11 lines of embryonic stem cells would result in worldwide "brain drain" and he warned in a separate entry the ban on federal funding will result in "huge damage . . . on our economy."
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
United States Leads World in Funding for Embryo Destructive Research
From the latest "Culture and Cosmos" e-mail from the Culture of Life Foundation. They've yet to put it on-line but when they do it will be here.