Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stemconn 2009_Where are the cures? Where is the money?

Connecticut residents continue to foot the bill for $100 million investment in human embryonic stem cell research in an economic environment where many cannot afford medical insurance. Tax payers have already paid out approximately $40 million dollars from the $100 million since 2005.

Following Stemconn 2009 conference, no therapeutic products have been produced, nor are they expected in any near future.

Connecticut residents have funded research grants to Yale University, University of Connecticut and Wesleyan University. Funding has been directed toward a variety of basic and therapeutic research targets including Parkinson’s Disease, deafness, Alzheimer’s, regulation of stem cell differentiation, cardiomyocyte and neuron differentiation, intestinal damage, spinal muscular atrophy, vascular regeneration, spinal cord injury, production of blood stem cells, kidney repair, cell cycle and in maintaining core facilities.

The only definable accomplishment since 2005 has been the establishment of two new human embryonic stem cell lines created at the University of Connecticut. These two cell lines provide additional embryonic stem cell cultures up and above several lines already established and approved for federal funding by President Bush.

This accomplishment is far from thrilling to the public. After four years, many ask, “Where are the therapeutic cures that were promised”?

Despite the shortfalls in promises toward therapeutic cures, proponents say that Connecticut’s public funding has produced economic development. Funding in human embryonic stem cell research has provided good paying salaries to biotechnology professionals. It has also attracted twelve experts into Connecticut who desire to work on human embryonic stem cells. In addition, Connecticut researchers claim that they are leading in embryonic stem cell research on the East Coast, ahead of Massachusetts.

President Obama recently has moved to extend federal funding to human embryonic stem cells by lifting restrictions implemented by President Bush. In the current economic downturn where the State of Connecticut and many individuals are struggling financially, Obama’s new directive could influence Connecticut’s legislature to withdraw its mandate forcing residents to continue to fund this research.


  1. I hope they stop this research funding at the people's expense. With federal dollars now targeted to go into human embryonic stem cell research, why do the people of Connecticut have to be forced to pay for this? It is even more disturbing to hear that our money might be given to private biotech companies. This is just getting out of hand. In these hard economic times, we should demand that the State of Connecticut quite feeding the rich while the poor get poorer. Waste of taxpayers dollars!

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    I believe you are correct that the State of Connecticut might open the grant applications to give public money to biotech companies. These biotech companies make profits, then make drugs, then sell EXPENSIVE drugs to the point where people have a hard time affording them. I am opposed to providing State public money to private corporations to do embryonic stem cell research. Why wouldn't academia need those grants? Something just doesn't smell right here.

  3. From what I understand, there is very little regulation concerning stem cell research. How does the taxpayer/consumer even know if this technology is being used against them.

    I often think about all the large charities out there which are collecting billions of dollars to look for cures. They must not be looking in the right place because I am not aware of any Charities which have yet to find ANY cures.

  4. watchdogonscienceMarch 28, 2009 at 6:50 AM

    Dear Anonymous,

    Large charities have tight political ties to the biomedical community. Many scientists or physicians with vested interests sit on their board of directors. In the end, it is all about money…and getting it. The embryonic stem cell community takes advantage of the suffering condition of many of the patients that are funded by these big charities. Hyped promises of miracle cures to desperate patients are being used to secure public opinion and to direct large contributions to their research.

    I hate to see what will happen when they begin to corral these patients into the first human embryonic stem cell trials. Clinging to any hope, desperate patients do not understand the risk that they face by entering into these clinical trials. Dangers such as death due to cancer and immune reactions…dangers of acquiring additional permanent disabilities from induced metabolic disorders and immune disorders are real. Unfortunately, with all the hype, these patients do not understand the very low probability of finding a cure through these embryonic stem cell clinical trials.

    The biomedical community closely and intimately network with government and big charities, promoting embryonic stem cells with hyped sales pitches promising “miracle cures” and “economic development” which often is fuzzy and indefinable. That’s the way they operate. And that’s the way they get the money.

    But now with federal funding being directed to this research, the citizens of Connecticut should demand to stop additional funding out of their own pockets. Why should Connecticut residents be double taxed for human embryonic stem cell research?