State’s Stem Cell Boondoggle

Today’s Rep-Am editorial is worth posting in full:

In 2005, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the legislature dismissed significant moral and ethical issues when they committed $100 million over 10 years — most of it from the state’s share of the national tobacco settlement — for embryonic-stem-cell research.

At the time, Gov. Rell said she was motivated in part by the boost the tax dollars would provide state-based biotech firms. But the first grants, announced in November, went to academia, with the government-run University of Connecticut getting 60 percent of the $20 million allocated. So much for spurring private-sector growth.


And it turns out, the state’s commitment to embryonic-stem-cell research actually will be closer to $150 million because UConn will do its research in the “Center for Innovation,” in an office building next to its health center in Farmington. The building, now privately owned, will cost taxpayers $8 million and will need $35 million in renovations. The money will be skimmed from 21st Century UConn, the school’s $1.3 billion capital-improvement program.

Though embryonic stem cells have not produced a single regenerative therapy; though adult stem cells from bone marrow, umbilical cords and such have been highly successful developing treatments and cures; and though amniotic stem cells seem to have greater promise than embryonic stem cells without the overhanging moral and ethical issues, UConn officials are boldly predicting their destruction of embryos will render treatments as soon as 2014.

To recap: The state appropriated $100 million for an economically and morally dubious venture, then shut out the private companies in favor of its own university and other schools. UConn, in turn, unilaterally redirected $43 million, before the customary cost overruns, in capital funds for a purpose never contemplated when that money was allocated. This is slimy enough, but it’s being perpetrated by an administration that promised to make government ethical and accountable.

6 Responses to “State’s Stem Cell Boondoggle”

  1. on 16 Feb 2007 at 8:57 amGenghis Conn

    I point out to you that copying and re-posting an article in full is a copyright violation. You can take excerpts from it, but not the whole thing.

  2. on 16 Feb 2007 at 3:33 pmPeter

    The Rep-Am gave permission for us to post it in full.

  3. on 16 Feb 2007 at 7:35 pmLisa

    LOL. shocking.

    When will you create a poll about how biased the Rep-Am is?

  4. on 18 Feb 2007 at 8:39 pmPeter

    Annie was unable to post a comment she composed for this thread and instead e-mailed it to me. Here it is:

    Lisa, while the Rep-Am isn’t in this study (see link next), you sound like you’d call FOX News its TV news counterpart. Check it out if you care to learn what bias really is:
    As to the post: What a hoot. I’d written Rell, the entire legislature, the entire political body in Hartford on this, TWICE, in Jan. 2005 and again in June 05. I got two responses (not Rell’s) thanking me for bringing the scientific truths to their attention.
    Out of over 300 people contacted, that’s about the going rate for Connecticut elected officials.
    If you look at no other research, look at these two: the summary ( ) of this list of the peer-reviewed research about Adult stem cells’ successes (which isn’t complete by the way; also warning, it’s a PDF file):
    Rather than rewrite all that I wrote the CT legislature and Governor and team, these two articles give a great deal of the current science, journal studies, links and data: (this is a long article so it was broken into 2 parts)

    That second one includes the info and a picture of one of several people who was paralyzed but is now walking because of NON embryonic stem cell research, plus multiple links to sworn testimony of such patients in front of the U.S. Senate. (cont.)
    (I’ve tried to post this/these twice, they didn’t take, so am splitting it in two in case it’s the length. I mention this in advance for the benefit of those who jumped down my throat on this same problem which I had in the recent past here accusing me of spamming.)


    JUST SOME of the facts: One scientist testified before the Senate in 2004 that “the driving force in…promot[ing] Federal funding of human embryonic stem cells or human cloning…[is that] it is a superior business plan to have a mass-produced product such as embryonic/fetal/cloned stem cells that can be sold [more profitably] nationwide and have patentable intellectual property…Adult stem cells…are much better for people with diseases or injuries but generate an inferior business plan…[where] one can only develop a procedure that is generally not patentable…The most profitable, not the best, treatment for people is being promoted.” (the link to his testimony is in that first article above)
    Also, if profit from an embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) success was likely, venture capitalists would have given researchers multimillions to reap the windfall that surely would come with a cancer cure or helping quadriplegics walk. And therefore they wouldn’t need government (state or federal) money!
    Yet VC people didn’t. They know that ESCR hasn’t proven to do anything good nor has it shown much promise of that, and actually has harmed patients. In the Annals of Neurology, August 28, 2003, Volume 54, Issue 3, Pages 403 – 414, doctors at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that ESC made 56% of Parkinson’s patients develop severe spasms and jerking, involuntary movements of arms and legs. Three people experienced such disablement that it “necessitat[ed] surgical intervention.” They would not recommend fetal stem cell use for Parkinson’s, though they did suggest further research.
    A similar March 2001 study (New England Journal of Medicine) also found that several patients developed severe head-jerking and flailing of their arms.
    Also there’s this: “[Bone marrow stem cells] do not…die prematurely and importantly they do not form teratomas or tumors like embryonic stem cells tend to do,” and other studies showed that ESC destroyed mice’s knee joints.

    (It’s been awhile so if any of the links are “broken” please let me know and I’ll go fix them. Sometimes webpages change their URLs or go archive)

  5. on 19 Feb 2007 at 6:59 pmAnnie Banno

    As I wrote above, to head off the attacks from a certain one or two of the fellow commenters:

    (I’ve tried to post this/these twice, they didn’t take, so am splitting it in two in case it’s the length. I mention this in advance for the benefit of those who jumped down my throat on this same problem which I had in the recent past here accusing me of spamming.)

    At least one of you had to jump down my throat in another thread anyway. Please, realize how you look when you do this.

    TO THE MODERATORS: this is a serious glitch. Not only did the comment I made above NOT post in your moderation-waiting queue so you didn’t even see it, it later posted the comments twice in addition to your posting it a third time. If you could, to help other commenters get off the high horse of flogging me when this glitch happens, perhaps remove the first two copies (# 4 and #5).

  6. on 19 Feb 2007 at 7:16 pmPeter


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