Big Companies Pursue Research on Embryonic Stem Cells

From articles in the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal (reprinted at here by, it appears that several major U.S. corporations are starting embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) projects.  Some of the companies performing this research are:

  • General Electric Co. (GE)
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
  • Invitrogen Corp. (IVGN)
  • Becton, Dickinson & Co. (BDX)
  • and the U.S.-based research operations of Swiss drug giant Novartis AG (NVS) – makers of Maalox, Triaminic, Theraflu, Ex-Lax, Lamisil, and the entire Gerber line of products.

However, they are trying their best to keep a low profile.  This begs the question: Why?

From the Washington Post article:

"Drug companies are afraid of risk," says Laurie Zoloth, a professor of medical ethics at Northwestern University. "And stem cells put you at risk morally, politically and scientifically."

The political risks are not just from the government, but also from the public at large, especially in the U.S. – land of protest, boycott, and dollar-votes.  The moral risks are not so much "risks" as they are certainties – performing ESCR is not to be at moral risk (i.e., there’s a chance/possibility of being in the wrong), but rather it is inherently immoral for the same reason that abortion is always wrong – it results in the destruction of a human being.  The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" did not have any addendums such as "except when it’s for medical research" (Nazi death camps used this rationale) or "except when it might help someone else and profit you".

The scientific risk is particularly worthy of note, considering that there has been a zero success rate in ESCR actually living up to any of the claims its proponents have made.  According to a letter sent by Children of God for Life to the board of directors of GE:

From a purely scientific and practical standpoint, surely you realize that there has not been one single successful treatment or cure using ESC (embryonic stem cells) – in either human OR animal trials.  In fact, in all cases genetic abnormalities and cancerous tumors have formed and in at least one documented case, the patient died when the ESCs formed bone fragment, teeth and hair follicles where it was hoped neural cells would form in the patient’s brain.

If there are so many massive chromosomal abnormalities documented in the human embryos frozen, thawed, cultured and killed in order to derive these human embryonic stem cell lines, those stem cells will also be genetically abnormal.  In all human and animal trials using ESCs, carcinogenic tumors have formed – even those originally derived by cloning from the same patient.  And if tumor formation is necessary in order to develop quick, stabilized, efficient, repeatable human embryonic stem cell culture protocols, what good are they?  These same problems have been repeatedly demonstrated with aborted fetal cell tissue transplants as well – and those are even further differentiated than ESCs!

Apparently, they do not care about success rates or side-effects – otherwise, they would continue working with Adult Stem Cell Research, which has yielded incredible results without the controversy of destroying human life.  However, they have seen from history that side-effects and moral ambiguity do not matter much to stock prices – they have Merck as an excellent example.  (Merck has been manufacturing infant & toddler vaccines using aborted fetal tissue as a substrate for years, and this has not noticeably affected the performance of its stock.)  All they need to do is get the government behind them, as Merck did with making infant/toddler vaccinations mandatory, and they are on their way to sure profits and steady growth while exploiting and destroying the unborn.  (As an additional note, the unborn cannot be compensated or sue for use of their genetic material, nor are the parents of these unborn even aware of the patents being made off of their own progeny.)

This makes the last paragraph of the WSJ article particularly troublesome.

Starting in August 2001, the Bush administration permitted federal funding for studies using embryonic stem cells, but it restricted support to supplies already taken from embryos at the time. Advocates of stem-cell research, including some Republicans, hope to win a Congressional vote this spring on a bill that would broaden the policy to provide funding for research on cells created more recently.

It was worrisome enough that the President allowed any ESCR to be funded (albeit on old, practically unusable cell lines), but now that there is a new push by our government, with corporate monetary backing, there is a very limited amount of time before action will become impossible.  This is why the following must be done:

  1. Get word out about these companies performing this research,
  2. Write letters to the heads of these companies and get others to do likewise,
  3. Write letters to your congressional representatives, both national and local, to prevent the broadening of ESCR, and
  4. if the above do not work, sell any stock in these companies (thereby driving down their market value) and start boycotting their products.

Steps 1-3 must be done immediately – step 4 should be used as a last resort.

The Terri Schaivo case is not the only "Roe v. Wade" battle that Generation X must deal with.  Roe v. Wade was just the cracking open of Pandora’s box.  We are now starting to see all the other symptoms of the Culture of Death starting to spew out.  Let us hope it is possible to put this genie back in it’s bottle before all hope escapes and a Brave New World is firmly ensconced. 

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