Stem cell debate hits home
November 21, 2006
Life has a funny way of helping you decide what you believe in. Five years ago as he enjoyed a concert at Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee, David Busta probably couldn't have cared less about the advancements being made in the areas of stem cell research. He hadn't a clue that five minutes later he'd be clinging to that very research to help him get out of a maddening wheelchair.
This August marked the fourth year that Busta, originally from Chetek and now living in Minneapolis, Minn., has spent in a wheelchair following that fall during the concert. The fourth annual David Busta Basketball Benefit and Silent Auction will take place Saturday at Chetek High School. The benefit will help raise awareness for stem cell research, and more importantly, money for the cause.
The proceeds raised from the benefit will go toward UW-Madison's Waisman Center, which has developed into an international leader in stem cell research. Wisconsin jumped to the forefront of the effort in 1998 when developmental biologist James Thomson led a team that established five independent stem cell lines in 1998. It was the first time human embryonic stem cells had been successfully isolated and cultured.
The Busta Benefit proceeds will directly fund the research of Dr. Su-Chun Zhang, who uses embryonic stem cells to investigate the possibility of repairing damaged spinal cord tissue. The research also may benefit those suffering from a variety of other debilitating diseases, including heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Eight years following Thomson's discovery, the topic has sparked controversy in nearly every election, including the recent general election. Movie star Michael J. Fox, ravaged by Parkinson's disease, stumped for state and local politicians who supported stem cell research. Fox was called selfish and criticized for tainting the political scene to make personal gains. Can you blame a man who's fighting for his life?
Politicians have clouded the issue with claims of immorality, saying that even a few-days-old embryo is still a human person. They equate the extraction of stem cells to abortion or murder, even though those embryos have a low chance of starting a pregnancy and many of those embryos are discarded anyway because parents can't afford to have them preserved. In essence, those are arguments against abortion, not against a procedure that has the potential to save lives.
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD= ... =461&rfi=9