46 Responses

  1. Nick
    Nick March 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm | | Reply

    JDRF is full of it and is wasting donations. I hope everyone thinks twice before donating to this fiasco.

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama said: “I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations.”
    With all due respect, that is nonsense. With Obama lifting the restrictions on Monday, we will now be federally funding research that has yet to produce a single therapy or a single treatment of an actual human being, at least one that works. It has generated a lot of hope but very little change. It is he who is putting ideology over science.
    What has handcuffed our scientists is the difficulty of controlling embryonic stem cells and what they develop into. They’re called pluripotent because they can develop into any type of human tissue, sometimes all at once.
    Embryonic stem cells have a tendency to develop into one of the most primitive and terrifying forms of cancer, a tumor called a teratoma. Adult stem cells don’t have that problem.
    Recently the family of an Israeli boy suffering from a lethal genetic brain disease sought a solution in the form of injections of fetal stem cells. These injections apparently triggered tumors in the boy’s brain and spinal cord.
    It’s in the area of adult stem cell research that new discoveries are being made every day. Fact is, there are now hundreds of conditions and diseases actually being treated using adult stem cells drawn from umbilical cord blood and other nonembryonic sources.
    The typical reaction to Obama’s move was represented in a Los Angeles Times sub-headline in its Saturday piece describing Obama’s decision. It read, “Lifting Bush’s limits on research will reopen a door for science.” But no door had been closed.
    Bush’s executive order banned federal funding only of new stem cell lines. Neither federal funding of existing lines nor private funding was banned. In fact, Bush was the first president to spend any money on ESCR at all. Clinton spent zero.
    The Times notes, as we have, that in 2006 researchers led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan’s Kyoto University were first able to “reprogram” human skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells. But it claims the potential of these induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS) “is still unclear.”
    No, it’s not. They can do everything stem cells from destroyed embryos can do, except without the moral baggage or the destroyed embryos.
    This type of stem cell, according to the National Institutes of Health, offers the prospect of having a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.
    Last week, Canadian and Scottish researchers, led by Andras Nagy of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto, announced in the journal Nature a new and safer way to create IPS cells. The original method used genetically engineered viruses to coax the skin cells into a state biologically identical to embryonic stem cells.
    The new method uses strands of genetic material, or DNA, which can safely be removed once it does its job. The technique builds on Yamanaka’s advance when he electrified scientists by reprogramming ordinary skin cells into stem cells capable of growing heart, brain and other tissues.
    Venture capitalists think IPS cells are promising and are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Last year, Kleiner Perkins, the veteran Silicon Valley venture capital firm that helped found the biotechnology industry, announced it was backing a new Bay Area company, iZumi Bio Inc., which will work on further developing the technology for creating and using IPS cells developed from adult stem cells.
    If embryonic stem cells are so promising, why aren’t venture capitalists lining up and why does ESCR need federal funding? Indeed, let’s stimulate science, not ideology.

  2. LarryL
    LarryL March 9, 2009 at 8:07 pm | | Reply

    Wow Nick. Thanks for enlightening us. If you listen to everything Amy posts here you’ll drive yourself crazy. She doesn’t mean to sound so wicked. She just answers to JDRF and that’s that. She’s a true believer in JDRF and they need people like her to survive.

  3. Lauren
    Lauren March 9, 2009 at 8:34 pm | | Reply

    Those of us who are actually scientists, thinkers, and believers in objective reality appreciate the work that these advocates have done on our behalf. I am glad this day is finally here. I am also glad that Obama has handed this over to the scientists, not the politicians. The research from here on out will be driven by evidence and results, not ideology.

  4. Thomas
    Thomas March 10, 2009 at 12:57 am | | Reply

    Hi Amy

    I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been on the receiving end of some abusive mail: some people really do need to reboot their moral compass!

    I strongly disagree with the embryonic research and will stick with the needles and risk of premature death myself rather than take a cure based on embryonic cells, but all sides in the debate should be allowed their voice without threats or harassment.

    All the best


  5. NancyA
    NancyA March 10, 2009 at 2:57 am | | Reply

    It’s truly unfortunate that Amy uses words such as “joyful” and “ecstatic” to describe the government funding of embryonic stem cell research. This shows her unwillingness to understand the great moral and ethical concerns many religious people have. The Catholic Church, one of the largest and oldest religions on earth, strongly and clearly has voiced its displeasure at the lack of respect for human life that this science represents. In fact, the Sanctity of Life is number 1 in the Hierarchy of Moral Truths of the Church. Now many of you atheists and Jews could care less about what the Catholic Church has to say, and that certainly is your choice. But why should they have to pay for this via taxes? No one is trying to take away your right to destroy human life, but why do we have to pay for it? Your dear leader Obama has also approved of government payment for all abortions. He has also fully supported the requirement that if an aborted baby is born alive, it is to be left to die and should not be given any form of life support. Finally, he is about to require that all hospitals must preform abortion on demand. This is his backdoor way to close down all Catholic operated hospitals so that the government can run them. I will never be able to understand Jews (Amy is a Jew) apparent love for abortion. I was once told the Jews are more liberal than they are Jewish. I hope others see that Amy’s concern is more about abortion than it is about a cure for diabetes. Why else would she be so giddy over this? It’s certainly not because there’s any chance of a cure for diabetes from this technology.

  6. Lauren
    Lauren March 10, 2009 at 3:10 am | | Reply

    Thank you Larry and Amy for helping us understand how wonderful and exciting the future is for all of us with diabetes. President Obama will make sure that there will be no stopping us to find cure for diabetes. We are so fortunate to be living in a time when a man such as Obama can lead us out of the terrible abyss that George Bush has taken the country. We all know he is the one that masterminded 9/11 and the 4000 additional soldiers deaths. He is also responsible for all the murders in our Cities and the incarceration of young black men who have done nothing wrong. Worst of all, he is a Christian and tries to force his beliefs on those of us who are actually scientists, thinkers, and believers in objective science and the importance of using embryos to save our lives.

  7. GAMA
    GAMA March 10, 2009 at 4:06 am | | Reply

    Hope JDRF seizes this opportunity and makes a head way in the research understanding its responsibility to society.

  8. Lauren
    Lauren March 10, 2009 at 4:49 am | | Reply

    I am wondering if there is a way I can direct all of my taxes to JDRF? I would rather have my taxes going to cure diabetes than for anything else, I don’t care about the life or moral issues of stupid embryo’s. I just want to be cured of my diabetes. The sooner the better. George Bush has prevented me from living the life I want to lead.

  9. Denny
    Denny March 10, 2009 at 4:58 am | | Reply

    Amy and Larry: Best wishes and good luck to you on your crusade. George Bush hated people with diabetes and would have rather seen us die. Thank God for Obama whom, with the help of Amy and Larry, will rid us of this horrible disease. Who cares what the Christian retards think anyways!

  10. Junior Brooks
    Junior Brooks March 10, 2009 at 5:41 am | | Reply

    Yesterday’s executive order on fetal stem-cell research was all about politics and nothing about science. It had nothing at all to do with compassion or curing disease, it was just some cheap thrill in the undying abortion debate.

    Fetal stem cells are a surrogate for the abortion issue. There being precious little either side of the abortion debate can fight about right now, fetal stem cells have served as a substitute issue. George W. Bush signed the fetal stem-cell ban to appease folks in the anti-abortion crowd, and Barack H. Obama lifted the ban to appease folks in the pro-abortion crowd.

    And yesterday’s cock-a-doodle-dooing about science winning out over politics and philosophy was pure bull crud. Liberal support for fetal stem-cell research is about sticking it to pro-life people. Period. It has nothing to do with science, it has nothing to do with new treatments, it has everything to do with politics.

  11. Junior Brooks
    Junior Brooks March 10, 2009 at 5:48 am | | Reply

    Diabetics truth seakers….check out this as an alternative to Amy’s weird interview with Larry.

  12. Nick
    Nick March 10, 2009 at 5:51 am | | Reply

    Why is is that Larry refuses to acknowledge the cancer which is caused by use of biosynthetic insulin analogues (known by the FDA as insulin receptor ligands, BTW) like Lantus and Levemir?

  13. Lauren
    Lauren March 10, 2009 at 5:54 am | | Reply

    Amy: Can’t you do anything to block these stupid pro-lifers from having an opinion on this blog? I really despise these people. I’m going to report this to the Obama administration. These people and the pope must be stopped.

  14. leanard
    leanard March 10, 2009 at 5:58 am | | Reply

    Nick: The reason that the cancer link isn’t acknowledged is because both Larry and Amy are in “bed” with the makers of Lantus and Levermir. Did you ever have any doubt?

  15. libby
    libby March 10, 2009 at 6:05 am | | Reply

    How can I get on Larry’s and Amy’s tweets? They are so twitterific! God bless their little pancreases!!

  16. smacbuck
    smacbuck March 10, 2009 at 6:26 am | | Reply

    Nick, I respect your views and especially your efforts to be well-informed…so few do so. But your last line of supporting science instead of ideology struck me: I believe that is exactly what this EO is about.

    The strong opposition to early stem cell research is essentially faith-based…thus ideology. Again, I absolutely respect that belief and have many friends who believe as you. Friends who at the same time see the importance of supporting the wide-ranging research efforts of JDRF.

    But to say we don’t need escr is the logic equivalent of saying we didn’t need airplanes because we had trains. As to federal support, let’s not forget that taxpayers already spend billions in support of faith-based initiatives and programs thru direct funding as well as tax relief. Finally, this science is barely 10 years old, and has operated under severe restrictions in this country for most of that time. That throttles private funding, as well as advances.

    And NancyA, all I can say is…wow. You must read a lot of pass-along emails. I have one word of advice for you:

  17. Erik
    Erik March 10, 2009 at 6:40 am | | Reply

    There are certainly a lot of divergent opinions being posted here. What I wish both sides would do is keep irrelevant politics and morality out of their comments. The relevance (and I use that word lightly) of some sort of apparent Jewish abortion “love” or Bush being behind 9/11 really have nothing to do with stem cell research and are red herrings at best.

  18. Lane
    Lane March 10, 2009 at 6:54 am | | Reply

    I must say that those on both sides of the issue have spewed some pretty foul stuff here. Do you think anyone is going to take you seriously if all you can do is put others down? If you feel so strongly about what you believe then state that and move on. Putting others down for what they do or do not believe is childish and does not serve to either support or damage the decision made by President Obama.

    I am the mother of a child with Type 1 diabetes. I want my son cured more than anything in the world. I do not, however, support embryonic stem cell research. I have several reasons why I feel this way. I won’t go into all of them here.

    I just wanted to show that not all out those affected by D believe this is the right way to go. My support will always go to Dr. Faustman (

  19. Sara
    Sara March 10, 2009 at 7:06 am | | Reply

    I just finished reading all the comments on this post after reading Amy’s comment on Allison’s blog Lemonade Life. All I can say is, Wow! I was just about to give up on the comments entirely, until I read Lane’s comment and now I can say – ditto!

  20. Erik
    Erik March 10, 2009 at 7:11 am | | Reply

    Also, a comment to Nick and other naysayers. Doesn’t it seem odd that scientists researching embryonic stem cells would so strongly desire to use these cells if they had little or no evidence of their potential benefits? Really, it seems tantamount to assuming some sort of grand ignorance or wickedness(?) on the scientists’ part.
    Each person should remember that science is a philosophy (i.e. empiricism) like any other and is always subject to some sort of ideological input. We would like to think of it as some sort of ultimate truth when in reality it is actually a construct* like any other belief system. In my opinion, more faith is needed in the motives and knowledge of our nation’s (and world’s) scientists, as I believe they’re more interested in helping humanity rather than hurting it.
    *Keep in mind this post is coming from someone with a post-modernist worldview :-)

  21. libby
    libby March 10, 2009 at 7:26 am | | Reply

    Lane: Thanks for the link to the Faustman lab. I’d much rather send my donations there than to the JDRF. I read Larry’s tweets yesterday and they reminded me of the diary I kept when I saw the Beatles in Detroit many moons ago.

  22. Major Bedhead
    Major Bedhead March 10, 2009 at 7:41 am | | Reply

    Some of the comments here are truly disgusting. Do you really need to insult Amy’s religion because you don’t agree with stem cell research? Really?

    I’m in agreement with Obama’s decision. Will it cure diabetes? Who knows. But if scientists can’t do the research, we will never know.

  23. libby
    libby March 10, 2009 at 7:52 am | | Reply

    Major Bedhead: I agree with you, no one should insult religions but I think the point was that Jewish people are nearly 100 % liberal and the poster was wondering why that is. And just to correct things, scientists have always been able to do the research, the debate is who should pay for it. President Bush was the first president to actually fund esc research and his position was moderate. Obama is just taking advantage of the situation with all this grandstanding. Why isn’t he doing more to put faith back into the economy? Instead he is overseeing the largest generational theft ever and no one bats an eye. We will look back at these times and remember all the research dollars being spent on diabetes. The future doesn’t look bright to me. I am a PhD economist by the way.

  24. k2
    k2 March 10, 2009 at 8:14 am | | Reply

    There’s nothing “Christian” about insulting Amy’s religion because your against stem cell research! Insulting one’s religious beliefs is not only vile, but goes against the very nature of why our country was founded.

    Personally, I’m more than happy that the ban was lifted and I agree w/ Major Bedhead – We don’t know if stem cell research will cure Diabetes, but if we don’t explore the research to it’s fullest potential, we will never know!

    Amy – Continue to report, inspire, and speak for your community – the majority of us appreciate it & Thank-you for it!
    Kelly Kunik

  25. Kerri.
    Kerri. March 10, 2009 at 9:10 am | | Reply

    Amy’s opinions on this issue are her own, and if you don’t agree with her, share your disagreement respectfully. These disrespectful comments – from both sides – are so disappointing.

    It’s a shame, because I expect so much better from the medical community. And when people are tossing insults around, it ruins our shared foundation of diabetes advocacy.

    You don’t have to agree, but you should be respectful. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

  26. Paul
    Paul March 10, 2009 at 9:10 am | | Reply

    Wow this certainly is a hot topic! I myself am cautiously optimistic about ESC research. I can’t get too excited about it because I have been living with this disease for over 36 years now and have been disappointed many times in the past about a “cure”. In the grand scheme of things I think of all the atrocities that man has created with wars, genocide, Holocaust etc. and doing research on a tiny cluster of cells to see if they can cure many people of their suffering seems pretty harmless to me. And if this research works I bet all these people with these strong opinions against it will be standing in that line when the cure is avaiable.

  27. Lauren
    Lauren March 10, 2009 at 10:28 am | | Reply

    I’m sure most of you realize this but several of the comments above were not mine. The first comment in this thread was posted by me, but the others were posted by someone using the name “Lauren.” What a shame that people have to resort to such immature tactics.

    And again I ask the question: why don’t you anti-embryo-destruction people boycott all fertility clinics and demand laws against IVF? Seems like this is selective targeting. If you honestly believe that life begins at conception, shouldn’t you be trying to save those embryos too?

  28. lauren
    lauren March 10, 2009 at 11:29 am | | Reply

    Lauren: I’m sorry we have the same name. That is the only thing we apparently share. I actually have two daughters born through IVF. My husband and I only had two embryos created through the process each time and both were put back into my uterus but only one implanted. We mourned the loss of that embryo. We would never have done it with the potential of leaving embryos frozen or discarded later. I went through the process twice at a four year interval and was successful both times. I therefore am a little more attached to embryos than perhaps you are and am very sensitive about their destruction and treatment. All the IVF people I’ve known over the years share this sentiment. Believe me, I’m looking at one of those clumps of cells right now and she is definitely human.

  29. Paul
    Paul March 10, 2009 at 11:44 am | | Reply

    Uh oh I was afraid of this. I think I see Octomom entering the controversy. (just a joke people, trying to lighten the mood a little)

  30. CALpumper
    CALpumper March 10, 2009 at 11:44 am | | Reply

    Thanks for this post and yesterdays.
    You write well and from the heart. You are upfront, honest and have a great wit.

    I’m not sure where I stand on this issue but I am in support of more research for better management and a possible cure.
    Type 1 Diabetes sucks. 24 years and I still loathe it.
    And if ESC help find a cure, I know exactly where I will be standing.

    We are all entitled to our opinion but “attacking” someone with words because you disagree is childish and accomplishes nothing. If you disagree with something, keep the harshness to yourself and go out and advocate for what you believe in!

    Thanks again Amy.

  31. Aisha
    Aisha March 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm | | Reply

    I echo the sentiments of some of the diabetics who’ve posted here. I am a type 1 on an insulin pump. If advanced treatment options or a cure comes at the cost of abandoning ethical reasoning, I will gladly keep my pump. I do not believe that embryos should be created and destroyed so that others can live better, or even live. Obama has avoided the tough questions and left them up to NIH to solve, anyway; I don’t find his decision “devoid of ideology.” I find it devoid of responsibility.

  32. Jules
    Jules March 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm | | Reply

    Aisha: Best point made on this website. You are right, Obama passed the ball on the really tough decisions, claiming it was the scientists that must decide on the details…including cloning.

    Modern science offers tremendously powerful means of knowing and doing. It is the role of elected policymakers to consider the knowledge that science offers and the power it gives us, and to balance these with other priorities — be they economic as in the case of environmental policy, strategic as in the case of nonproliferation or moral as in the case of embryonic stem cells. In all these areas, politics ought to govern, with science merely its handmaiden. Science is a glorious thing, but it is no substitute for wisdom, prudence or democracy.

  33. Lauren
    Lauren March 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm | | Reply

    To the Lauren who underwent IVF: you say that 100% of your embryos resulted in a live birth, but your fertility clinic undoubtedly destroyed and discarded other couples’ embryos. IVF as a procedure generally involves the creation of more embryos than will ever be used. Does that bother you? If you believe that life begins at conception, shouldn’t you believe in banning IVF?

    I am saying that people should be CONSISTENT in their demands for embryo protection, if that’s what they truly believe. It’s hypocritical to raise objections to the embryonic stem cell research if you’re not going to object to the destruction of embryos in other types of therapy.

    I am a future medical provider, and consequently I am somewhat “attached” to the people who already exist and who are suffering daily. Again I’m not just talking about type 1 diabetes. I’m talking about far more acutely devastating conditions such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries. I trust the scientists and researchers to make sound, evidence-based (not emotion based) decisions about the future of stem cell research in medicine.

  34. Harry
    Harry March 10, 2009 at 3:38 pm | | Reply

    As usual, Kerri said this much better than I can. I understand that people have differing opinions on this issue, but I am disappointed in the uncivilized comments from both sides. Regardless of our individual views, I think that we should all be thankful for JDRF’s advocacy and support. Maybe this is the answer to “the cure”, maybe not. But I for one am thankful that someone is willing to put forth the time and effort to get closer to that goal. And Amy, my thanks goes out to you as well for spreading the word and providing insight into this process.

  35. Ann
    Ann March 11, 2009 at 9:23 am | | Reply

    Amy, thank you for sharing this information. I was happy to have the chance to follow JDRF on Twitter on Monday and found it really exciting to get the inside scoop on the day. JDRF does a great job of doing what is best when it comes to researching a cure for type 1. I am so happy that Larry and everyone else at JDRF fought so long to get us where we are with ESC.

    Aisha, what I find irresponsible is ignoring the millions of people living with devastating diseases like diabetes. Scientists should be able to use all forms of stem cell research to find a cure faster for diseases like diabetes. Maybe it will be cured through adult stem cell research, maybe through embryonic, but I don’t think we should wait around even longer to find out.

  36. Jill
    Jill March 11, 2009 at 10:40 am | | Reply

    Hi Amy!
    Just jumping in here and letting you know we’re behind you 100%! Thank you for being a great “voice” for the D-OC and being brave enough to take the “low blows” that some of these people are taking. You’re stronger than I could be :) Keep up all the great posting!! We luv ya!

  37. Lauren
    Lauren March 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm | | Reply

    To the Lauren that was wondering about IVF. I’ll try to explain the IVF process to you. You take fertility drugs that stimulate your ovaries. When the time is just right the doctors remove eggs that have developed. After harvesting the eggs they mix them with washed sperm which results in embryo’s. We would not allow more eggs to be fertilized than could be placed into my uterus. So, there were no extra embryos by our decision. So there were none to destroy. Now, tell me why that is hypocritical?

  38. Lauren
    Lauren March 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm | | Reply

    Lauren: Thanks, I understand IVF. I’m a medical student. Do you think that the fertility clinic you went to ever destroyed or discarded anyone’s embryos? Of course they did.

    My point is, if you’re against embryo destruction you should be against it in all circumstances. Don’t claim to be against stem cell research if you’re not going to protest embryo destruction in other areas.

  39. Lauren
    Lauren March 12, 2009 at 8:28 am | | Reply

    Lauren: I’m sorry but your argument makes no sense to me. I am opposed to funding of embryonic stem cell funding by taxpayers. As I said before, I don’t want to take your right to destroy embryos. Just dont make me pay for it. There is no need to use embryonic stem cells by the way. Time Magazine and the Journal Science put “Induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPS) as the number 1 breakthrough of 2008. This discovery has made embryonic stem cells obsolete and unnecessary. That’s why the private sector aren’t using embryo destruction. Why isn’t Amy and her buds at JDRF excited and joyful about this discovery? Why aren’t you? Don’t believe me…check it out yourself and report back. Knowledge is power but Obama and the govt. are way behind on this.

  40. Junior Brooks
    Junior Brooks March 12, 2009 at 8:32 am | | Reply

    Thanks to IVF Lauren for the info on iPS. I researched it and you are correct. I am stopping all donations to JDRF until they catch up with technology and figure out the right way to invest for the cure. I will donate directly to the labs that are using iPS. Thanks again IVF Lauren…you truthseeker you!

  41. Hot News » Stem Cell Research
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  42. JR Salisbury
    JR Salisbury March 27, 2009 at 2:05 am | | Reply

    Wow, I am absolutely appalled at some of the comments I have just read. The Catholic Church for one, is the biggest business on the face of the earth. People can spare a little change to help some others in need, for a process that obviously shows much promise. That’s the purpose of the collection plate, right? To help others and such. People with these diseases are dying more rapidly every day, and something like this new research is really uplifting. Why not give this a full shot? People throughout history have only made gains through innovation. How can one possibly attempt to cure these ailments, without a reasonable attempt? Do we just call it quits and stand by the wayside while people continue to die? I like to think that if it was your child, you would be fighting for the same cause. The very first poster was entirely full of it. How can you take things people have said, and then simply dismiss them based on your own opinion with no factual evidence to back any of it up? And as far as taxes is go; I’m not in support of the government ripping off half of my paycheck, however if I have to decide if it’s going towards this, or repairing streets, or paying my fat congressman to sit on his ass, and then vote to raise his own salary; I’m going to go with this. I’m fully in support of this and quite honestly I have no idea how anyone can be opposed to it. In fact I’m yet to read any argument in which anyone has said anything to remotely substantiate opposition to such a big step forward in an awful lot of people’s lives. Thanks.

  43. rendev
    rendev August 10, 2009 at 4:23 am | | Reply


    WOW! I am glad I found this website!
    Good Job! Thank u..

  44. where
    where April 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm | | Reply

    Okay it’s been almost 5 years….no progress report? No this is where we are at?
    JDRF takes our donations, Federal Money…and never has to disclose where the status of this “new” research is.
    Must have been a great celebration.
    It’s technically been 10 years since government said in 2004 to start looking at this.
    When is everyone going to realize, that JDRF cares nothing about curing Diabetes. And everything about getting money?
    When is our government going to demand personal responsibilities for these groups? If I go to the grocery store, I don’t pay billions of dollars for the idea that maybe some day I would get bread. In fact there are laws protecting me from a store that would do that.
    Why does JDRF get away with it?

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