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Laird Center for Medical Research

Roundtable Video Transcript

The future of stem cell research

Moderator: Bob Froehlke has a question. Do you want to bring a mic down to secretary Froehlke?

Bob Froehlke: I think it's unfortunate that stem cell research has become political, but that's the way it is. Assuming that the country adopts the position of the President, will it seriously inhibit that research?

Humberto Vidaillet: Stem cell research really is a political, very sensitive issue at this time. The technology is evolving to where that may not be the case. As many of you know, the concern there is the perception of the termination of a human life, yet the benefits that could be derived...I think that's where the conflict comes in.

In terms of our involvement in it, I think that would be unlikely if, nothing else, because of cost. So I think it would be unlikely that in the very near future, that Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation will be involved in stem cell research because of the incredible cost.

I read recently where, I think, the government of Indonesia has put billions of dollars into attracting scientists and funding for that kind of research. My hopes would be, and I think many of you read recently, there was an article...I think it was in nature...where scientists noted that where there's a very early embryo with eight cells, that you could remove one of those cells without damaging the capability of that implant to develop into a healthy child. That's not what they did, but the potential, the methodology is promising. But that's the type of questions where someday it's incredibly powerful.

Moderator: Do any of our other panelists want to tackle the stem cell question?

Cathy McCarty: I'll take it just quickly. There's confusion in the lay press about stem cell research and the political part is embryonic stem cell research. There are other sources of stem cells, of course, for stem cell research, but it's hard to get that information out to the public and it has become so politicized, unfortunately.

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