The president's decision required NIH (2008) to examine the derivation of all existing stem cell lines, create a registry of lines satisfying these criteria, and overseeing grant applications for federal funds focusing on stem cell research. No federal funds are to be used, according to this governmental directive, for the derivation and/or use of stem cell lines from newly destroyed embryos, the creation of any human embryos for research purposes, or the cloning of human embryos for any purpose. Finally, President Bush created the President's Council on Bioethics, chaired by Dr. Leon Kass (a biomedical ethicist at the University of Chicago) to study such issues as embryo and stem cell research, assisted reproduction, cloning, genetic screening, gene therapy, euthanasia, psychoactive drugs, and brain implants (NIH, 2008).
60 existing stem cell lines that had already been derived: 1) with the informed consent of the donors; 2) from excess embryos created solely for reproductive purposes; and 3) without any financial inducements given to the donors. The decision was based upon the president's reading of scientific data indicating that ASCs were as viable in terms of their research potential as were ESCs and that ASCs were more readily (and ethically) available for research purposes.
From the perspective of NIH (2008), therefore, ASCs have significant advantages vis-à-vis ESCs. However, debate over this issue is likely to continue.
does draw upon embryonic stem cells for much of its
donor as a source of "spare parts;"
Medical and scientific research is, in its earliest stages, speculative (Atala, 2002). Atala (2002) makes note of the fact that his research team at Wake Forest University hospitals was able to use ESCs drawn from the amniotic fluid of pregnant women in their research - without having to involve or endanger or employ an embryo per se. In his view, if ESCs are to be used, they can easily be obtained during a ro