Stem cells offer hope for diabetes battle

Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 9, the day President Obama signed an executive order lifting the federal ban on embryonic stem cell research, was a day of hope for me, our families, the more than 66,800 children and adults diagnosed and living with diabetes in Alaska and the 23.6 million children and adults with diabetes nationwide. Obama's action provides many parents with hope that their children may not have to battle the complexity and complications of the numerous chronic illnesses that have the potential to be cured through this research advancement.

The president's decision provides a balance to our scientific research efforts that has been missing since 2001 - scientists can and should be able to pursue the promise of embryonic stem cell research while ensuring that this research is conducted within strict ethical guidelines. Furthermore, we think it's a good idea for the organization charged with stewarding our research efforts, the National Institutes of Health, to be in charge of developing these guidelines. The NIH has been given this same responsibility throughout its history in order to remove this important process from the whims of politicians.

Politics has no place in science. With President Obama's executive order, the lives of millions of Americans like us stand a better chance of seeing a brighter tomorrow.

Barbara Hale

Activation leader, Alaska Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Juneau



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