In my previous post I discussed President Obama’s recent Executive Order to expand the number of embryonic stem cell lines eligible for federal funding.  It turns out that’s not all the president did.  Part of the Executive Order entailed revoking President Bush’s Executive Order 13435 (issued June 20, 2007), which made it a priority to fund research into alternative methods of obtaining pluripotent stem cells-methods that do not involve the destruction of embryos.  That policy was largely responsible for the iPS breakthrough that revolutionized the field of stem cell research.

Why would Obama revoke that Executive Order?  The most promising areas of stem cell research have been those that do not involve the destruction of embryos (adult stem cells, cord stem cells, iPS).  Why would he pull funding for the most promising areas of stem cell research, and direct those funds into the least promising area of research: ESCR?

This is ironic in light of Obama’s own stated support for “groundbreaking work to convert ordinary human cells into ones that resemble embryonic stem cells.”  It is also baffling given his own admission that to-date, ESCR has not produced therapeutic benefits.  Contrast this to research using alternative sources of stem cells, which have yielded more than 70 treatments.  It doesn’t make any sense to put all of one’s eggs in a basket that is both medically unproductive and ethically suspect, when there are other baskets that are both medically productive and ethical.  It seems Obama is being driven by an ideology that is more concerned with promoting research involving the destruction of human embryos, than he is with funding research that is yielding actual therapeutic benefits for sick Americans.  So much for putting science ahead of ideology.  If he was interested in science, he would put his money on ethical alternatives to ESCR such as iPS.