Why United States is not the leader in stem cell research?

April 27, 2012

It is a fact that stem cell research attained initial milestones in United States but could not grow as fast as expected; other countries which were behind in this field took a leap to get top positions. When we read the story of stem cell research, we find America a pioneer in this field. First embryonic cell line was created in United States and the very first published accounts of human embryonic stem cell production also came form United States in 1998 from researchers at Johns Hopkins University and University of Wisconsin. It was thought that America will be the leader in providing stem cell therapy for different diseases in the coming years but this could not happen. Going behind this mystery revealed the role of politicians behind this crime and lack of financial support broke the dream of standing on number one position in this field.

Financial constraints are thought to be the prime reason of Americans lagging behind in the field of stem cell research that was followed by shifting of researchers from US to UK; making the situation even worse. Everything was going smooth and swift when in 2001; President George W. Bush revised the policy on stem cell research. Moral concerns about destruction of human embryos, was the top line logic used by President George W. Bush to ban federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. In his speech on August 9, 2001 he said that government will not support research for creation of new embryonic cell lines as already created cell lines from embryos are sufficient. To restrict federal funding for Universities and other research institutes, a bill was passed by the House of Representatives. This bill proved to be a death order for embryonic stem cell research progression in America.

Universities already engaged in stem cell research faced financial problems and many new projects were terminated. Researchers were very hopeless and disheartened by this situation and started moving to countries where the environment was more favorable for embryonic stem cell research. The United Kingdom was open for embryonic stem cell research and stem cell leadership of United States shifted to United Kingdom. The decline continued in United States that left America far behind in the field of embryonic stem cell research. This is the reason American scientists were forced to work with only 22 embryonic cell lines for many years while countries like United Kingdom, Korea, Israel and Finland created more than 60 embryonic stem cell lines and were more successful in this field.

Recovering the Damage

Lack of government support for embryonic stem cell research prompted tremendous efforts by private sector to keep the momentum going. Although efforts in the private sector did not recover the declining situation, yet they provided a better support for the research. Harvard University, University of California and many other institutes started fund raising to initiate new research projects and are appreciable for their work during a tough situation. The new government of United States realized the worsening situation and immediately took a big step. President Obama signed an executive order on March 9, 2009 to change Bush’s policy on stem cell research and removed the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. This was a great mile stone that opened the door for future progress in stem cell therapy. Now stem cell research is being carried vigorously to compensate the loss of static years. Scientists are receiving better opportunities to work; it is hoped that America will lead again in embryonic stem cell research in future years.

Stem Cell Therapy In America By Using Umbilical Cord Blood

While embryonic stem cells still are a topic of debate for ethical reasons, stem cell therapy using cord blood has gained extreme popularity. Stem cell therapy for curing diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinsons and other disease processes are successfully being carried in United States but Mexico holds top position. There is no ethical problem attached to use of umbilical cord blood for stem cell therapy as it does not involving harming the baby. Our centers in Tijuana and Guadalajara are providing world-class service in stem cell therapy for diabetes mellitus, Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases and many other diseases. Our centers possess records of success in stem cell therapy. Cord blood is taken as source of stem cells and procedure of stem cell therapy takes around 6 weeks to complete. Success rates of these centers are higher than other centers in the world and this is the reason both residents and overseas patients chose these facilities for best results.

UPDATE – Dec 16, 2015

California’s stem cell agency (CIRM) charted a fresh $890 million course that aims to produce stem cell treatments ready for wide-scale use on patients. Read more here

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