NPR this weekend had some good stories on the recent Federal funding for stem cell research. The one that caught my attention was by Weekend All Things considered ("Stem Cell" and "Ethicist," listen here) about the decision affecting which stem cells can be studied. Most of the existing stem cell lines, which Bush has allowed federal funding for research on, are owned by private corporations. They are trying to get permission to patent any treatments developed by the research which is paid in tax dollars. This would allow them to sell those treatments back to us at whatever price they would like. By limiting funding in this way Bush is allowing businesses, not researchers, great benefit. We don't hear the private biotech corporations complaining do we?
They also talk about the fact that while people who oppose stem cell research on lines originating from human embryos on moral grounds are focusing on protesting the federal funding, there are no rules in place to stop private corporations from doing whatever type of research they would like. Private corporations are even starting to approach couples with extra embryos from fertility trials to purchase the embryos in order to develop stem cell lines. These are things we will need to address soon, and shouting about funding money isn't helping.
NPR has put together a special reports page collecting stories here.