Meanwhile, in Wisconsin

Stem cell politics in Wisconsin have been heating up of late; anti-research groups and politicians have unfortunately succeeded in banning therapeutic cloning:

Everyone is against human cloning but the real purpose of this bill is to restrict stem cell research, which holds enormous potential for our state as well as the promise of curing juvenile diabetes, spinal cord injuries and Parkinson's disease," said Doyle, also in a prepared statement.

"I do not understand how anyone can, in good conscience, tell a family whose child is suffering from a life-threatening disease that politics is more important than finding a cure."

This criminalization of research is just as idiotic as every other attempt to outlaw therapeutic cloning, a technology presently vital to much of the most important stem cell research. It never ceases to amaze me that such a large number of people are so ready to turn their backs on progress towards regenerative cures for age-related conditions, placing greater value on a few hundred cells than on actual thinking, feeling, suffering and dying human beings.

The Wisconsin governor is a strong supporter of stem cell research and is expected to veto the legislation:

Gov. Jim Doyle invested $2 million in state funds in a company founded by stem cell research pioneer Jamie Thomson on Monday while promising to veto restrictions on the developing science.

Doyle said the $1 million grant and $1 million loan will help startup company Cellular Dynamics International leverage private investments that will eventually turn research discoveries into profitable products.

It is a sad thing that we live in a society in which so much effort must be expended simply to gain the freedom to research better medicine and build steps towards real healthy life extension technologies - how much further could research have advanced if not for these battles? Even after the stem cell wars have ended, it will still be a case of back to the normal mess of regulation and governance that hampers medical research and commercialization in the US. Basic science may be speeding up and producing real results, but the costs - in money, in time, in lives - imposed by the regulatory situation seem only to go from bad to worse.

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