The Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure of Breast Cancer has again hedged its decision to stop supplying financial grants to Planned Parenthood organization to provide breast cancer screenings after the unpopular decision kicked off a firestorm of controversy and outrage. It’s still not clear however where the Komen foundation stands on embryonic stem cell research, another hotly debated topic which has made the Komen Foundation a target of anti-abortion groups throughout the US.
Anti-abortion groups have been pressuring the Komen foundation to stop providing millions of dollars in support to research institutions such as the U.S. National Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins University simply because these organizations have conduct research in the past using embryonic stem cells.
News outlets affiliated with the anti-abortion rights movement have been feverishly touting recent recent press release from the Komen foundation that insist that they do not fund embryonic stem cell research groups and do not support any cancer research center that helps in “destroying a human embryo.”
A Nov. 30,2011 press release (which has since disappeared from Komen’s website). Seems to clearly suggest that the Komen group now strongly opposes ANY embryonic stem cell research. That definitely wasn’t the case a couple of years ago, when the Komen Foundation newsletter touted the possible benefits of utilizing embryonic stem cells to cure cancer.
Embryonic stem cells derived from embryos that develop from eggs, have been fertilized in vitro(in the lab) after which they are donated for research purposes. These powerful cells have the potential to help regenerate numerous different types of tissues. Due to their pluripotent nature, embryonic derived stem cells are currently regarded as probably the most potential for the regeneration of injured or diseased tissues. An additional possible function is supplying a better understanding of cancer development leading to its eventual cure.
Even The National Cancer Institute noted recently that “embryonic stem cells hold much more potential than adult derived stem cells” with regards to research, simply because the embryonic derived cells “can change into many more kinds of tissue and replicate indefinitely.” these two properties are not usually seen with adult derived stem cells.
The Komen Foundation’s current position on stem cell research is still a mystery, and needs needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. Especially since study for “a cure” is central to Komen Foundations mission and core values.