original article: Expert: Fetal Tissue Not Needed for Alzheimer’s Cure
August 17, 2015 by Brian Sikma
Critics of legislation prohibiting the use of aborted fetal tissue in scientific and medical research have suggested that potentially life-saving, life-transforming cures will never be found if the measure becomes law. One of the illnesses that may go uncured, these critics say, is Alzheimer’s disease, which is a “progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills” according tothe National Institute on Aging. But the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin says that fetal tissue has nothing to do with finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, and they are staying neutral on the proposed aborted fetal tissue research ban.
Dr. Robert Golden, dean of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, told an Assembly committee last week that aborted fetal tissue contributes to “potentially life-saving research.” Golden said the legislation would lead to the “unnecessary halt of vitally important research that has the potential to save countless lives.” According to Golden, “This research focuses on a wide variety of serious illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.”
Robert Gundermann, a lobbyist and spokesman for the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, disputed Golden’s claim, telling Media Trackers that fetal tissue is not used in the pursuit of a cure for Alzheimer’s. “We do not see fetal tissue or stem cells providing a viable path to a cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” he wrote in a statement. “The disease is far more complex than that.”
Gundermann said that his perspective was also the expert opinion of Dr. Sanjay Asthana, the director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (WADRC), which is part of the University of Wisconsin.
Because fetal tissue is not being used to pursue a cure for Alzheimer’s, “the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin is not taking a position on this legislation,” Gundermann said.
Throughout the early part of his testimony, Golden qualified his defense of aborted fetal tissue in science experiments, saying such research has “potential” and is “potentially life-saving.” Golden even said that “alternative methods [to aborted fetal tissue research] are used whenever possible.” Golden did not explain why alternative methods are important if it is perfectly ethical to use aborted fetal tissue.
State Rep. Andre Jacque (R) told Wisconsin Public Television that he, too, has spoken with Gundermann and was told the same thing: the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is not using fetal tissue in its research.
Golden was also interviewed by Wisconsin Public Television, and in a statement said the Waisman Center at UW is studying Downs Syndrome and its relationship to Alzheimer’s with research involving fetal tissue. This research would be completely separate from any cure for Alzheimer’s that is being pursued by the WADRC.
abortion, bias, medicine, science, stem cells