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Stem Cell Research Challenges Our Future

April 18, 2002

"Off Track on Cell Research," your April 11 editorial on cloning, raised important issues. As director of the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, I agree that Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-Kan.) bill that would ban research on therapeutic stem cell cloning would have unfortunate consequences. I disagree with the contention that the bill would drive public research into the private sector. Much more damaging is that the bill would drive research on therapeutic cloning out of the country by making it a criminal offense.

If the U.S. government bans research in therapeutic cloning, this work will undoubtedly continue overseas. Today, the U.S. is the world leader in biomedical research, and American researchers have made many of the most significant contributions to biomedical research over the last century. Banning therapeutic cloning in spite of its promise would risk the loss of America's leadership role in advancing biomedicine and certainly would delay lifesaving advances in medicine for millions worldwide who suffer from life-threatening diseases.

Theodore Krontiris MD

Duarte

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Michael Ramirez hit the nail on the head with his political cartoon (Commentary, April 14). The unborn are being targeted as utilitarian "pieces of meat" to cure every disease known. The end justifies the means is the prevailing philosophy.

Where is our society headed when the weak, defenseless and innocent are treated as spare parts for experimentation?

Mary Curtius

Carlsbad

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Ramirez's cartoon depicting a fetus being cut up to cure various diseases is apparently meant as a reference to stem cell research. Is Ramirez so ignorant that he really believes this is how the research is being conducted, or is he so blinded by his right-wing ideology that he is willing to totally distort the facts in order to make his point?

Stem cell research promises an enormous breakthrough in wiping out diseases that have plagued mankind for centuries. Ramirez would have been right at home with those who persecuted Copernicus and Galileo for their heretical views.

Russ Nichols

Los Angeles

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