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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

First Lady Draws Fire Over Stem-Cell Remarks

August 14, 2004

Re "Stem-Cell Research Gains Political Life," Aug. 10: I take exception to Laura Bush's comment on stem-cell research: " ... the implication that cures for Alzheimer's are around the corner is just not right, and it's really not fair to people watching a loved one suffer with this disease."

What's not fair is watching what was once a vibrant woman rock and sing to a folded-up bath towel she believes is her deceased son. What's not fair is to have a loving grandfather take his own life because he couldn't bring himself to watch his wife get more and more lost. What's not fair is watching your adult son cry while he kisses his grandmother and she keeps asking who he is. And, what's really not fair is for us loved ones to watch, knowing that there could have been a way to stop it -- that there could be a way to stop it for generations to come.

Yes, I was one of the undecided, but not anymore. There'll be a Kerry sign in my front yard, and I challenge Laura Bush to debate what's really fair.

Laurel James

Newport Beach

Laura Bush said, "We don't even know that stem-cell research will provide cures for anything -- much less that it's very close to yielding major advances." I thought the point of doing research was to find those things out. Apparently the Bush position is that research should be done only if the results are known. One thing I know is that it is time for a new administration.

Eric Smith

Diamond Bar

I am certain stem-cell research will pave the way to a cure for diabetes. My diabetes of over 49 years was recently reversed by an islet cell transplant at the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami. I have produced my own insulin for over 2 1/2 years with perfect blood sugar control. This miracle has been performed in only a handful of people in the U.S. who have volunteered for this FDA study. What we have proved is that taking cells from a cadaver donor and transplanting them into the liver of a Type 1 diabetic really works. Our problem is that we don't have enough organ donors and need to find a way to culture an unlimited supply of cells. With stem cells we can do just that.

Stem-cell research offers the opportunity to turn the hope for cures into reality. Almost everyone has loved ones or friends whose lives could be saved if adequate funding were made available to develop stem-cell cures. I urge you to join me and many prominent groups and individuals in supporting the California Stem-Cell Research and Cures Initiative, Proposition 71.

Ken Bernstein

Encino

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