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Promise and Confusion in the Stem-Cell Issue

September 06, 2004

Re "Stem-Cell Initiative Attracts Backers," Aug. 31: I am pleased to see the wonderful support, both financial and political, that Proposition 71 is receiving.

As a young Californian with several autoimmune conditions, I have been anxiously waiting for stem-cell research to be funded in California.

I am planning to fly to Chicago to seek very costly treatment. Perhaps next year I can stay in California.

It gives me great hope to see such powerful and intelligent donors support Proposition 71. Clearly, as Californians and others educate themselves with the true facts regarding stem-cell research, they are coming on board with those of us who know firsthand what potential stem-cell research has.

Candace Coffee

Santa Monica


Rita Sokolow, in her Aug. 31 letter, uses the example of the successful growing of a replacement jawbone by doctors in Germany to criticize the Bush administration for interference with stem-cell research in the United States

A careful reading of the article on the German procedure would have shown that it used adult stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow, and thus had no bearing on any restrictions on use of embryonic cells.

Growing bone from adult stem cells in the marrow is already being used in America to grow new skull caps in place for the Egyptian twins who were conjoined at the head and successfully separated several months ago.

In addition, the U.S. government is only blocking use of federal funds for research involving harvesting of stem cells from living human embryos, and is funding all other forms of stem-cell research.

Jim Mentzer

Los Angeles

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