No proof of concept for cures from embryo stem cells
8 October 2002
Evidence from the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee's inquiry into the
Research Involving Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002, has called into
question whether the cures used to sell this legislation to Parliamentarians can actually
A number of senior eminent scientists have pointed out there is no scientific 'proof of
concept' that stem cells derived by destroying human embryos can cure all the conditions
that have been cited in debate ie. Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Parkinson's, Motor Neurone
Disease, Spinal Cord Paralysis, MS and Muscular Dystrophies.
University of Melbourne Emeritus Professor John Martin pointed out that a proof of concept
would include answers to three important questions:
(i) evidence from animal experiments in each of the diseases, that
prolonged therapeutic benefit can be obtained by treatment with the appropriate animal ES
[embryonic stem] cells;
(ii) establishing through animal experimentation that the immune
rejection problems can be overcome.
(iii) elimination of the complication of tumour development when ES
cells are transplanted. (Submission 162)
These questions have not been answered. How can the Australian Parliament approve a broad
range of destructive research on human embryos, including drug testing on live human
embryos, largely on discredited claims that embryonic stem cells hold promise of cures for
A fact sheet with detailed quotes from the scientists concerned is available here.
Issued: 8 October 2002
Contact: Mary Joseph, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life
Associations, telephone 02 6253 3100.