June 9, 2006

Retired physician educates public
about stem-cell research

By Mary Ann Wyand

Embryonic stem-cell research is morally wrong because it destroys developing human embryos, and Dr. Hans Geisler wants to talk with you about why you should be concerned about this complex pro-life issue. (See a related story on page 8.)

The retired obstetrics and gynecology specialist, who has a subspeciality in gynecologic oncology, is a member of St. Luke Parish in Indianapolis. He is offering a free educational program on the medical benefits of adult stem-cell research and the serious problems associated with embryonic stem-cell experimentation.

“Adult stem-cell research carries a tremendous amount of promise,” Geisler said, “and more grant money should be given to adult stem-cell research.”

Since his retirement, Geisler has devoted a lot of time to studying stem-cell research and presenting educational programs because he believes it is an important pro-life issue that people need to understand in depth.

Geisler wants you to know what the secular media won’t tell you about embryonic stem-cell research, which has been promoted by celebrities like Michael J. Fox and the late Christopher Reeve for its supposed potential to cure a variety of diseases.

“What the [secular] media won’t tell you is that adult stem-cell research has been very, very successful in ameliorating or even in curing many diseases and injuries,” Geisler explained, “whereas embryonic stem-cell research has not had one single human success so far.”

The use of embryonic stem cells as a treatment option for diseases has not resulted in any cures at the present time in the U.S. or other countries, Geisler emphasized, but using adult stem cells in therapeutic applications has resulted in many medical successes.

He is completing a bioethics course taught by Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, and will be certified in bioethics this summer after he finishes a 20-page paper.

Geisler said lobbying efforts for embryonic stem-cell research are based on the scientific community’s desire to find miracle cures for illnesses and qualify for grants to fund their work.

He said it’s important to educate people about all moral issues, including the complicated medical differences between adult and embryonic stem-cell research.

It’s a controversial topic on the state and federal levels, where legislators are under pressure to authorize additional funding for embryonic stem-cell research, Geisler said, even though adult stem-cell research and applications have shown numerous successes in a variety of treatments.

“I think the media and the scientific community both have an agenda,” Geisler said. “Their agenda is to push embryonic stem-cell research because they feel that there are more [research] dollars there. Frankly, it’s the old principle of moral relativism. If you can make embryonic stem-cell research go forward, then you essentially are making yourself [like] God. You’re killing an embryo in order to extract its inner cell mass. That inner cell mass theoretically can differentiate into any type of cell.”

He said tumor growth is “a huge problem” resulting from embryonic stem-cell injections.

When researchers injected embryonic stem cells into animals, he said, the animals developed benign or malignant tumors from excessive cell growth.

The same experiment done on a few people also caused the formation of malignant tumors, Geisler said, because embryonic stem cells are genetically designed to multiply rapidly and form a new human being rather than only replace damaged cells.

“Adult stem cells don’t proliferate as quickly,” he said, “and you can rein them in more and direct them better [in the body] than you can embryonic stem cells.”

Despite the lack of success with embryonic stem-cell applications, he said, the national debate continues in Congress to authorize access to new stem-cell lines for research purposes.

“There were about 60 embryonic stem-cell lines in existence at the time that President Bush came out with his pronouncement in August 2001 that allowed those existing stem-cell lines to continue but restricted the creation of new lines,” Geisler said. “But they were not obtained in morally correct ways because embryos had to be killed to obtain them, and that is murder.”

(For more information about Dr. Hans Geisler’s educational program on stem-cell research, contact him at hans@mrivaluesfoundation.org.) †


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