Stem Cell research is not practical: (My Letter to my U.S. Congressmen)
Update: All three of them answered me below, U.S. Rep. Adam Putman (Republican - Lakeland, Fla.)
-and our two (2) U.S. Senators, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla) and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla),
"form letters," I admit, but very academic responses from our delegation!
Stem Cell research is not practical, from a scientific point of view, according to GW Watts of Lakeland, Florida, who holds his double major with honors from The Florida State University.
Gordon Wayne Watts
BS, The Florida State University, Biological & Chemical Sciences,
double major with honors
AS, United Electronics Institute, Valedictorian
QUESTION POSED: Why would Pres. GW Bush vote "against" (veto) stem cells research if "popular opinion" supports it?
NOT THIS: Obviously not for "votes," because he can't run again, so it must be for his religious and "moral" convictions. (Bush gains points with me here.)
HOWEVER: Besides "moral" considerations, there are also "practical" reasons for rejecting stem cell usage:
Today's stem cell therapies usually rely on cells that are donated by another person. This raises the possibility of donor cell rejection by the patient's immune system -like we have in organ transplant operations. In the future, it may be possible for a person to use a sample of his or her own stem cells to regenerate tissue, which would reduce or even eliminate the danger of rejection.
Rep. Adam Putman MIGHT object that we currently do transplants of organs.
MY ANSWER: Yes, but it is real messy, where the body has to be given drugs to suppress immune reaction -but this also suppresses immune protection against "real" invading bacteria and viruses.
Rep. Adam Putman MIGHT object that we are going to throw away unused frozen embryos, so why not use them?
MY ANSWER: It would create a demand, and people would begin having kids, just for them to be "spare parts." These kids are people, not "spare parts," as Pres. Bush said of the "snowflake" kids, born of these methods.
Rep. Adam Putman MIGHT object that we might be able to use stem cells from the same person.
MY ANSWER: This is the only logical route, but a better route is the *documented* human limb regeneration, as such:
Conclusion: Both "moral" and "practical" considerations weigh heavily AGAINST stem cell research, and even I, the nascent scientist, do not accept them as viable, so the "legal" considerations MUST PERFORCE concord with those above.

A Reply from One Congressman:

Subject: Responding to your message to Rep. Putnam
Date: 7/25/2006 2:23:49 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

Dear Mr. Watts:

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the federally funded expansion of embryonic stem cell research.

H.R. 810, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, would expand federally funded embryonic stem cell research, making eligible embryos that have been donated from in-vitro fertility (IVF) clinics.  However, at this stage of research, we must look at the results that are being produced before we choose to take another step onto a slippery ethical slope.

Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells are currently being used in treatments for 58 diseases in humans.  Real progress has been documented with adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells.

I was an original cosponsor of, and voted to support, H.R. 2520, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005.  This legislation would (1) provide funding to increase the number of cord blood units available, (2) link all cord blood banks into a search system that would allow transplant doctors to search for matches through a single access point, (3) promote research by requiring any participating cord blood banks to donate units not suitable for transplant to research, (4) create the C.W. Bill Young Transplantation Program and Advisory Council, and (5) reauthorize the bone marrow registry program through FY10, whose authorization expired in ’03.

Adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells have a proven history of treating spinal cord injury.  Last October, a woman from Korea who had been paralyzed for 19 years took a few steps for reporters in Seoul with the aid of a walker roughly a month after doctors injected cord blood stem cells into her spine.  Adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells can much more easily be used in transplant surgeries, since cord blood does not have to be a perfect match for the donor.  This makes it easier to match the treatment to the patient.  Cord blood is frozen and ready to be used when a suitable unit is found.  It is guaranteed to be available and can be dispatched to a patient within one week, and in an emergency, within 24 hours. 

Please feel free to visit to view the list of diseases that one cord blood bank has already treated in humans, along with patient stories about successful treatment of diseases including Sickle Cell, Leukemia, Osteopetrosis, Diamond Blackfan Anemia, and Andrenoluekodystrophy. 

The decision President Bush made to partially fund embryonic stem cell research in August 2001 was the first time that the federal government has ever funded the research.  The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Elias Zerhouni, says the existing policy for the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is sufficient for basic research. 

I had a very difficult time weighing the merits of this legislation, with convincing arguments coming from those on both sides of the debate.  I had reservations, and after thoroughly researching the scientific data and reading reviews of studies extracted from medical journals, it is clear that great potential exists in stem cell research and real progress has been made in improving the human condition using research that does not require ending nascent human life.  And, as recent news indicates, private research continues in the U.S. and abroad, on embryonic stem cells.

A colleague of mine, Representative Don Lungren of California made an excellent point when he said “Science tells us what we can do, not what we should do. That is an ethical dimension.”  There is no doubt that there could be potential in embryonic stem cell research. 

For all of these reasons, I did not support the expansion of federally funded embryonic stem cell research when the House first voted on May 24, 2005, though the legislation successfully passed by a vote of 238 - 194.  In addition, I voted to sustain President Bush’s veto of bill that was sent to him by Congress.  I trust you will know that I carefully considered both sides of the issue and exercised my best judgment.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your views. If you are experiencing difficulties with a federal agency, are interested in legislation that is pending before Congress or merely wish to express your opinions, please visit my website at

May God continue to bless America.


Adam Putnam
Member of Congress

A Reply from One U.S. Senator:

Subject: RE: Your response from Senator Bill Nelson
Date: 7/26/2006 12:09:25 P.M. Eastern Standard Time

Please do not reply to this e-mail. If you need to send another message to Senator Nelson, please use the form on his Web site:

Dear Mr. Watts:

Thank you for contacting me regarding stem cell research. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.

On July 19, 2006, the Senate passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810) by a vote of 63-37. This bipartisan bill would expand the number of stem cell lines that are eligible for federally funded research. Under this legislation, these stem cells can only be derived from embryos originally created for fertility treatments and willingly donated by patients.

I voted for this legislation because medical experts say it will help find cures for millions of Americans who suffer from diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other serious diseases. At the same time I believe that we have moral and ethical obligations that demand strict regulation of all stem cell research.

President Bush vetoed the legislation on July 19, 2006. I will continue to monitor this and other issues related to medical research. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.

P.S. From time to time, I compile electronic news briefs highlighting key issues and hot topics of particular importance to Floridians. If you'd like to receive these e-briefs, visit my Web site and sign up for them at

A Reply from Another U.S. Senator:

Subject: Response to your recent comments
Date: 7/28/2006 9:55:46 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

Below is a response to the recent comments I received from you:

Dear Mr. Watts:

Thank you for contacting me regarding stem cell research. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns.

Stem cells are an important and promising element of medical research because they provide the opportunity to study the growth and differentiation of individual cells into tissues. Understanding these processes could provide insights into some of the most troubling problems we face in healthcare including birth defects, genetic abnormalities, spinal cord injuries, and many diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

My position on this sensitive issue is shaped by deeply held beliefs. I firmly believe that the sanctity of life is a critical characteristic of a strong nation, and I am devoted to fostering and encouraging respect for life in America. I am also a strong supporter of medical research and believe we must continue to advance research that holds the promise of providing cures to debilitating diseases that affect millions of people all over the world.

I support maintaining federal funding for stem cell research when it is done using adult or animal stem cells, as well as stem cells taken from an umbilical cord or placenta. While we must devote great energy and resources to conquering disease, it is equally important to pay attention to the moral concerns raised by this new frontier.

On July 18, 2006 the Senate voted on three very important stem cell bills. I supported the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act (S. 2754), which would support research on these flexible, embryonic-like stem cells without the creation, destruction, or harming of human embryos. S. 2754 passed without opposition by a vote of 100 to 0.

I also supported the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act (S. 3504), prohibiting the gestation of a human embryo in a female or animal, solely for the purpose of research. This piece of legislation passed without opposition by a vote of 100 to 0.

I opposed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (H.R. 810), because it would require the Federal government to support embryonic stem cell research that destroys human embryos. H.R. 810, which passed in the House of Representatives on May 24, 2005, by a vote of 238 to 194, was passed by the Senate with a vote of 63 to 37. This measure was sent to President Bush, and he vetoed it on July 19, 2005. To override this veto, a two-thirds majority vote will be required from both the House and Senate chambers.

The complex issue of research involving stem cells derived by human embryos is one of the most profound of our time. I will continue to seek a balance between promoting medical research and protecting the sanctity of life.

Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. If you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. In addition, for more information about issues and activities important to Florida, please sign up for my weekly newsletter at


Mel Martinez
United States Senator

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