"The question is what is the benefit of using embryonic stem cells as treatments," said Alan Moy, a scientist who started Coralville's John Paul II Stem Cell Research Institute, a nonprofit group opposed to the use of embryonic stem cell research.
The group, the largest anti-abortion organization in the state, directed questions to Moy, the scientist who started the John Paul II Research Institute, as well as Kim Lehman, its past president.
finds fault with the argument that the eggs would be destroyed anyway.
Some countries prevent fertilization clinics from creating excess embryos, which he
believes is a more ethical approach.
"The only reason why those embryos are being discarded is because nobody wants to pay for the freezing costs to maintain those," Moy
believes that embryonic stem cells are not necessary to advance regenerative medical research.
The former University of Iowa scientist has a lot riding on that belief: In 2000, he
own business that specializes in stem cell research without using embryonic cells.
He also heads a nonprofit group whose mission is to advance stem cell research "in a manner consistent with pro-life bioethics."
"I look at it from different levels, one of which is an ethical issue," Moy
But I also look at it from a strategic perspective. … It's very concerning that government is not looking at this from a global competitive economy perspective."
believes governments have blindly poured resources into embryonic stem cell research.
Money would be better spent on pumping up the private sector's regenerative medicine industry that uses cells derived by alternative methods to the destruction of a human embryo, he
employs six people at his
Coralville business, Cellular Engineering Technologies.
Part of his
work is to mass produce what is known as induced pluripotent stem cells, which are sold to researchers.
The pluripotent cells are derived from areas such as the skin of human volunteers and are reprogrammed to assume an embryonic stem cell-like state by forcing the expression of certain genes.
Scientists are still conducting research to determine whether the pluripotent cells differ significantly from embryonic stem cells.
In the meantime, Moy's
business continues to develop what he
says will soon be the nation's largest repository of disease-specific pluripotent cells to help other researches conquer or treat cancers, autism, Alzheimer's and other diseases.
Think of his
business as a pluripotent megastore.
"It's a very exciting time, and it is working on things that potentially have cures for patients while also providing economic development for the state," Moy