Feb 6 2012

 

 

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Sad is the first word that comes to mind as fighters against breast cancer come to understand how deeply the religious right has penetrated the Susan G. Komen Foundation. First was it awkward attempt to revoke the funding for the work of Planned Parenthood. Then you learn that they are lending their brand to sell pink guns. Guns kill people.

Finally we are beginning to understand the extent of their new found opposition to stem cell research. How in the world can any organization be passionately committed to find a cure for breast cancer and be oppose to stem cell research? It defies all logic.

Ever since the arrival of notorious right winger Karen Handel the organization has morphed from being a big tent organization to one with a committed political agenda. Care2.com wrote:

In addition to pulling funds from Planned Parenthood, The Susan G. Komen Foundation also decided to stop funding embryonic stem cell research centers, making it fully transparent the organization has evolved from non-political non-profit to a partisan advocacy organization.

That means the loss of $3.75 million to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, $4.5 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center, $1 million to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, $1 million to the Society for Women’s Health Research, and $600,000 to Yale University. That’s a loss of nearly $12 million dollars in research money to eradicate breast cancer this year alone.

This is a new position for the organization which had previously supported all sorts of scientific research targeted at finding a cure for breast cancer and saving women’s lives. Its new position

To fully understand the urgent need for stem cell research in cancer here is an excerpt from an article by Dr. Charles A. Goldthwaite, Jr. in "Stem Cell Information."

Cancer represents a major health challenge for the 21st century. Governed by an intricate, complex interplay of molecular signals, cancers often resist systemic treatments. Yet the uncontrolled cellular growth that characterizes cancers may paradoxically hold the key to understanding the spread of disease. It has long been postulated that tumors form and proliferate from the actions of a small population of unique cells. The observation that metastatic cancer cells exhibit experimental and clinical behaviors highly reminiscent of the classical properties of stem cells has led researchers to search for and to characterize "cancer stem cells" believed to be implicated in the cancer process.

The discovery of CSCs in some tumor types has ushered in a new era of cancer research. Cancer stem cell science is an emerging field that will ultimately impact researchers' understanding of cancer processes and may identify new therapeutic strategies. However, much remains to be learned about these unique cells, which as of yet have not been identified in all tumor types. At present, evidence continues to mount to support a CSC Hypothesis—that cancers are perpetuated by a small population of tumor-initiating cells that exhibit numerous stem cell-like properties. Whether or not the Hypothesis ultimately proves true in all cases, understanding the similarities between cancer cells and stem cells will illuminate many molecular pathways that are triggered in carcinogenesis. ......

Susan G Komen Foundation's recent actions in withdrawing over $12 million for stem cell research is almost the last straw for the credibility of this organization