Archive for the ‘stem cells’ Category

Stand Up for Stem Cell Research in Texas

April 4, 2011

Want to learn more about stem cell therapies and current research? Our friends at Texans for Stem Cell Research are hosting a series of educational events focused on this promising medical research. The next event, on Tuesday, April 19, in Austin, features Dr. Sean Savitz, director of Cellular Therapy and Translational Stroke Research at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and Dr. Jay Schneider, assistant professor in the Department of Cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical School. The event is 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Antone’s, 213 West Fifth Street, in Austin. Click here for more information or to register to attend.

The Texas Freedom Network remains a proud defender of stem cell research, including research involving embryonic stem cells. This promising medical research gives hope to patients and their families struggling with serious medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cancer and spinal cord injuries. TFN is monitoring the current legislative session and stands ready to work with TCSR and Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research to stop far-right attempts to restrict or even ban such research in Texas. You can help by joining TFN’s Stand Up for Science Rapid Response Team.


Defend Stem Cell Research in Texas

February 7, 2011

The religious right’s war on science and responsible medical research in Texas is sure to heat up during the current legislative session in Austin. So the Texas Freedom Network is once again working with coalition partners to defend one of the far right’s major targets: embryonic stem cell research.

You can help by joining TFN ‘s Stand Up for Science Rapid Response Team. We will keep team members updated on how they can take action to defend this promising medical research in Texas during the legislative session.

In addition, Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research (TAMR) has an online petition in support of embryonic stem cell research.

And Texans for Stem Cell Research (TSCR) is kicking off a series of educational events on stem cell research on Tuesday in Austin.

In recent legislative sessions TFN, TAMR, TCSR and others have succeeded in blocking legislation that would essentially ban embryonic stem cell research at Texas public institutions. Join us as we continue working to keep hope alive for patients and their families struggling with serious medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cancer and spinal cord injuries.

Learning More about Stem Cell Research

February 1, 2011

Stem cell research, which gives hope to so many people struggling with serious medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and cancer, remains a political battleground in Texas. While embryonic stem cell research is currently legal in Texas, religious-right groups continue to pressure lawmakers to ban that important work or severely limit its funding.

In 2009, for example, the Texas Freedom Network and coalition partners helped stop legislators from barring any state funding for a public institution that conducts medical research involving embryonic stem cells. Among our coalition partners was Texans for Stem Cell Research.

TSCR is working hard again this year to educate Texans on the benefits of stem cell research both for patients and for the Texas economy. The group will kick off a series of educational events on Tuesday, February 8, in Austin. That first event — 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Cover 3, 2700 West Anderson Lane, #202 — will feature speakers Dr. Tom Caven of University Medical Center Brackenridge and Seton Clinical Research in Austin and William Sitton of StemCyte, Inc., in California. The TSCR Learn for Life 2011 series allows folks to meet experts in the field, learn about therapies and current research from research professionals and explore ways to get involved in promoting stem cell research.

Click here for more information about the event and to reserve a seat.

Elections Open Door to Radical Agendas

November 27, 2010

The Associated Press notes that the religious right is preparing to use the November elections to push a radical legislative agenda in states across the country starting in January. The religious right’s hit list includes women’s reproductive rights, embryonic stem cell research, divorce laws and equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. The Texas Freedom Network has already identified other likely battles coming when the legislative session opens in Austin in January, including reform of the State Board of Education and responsible sex education in public schools.

You can help stop the religious right’s radical agenda in Texas by signing up for a TFN Rapid Response Team. TFN will keep Rapid Response Team members updated on critical legislation as it moves through the state House and Senate. We will also provide the tools you need to take action to top attacks on religious freedom, equal rights and public education.

But how does the Associated Press see the religious right’s legislative agenda shaping up across the country? Read on.


Stem Cell Funding Ban Is Dead!

May 19, 2009

Texas Monthly’s Burkablog is reporting that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, has given up trying to include a ban on public funding for embryonic stem cell research in the state budget. Patricia Kilday Hart writes that Ogden announced this morning that a House-Senate conference committee “couldn’t come to a consensus” on whether to include the ban. So it’s out.

This is a huge victory for supporters of responsible medical research that gives hope to families struggling with debilitating medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and cancer. Last month we called on supporters of stem cell research to call their House representatives and help keep Ogden’s ban out of the House’s version of the state budget. And you came through! The House refused to include the ban, and House negotiators on the conference committee also stood firm against it.

Ogden’s ban would have been a disaster for responsible and promising medical research. Although the state currently does not fund embryonic stem cell research, Ogden’s ban would have threatened even privately funded research at publicly funded facilities. Moreover, it would have discouraged medical researchers from coming to Texas and encouraged those already here to leave.

This victory helps restore hope for so many families struggling with serious medical conditions that are currently incurable. TFN will continue to support those families by opposing efforts to ban or limit embryonic stem cell research in Texas.

Helping the Blind to See

April 19, 2009

The religious right in recent years has repeatedly argued that embryonic stem cell research isn’t sound science and has been a waste of time and money. Last week, for example, the Family Research Council once again argued that embryonic stem cell research “has not successfully treated a single person for any disease.” In testimony before Congress less than two years ago, David Barton of the Texas-based group WallBuilders also argued that such research hadn’t led to any cures. Just last month the Christian Coalition of America claimed that there have been “zero successes in human embryonic stem cell research.” Of course, politicians and far-right pressure groups in this country have put numerous obstacles in the way of this promising medical research.

Now comes important news from Britain:

British scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time. The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells.

This development offers new hope to millions of people who suffer from age-related macular degeneration.

Professor Peng Khaw, director of the Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, added: “This shows that stem cell therapy is coming of age. It offers great hope for many sufferers around the world who cannot be treated with conventional treatment.” He added: “All my patients say to me is, ‘When will this stem cell treatment be ready? I want it now’.”

On a related note, the Texas House passed its version of the state budget early Saturday (April 18) morning. The House budget does not include the Senate’s proposed ban on public funding for embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. (That ban could also prevent even privately funded ESC research at publicly funded facilities.) A House-Senate conference committee will now hammer out a compromise budget. Opponents of ESC research will likely work to put the funding ban in the final state budget.

Stem Cells, Vouchers Could See House Votes

April 17, 2009

The Texas House of Representatives today is taking up the state’s budget bill. Yesterday the Texas Freedom Network sent out the following Action Alert:

Upcoming House Budget Debate Will Include Critical Votes on Stem Cell Research and Vouchers

Two crucially important issues will be debated when the Texas House of Representatives takes up the state budget (SB 1) starting this Friday. Lawmakers need to hear from Texans like you encouraging them to do the right thing — and letting them know we are watching their vote on these issues. These could be the most important votes on these issues this session.

Please take a moment to call your own state representative, and ask her or him to:

– NO on all amendments to SB 1 that would ban funding for stem cell research in Texas.

– OPPOSE VOUCHERS by voting YES on any amendment that would prohibit the use of any state funds to pay private school tuition.

(Click here to find contact information for your representative.)

And after you call, contact Val or Judie in our Outreach Office to let them know how your representative responded. This information is extremely helpful as we try to keep track of where House members stand on these issues.

Background information and simple talking points appear below to help you prepare for your call. This is our chance to slam the door on vouchers this session, as well as send a strong message that Texas will not close its doors to promising medical research that provides hope for so many.

Stem Cell Research

Background: The budget bill approved by the Senate last month included a rider banning public funding for embryonic stem cell research in Texas.

Why should lawmakers oppose adding this funding ban to the House budget bill?

– Controversial policies like this should be fully debated in stand-alone legislation — not  attached to the state budget bill and passed without proper consideration.

– Experts believe embryonic stem cell research provides the most hope for those who suffer from many debilitating and incurable diseases.

– Supporting stem cell research is good for Texas, good for business and good for science. As a home to highly respected medical institutions like M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas has long been a leader in innovative medical research and treatments. Stem cells offer a new frontier for Texas medical researchers.

– Already scientists are leaving Texas to work in states that are not hostile to this groundbreaking research.


Background: Two years ago, House members overwhelming voted to prohibit the use of state funds to pay private or religious school tuition (127-8). The same amendment has been proposed this year. A clear prohibition in the budget would end the possibility of any voucher schemes in the coming biennium.

Why should lawmakers vote for an amendment banning public funding for private school vouchers?

– Vouchers drain needed funds from our neighborhood public schools. 

– Lawmakers should focus on properly funding and supporting public schools that educate all Texas kids.