Will FDA choke off promising adult stem cell research?

The tragedy of dying patients denied the right to use drugs under FDA review is one that has occurred again and again — as in the case of the cancer drug interleukin-2, or beta blockers, which reduce the risk of secondary heart attacks. Estimates put the death toll from the FDA’s withholding of these drugs in the tens of thousands. Do we really want to see the same tragic toll occur in the context of stem cell therapies?

There is no question that the government must spare no effort in defining and prosecuting real cases of medical fraud, malpractice and criminal negligence — and there is no question that such cases exist in the stem cell market. But instead of serving as our protector against charlatans who prey on the sick and desperate, the FDA has itself become an agent of coercion, forcibly denying us the freedom to use treatments that could save our lives.

Regenerative Sciences plans to appeal the decision. It would be a tragedy if we allow the FDA’s regulatory tentacles to extend into adult stem cell research and choke off this promising area of medicine in its infancy.

Dr. Keith Lockitch is a fellow focusing on science and environmentalism at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”