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William Haseltine, CEO of Human Genome Sciences, is a leading advocate of embryonic stem cell research. But, he says results are decades away and his company is not spending money on the unproven cells. “The routine utilization of human embryonic stem cells for medicine is 20 to 30 years hence," Haseltine admits. "The timeline to commercialization is so long that I simply would not invest," Haseltine added. "You may notice that our company has not made such investments.”

Kelly Hollowell, Ph.D., a molecular and cellular pharmacologist and a patent attorney, says another problem with embryonic stem cell research is that it requires harvesting so many cells and the process requires women's eggs to create human embryos.

"To treat, for example, the 17 million diabetes patients in the United States will require a minimum of 850 million to 1.7 billion human eggs," Hollowell said. "Collecting 10 eggs per donor will require a minimum of 85 to 170 million women." "The total cost would be astronomical, at $100,000 to $200,000 for 50 to 100 human eggs per each patient," Dr. Hollowell explained. She explained at a Heritage Foundation conference that the process of obtaining eggs puts women at risk.

"Superovulation regimens for fertility treatments would be used to obtain women's eggs," Hollowell explained. "The risks associated with superovulation regimens or high-dose hormone therapies are debated."

She said women who engage in the process can be subjected to a "spectrum of problems including memory loss, seizure, stroke, infertility, cancer, and even death."
"The scientific data on embryonic stem cell research simply does not support continued investment in research. Even if the research were successful, it is morally bankrupt and endangers women," Hollowell concludes. [5/24/05, DC,]