How is this for a scary story?
Imagine that the same radical religious right that sponsors the Tea Party and Glenn Beck decided to fund a scientific research company, for profit, to develop drugs that fit the right’s ethical agenda?
That company exists, and it exists here in Seattle, an outgrowth of programs at the UW, our local biotech companies and some pretty radical folks in the Catholic Church. …Learn more about Theresa Deisher and her company AVM.
I have known Terry Deisher for 17 years, but never expected to read about her role in stopping stem cell research! Using a company she created in Seattle, Terry has now gotten a Federal judge to issue an injunction virtually stopping all federally-funded embryonic stem cell research. Looks as if the radical religious right has found yet another “issue” that Beck, Fox, and co. will use to further destroy American science.
Deisher, now the Research and Development Director at AVM Biotechnology, along with Dr. James Sherley, of Boston Biomedical Research Institute, joined up with the usual Christian radicals. Their claim, however, was commercial. Their companies do “ethical” stem cell work .. that is stem cell work not using fetal lines. So they claim embryonic stem cell research is hurting their business!
This story is made worse for me because it involves one of Seattle’s , the UW’s, and my own .. Theresa Deisher, a former postdoctoral fellow in Hematology with John Harlan, Professor of Hematology and a colleague in vascular biology. After leaving John, Dr. Deisher worked with a number of Seattle biotech forms .. including Zymogenetics and Amgen.
AVM itself is a very peculiar company. Although described as a profit based enterprise, the profits are supposed to be used in a way that promotes what most would call the radical “life” agenda. Some examples from their website:
AVM Biotechnology, … was founded in response to growing concerns about ….the lack of ethical standards, the types of human cells being used, the risks these human cells present, and how certain human cell types are being utilized in the production of drugs……Coming together to form AVM Biotechnology in
order to address these issues, leading scientists, business and community activists and policy makers agreed that they would take on the following tasks:
• Educate the public on the important difference in the safety and efficacy of adult and cord blood stem cells, versus embryonic and aborted fetal stem cells.
• Focus on providing true medical benefits from economical stem cell research that is respectful to human life and taxpayer dollars.
• Work to provide .. therapies that are not tainted by embryonic or electively aborted fetal materials.
• Establish a comprehensive and diverse assemblage of advisors, ambassadors, scientists, medical professionals, politicians, policy makers, academics and supporters who will educate and engage the general public on the issues and answers.
• Provide direct answers to questions and concerns in easily understood language.
AVM Biotech will provide commercial vaccines produced using morally acceptable cell sources and methods. We hope to be an answer to these parents’ prayers.
“It was very good to meet you. I appreciate the distinctions and understanding you bring to the area of vaccines and stem cell research. In these murky times we need clear thinking. Ad majorem Dei gloriam!”
– Stephen Gajdosik, President, Catholic Radio Association.
AVM is also heavily promoted by “the Children of God for Life.” This sounds a lot more like the Discovery Institute than it does like a Biotech firm.!
Even if the research at AVM is valid, the idea of the far right funding biotech research to meet its goals is frightening.
May God help us!