Political Ethics: Leveling with the Public
The stem cell lines which are now available for federally supported research are contaminated with a protein from animals whose serum is used in the culture medium. This fact is confirmed in a study by researchers at the University of Califonia, San Diego and published yesterday in the online "Nature Medicine".
The article indicates that humans have antibodies against the foreign protein and when in contact cause the stem cells to die. The contamination cannot be removed. The researchers suggest that the only way to develop a non-contaminated line of stem cells is to start over with new lines and use of human sera for culture.
However, in a news release by Associated Press today:
"The White House is shrugging off the study's findings. Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the president is satisfied those existing lines are 'adequate for the basic research that needs to be done.'"
"McClellan said Bush knew about the contamination issue in 2001 but agreed with the view of top government scientists that it wouldn't prevent research into potential breakthrough disease cures."
I don't recall the president ever mentioning this contamination during his TV presentation to the public. I also can't find it in the White House press release at the time.
Could this be another example of the president not leveling with the U.S. public? Is national security at stake for the president not to disclose the contamination issue?