The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has quickly taken over social media newsfeeds. At first many were skeptical about its effectiveness in raising awareness and funds, until we heard that the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $41 million (as of Thursday, August 21, 2014), and that number continues to climb. Even I participated (after ignoring as many "nominations" as possible). What is a "nomination" anyway? You can see that on my Facebook Page (it is all the pastors of Northridge except Scott Bixby – who somehow managed to avoid being challenged – hint, hint).
Some questions about have been raised about the ALS Association using embryonic stem cells in their research. That creates a problem for those of us who are pro-life. You can read all about it HERE. Here are a few important facts:
- The ALSA is currently involved in one study using embryonic stem cells. Historically, they've used adult stem cells. The embryos are killed during the process of harvesting their cells and then are discarded afterwards.
- The one study they are involved in was funded through one specific donor.
- Yet that doesn't mean that future embryonic studies won't be paid for through donations.
- If you donate to the ALSA, they allow you to stipulate that your gift not be used for any current or future embryonic stem cell research.
- Yet, the ALSA philosophically is not opposed to embryonic stem cell research and may be more involved in this in the future.
- THE BEST NEWS: The ALS Association isn't the only way to give to the study of ALS. There are other options. Even the ALS Association asks that you “make a donation to an ALS charity of [your] choice.” I want to kindly suggest you choose one of the options below when you make you donation.
So – here are some organizations recommended by Christian bioethicist David Prentice that use adult stem cells in ALS research rather than embryonic stem cells:
- The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center (MSCTC) at the University of Kansas Medical Center is starting an increasing number of clinical trials and educational efforts.
- At the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Anthony Windebank and his team have one ongoing clinical trial for ALS patients and are ready to initiate a second clinical trial for ALS patients.
- The Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, LLC is a for-profit company developing new methods for growth and application of adult stem cells, and does not support embryonic stem cell research.