- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2005

Diabetes research needed

The unprecedented results of Dr. Denise Faustman’s diligent quest for a cure for type 1 diabetes — curing diabetes in mice with an inexpensive drug — are more than newsworthy (“Diabetes cure a buck too far?” Commentary, Sunday).

But why has the important news of this promising prospect been mostly buried in scientific and medical journals, and not published in the mainstream press? I have been researching this disease since my 7-year-old daughter’s diagnosis five months ago and have found that, outside of technical publications, references to Dr. Faustman’s work appear mainly in editorials and syndicated columns.

We hear much about the controversy surrounding stem-cell transplants and the complications arising from the use of necessary anti-rejection drugs. However, Dr. Faustman’s proposed treatment would simply require an inexpensive drug to stimulate stem cells in the spleen to produce and regenerate the islet cells that have died off in type 1 diabetics.

Dr. Faustman deserves the support of the major diabetes research organizations and pharmaceutical companies that have turned down her requests. Her efforts also deserve the attention of the media, whose negligence in reporting on her findings would be understandable if her work were simply another theory.

After all, we have heard that a cure is “just around the corner” for years, and a lot of theories are out there. Dr. Faustman’s discoveries, however, represent a new paradigm that seems to hold the most promise for those of us waiting for a cure — whether for diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or any other type of debilitating autoimmune disease.

JEANNE M. MOORE

Centreville

As a parent of a 7-year-old child with type 1 diabetes, I was disappointed to read Michael Fumento’s recent column “Is diabetes cure a buck too far?” on the search for a cure for this terrible disease. Mr. Fumento did a great disservice to your readers by playing fast and loose with the facts.

The column unfairly called into question the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s hard work and dedication to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications. He also inaccurately portrayed its research agenda: The JDRF does support work on adult as well as embryonic stem cell-research, but together, they represent less than 10 percent of the organization’s research budget. All their research is aimed at finding a cure for this disease and its complications as soon as possible.

I have had the pleasure to be associated with the JDRF since my son was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago, and I can attest to its singular focus on finding a cure for type 1 diabetes for my child and everyone touched by this disease.

Why else would I be an active member of the JDRF?

JEFFREY SOSLAND

Washington

Taxpayers bearing unfair burden

The scofflaws who employ illegal-alien labor in Maryland maximize their profits by shifting the growing costs of caring for these workers, such as worker’s compensation, uncompensated medical and emergency-room services, housing and other public benefits, onto the taxpayers (“Illegal worker benefits criticized,” Metropolitan, Tuesday). Exploited aliens always drive down wages and working conditions to deficit-inducing poverty levels and are the No. 1 threat to our public-health system.

Delegate Rick Impallaria is asking the Maryland Legislature to stop aiding and abetting this corruption. As The Times reported, he has introduced progressive legislation requiring investigations into the costs of providing taxpayer-funded health care and other services to illegal aliens.

In Prince George’s County, where I live, the public hospital and emergency care systems are about to collapse because of the costs of uncompensated care, primarily to illegal aliens. This crisis is a repeat of similar health-care meltdowns around the nation.

The letter from the Office of Policy Analysis to Mr. Impallaria reproduced in The Times contains a major error. Trying to downplay the costs of worker’s compensation paid to illegal aliens, the letter states that “while illegal immigrants do not have Social Security numbers, many people who are here legally do not either.”

This is simply wrong.

Every person employed in the United States must apply for and present a valid Social Security number after accepting an offer of employment, including noncitizens with work visas or work permits.

Those who oppose Mr. Impallaria’s bill can have only one motive: to hide from the public the shocking extent to which the illegal-alien economy is dependent on taxpayer-funded welfare.

MICHAEL M. HETHMON

Staff counsel

Federation for American

Immigration Reform

Washington

Old-fashioned is just fine

With all the good news lately about the Washington Nationals, it was extremely disappointing to read about a potential buzzkill to baseball in the District: A glass stadium (“Stadium finalist sees move to modern design,” A20, Wednesday).

Why would fans want a modern-looking ballpark? Isn’t the whole point of getting out of RFK Stadium to flee a horrific monstrosity that is antithetical to America’s favorite pastime?

Despite its liberal politics, Washington is a conservative town. From Brooks Brothers neckties to $12 martinis, there is an element of fine taste in the nation’s capital. As evidenced by the most popular buildings in the District, that taste does not extend to a ballpark that would need to be Windex’ed after each game.

HOK Sport and its Senior Vice President Earl Santee should abandon their effort to revolutionize Washington’s baseball stadium. If any lesson can be learned from the past 15 years, it is that a ballpark like Camden Yards can attract crowds without a winning team. Leave the futuristic Jetsons designs to Crystal City.

KENNETH J. WOLFE

Alexandria

The U.N., politicians and cloning

The United Nations has issued a clear call to protect human dignity and human life by urging nations to ban all human cloning, period (“U.N. urges ban on cloning,” Page 1, Wednesday).

That’s a welcome wake-up call to the U.S. politicians who have caved to the slick rhetoric and campaign-funding potential of “big bio” cloning lobbyists. While making scandalous speculations about cures, the cloning crowd has deployed smoke-screen euphemisms such as “therapeutic cloning” and “somatic cell nuclear transfer” to avert public revulsion.

Crafty lawmakers have proposed phony cloning “bans” that actually allow the cloning of living human embryos and then mandate their destruction within weeks.

Lamentably, Congress could have taken the ethical lead in the world and banned human cloning years ago. The House several times passed a true ban, and President Bush supported it, but the often waffling Senate derailed it.

Now, the United Nations has taken the lead, telling the world that cloning is morally and ethically reprehensible and must be banned. I hope it won’t take long for our politicians to perceive the predicament of landing to the left of the United Nations on this vital issue.

JONATHAN IMBODY

Senior policy analyst

Christian Medical Association

Ashburn, Va.

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