LANSING - Cures and treatments from embryonic stem cell research could save the lives of more than 770,000 Michigan patients with injuries and incurable diseases, while at the same time reducing Michigan's overall healthcare costs by tens of millions of dollars a year, a study released today shows.
"Embryonic stem cell research will not only bring hope to patients, it contributes to a real potential solution to Michigan's healthcare crisis," said Lynn Jondahl, executive director of Michigan Prospect, a citizens group that commissioned and released the study. "Embryonic stem cell research can improve the lives of countless Michigan patients while keeping healthcare costs down. This study shows the economic value if Michigan is at the forefront of all forms of stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research."
The study looked at how Michigan patients and the State can benefit if Michigan allowed researchers to perform the kind of research they need to investigate cures and treatments for a range of currently incurable and devastating diseases. Michigan law currently bans researchers from doing research on new stem cell lines from donated Michigan embryos. Michigan law also bans couples from donating leftover unused embryos, while allowing fertility clinics to discard them.
Conducted by noted Wayne State University economics professor Allen Goodman, the study focused on the impact of potential treatments and cures from embryonic stem cell research for diabetes, heart diseases, Parkinson's, strokes, spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease. Among the key findings:
- Embryonic stem cell research could enhance treatment for more than 770,000 Michigan patients suffering from the diseases analyzed for the study, including 352,000 heart disease patients, 278,000 stroke patients and more than 100,000 diabetes patients.
- Treatments from embryonic stem cell research could reduce healthcare costs by tens of millions of dollars, with an estimated cost savings of $80 million a year.
- Treating those debilitating diseases could also save Michigan an estimated $27 million a year through greater worker productivity.
- Encouraging embryonic stem cell treatment in Michigan would also help the state attract investments and jobs as it becomes a hub for healthcare and medical research.
"Doctors and researchers need every tool available to find cures and treatments that can bring hope to patients and their families," Jondahl said. "Embryonic stem cell research can open the door of hope and opportunity for patients, their families and all of us in Michigan."
To read the study in its entirety: www.michiganprospect.org
Allen Goodman is a Wayne State University economics professor. He received his PhD from Yale and has written extensively on healthcare, housing and urban economics. He is a member of the International Health Economics Association and the American Society of Health Economists.
Sam Berger is formerly with the Center for American Progress and is now a student at the Yale University Law School. He wrote much of the report's background material on the status and importance of embryonic stem cell research in Michigan and the United States.
Olivia (Libby) Maynard is president of Michigan Prospect, a nonprofit committed to building sound public policy through open discussions, research, education and advocacy involving both the public and private sectors.
Lynn Jondahl is executive director of Michigan Prospect. Jondahl served in the Legislature for 22 years.