71 Essays on Infinite Lifespans   Michael D. West EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS In the following years and through the hard work of col- laborators  such  as  Jamie  Thomson  of  the  University  of Wisconsin at Madison and John Gearhart at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the cells were finally isolated. They are called human embryonic stem cells because they come from human pre-implantation embryos (microscopic balls of cells that have not yet begun to develop and attach to the uterus to begin pregnancies.) These cells have fulfilled their promise in displaying the awesome power of making any cell type in the human body. And as we hoped, they made young cells that could theoretically be used to repair or replace aged or diseased cells and tissues. President George W. Bush addressed the American people on August 9, 2001, to describe his policy relating to human embryonic stem cell research. He suggested that all federal funding be limited to the number of cell lines that had been isolated as of that date. He expressed his moral concerns about further efforts to isolate the cells, stating his religious belief that the entities from which the cells were derived were not in fact simply a clump of unformed cells, but instead were in fact very small people. [4] There are several problems with the President’s position. The practical one is that even if federal funding led to our ability to efficiently manufacture some cells of great thera- peutic value, they would not be available to you – that is, the body would in most cases reject the transplanted cells as being a foreign invader. The miracle in the laboratory could not easily lead to a comparable miracle in the hospital bed.