This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," June 14, 2004, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: With former first-lady Nancy Reagan (search) pushing to relax restrictions on stem-cell research (search), will companies get a boost with a new face on this controversial issue? My next guest says, absolutely. Joining me now is Michael West, the president and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, and author of "The Immortal Cell."
Michael, good have you.
MICHAEL WEST. PRES. & CEO, ADVANCED CELL TECHNOLOGY: Yes, a pleasure to be here.
CAVUTO: Apparently Nancy Reagan has made it clear this will be her cause until the end of her days, what does that mean for you guys?
WEST: Well, let me put it two different ways, as an individual, as a medical researcher who has been trying to advocate embryonic stem cell research, I think it is useful in that it puts a human face on this technology. Oftentimes we talk about millions of people who could be benefited with diabetes and spinal cord injury, but when you look at an individual like Ronald Reagan, who many of us loved as our president, it puts a human face on the issue, we’re talking about people, and life and death.
CAVUTO: All right, now the president who is speaking -- this present president, who is speaking on the whole Medicare discount drug cards in Liberty, Missouri, this is a live shot of him now, he has essentially said, Michael, look, this is really a right-to-life issue. These are aborted fetuses, tread carefully here. What say you?
WEST: Well, I agree with him that we need to proceed carefully, but I think that is why maybe Mrs. Reagan’s involvement is so helpful. Back in the Reagan era, those of us who remember it, there was a similar debate about fetal tissue research. And so should cells from aborted human fetuses be used even if they could benefit human health? Today they are, most of the vaccines that we use today, probably coursing through the blood of many of the opponents in Congress, are vaccines, the polio vaccine, the measles vaccine that we use today and put into our children are made from aborted human fetal cells. But.
CAVUTO: So let me understand your position, because this is very important here. Those who are even opposed to abortion are arguing when they support stem cell research that these fetuses have already been aborted. They are going to go to waste anyway. So the basic understanding I get is you might as well put them to use or it’s a total waste, is that it?
WEST: Well, it is much more profound than that. And I think this is where Mrs. Reagan can be helpful. For us that remember that debate, it was about abortion. The current debate, embryonic stem cells, is not about abortion, we’re talking about microscopic clumps of cells that have not yet formed a pregnancy. They have never been in a woman, have never have been a developing baby. And so that’s why you have pro-life individuals like Orrin Hatch and the Reagans and many others saying, look, this is not about abortion, this is a debate about cells, health, treatments for many very important diseases. And I think her involvement is a godsend.
CAVUTO: All right. Michael West, thank you very much, we enjoy your insight on this issue.
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