Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The unspoken stem cell solution...

Yesterday, the House voted on a bill to lift the ban on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (not the ban on embryonic stem cell research, as the media would have you believe, which is still carried on in the private sector), which President Bush has indicated he will veto. What irks me so much is that the media would again have you believe that the President is hard-hearted and doesn't want possible cures to be found for various diseases. However, what they don't tell you is that embryonic stem cell research done to date has rendered no cures, where as adult stem cell research (as well as from umbilical cord blood) had proven several possibilities thus far, without killing a potential human being or harming anyone in any way.

Here is an excellent article on this particular topic that describes this differentiation in the stem cell research, written by an MD, Dr. Wolfgang Lillge. One comment he mentions that would put a lot of the stem cell argument to rest is the following, addressing the crux of the debate:
"Embryonic stem cells are taken from a developing embryo at the blastocyst
stage, destroying the embryo, a developing human life. Adult stem cells, on the
other hand, are found in all tissues of the growing human being and, according
to latest reports, also have the potential to transform themselves into
practically all other cell types, or revert to being stem cells with greater
reproductive capacity. Embryonic stem cells have not yet been used for even one therapy, while adult stem cells have already been successfully used in numerous patients, including for cardiac infarction (death of some of the heart tissue)...It is remarkable that in the debate–often carried on with little competence–the potential of embryonic stem cells is exaggerated in a one-sided way, while important moral questions and issues of research strategy are passed over in silence."

Update: (6/23/05) Here is another article supporting the advantage of using adult stem cells vs. embryonic ones, stating that they have discovered they can multiply just as well as the embryonic without destroying life in the process. As the article further states this advantage:
"'Scientists have typically believed that adult or post-natal stem cells
grow old and die much sooner than embryonic stem cells, but this study
demonstrates that is not the case,' said Huard, the senior author of the study.
...The researchers also found that, unlike embryonic stem cells, rejection by
the recipient's immune system is not an issue with adult stem cells."
Unfortunately, this is not oft heard about in the mainstream media...


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