Skip to comments.The Neolib Attack on Adult Stem Cells [Michael Fumento]
Posted on 11/21/2004 6:22:26 PM PST by Coleus
November 11, 2004
The only beneficiaries of ESC therapy to date have been these guys, and precious few at that.
Adult stem cells come from all over the body, plus umbilical cords and placentas. Embryonic stem cells come from pulling apart human embryos, and thus have aroused ethical concerns. The result says Chris Mooney in the Washington Monthly is that "conservatives have latched onto fringe science in order to advance moral arguments" by embracing adult stem cell research. We are presented with the illogical argument that since some people prefer adult stem cells for non-scientific reasons, they must therefore have little scientific value.
Yet adult stem cells have actually been used therapeutically in the United States since 1968. At one website you'll find a list, far from comprehensive, of almost 80 therapies using them. This is treatment, not practice or theory. Amazingly, there are also more than 300 adult stem cell clinical trials.
In contrast, the number of treatments using embryonic stem cells is zero. The number of clinical trials involving embryonic stem cells? Zero.
Embryonic stem cell propagandists will tell you adult stem cell research had a huge head start and embryonic stem cells only need time (and more importantly, massive government funding) to catch up.
Yet as a new book called The Proteus Effect points out, both types of stem cell research date back half a century. You might think the author of The New Republic piece, Harvard Professor of Medicine Jerome Groopman, would know this since ostensibly his contribution is a review of the book. Research with embryonic stem cells has progressed at snail's pace simply because they are so terribly difficult to work with.
Catherine Verfaillie of the University of Minnesota was the first to discover ASCs that appear to have the potential to become all cell types.
The only possible advantage of embryonic stem cells is potential. "It's well established that embryonic stem cells can generate any kind of tissue found in the body," Mooney writes flatly. "There is no disagreement among experts about the capacity of (ESCs) to form any and all cells and tissues of the body," Groopman declares. Translation: Disagree with Groopman and you're not an expert.
But we already know embryonic cells cannot generate placental tissue. The President's Council on Bioethics, in its January 2004 report, observes, "Embryonic stem cells are capable of becoming many different types of differentiated cells if stimulated to do so in vitro (outside the body)." However, "it is not known for certain that human embryonic stem cells in vitro can give rise to all the different cell types of the adult body."
Meanwhile, three different labs have found three different adult stem cells that may be transformable to all cell types. "In aggregate, our study and various others do support the idea that one (ASC) can give rise to all types of tissue," said Ira Black, the head of one of those labs.
Or perhaps we don't need a "one-size-fits-all" cell. Scientists have already discovered at least 14 different types of adult stem cells. Even if each has limited plasticity, combined they could perhaps be reprogrammed into each type of mature cell we need. So when Groopman says adult marrow cells may not be "fully optimal as treatment for many fatal diseases," he's ignoring at least 13 other adult stem cells that could be.
Almost "every other week there's another interesting finding of adult (stem) cells turning into neurons or blood cells or heart muscle cells," notes molecular biologist Eric Olson at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Unfortunately, it seems every other week there's also another article in the popular press claiming adult stem cells range from nearly worthless to utterly worthless.
Ironically, the original motivation for the massive disinformation campaign is precisely the relative scientific superiority of adult stem cells. Savvy venture capitalists have plowed their money into adult stem cell research and treatment, leaving embryonic stem cell researchers desperate to feed at the government trough. It is they and their supporters who have latched onto fringe science.
Read Michael Fumento's additional work on stem cells.
Enjoyed and learned. Thanks for the post!
ESCR has nothing to do with efficacy, its all about the divine right of scientists to do it because they can, life be damned.
Nonsense. Embryonic stem cell research has suffered not from a lack of Federal funding, but from the puritanical mindset of people who believe that a non-viable group of sixteen or thirty-two cells is somehow a "person", and thus an entire line of potentially fruitful research is held back.
Vitalism as a theory to explain human consciousness has been discredited. It's simple superstition, and we cannot permit superstition to halt medical research.
You give embryonic stem cell research the same opportunities to be explored that adult stem cell research has had, and THEN make comparisons.
Actually, it is only the Federal funding of Embryonic Stem Cell research in question. Private funding is and has been permitted and will still be even now.
Puritanical mindset or not, it is the entitlement mindset, that mindset which believes the taxpayer should pay for such research because said research is "entitled" to taxpayer money, that bothers me more.
Let them raise their own money, as several research entities already are. I don't support it, but at the very least I'm not paying for it....
Gee, if not impinged upon by outside force, that "non-viable group of sixteen or thirty-two cells" WILL become a person. THAT is a fact of chemistry. So, yes---human life begins at conception.
I'm sure you would be MUCH happier over at the Democratic Underground. They consider human life just like you do.
Sorry, not true. As a percentage of the US population the scientist's who support embryonic stem cell research are a miniscule number. The REAL reason the liberals are so fond of ESCR is that it "might" some day provide a scientific justification for abortion.
Besides the obvious absolute moral and ethical concerns for creating human life to kill it so other human life may live longer and the intrinsic evil involved; this whole push from the neolibs reminds me of the science fiction movie Soylent Green. A creepy movie where government euthanasia centers exist to feed the masses whove lost their sense of humanity and reason.
There could be substantial advantages in "transplants" ~ for one, we'd already have an idea of how the stemcells so derived ought to perform.
Taking it a step further, we might find some people have superior stem cells. They could serve as a source for millions of others. In fact, some of them might have such superior stem cells that it could be argued that everyone should benefit from them now.
Only that same "puritanical mindset" will keep us from taking that adult with the good set and flensing, filtering and decanting his full content of stem cells into devices that can be used to pass them on to more deserving adults.
BTW, you undoubtedly have a superior set. Can we put you on the list for a contribution, should that time come?
(Yes, I think I was among the first to argue that the interest in embryonic stem cells looks a lot like the laetrile issue of several decades back).
What makes them "non-vialble"? Are they not adoptable? Why is it "puritanical", is it not possible for non-Christians to believe your religion of moral relativism is objectively base and repugnant?
Be nice to him; he may have a very good set of adult stem cells that the rest of us need more than him.
Besides, he's a "humanist" so he understands our needs and will go along with this.
bump for later reading
This article is from last year, Focus on the family website. Dobson Argued this case on Meet the Press a few months ago. Problem is the MSM has Demonized Dobson as a Right wing "homophobic" religious zealot. He told them then that ESC research was unnecessary.
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