Skip to comments.No Brakes on the Runaway Embryonic Stem Cell Research Train
Posted on 09/28/2007 3:01:04 PM PDT by wagglebee
Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and an attorney for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. His latest book is Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World.
Remember those quaint old days when biotechnologists told us that all they wanted to effectuate embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) was merely access to leftover in vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos that were going to be tossed out anyway?
Actually, I misspeak. Those days might have been quaint but they definitely aren't old. Human embryonic stem cells were only derived in 1998; the great ESCR debate has been with us for fewer than ten years.
Alas, the controversy might be young, but the blithe assurances about restricting ESCR to leftover IVF embryos have already become inoperativeassuming the restriction was seriously made in the first place.
In 2005, for example, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) published voluntary ethical guidelines to which it urged stem cell and cloning researchers to adhere. Despite much media fanfare, the NAS guidelines drew no meaningful boundaries. Indeed, not only did the NAS give its imprimatur to using leftover embryos in embryonic stem cell research, but also supported creating embryos solely for the purpose of experimentationusing both in vitro fertilization and somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning methods.
Not to be outdone in the anything goes contest that is infecting the entire biotech sector, earlier this year the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) announced its own " Guidelines for the Conduct of Embryonic Stem Cell Research ."
So, how far do the ISSCR Guidelines allow embryonic stem cell researchers to go in pursuing CURES! CURES! CURES!? A lo-o-o-ong way: Like the NAS, the ISSCR explicitly endorsed creating new human embryos --both natural and clonedfor destruction and use in stem-cell research.
And now, Brave New Britain's (we never say no) regulators have authorized scientists to attempt to create cloned human embryos using animal eggs . Why create these so-called human/animal cybrids?
Because the great human cloning project has, at least temporarily, run aground. Against most expectations, human somatic cell nuclear transfer is proving exceptionally difficult to accomplish. Indeed, to date there have been no credible reports of more than rudimentary human embryos being created through this techniqueand none that were able to be developed to the point that embryonic stem cells could be derived.
One reason for this apparent failure may be the dearth of human eggs. Somatic cell nuclear transferthe same technique used to make Dolly the sheeprequires one egg for each cloning attempt.
But human eggs are a rare commodity. Indeed, the scientists and their boosterssuch as the New York Times Editorial Board grouse that women aren't donating their eggs in sufficient numbers to support the research. Hence, the idea is to mingle human DNA with animal eggs to perfect human cloning techniques.
What are we to make of this?
On one hand, the cybrid story may never amount to much. Given the tremendous difficulties in creating cloned embryos using human eggs, it would seem highly unlikely that cybrid embryos will prove any easier to manufacture. Moreover, even though the animal essence in each resulting stem cell would amount to less than one percent, this foreign substance could be enough to prevent proper embryonic development and/or the safe use of cybrid stem cells in human patients.
On the other hand, the approval by British regulators for creating manimal embryosand the widespread support for the decision among the American media elite and biotechnology sector--illustrates the growing recklessness and hubris among the scientific establishment.
Unwilling to pause long enough for society to ethically grapple with the awesome powers they are assuming, refusing to accept any meaningful ethical limits, presuming that because they think they can do something that they should go right out and do it, advocates for cloning and ESCR have demonstrated that they have no intention in engaging in self restraint.
It is as if they have drained all the brake fluid from the bus and we now are careering toward the precipice with seemingly no way to stop.
“If the media told the TRUTH about the incredible
breakthroughs in ADULT stem cell research,...”
And some of those incredible breakthrough as readily accessed via
the archival URL link:
And I will apologize in advance for my common posts in the archived
“CURSES...Adult Stem Cells Again!!!”
...as what I suspect is the plaintive cry of some research friends
that have back the ESC-Bandwagon with all the fervor of a meth-injecting
un-diversified investor in tech during the Clinton Tech Bubble.
(I’m no luddite...ESCs may yet be a panacea.)
Please FreepMail me if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.
Unfortunately, it’s not all about cures. One researcher is using stem cells (from the batches for which the President allows funding) to make a machine to monitor for chemical weapons.
“It’s like a canary-in-a-coal-mine scenario,” said Stice, a University of Georgia animal science professor and Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
In collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Stice hopes to use his recently developed neural cell kits to detect chemical threats.
“They have a device that looks like a small tool box that contains neural cells and can detect changes in their electrical activity,” Stice said. “When these cells activity is altered, you know there’s something present that shouldn’t be and they don’t like it.”
The system now being used in the monitoring device uses mouse neural cells. “The problem is,” Stice said, “mouse neural cells die out pretty fast on their own. So if you tried sending this device out with the troops, somebody has to change out the cells every couple of weeks. Plus, mice aren’t humans. They react very differently to chemicals than we do.”
Stice’s neural cell kits created from human embryonic stem cell lines last up to six months. “We’ve never tested to see how far beyond that they’re viable,” he said. “It could be much longer.”
This goes for many fields of inquiry, including climate "science," biology, human reproductive science...
Stices neural cell kits created from human embryonic stem cell lines last up to six months. Weve never tested to see how far beyond that theyre viable, he said. It could be much longer.
That is sickening. Those are people’s sons and daughters. For shame on all of us.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.