Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Promise of Adult Stem Cell Therapies

The Promise of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy May Be in The Future, But Adult Stem Cell Therapy is NOW!

Every so often a story squeaks out of the mainstream press that might shed some light on the Stem Cell debate yet it slips right by most people. The fact that embryonic and adult stem cell research continues on with or without federal dollars is never really mentioned because we are led to believe that President Bush has "banned" stem cell research. In fact he has only suspended federal dollars for new "embryonic" stem cell research. What I find most interesting in this debate is the fact that embryonic stem cell therapy does not yet exist. Therapies derived form adult stem cells are not only in existence but are producing promising results as found in this LA Times article "Adult stem cells boost ailing hearts".

Yes, it is true that the possibilities for embryonic stem cell therapy are mind boggling - as mind boggling as, say, cold fusion and room temperature super-conductors. The difference is that there is no real ethical component to clean and cheap nuclear energy and the ability to transmit said energy over long distances without loss like there is with destroying (potential) human life. One can argue that many of the embryos in question are slated to be destroyed anyway- and it's good argument. However, one can also argue the slippery slope principle...

Many had said after we developed the "bomb" just because we can doesn't mean we should. In other words, with science we "can" do a lot of things but should we? Yes, the embryos are merely potential babies, but babies were the reason they were created in the first place. Hitler's doctors conducted and developed many useful studies and processes by experimenting on human beings - something we should all find abhorrent. This is the slippery slope.

It is already happening in this brave new world that women are concieving babies for profit. In Africa fetuses are being harvested for cosmetics. Yes, cosmetics. British women swear by it! Just read this article: Fetuses harvested for cosmetic procedures: Repulsive new world of humansacrifice by Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak and try not to be repulsed. This is the fear many people have about going down this road.

The other question one must ask is why the media and the celebrity cultural foghorns never, ever talk about the real progress being made with adult stem cells. Adult stem cells, while perhaps not having the same "potential" also have far fewer gotchas like rejection and cancer. In this rather lengthy article by Wolfgang Lillge, M.D called The Case for Adult Stem Cell Research we learn about the real potential for therapy from ones own cells to repair or maybe even cure disease. But instead of the good doctor being mentioned in the news stream we find articles that purposely dismiss the good news with false and misleading reporting like this article from the CBC: Poor success for heart attack stem cell treatments: study. But this study is already outdated because now the preferred technique would be to modify the marrow stem cells in a way that made them more like fetal stem cells EXCEPT being your own, no rejection worries. Either the people reporting this study are not sufficiently versed in what is going on in the field - or more likely - they didn't want to mention it.

So, was it wrong for the President to have veto'd the bill sent to him by Congress? That is for history to judge. Bush will not be running again. The next President could reverse this and we will then see if it going to be money poured down the rat hole or a miracle - or the slippery slope to a place like 1940 Germany... Time will tell, but I do hope that the actual promise of adult stem cell research gets is due.



TJ Willms said...

Our celebrity cultural foghorns, (great description, I love it) never have to wrestle with ethical dilema’s since they reside in a world of such confused moral equivalency. Morals and ethics might get in the way of what they want, Expediency, convienience and sensual pleasure.These seem to be the only boundaries they recognize and many people celebrate them for living that unrealistically unattainable lifestyle. We have to deal with the real world with all of its bumps and warts; they only form an opinion on any given issue as an attempt at career enhancement or as a last ditch career salvage effort.

One has only to look at some of the stands they advocate to get a clear view of the hypocrisy endemic to their moral confusion. Guns in the hands of citizens are bad, but my bodyguard needs two to protect my children. I speak for the poor defenseless animals that cannot speak for themselves, but that voiceless unborn child is a “choice” the mother gets to make because it’s within her body. SUV’s are causing global warming so people should be forced to give them up, “Thank you I’m late for my photo-shoot. Stu is the Humvee ready to go?”

That is why the clear stand taken by the President confuses them so, there is no equivalency to be found. Unless of course you misstate what it means or misrepresent what he said. Still the ethics do not change just as he stated the very first time he discussed the issue publicly. Suppressing good news while stirring up the public with half-truths and hyperbole is what our news media has fallen to. They seem no longer interested in publishing useful news having opted instead to follow the template of the tabloids to resuscitate their flagging influence among the public. They have found their own slippery slope and are rapidly descending.

Great post!