Embryonic stem cells - A dangerous waste of money?

Wolfgang Lillge, M.D. Sept-Oct 2001 - ...... 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. Generally, advocates of research with embryonic stem cells use as their main argument that such research will enable us to cure all of the diseases that are incurable today–cancer, AIDS, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, and so forth. Faced with such a prospect, it is supposed to be "acceptable" to "overlook" a few moral problems.

On closer inspection, however, the much extolled vision of the future turns out to be a case of completely empty promises: Given the elementary state of research today, it is by no means yet foreseeable, whether even one of the hoped-for treatments can be realized. Basically, such promised cures are a deliberate deception, for behind the mirage of a coming medical wonderland, promoted by interested parties, completely other research objectives will be pursued that are to be kept out of public discussion as much as possible. ......

SMH, June 2007 - A BAN on therapeutic stem cell research in NSW has been lifted after upper house MPs last night supported the controversial bill by 28 votes to 13. The NSW legislation mirrors a law passed by Federal Parliament in December and is similar to a bill passed by Victoria's Parliament in May.

SMH, June 2007 - Cardinal George Pell could be found in contempt of Parliament pending an inquiry [requested by the Greens] into his comments on therapeutic cloning last week. The Legislative Council Privileges Committee today confirmed it would investigate the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, after he told members of Parliament that voting for a bill to legalise stem cell research "has consequences for their place in the life of the church."

News Release, August 2007 - The NSW Government will provide half a million dollars to create Australia’s first stem cell lines derived from therapeutic cloning - a previously banned technique now allowed under legislation passed by the NSW Parliament just two months ago. NSW Premier, Morris Iemma said the $500,000 would come from the Government’s $11.5 million Spinal Cord Injury and Related Neurological Conditions Fund, established earlier this year.

SMH, March 2009 - SCIENTISTS in Sydney have become the first in the world to use adult stem cells to regrow damaged muscle tissue, offering hope to sufferers of incurable diseases such as muscular dystrophy. The breakthrough procedure has been proven to regenerate muscle in a mouse engineered to have an injured skeletal muscle, but the concept could also be applied to human diseases such as lung disorders, chronic liver disease, and types I and II diabetes.

The team of gene therapy, cancer and muscle disease experts solved one of the biggest hurdles involving stem cell therapy in solid organs - getting the donor cells to survive for more than an hour after they are inserted into the damaged host tissue. ...... The experimental technique, funded by the Oncology Children's Foundation and published in the journal Stem Cells, is still at the pre-clinical stage but Professor Gunning said human clinical trials could start within three to five years.

Bernadine Healy, M.D. US News, March 2009 - ...... In fact, during the first six weeks of Obama's term, several events reinforced the notion that embryonic stem cells, once thought to hold the cure for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and diabetes, are obsolete. The most sobering: a report from Israel published in PLoS Medicine in late February that shows embryonic stem cells injected into patients can cause disabling if not deadly tumors.

The report describes a young boy with a fatal neuromuscular disease called ataxia telangiectasia, who was treated with embryonic stem cells. Within four years, he developed headaches and was found to have multiple tumors in his brain and spinal cord that genetically matched the female embryos used in his therapy.

His experience is neither an anomaly nor a surprise, but one feared by many scientists. These still-mysterious cell creations have been removed from the highly ordered environment of a fast-growing embryo, after all. Though they are tamed in a petri dish to be disciplined, mature cells, research in animals has shown repeatedly that sometimes the injected cells run wildly out of control—dashing hopes of tiny, human embryos benignly spinning off stem cells to save grown-ups, without risk or concern.

Read her whole article to see the benefits and breakthroughs of adult stem cells and also induced pluripotent stem cells. Perhaps it's time to stop wasting taxpayers money on, not just useless pursuits but on ones that also end up making the problem worse. I would have thought that those pushing embryonic stem cell research should also share this view, after all they claim to want to cure all those diseases and it's adult and induced pluripotent stem cells that are showing the most promise and actually helping. So why not get behind those. Or is it just easier to quash Conservatives and Christians who won't fall into line and burn through other peoples' money. Curing diseases, actual results and all that be damned.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them