Saturday, August 21, 2010

Human Trials of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Approved

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Even as a federal agency gave a California biotech firm the go-ahead to begin the first human trials of therapy employing human embryonic stem cells, a federal court approved a pro-life legal action that could lead to blocking President Obama’s promised expansion of federal funding for research using these cells.

Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., is seeking people paralyzed by spinal injuries to be the first human test subjects for the clinical use of human embryonic stem cells, which some scientists say is dangerous, wasteful of taxpayers’ dollars and unethical.

Stem cells are undifferentiated, primitive cells that have the ability both to multiply and to differentiate into specific blood cells and other cell/tissue types. This ability allows them replace dead or defective cells and/or tissues.

Embryonic stem-cell research, which involves the killing of a unique human being in an attempt to cure different diseases, has proven not only lethal and costly, but has not produced a single cure. On the other hand, adult stem-cell research, which utilizes cells from adult tissues or umbilical cords, does not require the taking of human life. It has proven successful in treating more than 70 kinds of cancers and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Read it all here.


Unknown said...


Basically, what needs to happen is that anyone opposed to the research should, unfortunately, have a life altering experience..that imposes restrictions on them and someone close to them...then after 3 - 5 years in this situation I want to see how unethical they think using discarded cells to find a cure really is...and you could read this, too!

QUESTION: Do you have pet peeves regarding how the public perceives stem cell research?

ANSWER: I have a few.

The first is the myth that human embryonic stem cells come from aborted fetuses. This is nonsense. It’s just not true. These stem cells come from frozen blastocysts (a very early embryo consisting of 150-300 cells) not used in in-vitro fertilization procedures. These cells are going to be discarded, no matter what. End of story. There’s no abortion involved.

Second, people sometimes think stem cell research is just one thing. In fact, the research covers lots of different kinds of stem cells with different properties related to different diseases. No one kind of stem cell can substitute for another. What makes ESCs so special is they can make many kinds of stem cells that we can’t otherwise get in reasonable qualities.

Third, there’s the oft-repeated myth that adult stem cells can do everything. This is completely undocumented and misleading. People have to remember that a collection of press releases doesn’t establish a fact. Just because one or two scientists think something may be true doesn’t necessarily define it as an independently reproducible, consistent, useful finding that forms a correct foundation.

Fourth and most dangerous are the pronouncements by some people that adult stem cells can cure any disease. This has resulted in a proliferation of clinics across the border and around the world that will, for a price, offer unproven therapies. People go to them for help without enough information necessarily to know what they’re getting. These clinics are unregulated. There’s no accountability to make sure they tell the truth. The treatments are so hyped that people are putting their lives at risk. We’re seeing cases of people who have gone to these clinics and come back with real damage.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

Anonymous said...

This is a great information. Thanks for sharing this information. Stem cell therapy is really a wonderful treatment method.