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Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Minnesotan with quadriplegia

fuzzykitten99

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July 27, 2005


STEM CELL DEBATE


Embryonic stem cell fairy tales

Researchers offering misleading promises about nonexistent ES cell cures hurt important work.


We all remember Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes," about the emperor who was swindled into believing his new clothing was the finest available. When he paraded through the streets wearing nothing but imaginary apparel, a child cried out, "But he has nothing on at all!"


As a quadriplegic who could possibly benefit from stem cell research, I fear many of us are being sold an imaginary garment of hope - an illusive belief that embryonic stem cells will cure us.

In reality, no such cures exist now or will in the near future. Like the truthful child, we must exclaim, "But there is nothing here at all!"
Stem cells, found in embryos, umbilical cord blood and adults, can change into specialized cell types. Their value lies in replacing diseased or damaged tissues. The University, with its Stem Cell Institute, can be proud of its leadership role in the field of adult stem cell research. In fact, the University was the first to show adult stem cells with the same flexibility as embryonic stem cells.

However, beyond moral objections, embryonic stem cells have serious problems, such as tumor formation, tissue rejection and genetic instability that prevent human use. For more than 20 years, scientists worldwide, using animal embryonic stem cells, have failed to solve these same roadblocks faced by human embryonic stem cell researchers.
On the other hand, adult stem cells and cord blood cells are already being used to safely and effectively treat more than 60 conditions (see www.stemcellresearch.org). Yet, most media seem to downplay these successes while elevating embryonic stem cell cure "potential," when embryonic stem cells have yet to provide even one safe and effective human treatment.

The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal that favors embryonic stem cell research, recently called such cure headlines "sensationalist" and "hype." In a June 4 editorial, The Lancet reported, "No safe and effective stem cell therapy will be widely available for at least a decade, and possibly longer."

Cornell University stem cell scientist Shahin Rafii said, "Just injecting stem cells is not going to work. First, you have to be able to differentiate the cells into functional, transplantable tissues. We don't really know how to do this yet."

People who want the government to fund embryonic stem cell research are expecting taxpayers to pay for science projects that knowledgeable investors will not. William Haseltine, embryonic stem cell research advocate and chief executive officer of Human Genome Sciences, said, "The routine utilization of human embryonic stem cells for medicine is 20 to 30 years hence. The timeline to commercialization is so long that I simply would not invest. You may notice that our company has not made such investments."
Those serious about clinical trials and treatments - not just basic research - are using adult stem cells or cord blood. The Spinal Cord Society, based in Fergus Falls, Minn., has 200 chapters worldwide. The society is on the cutting edge of spinal cord applied research, meaning they're trying to find treatments that really work.

The society will be starting human trials using cells from patients' own nasal cavities. Spinal Cord Society's leadership said it would use embryonic stem cells "if they worked for us." But because of embryonic stem cell medical problems, the society is currently pursuing adult stem cells and avoiding embryonic.

Russian scientist Dr. Andrey Brykhovetskii has tried both embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells in his quest for spinal cord injury cure. He has concluded that adult cells are much more effective than embryonic stem cells in restoring function.

After former President Ronald Reagan died, people were led to believe that embryonic stem cells could cure Alzheimer's disease.
Yet, Alzheimer researcher Michael Shelanski said, "The chance of doing repairs to Alzheimer's brains by putting in stem cells is small. I personally think we're going to get other therapies for Alzheimer's a lot sooner."
The National Institutes of Health stem cell researcher Ronald D.G. McKay attempted to explain this distortion by telling a Washington Post reporter, "To start with, people need a fairy tale. Maybe that's unfair, but they need a story line that's relatively simple to understand."

We're watching this fairy tale play out. Like the emperor's "tailors," some who want the approval and funding for basic embryonic stem cell research offer misleading promises about nonexistent embryonic stem cell cures. A much happier ending to this story might come by focusing precious resources on adult stem cell and cord blood treatments that already have shown they will work.

link: www.mndaily.com
Jean Swenson is a University graduate. Please send comments to letters@mndaily.com.
 

1549

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Injection of stem cells into heart disease patients has shown a lot of promise in shrinking swollen hearts back to their normal size. This has increased the life expectancy and quality of life for congestive heart failure patients.

Injection of stem cells into bone marrow has allowed many cancer patients to endure stronger doses of chemo, as the stem cells help to create more white blood cells.

These treatments were done with non-embryonic cells. Embryonic cells have even more potential.

There is undoubtable promise in stem cell research, I pray everyday that the research being done in Singapore and South Korea can yield amazing results. Its too bad our government will not let our bio-chemists work with embryonic cells.
 

Stephanie

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There is undoubtable promise in stem cell research, I pray everyday that the research being done in Singapore and South Korea can yield amazing results. Its too bad our government will not let our bio-chemists work with embryonic cells.

:huh:
 

MtnBiker

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Its too bad our government will not let our bio-chemists work with embryonic cells.

The government will not let bio-chemists work with embryonic stem cells, or rather they just will not fund new embryonic stem cell work?
 

Avatar4321

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The government will not let bio-chemists work with embryonic stem cells, or rather they just will not fund new embryonic stem cell work?

Its that they wont fund the work. The fact is there are plenty of companies funding stem cell work. Of course, the adult stem cells are getting more funding because they are far more promising. But nothing is stopping them from researching.

The real question is, why should we have the government fund research that is so unpromising that no one else wants to fund it either?
 
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fuzzykitten99

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Its that they wont fund the work. The fact is there are plenty of companies funding stem cell work. Of course, the adult stem cells are getting more funding because they are far more promising. But nothing is stopping them from researching.

The real question is, why should we have the government fund research that is so unpromising that no one else wants to fund it either?
I want to know why if embryonic research is SO much more promising than adult or cord-blood, then why don't all the advocates and stumpers get together and start a fundraiser or telethon like the rest of the medical research charities?

If it is SO promising, then it should be easy to raise the needed funds and not have to use public tax dollars.
 

Avatar4321

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I want to know why if embryonic research is SO much more promising than adult or cord-blood, then why don't all the advocates and stumpers get together and start a fundraiser or telethon like the rest of the medical research charities?

If it is SO promising, then it should be easy to raise the needed funds and not have to use public tax dollars.

I know. The real question is why should the government subsidize research that everyone else thinks has no promise. If you thought it had promise, you'd put your money where your mouth is.
 
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fuzzykitten99

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Injection of stem cells into heart disease patients has shown a lot of promise in shrinking swollen hearts back to their normal size. This has increased the life expectancy and quality of life for congestive heart failure patients.

Injection of stem cells into bone marrow has allowed many cancer patients to endure stronger doses of chemo, as the stem cells help to create more white blood cells.

These treatments were done with non-embryonic cells. Embryonic cells have even more potential.

There is undoubtable promise in stem cell research, I pray everyday that the research being done in Singapore and South Korea can yield amazing results. Its too bad our government will not let our bio-chemists work with embryonic cells.

:link:
 

Hobbit

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Don't fall for it, Kitten. The treatments he's shown are most likely true, but they use either cord blood or adult stem cells. It's a fake argument. Basically, he's saying, "Look at what this stuff did. Mine can do better." ESCs have all these hypotheticals, but nobody yet has come up with a really good case for government funding, or at least not one based on fact.
 

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I am all for research. If the research nay sayers would have their way weÂ’d be in the dark ages. You all know that. The problem as I see it is, there are some just totally opposed to ESC research and they flip between religious reasons and public funding objections. IMO they need to make-up there mind, that would help us all address the issues.

Many were and are opposed to space exploration using public funds, but just look at what weÂ’ve learned from it.

The point is, cures are the objective for any SC research, and massive amounts of information will be discovered along the way that will be of benefit to us all. So what to do? DonÂ’t, and satisfy some at the expense of many? Or move forward responsibly in the interest of all men?

If man was meant to fly, God wouldÂ’ve given us wings. Tell that to the Wright Brothers.
No, as far as I know they didnÂ’t get public money. But, the aerospace companies today do. Wow, in less than 100 years, from a few feet to supersonic!

The Earth is flat and youÂ’ll fall off! Tell Columbus, I believe he was Government funded.

Rant overÂ…The list is too long.
 

Hobbit

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I get what you're saying, Mr. P, but this is new territory. The Wright Brothers' plane engine wasn't powered by dead babies. Columbus' ship didn't sew their sails up with human skin. Rocket fuel doesn't rely on abortion to be made.

It's not flip-flopping, though, it's a combination. I'm morally opposed to ESC research, but I'm even more strongly opposed to it when it's publicly funded. I'd likely fight the funding regardless, but I wouldn't be so strongly opposed to it if it was actually showing any results. As it is, I'm morally opposed because ESC takes the life of children, and I'm politically opposed because I truly believe it's a waste of taxpayer money and that we just need to let private enterprise do it if they actually think it holds potential. I'm not a flip-flop opposer, I'm a double opposer.
 

Mr. P

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I get what you're saying, Mr. P, but this is new territory. The Wright Brothers' plane engine wasn't powered by dead babies. Columbus' ship didn't sew their sails up with human skin. Rocket fuel doesn't rely on abortion to be made.

It's not flip-flopping, though, it's a combination. I'm morally opposed to ESC research, but I'm even more strongly opposed to it when it's publicly funded. I'd likely fight the funding regardless, but I wouldn't be so strongly opposed to it if it was actually showing any results. As it is, I'm morally opposed because ESC takes the life of children, and I'm politically opposed because I truly believe it's a waste of taxpayer money and that we just need to let private enterprise do it if they actually think it holds potential. I'm not a flip-flop opposer, I'm a double opposer.

There is the catch 22, if it's not done there will never be any results.

Edit: I do understand it is being done in other Counties. IMO we have much more to offer though. Outsourcing anyone? Why? Basically that's what we're doing I guess. Is that good? Will we reap the same benefits? Donno.
 

Hobbit

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There is the catch 22, if it's not done there will never be any results.

And therin lies the fallacy that it won't be done without government funding, which is the argument so many people like to use to demonize those who oppose it. I'm a small government guy, and very pro-capitalism. If the stuff has promise, it'll get done, anyway, and far more efficiently than if the government does it. If it doesn't have promise, then there's no point in funding it, as it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. Either way, I'm morally opposed to it, but I won't be so politically opposed if a private company comes up with anything concrete. And this applies to any research people are looking for government funding for, with the exception of research in areas specifically given control of by the federal government in the Constitution, meaning national defense, law enforcement, and interstate commerce. Stem cells deal with health care, which, despite Hillary Clinton's wet dreams, does not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
 

glockmail

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... I'm morally opposed to ESC research, but I'm even more strongly opposed to it when it's publicly funded. ......
:hail:

My point has always been that morals should be used as a guide because it's God's plan, and it's simply not smart to go against nature. The ESC issue proves that this is a sound philosophy.
 

Mr. P

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:hail:

My point has always been that morals should be used as a guide because it's God's plan, and it's simply not smart to go against nature. The ESC issue proves that this is a sound philosophy.

The premise you propose is that, no research should be done, because itÂ’s God plan and goes against nature. That is totally ridicules.
 

jillian

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The premise you propose is that, no research should be done, because itÂ’s God plan and goes against nature. That is totally ridicules.

You think she declines medical treatment? Refuses to innoculate her kids? Would allow cancer to go untreated and "pray" for a cure if she were sick. I think not.

I figure we're given the brain to make discoveries. We're supposed to use it.
 

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Novel Stem Cell Technology Leads To Better Spinal Cord Repair
Researchers believe they have identified a new way, using an advance in stem-cell technology, to promote recovery after spinal cord injury of rats, according to a study published in April, 2006 issue of the Journal of Biology.

Scientists from the New York State Center of Research Excellence in Spinal Cord Injury showed that rats receiving a transplant of a certain type of immature support cell from the central nervous system (generated from stem cells) had more than 60 percent of their sensory nerve fibers regenerate. Just as importantly, the study showed that more than two-thirds of the nerve fibers grew all the way through the injury sites eight days later, a result that is much more promising than previous research. The rats that received the cell transplants also walked normally in two weeks.

The University of Rochester Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, collaborated on the work. Researchers believe they made an important advance in stem cell technology by focusing on a new cell type that appears to have the capability of repairing the adult nervous system.

“These studies provide a way to make cells do what we want them to do, instead of simply putting stem cells into the damaged area and hoping the injury will cause the stem cells to turn into the most useful cell types,” explains Mark Noble, Ph.D., co-author of the paper, professor of Genetics at the University of Rochester, and a pioneer in the field of stem cell research. “It really changes the way we think about this problem.”

The breakthrough is based on many years of stem cell biology research led by Margot Mayer-Proschel, Ph.D., associate professor of Genetics at the University of Rochester. In the laboratory, Mayer-Proschel and colleagues took embryonic glial stem cells and induced them to change into a specific type of support cell called an astrocyte, which is known to be highly supportive of nerve fiber growth. These astrocytes, called glial precursor-derived astrocytes or GDAs, were then transplanted into the injured spinal cords of adult rats. Healing and recovery of the GDA rats was compared to other injured rats that received either no treatment at all or treatment with undifferentiated stem cells.

The rats without the GDA cell transplant did not show any nerve fiber regeneration and still had difficulty walking four weeks after surgery.

“At the heart of stem cell transplantation research is finding the right cell for the right job,” Noble added. “In this case the work of this team has identified a cell that provides many more benefits than those seen with other cell types and thus, it gives us hope that we are on a better track.”

The GDA cells seem to work by signaling the tissue to repair in several ways, such as by suppressing scar tissue, rescuing motor pathway neurons in the brain and aligning damaged tissue at the injured site. More investigation is needed, however, before the new technology could be used in humans, researchers said.

Adapted from the following source: University of Rochester Medical Center

http://www.stemcellresearchfoundation.org/WhatsNew/April_2006.html#6
 

Avatar4321

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There is the catch 22, if it's not done there will never be any results.

Edit: I do understand it is being done in other Counties. IMO we have much more to offer though. Outsourcing anyone? Why? Basically that's what we're doing I guess. Is that good? Will we reap the same benefits? Donno.

But it is being done. And the results arent promising. so why should we federally fund research that no one in the private sector feels will be a good investment?
 

Mr. P

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But it is being done. And the results arent promising. so why should we federally fund research that no one in the private sector feels will be a good investment?

I touched on why in post #10.

Would I agree with government involvement? Hell no. No pumping up the budget year to year. Just some support would be ok with me, because the benifits will be immense IMO.
 

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The premise you propose is that, no research should be done, because itÂ’s God plan and goes against nature. That is totally ridicules.

**(points to my signature line)**

It's unbelieveable how you attempt to misrepresent me. Do you realize just how many hospitals there are in the world with a Christian origin. Heck, even the Red Cross has a Christian origin.
 

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