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  • Dr. Young on Cloning & an Opposing View

    Care/Cure and SCIpin Communities

    The following Care/Cure.com response by Dr. Wise Young, Ph.D., Director of the Rutgers University's Neuroscience Center, explains why he strongly opposes the proposed Congressional ban on human cloning. I am an SCI research activist (with SCI) who supports the ban primarily because I believe that cloning research will slow the advent of cures for SCI and the many other conditions that stem cell and non-stem cell research avenues may effectively address. Point by point, I've followed Dr. Young's explanation with my reasons for opposing his position. I've then presented his open letter to President Bush and explained why I cannot accept its logic.

    James Kelly



    Jim,

    Thank you for your very thoughtful letter to the SCIPIN and CareCure Communities. I am very sorry that you have been personally attacked for your views. I want to say that I welcome your views on these forums, even though I strongly disagree with some of your conclusions. It is important that we try hard here to respect each other.

    There are indeed some scientists who feel that embryonic stem cells and particularly cloned embryonic stem cells will not be beneficial and are immoral. They are certainly entitled to their opinion, as you are to yours, but I think that these scientists are in the minority.

    The argument that anti-cloners are using against cloning and embryonic stem cell research sounds similar to those used against the Wright Brothers when they tried to convince the public and investors that flying is possible and useful to society. It is true that the first airplanes were not particularly good or practical. Likewise, there were several potential substitutes for propeller-driven airplanes, including balloons and fast trains. There were some who did not think that humans are meant by God to fly. Fortunately for humankind, the naysayers did not prevail.

    Stem cell research is still in its infancy. When spinewire started in 1998, adult neural stem cells were just beginning to be reported in brain. Over the past three years, we now have the beginning of evidence suggesting that bone marrow and other tissues have stem cells that are pluripotent and can produce neurons. The latter is still not particularly well established and the methods for producing neurons from adult stem cells are still haphazard and unreliable.

    Although there is much talk about stem cells in bone marrow being pluripotent, in my opinion, it is still unclear whether the apparent pluripotency of bone marrow cells, represent true stem cells or are due to the presence of different kinds of progenitor cells. I am not sure that any laboratory has succeeded in producing clonal (cells that derive from a single cell) pluripotent cell lines from bone marrow tissues.

    While you cite some examples of adult stem cell use, I think that you would agree that there is currently no credible peer-reviewed study that indicate that transplanted adult stem cells have had beneficial effects in an animal spinal cord injury model. There are at least several studies showing beneficial effects of embryonic stem cells or oligodendroglial precursor cells in spinal cord injury models.

    Several clinical trials have shown that human fetal tissues which should contain stem cells and fetal stem cells can be safely transplanted into chronically injured spinal cords. While there is debate over whether such transplants have restored function, I think that more research is required before we conclude that such therapies are ineffective. For example, it would be important to know whether stem cell transplants should be combined with other therapies to stimulate regeneration and remyelination.

    In the coming years, I see three important potential uses for stem cell therapies in spinal cord injury. The first is of course to replace cells that have been lost as a result of injury (see Gray and White Matter Regeneration Topic). The second is to provide additional bridging tissues at the injury site that would allow easier axonal passage across the injury site. The third is for the stem cells to facilitate remyelination of the spinal cord. In my opinion, embryonic human stem cells represent an important source of cells for these purposes but this source is being systematically shut down.

    Is cloning necessary or will provide some "vital" therapeutic advantage in the coming years? I believe that cloned embryonic stem cells will provide an important therapeutic option for people with Parkinson's disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, brain injury, stroke, and other conditions where the availability of immunologically compatable stem cells is critical. It is not clear yet that adult stem cells can fill this critical gap. Until such time, I think a ban on cloned stem cells is premature.

    Many older people or people who have had irradiation/chemotherapy (which kills stem cells) may not have a viable source of stem for autologous transplants. Where would they get their stem cells? While it is theoretically possible to get stem cells to produce neurons in a dish, available evidence that such bone marrow stem cells can produce neurons in the brain or spinal cord is not yet credible. I don't think that we know enough yet to shut the door on cloning. If the Brownback Bill is passed, it will shut down the cloning option during our lifetime.

    I cannot accept your argument that we should shut the door on this promising therapy because there is currently insufficient evidence to suggest that cloning would benefit spinal cord injury. Your argument seems to be saying that because we do not currently have evidence that cloning benefits spinal cord injury injury, this will be true forever and others should be prevented from having access to the cloned stem cells.

    You have stated that you do not have a position on abortion. I am assuming from this statement that you do not believe that abortion and hence killing embryos is immoral. If so, you seem to be staking your entire argument on your perception that there has been insufficient scientific progress in cloned stem cell research to establish benefit and therefore it should be shut down forever.

    Wise.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on Apr 21, 2002 at 03:55 PM.]



    Dr. Young:

    Please excuse the length of the following response to your explanation of why you oppose a total ban on human cloning. Also, please excuse my tardiness in addressing the points you've raised. In reviewing available peer-reviewed literature concerning embryonic and adult stem cell (and oligodendroglial precursor) applications within the context of your statement, I've learned some interesting details that have strengthened my resolve to support Senator Brownback's proposed ban on cloning in the interest of advancing cures. I'll explain my reasons as briefly as possible. For the sake of clarity I'll preclude my responses with the italicized comment of yours I'm addressing.


    There are indeed some scientists who feel that embryonic stem cells and particularly cloned embryonic stem cells will not be beneficial and are immoral. They are certainly entitled to their opinion, as you are to yours, but I think that these scientists are in the minority.

    Unfortunately, whether these scientists are a minority or not, it seems they are definitely NOT entitled to their opinions. I've been personally told by scientists who are against cloning on scientific grounds, moral grounds, or both, that they've been told their ability to achieve tenure may be adversely affected by their publicly taking a position against cloning. Others have told me that publicly speaking their thoughts about cloning would be a great way to commit professional suicide. Not only could their future NIH funding be imperiled, but their ability to be published could be adversely affected.

    Nor is this suppression of personal expression limited to academic research. While discussing the clinical potential of cloning, a doctor at the NIH recently admitted to a friend of mine that "despite what is being touted in public, the field of cellular development is still so premature that to claim we can develop embryonic stem cells along a set lineage that we desire is pure fantasy." But for this doctor to even breath such thoughts at the NIH would cost him his job and wreck his career.



    Likewise, there were several potential substitutes for propeller-driven airplanes, including balloons and fast trains. There were some who did not think that humans are meant by God to fly.

    Balloon and trains are modes of transportation, but they do NOT go from point to point with the speed of propeller-driven flight. Embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos have the potential to provide replacement tissue with the patient's DNA. This is exactly what autologous stem cells have already proven in numerous studies that they can do, safely, effectively, and at an affordable cost. Also, the development of propeller-driven aircraft had absolutely no effect on the development of railroads or hot air balloons. At the time of the Wright Brother's flight, the railroad industry was fully integrated into society as a mode of mass transportation and transporting heavy goods. The first decade of propeller-driven flight saw its use largely limited to personal flight, mail delivery, and warfare. Balloons, on the other hand, were never practical for fast transportation, mass transplantation, or transporting heavy goods. Or in other words, railroad, balloons, and propeller driven flight never competed for the same research or developmental dollars.

    And regarding "what humans are meant by God to do," no one is saying that humans are not meant to be cured of SCI or other diseases. It's my understanding that President Bush and Senator Brownback are saying that human life should not be purposely created and purposely destroyed to do it. And myself and others are saying that even if precious funds and resources are diverted from less problematic avenues to cloning research, that cloning stands very little chance of curing anybody of anything until possibly a very distant and very uncertain future. The safety and performance problems inherent in embryonic stem cell usage (tumor formation, over-proliferation, and immune rejection in non-CNS tissues) would only be magnified by the unpredictability and impracticality of the cloning process. Several attempts are usually needed to produce a single usable cloned embryo, with each attempt needing a fresh female egg. And cloning's problems involving genetic mutation, unexplained long-term degeneration (as in Dolly the Sheep's progressive arthritis), and immune rejection of cloning's DNA-matched stem cells (a recent unexpected finding), only makes a bad situation immeasurably worse. Thus, cloning stands to slow or cripple research that really offers cures.



    The latter is still not particularly well established (that adult stem cells may be pluripotent) and the methods for producing neurons from adult stem cells are still haphazard and unreliable. (and) While it is theoretically possible to get stem cells to produce neurons in a dish, available evidence that such bone marrow stem cells can produce neurons in the brain or spinal cord is not yet credible.

    I've first presented peer-reviewed studies below that reveal the reliable ease that other scientists have in producing neurons in culture from adult stem cells. Also, as you probably know by now, multi-center clinical trials in Turin, Italy are using undifferentiated adult mesenchymal stem cells to replace motor neurons damaged by SCI and ALS. And regarding the ability of neurons derived from adult stem cell sources to integrate into existing neural circuits, I'm sure you're aware of Dr. Fred Gage's recent report that such is indeed the case, and reference "2" addresses neuron integration from adult bone marrow sources. Whereas "3" refers to neurons derived form adult stem cells found in skin, and "4" further reveals the ability of bone marrow stem cells to differentiate in vivo into all major CNS neural cell types, including neurons.

    o 1. Villa A; Snyder EY; Vescovi A; Martinez-Serrano A; Establishment and properties of a growth factor-dependent, perpetual neural stem cell line from the human CNS. Exp Neurol 2000 Jan. The ready availability of unlimited quantities of neural stem cells derived from the human brain holds great interest for basic and applied neuroscience, including therapeutic cell replacement and gene transfer following transplantation. We report here the combination of epigenetic and genetic procedures for perpetuating human neural stem cell lines. Thus we tested various culture conditions and genes for those that optimally allow for the continuous, rapid expansion and passaging of human neural stem cells. Among them, v-myc (the p110 gag-myc fusion protein derived from the avian retroviral genome) seems to be the most effective gene; we have also identified a strict requirement for the presence of mitogens (FGF-2 and EGF) in the growth medium, in effect constituting a conditional perpetuality or immortalization. A monoclonal, nestin-positive, human neural stem cell line (HNSC.100) perpetuated in this way divides every 40 h and stops dividing upon mitogen removal, undergoing spontaneous morphological differentiation and upregulating markers of the three fundamental lineages in the CNS (neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes). HNSC.100 cells therefore retain basic features of epigenetically expanded human neural stem cells. Clonal analysis confirmed the stability, multipotency, and self-renewability of the cell line. Finally, HNSC.100 can be transfected and transduced using a variety of procedures and genes encoding proteins for marking purposes and of therapeutic interest (e.g., human tyrosine hydroxylase I). [Copyright 2000 Academic Press.].

    o 2. Meletis K; Frisen J; Have the bloody cells gone to our heads? J Cell Biol 2001 Nov 26 Recent studies have shown that cells expressing neuronal antigens can be derived from a bone marrow transplant. A new report lends support to and extends these previous results by presenting compelling morphological evidence for the generation and integration of highly differentiated bone marrow-derived neurons.

    o 3. Toma JG; Akhavan M; Fernandes KJ; Barnabe-Heider F; Sadikot A; Kaplan DR; Miller FD; Isolation of multipotent adult stem cells from the dermis of mammalian skin. Nat Cell Biol 2001 Sep;3. We describe here the isolation of stem cells from juvenile and adult rodent skin. These cells derive from the dermis, and clones of individual cells can proliferate and differentiate in culture to produce neurons, glia, smooth muscle cells and adipocytes. Similar precursors that produce neuron-specific proteins upon differentiation can be isolated from adult human scalp. Because these cells (termed SKPs for skin-derived precursors) generate both neural and mesodermal progeny, we propose that they represent a novel multipotent adult stem cell and suggest that skin may provide an accessible, autologous source of stem cells for transplantation.

    o 4. Zhao LR; Duan WM; Reyes M; Keene CD; Verfaillie CM; Low WC ; Human bone marrow stem cells exhibit neural phenotypes and ameliorate neurological deficits after grafting into the ischemic brain of rats. Exp Neurol 2002 Mar;174(1):11-20. There is now evidence to suggest that bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) not only differentiate into mesodermal cells, but can also adopt the fate of endodermal and ectodermal cell types. In this study, we addressed the hypotheses that human MSCs can differentiate into neural cells when implanted in the brain and restore sensorimotor function after experimental stroke. Purified human MSCs were grafted into the cortex surrounding the area of infarction 1 week after cortical brain ischemia in rats. Two and 6 weeks after transplantation animals were assessed for sensorimotor function and then sacrificed for histological examination. Ischemic rats that received human MSCs exhibited significantly improved functional performance in limb placement test. Histological analyses revealed that transplanted human MSCs expressed markers for astrocytes (GFAP(+)), oligodendroglia (GalC(+)), and neurons (beta III(+), NF160(+), NF200(+), hNSE(+), and hNF70(+)). The morphological features of the grafted cells, however, were spherical in nature with few processes. Therefore, it is unlikely that the functional recovery observed by the ischemic rats with human MSC grafts was mediated by the integration of new "neuronal" cells into the circuitry of the host brain. The observed functional improvement might have been mediated by proteins secreted by transplanted hMSCs, which could have upregulated host brain plasticity in response to experimental stroke.



    Although there is much talk about stem cells in bone marrow being pluripotent, in my opinion, it is still unclear whether the apparent pluripotency of bone marrow cells, represent true stem cells or are due to the presence of different kinds of progenitor cells. I am not sure that any laboratory has succeeded in producing clonal (cells that derive from a single cell) pluripotent cell lines from bone marrow tissues.

    The following quotes of yours were taken from Care/Cure.com. I'm not sure if you were referring to bone marrow stem cells or not. But you were undoubtedly speaking of an adult stem cell type:

    o "Available data, however, strongly support the existence of pluripotent adult stem cells in animals and in humans. They are true stem cells because adult stem cells will produce other stem cells. I also believe that as we develop better technology for harvesting and culturing adult stem cells, we will find that they can survive and continue to divide for a long time in cultures and after transplantation."

    and...

    o "It is important to note that we currently do not have sufficient experience with adult stem cells to say with certainty that they do not live as long as embryonic stem cells, that they are less pluripotent, and that they are less robust."

    I'm sure you're aware of the recent reports of Dr. Catherine Vefaillie's work with bone marrow stem cells, which according to the following mass media excerpt duplicated the findings of two other laboratories and one pharmaceutical firm:

    o "These confirm that the cells - dubbed multipotent adult progenitor cells, or MAPCs - have the same potential as ESCs. "It's very dramatic, the kinds of observations [Verfaillie] is reporting," says Irving Weissman of Stanford University. "The findings, if reproducible, are remarkable."

    At least two other labs claim to have found similar cells in mice, and one biotech company, MorphoGen Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, says it has found them in skin and muscle as well as human bone marrow. But Verfaillie's team appears to be the first to carry out the key experiments needed to back up the claim that these adult stem cells are as versatile as ESCs."

    However, regardless of whether bone marrow stem cells are pluripotent or not. What difference does it make? The point isn't that we find a single cell that can make every other cell in the body. The point is that we have safe, effective, reliable, and affordable sources of adult replacement cells needed for the cures we want, which is exactly what adult stem cells have been proven able to do (see cited abstracts in the previous and following points). If you would like peer-reviewed data supporting the availability and effectiveness of adult stem cells for Diabetes, Heart Disease, several blood and lymphatic cancers, Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and liver disorders, I'll gladly supply them upon request. For now I'm trying to strictly address the issues you've raised.



    While you cite some examples of adult stem cell use, I think that you would agree that there is currently no credible peer-reviewed study that indicate that transplanted adult stem cells have had beneficial effects in an animal spinal cord injury model. There are at least several studies showing beneficial effects of embryonic stem cells or oligodendroglial precursor cells in spinal cord injury models.

    I definitely DON'T agree. I know that you're extremely busy and possibly haven't had a chance to read recent articles that have been published in this area (see references below that report the beneficial effects you've questioned). But I'm glad you brought current work with embryonic and adult oligodendroglial precursors to my attention. In all the studies involving the functional uses of both adult and embryonic oligodendroglial precursor types, their sole use is to ultimately lead to remyelination, which OEGs, schwann cell, bone marrow stem cells, and adult neural stem cells all more easily do. Regarding this point, researchers at Harvard Medical School report:

    o "Although primary oligodendrocytes or oligodendroglial precursors may be effective for glial cell replacement in certain discrete regions and circumstances and although various genetic vectors may be effective for the delivery of therapeutic molecules, multipotent neural stem cells may be most ideally suited for both gene transfer and cell replacement on transplantation into multiple regions of the central nervous system under a wide range of pathological conditions. We propose that, by virtue of their inherent biological properties, neural stem cells possess the multifaceted therapeutic capabilities that many diseases characterized by myelin dysfunction in the pediatric population may demand."

    (note: The citations that follow all deal with functional improvements after SCI using adult stem cells, or their ability to lead to in vivo remyelination.)

    o Himes BT; Liu Y; Solowska JM; Snyder EY; Fischer I; Tessler A. Transplants of cells genetically modified to express neurotrophin-3 rescue axotomized Clarke's nucleus neurons after spinal cord hemisection in adult rats. J Neurosci Res 2001 Sep 15;65(6):549-64

    o Sasaki M; Honmou O; Akiyama Y; Uede T; Hashi K; Kocsis JD Transplantation of an acutely isolated bone marrow fraction repairs demyelinated adult rat spinal cord axons. Glia 2001 Jul;35(1):26 34

    o Hofstetter CP; Schwarz EJ; Hess D; Widenfalk J; El Manira A; Prockop DJ; Olson L; Marrow stromal cells form guiding strands in the injured spinal cord and promote recovery. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2199-204.

    o 768.17 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Poster TRANSPLANTED BONE MARROW STROMAL CELLS PROVIDE A SCAFFOLD FOR AXONAL REGROWTH AND LEAD TO ACTIVATION OF HINDLIMB AIRSTEPPING YY-4 D.P. Ankeny*; D.M. McTigue; P. Wei; B.T. Stokes Physio. & Cell Bio., Ohio State Univ.

    o Chopp M; Zhang XH; Li Y; Wang L; Chen J; Lu D; Lu M; Rosenblum M; Spinal cord injury in rat: treatment with bone marrow stromal cell transplantation. Neuroreport 2000 Sep 11;11(13):3001-5.

    o Akiyama Y; Honmou O; Kato T; Uede T; Hashi K; Kocsis JD. Transplantation of clonal neural precursor cells derived from adult human brain establishes functional peripheral myelin in the rat spinal cord. Exp Neurol 2001 Jan;167(1):27-39

    o Zhang SC; Ge B; Duncan ID; Adult brain retains the potential to generate oligodendroglial progenitors with extensive myelination capacity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1999 Mar 30;96(7):4089-94

    However, stem cells are not the only adult cell type capable of leading to function improvements after CNS injury or disease. My opposition for wasting valuable funds and resources on cloning is not solely based on the negative impact cloning research will unavoidably have on adult stem cell research development, but rather its negative impact on all research development able to address the issues that cloning someday may address, but can address them sooner, more cheaply, more safely, and more effectively. Therefore, since your point specifically mentions "beneficial effects in an animal spinal cord injury model," I must also add the success of adult OEGs (for SCI and demyelination) schwann cells (for remyelination and already in clinical trial at Yale), neural stem cells (used by Dr. Levesque to eliminate Parkinson's symptoms in a human patient with severely advanced Parkisnon's Disease), and adult mesenchymal stem cells (in multi-center SCI and ALS clinical trials in Italy to replace damaged spinal cord motor neurons) to my previous list.

    o Lu J; Feron F; Mackay-Sim A; Waite PM; Olfactory ensheathing cells promote locomotor recovery after delayed transplantation into transected spinal cord. Brain 2002 Jan

    o Ramon-Cueto A; Cordero MI; Santos-Benito FF; Avila J; Functional recovery of paraplegic rats and motor axon regeneration in their spinal cords by olfactory ensheathing glia. Neuron 2000 Feb;25(2):425-35; Axonal regeneration in the lesioned mammalian central nervous system is abortive, and this causes permanent disabilities in individuals with spinal cord injuries. In adult rats, olfactory ensheathing glia (OEG) transplants successfully led to functional and structural recovery after complete spinal cord transection. From 3 to 7 months post surgery, all OEG-transplanted animals recovered locomotor functions and sensorimotor reflexes. They presented voluntary hindlimb movements, they supported their body weight, and their hindlimbs responded to light skin contact and proprioceptive stimuli. In addition, relevant motor axons (corticospinal, raphespinal, and coeruleospinal) regenerated for long distances within caudal cord stumps. Therefore, OEG transplantation provides a useful repair strategy in adult mammals with traumatic spinal cord injuries. Our results with these cells could lead to new therapies for the treatment of spinal cord lesions in humans.

    Also, this was just released yesterday concerning OEG work by the above researcher whose work you regularly cite:

    o "In recent years, however, scientists have found that nerve cells can be treated in ways that make them grow artificially. The research group, led by Almudena Ramon-Cueto at the Molecular Biology Centre of Valencia, found their treatment allowed 40% of rats with paralysed hind legs to regain normal movement.

    Ramon-Cueto's work was funded by the wealthy owners of a footwear company who have a family member affected by a spinal cord injury. A scientific paper describes how 21 paralysed rats were treated, nine of which completely recovered mobility and sensation in their limbs.

    The treatment involved nerve cells called olfactory ensheathing glia cells being taken from the olfactory bulb, a collection of cells inside the nose. These were transplanted into the rats' damaged spines, where they promoted the re-growth of cells across the gap in the spine.

    Following the transplant, the rodents were put through tests in which they had to climb a grating to reach a chocolate cream. Nine were able to climb a 45-degree slope and two of those could still climb it when it was placed vertically.

    Physical examinations of the animals proved that the damaged tissue had repaired itself."

    And this list doesn't even touch on other "non-cloning" research avenues proven to result in functional improvement after chronic and acute SCI, such as Chondroitinase ABC, C3, IN1, biopolymer bridging, peripheral nerve grafts, therapeutic vaccines, etc.


    I believe that cloned embryonic stem cells will provide an important therapeutic option for people with Parkinson's disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, brain injury, stroke, and other conditions where the availability of immunologically compatable stem cells is critical.

    Of the above six examples, five conditions involve the CNS. Yet, when a recent study (5) revealed that cloned embryonic stem cells were rejected by the donor's immune system upon transplantation for a non-CNS condition, scientists that support embryonic stem cells usage in the CNS quickly pointed out the CNS is "immune priviliged," and thus for CNS applications DNA-matching (and cloning) isn't critical, which is the exact opposite of what you're claiming above.

    The truth, I realize, is somewhere in between. In early trauma when the blood brain barrier is compromised T-cells from the peripheral immune system may be active in the CNS. Also, inflammatory auto-immune CNS diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) definitely involve an unnatural immune response. But this does not apply to chronic stroke, TBI, SCI, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Diseases. And regarding MS, two adult cell types are being used in clinical trial to attack this disease, one to fix the immune problem and another to repair the brain and cord.

    Furthermore, in examining peer-reviewed literature for embryonic stem cell usage in SCI applications (that you referred to in one of your earlier points) I saw no mention of the use of immune suppression to achieve their results, which supports the claims of those who say that DNA-matching isn't crucial for the CNS. If it was, the evidence I've previously presented strongly suggests that adult stem cells, OEGs, and schwann cells will certainly meet our clinical needs, and there's no question of their being rejected.

    And regarding non-CNS applications, again adult stem cells have proven capable of being harvested, multiplied, and matured into every cell type needed to address Diabetes, Heart Disease, Leukemia (and other blood/bone marrow-related cancer types), Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Liver Disease, etc. Whereas the following study revealed that cloned embryonic stem cells can still be rejected by the donor's immune system. So exactly who needs cloning (other than those who hope to profit from it, or those in favor of conducting basic research with little clinical potential, or those who would like to see cloning slow the advance of cures for the sake of perpetuating an industry that feeds on the sick, the crippled, and dying)?

    o (5) Rideout, W.M. III, Hochedlinger, K., Kyba, M. Daley, G., and Jaenisch, R. (2002). Correction of a genetic defect by nuclear transplantation and combined cell and gene therapy. Cell. Published online March 8, 2002.


    I am assuming from this statement that you do not believe that abortion and hence killing embryos is immoral. If so, you seem to be staking your entire argument on your perception that there has been insufficient scientific progress in cloned stem cell research to establish benefit and therefore it should be shut down forever.

    Dr. Young, you've claimed that I distorted your position in this cloning issue when I quoted you in the "Cures, not Clones" Senate Briefing, although I correctly pointed out that you support cloning as scientifically valid research. Please don't do what you falsely accused me of doing by putting words in my mouth.

    I never said that abortion is not immoral (or that it is). In my briefing I clearly said:

    "I don't belong to a political party. I don't belong to an organized religion. And I don't have views on abortion. My sole interest in the cloning debate is that its outcome doesn't needlessly slow the advance of cures"

    But let's be clear about this. Abortion and cloning are NOT the same thing. Abortion may be chosen because accidental pregnancies or cases of rape may lead to unwanted, unloved, or poorly cared-for children. Cloning involves the intentional creation of life and its intentional destruction for profit. And don't tell me it's purpose is to "cure disease." Because safer, cheaper, further developed, and less problematic avenues already exist for doing so if curing disease was the real concern. And if profit wasn't the motive for cloning you wouldn't have raised its prohibitive expense. Caring physicians and hospitals would do it for cost!

    Regarding my "seeming to be staking my entire argument on my perception that there has been insufficient scientific progress in cloned stem cell research to establish benefit and therefore it should be shut down forever," again, this is your distortion and not my position at all.

    My argument was originally based on established scientific facts that reveal avenues other than cloning are cheaper, safer, more readily available, and perfectly able to do what cloning only may be able to do in the distant future after expensive and unneeded research. However, I will admit that after listening to the President's moral arguments against the use of cloned embryos for any purpose I saw his point. Until then my sole "moral" or "ethical" interest in this issue involved the manipulation of the sick and disabled by cloning advocates and the distortion of scientific evidence to meet their needs. But now I fully agree that it's morally wrong to intentionally create life only to intentionally destroy it. Also, I now can see that it's perfectly logical that those who would use embryonic human life to serve their ends would likewise use the sick, disabled, and dying. Therefore, as someone crippled by one of the conditions that's being used to justify cloning, as far as I'm concerned the end doesn't justify the means.

    Should you try to define human life to suit your pro-research agenda (as does Dr. Michael West when he claims that early embryonic "blastocysts" aren't really human life because they haven't individualized and may yet split into twins) I would ask you, "What can they become at this or at any point (once an egg is fertilized or the somatic nuclear transfer has occurred), a rat? a horse? a roach? a zebra? Obviously, a blastocyst implanted in the womb at any stage is destined for a human fate.

    And lest we forget while addressing the points you've raised, you've already admitted that "it will not likely be economically feasible to clone every individual." So all other arguments aside, who are you planning to cure with cloning?



    4/10/2002
    President George W. Bush
    The White House
    Washington, D.C.

    Dear President Bush,

    I write to respectfully ask you to reconsider your support of the Brownback Bill. While I agree that reproductive cloning should be banned, the Brownback Bill goes too far in outlawing therapeutic cloning. Most scientists, including myself, believe strongly that cloned embryonic stem cells have the potential to save many lives and to restore function to millions of people with severe disabilities.

    The Brownback bill criminalizes probably the most important and promising therapeutic approach we have today for reversing many diseases and disabilities. The bill stipulates an extraordinary punishment of 10 years and $1 million fine for each act of transferring any human somatic cell nucleus into an egg (somatic cell nuclear transfer).

    You have stated that you believe adult stem cells can achieve the same therapeutic effects as embryonic stem cells. You have also indicated that you care for disabled and dying people who can be saved with stem cells. I share these beliefs but don't think that they are best served by the Brownback Bill.
    If adult stem cells can be rapidly developed to substitute for embryonic stem cells, the issue is moot and the Brownback Bill is unnecessary. However, if adult stem cells take longer to develop or are not as effective as embryonic stem cells, outlawing cloned stem cells is unethical because it would delay therapies that could save many lives and relieve the suffering of millions.

    The Brownback Bill delivers an unnecessary message to the people with disabilities and life-threatening diseases, that their lives are less important than the lives of small clumps of cells that will never grow up to be embryos. While our definitions of embryos may differ, I think that you would agreed that this message is unfortunate.

    There are other reasons for not supporting the Brownback Bill. First, it is unenforceable. The United States will not be able to prevent its desperate citizens from going overseas and getting their cells cloned. How will transplanted cloned cells be detected? Are we going to demand biopsies of people who come back? Second, the bill is based on a false premise, that banning somatic cell nuclear transfer will prevent reproductive cloning. People have already found ways to clone eggs without somatic nuclear transfer. Third, the bill will not achieve its goal of stopping cloning but will simply force cloning activities overseas where it cannot be regulated or moderated.

    The Feinstein Bill, in contrast, is more reasonable legislation. It will prevent reproductive cloning by banning transplantation of unfertilized eggs into human uterus. The law can be effectively enforced because reproductive cloning can be easily and definitively detected. Please note that the Feinstein bill does not support therapeutic cloning. Rather, it simply and effectively bans reproductive cloning.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Sincerely,

    Wise Young, Ph.D., M.D.
    Professor II & Director of Neuroscience Center
    Rutgers University, Nelson Biological Laboratories D413
    604 Allison Road, Busch Campus
    Piscataway, NJ 08854-8082
    Tel: 732-445-2061, Fax: 732-445-2063, Email: wisey@pipeline.com


    The Brownback bill criminalizes probably the most important and promising therapeutic approach we have today for reversing many diseases and disabilities

    Cloning has been scientifically possible for several years (as proven by Doll the Sheep), but it has yet to play a part in curing any disease or condition. Yet you say that cloning is "probably the most important and promising therapeutic approach we have today for reversing many diseases and conditions." On the other hand, the adult stem cell and non-stem cell avenues I've previously presented definitely do represent our most promising therapeutic approaches. In fact, they're already being safely and successfully tested in humans for Parkinson's, TBI, Stroke, SCI, ALS, MS, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Leukemia, Auto-Immune Deficiency, and other conditions. Possibly in using words like "most important" and "promising" what's important to you isn't what's important to me?


    The Brownback bill criminalizes probably the most important and promising therapeutic approach we have today for reversing many diseases and disabilities. The bill stipulates an extraordinary punishment of 10 years and $1 million fine for each act of transferring any human somatic cell nucleus into an egg (somatic cell nuclear transfer).

    If cloning is banned, it will be because the American Congress and the President refute the claims of Science that early stage embryos are not a form of human life. Therefore, a complete ban on human cloning will declare that embryos should not be intentionally created and intentionally destroyed for any purpose, including profit. If our government arrives at this decision, the proposed penalties for the crime will be if anything lenient! In some states the penalty for willful, premeditated murder is death.


    If adult stem cells can be rapidly developed to substitute for embryonic stem cells, the issue is moot and the Brownback Bill is unnecessary. However, if adult stem cells take longer to develop or are not as effective as embryonic stem cells, outlawing cloned stem cells is unethical because it would delay therapies that could save many lives and relieve the suffering of millions

    This is exactly the point I'm trying to present! Money spent on one research avenue cannot be spent on another! Previously I've presented the clinical development of non-cloning avenues for a host of conditions, including SCI. Cloning has none to present, but it does have huge safety and performance obstacles to surmount before it can be safely and reliably used in humans. Therefore, which avenue (cloning or non-cloning) stands to slow or block the advance of cures (and which avenue is more valuable to the research industry)?


    The Brownback Bill delivers an unnecessary message to the people with disabilities and life-threatening diseases, that their lives are less important than the lives of small clumps of cells that will never grow up to be embryos.

    This is the message that cloning advocates would have America's sick and disabled believe is being presented by Senator Brownback's Ban. The truth is that its immediate message is that Science is here to serve humanity, not the reverse. I'm hoping that American's will use this platform to proclaim a message of their own, i.e., that America expects her Medical Research to be conducted for the sake of cures, not for the sake of researchers.


    There are other reasons for not supporting the Brownback Bill. First, it is unenforceable. The United States will not be able to prevent its desperate citizens from going overseas and getting their cells cloned. How will transplanted cloned cells be detected? Are we going to demand biopsies of people who come back?

    Second, the bill is based on a false premise, that banning somatic cell nuclear transfer will prevent reproductive cloning. People have already found ways to clone eggs without somatic nuclear transfer.

    Third, the bill will not achieve its goal of stopping cloning but will simply force cloning activities overseas where it cannot be regulated or moderated.

    I've presented the previous three points together because they essentially say the same thing, i.e., that cloning shouldn't be banned because people will do it anyway.

    Is this really your moral viewpoint?

    Dr. Young, Americans can freely go to Thailand and engage the services of child prostitutes. Does this mean we should legalize child prostitution in America? You may say that this is a poor analogy (as I said earlier about your reference to balloons and railroads), but is it? If cloning is banned, it will be banned for moral reasons (as is child prostitution in America). Therefore to claim that cloning's domestic use is justified simply because it can be accessed elsewhere carries the same moral weight.

    If you privately believe a practice is wrong, which others can do elsewhere, would you really forget your moral objections and "go with the flow?"

    If not, why should America act less moral as a country than you would personally act?

    If so, more than ever I'm strongly opposed to cloning.

    James Kelly
    James Kelly

  • #2
    Jim, thanks for the very detailed exposition of your position. I will briefly respond to some of your points.

    • I compliment you on your literature search. Most of the studies that you cited involve non-stem cells. However, the very recent paper from Hofstetter, et al. (2002) does indeed show that bone marrow stem cells can restore function. That was actually done with our spinal cord injury model that we provided to Olson's laboratory. While I had seen the abstract, I did not read the full paper until now and the results are impressive.

    • Immune rejection can be overcome to a large extent by immune suppression. This is one of the important outcomes of the fetal transplant clinical trial that was carried out by the University of Florida in Gainesville (these are of course from a heterologous source). They had to use immunosuppressants for a period of time to overcome the acute rejection and the cells appeared to survive for long term.

    Please note that I do not oppose the study and use of adult stem cells, and in fact have said repeatedly that I believe that this technology should be pursued and developed as fast as possible. I support pursuit of both embryonic and adult stem cell research, as well as cloning research. To shut embryonic stem cells down at the present is, in my opinion, shutting off one of the most important and promising avenues of research today. This opinion, by the way, is shared by a majority of scientists.

    Regarding the persecution of scientists who may oppose cloning, I have never criticized them. I also don't think that scientists who oppose cloning are being persecuted for their views. I know several scientists who have testified to Congress concerning their opposition and they have not lost their funding and have not suffered as a result of making their views known. If they have, I would outraged and would strongly defend their rights to the view. The persecution is the other way around. Many people have been condemning scientists who do cloning or embryonic stem cell research. In fact, if the Brownback bill is passed, such scientists will become criminals.

    Wise.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mr. Kelly,

      While your long-winded posts contain a lot of words, you say very little. You clearly take things out of context so they fit your personal agenda. For example, Dr. Young orginally posted:



      It is true that the first airplanes were not particularly good or practical. Likewise, there were several potential substitutes for propeller-driven airplanes, including balloons and fast trains. There were some who did not think that humans are meant by God to fly. Fortunately for humankind, the naysayers did not prevail.
      Then you said:

      The development of propeller-driven aircraft had absolutely no effect on the development of railroads or hot air balloons. At the time of the Wright Brother's flight, the railroad industry was fully integrated into society as a mode of mass transportation and transporting heavy goods.
      Where did Dr. Young say that aircraft development influenced railroads and balloons? I believe he meant that flying was considered folly back then, and that travel by other means was readily available. The Wright Brothers had little support in their efforts. To quote the USPS, "The United States government had been slow to recognize the potential of the airplane. In 1905, the War Department refused three separate offers by the Wright Brothers to share their scientific discoveries on air flights. Even after the brothers had satisfied many European nations in 1908 that air flight was feasible, America owned only one dilapidated plane."

      You also said:

      The first decade of propeller-driven flight saw its use largely limited to personal flight, mail delivery, and warfare. Balloons, on the other hand, were never practical for fast transportation, mass transplantation, or transporting heavy goods. Or in other words, railroad, balloons, and propeller driven flight never competed for the same research or developmental dollars.
      The Wright Brothers first flew in 1903. The first airmail routes did not begin until 1918. Which wars were aircraft used in between 1903 and 1913? The first official U.S. air mail flew by balloon, by the way, in 1859. You are correct that balloons were not as "practical" as powered aircraft, but were powered aircraft considered "practical" in 1903? No. You have missed the point entirely.

      My post is not meant to provide you with a history lesson. It is meant to point out how you have twisted words to fit your analysis. If you can do so with something as easily researchable as the history of flight, I fear that your "scientific" information is nothing more than half-truths.

      Comment


      • #4
        James

        James,
        you are obviously a very intelligent man. I have a few questions for you that to this day you have not answered in all of your postings..

        Why is the Brownback Bill so important to you? In other words, why can't you convince scientists to pursue other avenues of more promising research just on the merits of this other research if it is so much more promising? If your reason for backing this bill is not for political or religious beliefs, then what the heck are you backing it for? The reason I am asking this is that time and again I get the feeling you are attacking Dr. Young or anything that he supports.Is there some history here that I am not aware of? Because it has almost been three years since Steve was injured, and Dr Young is the only doctor I have encountered that encourages hope.

        I hesitated to even ask you these questions, because I am only a caregiver and I can't say that I know exactly where your coming from. However, I am a caregiver for someone very special and who sustained both a TBI and SCI in a car accident. If this research could in any way help him someday with EITHER I don't want someone's private grudges or a radical group's political beliefs to hinder it.I think common sense and thoughtful decisions on how to proceed with this research is definitely called for. Not scare tactics to confuse the ignorant public so they will vote a certain way without even realizing what they ma7y be giving up.

        But to back legislation that will criminalize any efforts to pursue this research for cure simply based on your belief that it is not the best avenue of research for your condition seems selfish and also just doesn't make much sense.

        Finally, do you actually believe that George Bush cares one little bit whether you are ever cured or not?

        Russ Byrd

        Comment


        • #5
          Jim,

          One other point. As you know, NIH has never funded and currently does not allow funding of any human cloning or embryonic research other than the 70 or so stem cell lines that were created from in vitro fertilized eggs before August 9, 2001. There are no restrictions whatsoever of adult stem cell research. Thus, I don't think that human cloning research is taking away money from other promising therapies.

          Wise.

          Comment


          • #6
            James Kelly, in the thread:
            http://carecure.org/forum/showthread.php?t=15606

            I never did see your response to my post. Should myself or others who do not believe in those therapies come out publicly against their funding? My replies were made somewhat in jest, but the point is very serious. Your agenda seems more to be about discrediting Dr. Young and less about stem cells with each added rebuttal.

            Since you have put yourself in the public eye as a " lay expert ", I will ask again, what is your educational background and experience?

            Comment


            • #7
              Dr. Young:

              In your first posting on this thread you make the statement:

              "Most of the studies that you cited involve non-stem cells."

              ...which completely baffled me at first. In my response to your pro-cloning explanation I cited 14 studies. Ten of these involved adult stem cell use, two involved OEGs, one involved adult oligodendroglial precursors, and one involved cloning. How can you possibly say that "most" of the studies I cited involve "non-stem cells?"

              Then I guessed that you were specifically referring to studies that present evidence of adult stem cell usage leading to functional gains. In this category I cited nine peer-reviewed studies, six involving adult cell usage, two involving OEGs, and one using adult oligodendroglial precursors. But of the six involving adult stem cells, four specifically led to functional improvements (the four that follow), whereas one led to neuron survival, and one reported axonal remyelination without measuring functional effects. However, I still can't reconcile your claim that "most" of my cited abstracts do not involve adult stem cells.

              Also, since you were specifically interested in spinal cord applications I refrained from mentioning studies that present their functional successes in the brain (which also involves neuron replacement and remyelination). However, I've included two such citations further below (and have several others).

              Hofstetter CP; Schwarz EJ; Hess D; Widenfalk J; El Manira A; Prockop DJ; Olson L; Marrow stromal cells form guiding strands in the injured spinal cord and promote recovery. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 Feb 19;99(4):2199-204. Marrow stromal cells (MSC) can be expanded rapidly in vitro and differentiated into multiple mesodermal cell types. In addition, differentiation into neuron-like cells expressing markers typical for mature neurons has been reported. To analyze whether such cells, exposed to differentiation media, could develop electrophysiological properties characteristic of neurons, we performed whole-cell recordings. Neuron-like MSC, however, lacked voltage-gated ion channels necessary for generation of action potentials. We then delivered MSC into the injured spinal cord to study the fate of transplanted MSC and possible effects on functional outcome in animals rendered paraplegic. MSC given 1 week after injury led to significantly larger numbers of surviving cells than immediate treatment and significant improvements of gait. Histology 5 weeks after spinal cord injury revealed that MSC were tightly associated with longitudinally arranged immature astrocytes and formed bundles bridging the epicenter of the injury. Robust bundles of neurofilament-positive fibers and some 5-hydroxytryptamine-positive fibers were found mainly at the interface between graft and scar tissue. MSC constitute an easily accessible, easily expandable source of cells that may prove useful in the establishment of spinal cord repair protocols.

              Chopp M; Zhang XH; Li Y; Wang L; Chen J; Lu D; Lu M; Rosenblum M; Spinal cord injury in rat: treatment with bone marrow stromal cell transplantation. Neuroreport 2000 Sep 11;11(13):3001-5. We tested the hypothesis that transplantation of bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) into the spinal cord after a contusion injury promotes functional outcome. Rats (n = 31) were subjected to a weight driven implant injury. MSCs or phosphate buffered saline was injected into the spinal cord 1 week after injury. Sections of tissue were analyzed by double-labeled immunohistochemistry for MSC identification. Functional outcome measurements using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnehan score were performed weekly to 5 weeks post-injury. The data indicate significant improvement in functional outcome in animals treated with MSC transplantation compared to control animals. Scattered cells derived from MSCs expressed neural protein markers. These data suggest that transplantation of MSCs may have a therapeutic role after spinal cord injury.

              768.17 Wednesday, Nov. 14, 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Poster TRANSPLANTED BONE MARROW STROMAL CELLS PROVIDE A SCAFFOLD FOR AXONAL REGROWTH AND LEAD TO ACTIVATION OF HINDLIMB AIRSTEPPING YY-4 D.P. Ankeny*; D.M. McTigue; P. Wei; B.T. Stokes Physio. & Cell Bio., Ohio State Univ. Cultured bone marrow stromal cells (MSCs) give rise to glial and neural-like cells and therefore represent an exciting source of transplant tissue for spinal cord injury (SCI). Female Wistar rats received a spinal contusion injury of moderate severity (1.0 mm displ.) using the OSU ESCID device. Three days later, MSC transplants from male donors (~315,000 cells, 14 days in vitro) were injected into the developing lesion cavity in 12 rats, half of which also received continuous delivery of pegylated BDNF (peg-BDNF) for 14d post-injury. Control animals received contusion injuries only. All animals were observed weekly for spontaneous hindlimb movements and overground locomotion using the BBB scale. Animals were sacrificed after 8 weeks and immunohistochemical analysis of spinal cords and transplants were performed. Long-term recovery of locomotor ability was similar in each treatment group; however, all rats in the MSC + peg-BDNF group displayed spontaneous airstepping and accelerated locomotor recovery during the 1st 2 weeks. Unexpectedly, 1 animal displayed chronic airstepping after peg-BDNF removal, and 3 animals receiving only MSCs airstepped beginning 4 weeks after injury and continued through the conclusion of the experiment. This suggests that MSCs may activate the lumbar locomotor circuitry. Histochemical examination of grafts revealed extensive infiltration of heavy neurofilament-positive axons. Together, these results suggest further examination of MSCs as a potential therapy for SCI. Supported by NS37321.

              Akiyama Y; Honmou O; Kato T; Uede T; Hashi K; Kocsis JD. Transplantation of clonal neural precursor cells derived from adult human brain establishes functional peripheral myelin in the rat spinal cord. Exp Neurol 2001 Jan;167(1):27-39. We examined the myelin repair potential of transplanted neural precursor cells derived from the adult human brain from tissue removed during surgery. Sections of removed brain indicated that nestin-positive cells were found predominantly in the subventricular zone around the anterior horns of the lateral ventricle and in the dentate nucleus. Neurospheres were established and the nestin-positive cells were clonally expanded in EGF and bFGF. Upon mitogen withdrawal in vitro, the cells differentiated into neuron- and glia-like cells as distinguished by antigenic profiles; the majority of cells in culture showed neuronal and astrocytic properties with a small number of cells showing properties of oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells. When transplanted into the demyelinated adult rat spinal cord immediately upon mitogen withdrawal, the cells elicited extensive remyelination with a peripheral myelin pattern similar to Schwann cell myelination characterized by large cytoplasmic and nuclear regions, a basement membrane, and P0 immunoreactivity. The remyelinated axons conducted impulses at near normal conduction velocities. This suggests that a common neural progenitor cell for CNS and PNS previously described for embryonic neuroepithelial cells may be present in the adult human brain and that transplantation of these cells into the demyelinated spinal cord results in functional remyelination.

              Zhao LR; Duan WM; Reyes M; Keene CD; Verfaillie CM; Low WC ; Human bone marrow stem cells exhibit neural phenotypes and ameliorate neurological deficits after grafting into the ischemic brain of rats. Exp Neurol 2002 Mar;174(1):11-20.

              Mahmood A; Lu D; Yi L; Chen JL; Chopp M; Intracranial bone marrow transplantation after traumatic brain injury improving functional outcome in adult rats. J Neurosurg 2001 Apr;94(4):589-95

              James Kelly

              [This message was edited by James Kelly on Apr 25, 2002 at 05:40 PM.]
              James Kelly

              Comment


              • #8
                Bottom Line

                Jim,

                The bottom line is that you were used by the President and his fanatics. I will never understand why you would want to cut off your nose to, in this case to spite your legs. You have absolutely no way in knowing if Therapeutic cloning will work. I think you have set yourself up to be an expert in a field that hasn't even had a chance to be tested. Recant before you do even more damage then you have already done.

                Deb
                "Save the last dance for me!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  I was just thinking... I am no scientist and do not know the detailed history of stem cell research, but I'd be willing to bet a hundred bucks that adult stem cells (ASC) would have never been discovered or isolated without the knowledge learned from basic research on fetal tissue, embroys and ESC first. In other words, I believe it was because of ESC research that we were able to discover ASC.

                  Now, there is still a lot we don't know about ESC or even how they differentiate into some 200 plus different tissues that make up the body. That is why it is imparative to continue researching ESC - such research may lead to better understanding and minipulation of ASC.

                  Of course, theraputic cloning is another option which might open many doors to cures using fully compatible cells. Jim Kelly continually cites a study where cloned cells were rejected by the host rats as if they were foreign, and so thinks this proves cloned stem cells will never work. But I think research should continue. One study proves very little, espeacially if it has never been replicated, and Kelly should know that. And if those cells were rejected, finding out why can only add to our knowledge base. But to argue his points, Kelly uses singal, unreplicated studies and assumes their results are written in stone forever. For example, Kelly beleieves that half of the people in wheelchairs today could be walking had it not been for a world wide conspiracy to keep the Diapulse machine off the market. He bases this sweaping claim on one obscure study in Poland during the 1980s which claimed that supposedly 45% of the patients walked out of the hospital after the Diapulse machine was used on them. To read this study and then claim that half the people today are in needlessly in wheelchairs is quite a leap., but Kelly has continually made that leap as if it were fact.

                  And, Russell, this is probably why Kelly continuelly attacks Dr. Young - part of the history you may be missing. Kelly personally blames Dr. Young for why he is unable to walk. He believes Dr. Young conspired with the drug indurstry to keep the Diapulse machine from being fully tested and brought to markety- which could have then been used on him when he had his accident. Keeping the Diapulse machine off the market has then enabled the entire medical indursty to continue profitting from us, according the Kelly's beliefs. He has a burr under his saddle concerning Diapulse that apparently is never going to go away.

                  [This message was edited by Bill J. on Apr 25, 2002 at 05:42 PM.]

                  [This message was edited by Bill J. on Apr 25, 2002 at 05:55 PM.]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Debbie:

                    In your last post you say to me:

                    "You have no way of knowing if cloning will work."

                    You are completely misunderstanding me! Others might intentionally distort what I'm saying, but I know you're not among them. Either I'm not representing myself clearly or we've somehow crossed wires. I am NOT saying that cloning can't work! I'm saying that the time and money needed to overcome its complex problems can be better spent on safer, affordable, effective, and less problematic avenues. I can't say this any clearer!

                    Debbie, please use your head. I know how desperate you are to get your body back. You know that I feel exactly the same. Even the staunchest scientific supporters of embryonic stem cells admit that their earliest large scale clinical use for anything is probably ten years away. Do you think that compounding ES tumor formation and reliability problems with cloning's short and long-term genetic mutation issues will get you out of that chair any sooner?

                    I'm not representing myself as an expert on anything, Debbie. I'm just trying to use common sense to see through the cloning hype.

                    James Kelly
                    James Kelly

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Dr. Young:

                      You mention the NIH hasn't funded human cloning research in the past. But there have been no restrictions on their funding animal cloning research. Yet, cloning has yet to be involved in curing animals of anything. And since I'm concerned with the future and not the past, I want to make sure that valuable funds aren't wasted on human cloning in the future! The Brownback Bill will prevent such wastes from occurring.

                      James Kelly
                      James Kelly

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What If

                        Jim,

                        I'm only going to add one more thing then I will let it go. My understanding of your stand is that money could be better spent. What you are not looking at is private funding. Say I convince someone to donate $1,000,000 to research therapeutic cloning. In your scenario that would not only be illegal but the $1,000,000 would have to go to pay a fine. Do you seriously support that type of censure.

                        Deb
                        "Save the last dance for me!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Russel:

                          I apologize for taking so long to reply to your post. I had intended to do so as soon as I saw it, but one thing led to another and I kept putting it off. Sometimes the more I feel about a response to a certain post the more I want the topic to bounce around my head. That way I don't misrepresent myself by giving a knee-jerk response. And since you're a caregiver I especially want to make myself clear to you.

                          In the first place, I definitely think you have every much of a right to ask questions regarding SCI Research as any that have the condition. I've always thought that caregiver's lives are often just as affected by SCI, stroke, TBI, etc., as those who suffer the conditions. Ok, maybe it's a different kind of Hell, but I don't even want to think of what it must have been like for my wife to find my broken body in ICU, or what is was like for her during the awful months and years that followed, or even what it's like today. So you definitely deserve to have a voice in these issues that concern your life!

                          You ask why I'm so concerned over this cloning issue and why I just don't let the researchers study what they will (or why wouldn't researchers naturally gravitate to less problematic avenues than cloning). I'll try to explain.

                          In the 90s, it came to be widely recognized in academic research that a good way to get NIH funding approval was to include the word "genetic" in grant submissions as often as possible. But NIH support of genetic research was nowhere near as concentrated and constant as its been for embryonic stem cell research for the past seven years. I been told this by academic researchers and a doctor at the NIH. Also, as you've correctly pointed out, Dr. Young and I "have a past." A couple years ago I questioned his abandonment of a promising SCI project in the eighties. It's not my purpose here to go into that again. The point is that the NIH refused to consider investigating the merits of this project, although Dr. Young had accumulated impressive data that strongly suggested this avenue was clearly superior to Methylprednisolone (MP). Instead they conducted a large multicenter clinical trial for twelve years, only to have several studies claim that MP not only does marginal good at best, but that it actually may be harmful.

                          Therefore, you can see why I look closely at any avenue having potentially wide-ranging consequences that the NIH supports. But here again, it's important for me to repeat that I'm not saying this other avenue definitely would have proved superior to MP. I'm only saying that the evidence at the time clearly indicated that it deserved to be seriously looked into further...and it wasn't because a prior bureaucratic decision had been made.

                          Seven years ago the NIH decided it was interested in embryonic stem cell research. At the time we didn't even know that certain adult stem cells even existed, let alone how relatively easy they would be to work with compared to ES or cloned ES cells. But still the NIH is strongly behind ES research and cloning. And Dr. Young's denials aside, most researchers really are afraid of offending the NIH (and Christopher Reeve, for that matter). Think about it. When was the last time you read a mass media new report about a non-stem cell breakthrough in which a researcher plugged his competitor's product? For example, when Fawcett reported his success with Chondroitinase ABC or Peduzzi with Neurogel, did either of them say:

                          "Of course, we strongly believe that work should still be conducted using Vacanti's matrix!"

                          Of course not! Yet, any time a milestone is reached with adult stem cells, the researchers make sure they say:

                          "But it's important that ES research continues!"

                          Who do you think they have in mind when they're saying this? You? Me? Or the NIH?

                          Anyway, the point is, researchers need food on their tables just like everyone else. This was pointed out to me by the researcher I mentioned when I started this thread who was told her ability to get tenure could be harmed by her speaking out against cloning. When I tried to point out she was stifling her real scientific beliefs about cloning, she asked me who could she help if she lost her job. What could I say? Could I ask her to risk her family by standing up for a principle that may or may not improve my future? No, I couldn't do it.

                          Over the past few years I've helped write a few grant proposals. I've found that while researchers have fields they like to stick to, when push comes to shove they design their work as much by what they think will be funded as by what they think will work. I hate to mention it again, but Dr. Young's abandonment of one avenue in favor of what the NIH would support is as clear as example of this cold, hard reality as I can present.

                          Now we have cloning being promoted as "our most important and promising" research avenue, yet it's hugely problematic. So on top of the tendency of ES cells to form lethal tumors, science has to figure out how to avoid short and long-term genetic defects from cloning before we can even test its ability in humans to be part of a cure. Meanwhile, adult stem cells and other avenues are safer, cheaper, more effective, and further advanced than cloned ES towards clinical usage for a host of conditions, not just SCI. But if the NIH and basic research is given the green light for unrestricted cloning and ES research, researchers will for the most part will direct their work towards whatever they perceive the NIH (or Christopher Reeve, or the Junior Diabetes Foundation, or the American Heart Association, or the National Cancer Foundation, etc.) wants to fund.

                          At this point you might ask why the NIH and all these foundations would want to fund cloning and ES research if they're beset by so many problems? I believe it's because these avenues stand to put food on the research industry's table for a long, long time. Whereas the only furniture I care about is this friggin chair.

                          I want to walk away from it for good! Thanks for allowing me to explain.


                          Debbie: In case the previous explanation didn't answer your question I'll say it point blank. If the Brownback Bill's penalties are what it takes to keep crucial funds, resources, and research careers from being wasted on cloning while slowing the advance of cures, then I totally support it.

                          James Kelly
                          James Kelly

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Kelly:

                            I've been holding this answer for some days but... here I go:
                            You have been wabbling so much about SCNT, how much you decided u "know" just cause u finally discovered what a gliar scar is (to which, I must add, took u very long to learn) U have been trying to make a fool out of Dr. Young (with obviously NO success). He has been VERY patient to your "know it all" attitude. Have u read your posts? U r DECIDING what the scientists can or cannot focus on and, that is just as ignorant as an A/B person saying that we should be Thankful that we were the "chosen". You know, just cause you've been coping and pasting all documents u find online on cloning does NOT make u knowledgeable on the subject. U r pretending to be GOD by deciding where to focus. U r wrong.... Where SCNT will lead, we do NOT know but, why r u shutting that door and cementing it????? If cloning got approved and, turn into the savor of the SCI'ed, NOBODY would force you to go get cured, it is YOUR choice. If it goes against your economics and or morals to WALK through this procedure, then ignore it! We'll Fed-Ex u our chairs as we recover. U have said over and over again that money should not be "waisted" on this... is that all u care? Lets see at this other view of SCI and walking:
                            Just here in Spinwire there r 1700+ member out of which 70% r people w/SCI.... like LauraD, mother of beautiful Heather, a ten year old KID who is in a wheelchair. Does she know that her future might depend on u? U talk about SCNT "if" successful, it would be in at least ten years. That means that if all else fails, Heather will still have hopes of walking at the YOUNG age of 20 TEN YEARS is nothing, she is still at the beginning of life... Debbie7: A mature lady who had worked her butt off, all her life to enjoy those "retirement" years when they arrive. Only by her picture, u can c she AT LEAST has 1 kid, obviously she turned out to be a fighter in spite of what ME and others thought. Now well, her hopes might be focused on SCNT, whether or not they'll come truth is NONE of your or my business, she still has the RIGHT to hope for something. DA: a young guy, struggling to move on and fighting to let the world know that he is NOT happy... afraid that researches will leave him hanging because of people like me, saying that life is still enjoyable. Chris: an athletic and free person whom still has the courage to get out and REALLY fight for better and not WORST. Instead of sitting on the lawn waiting to get a pic taken as a whiner in the white house, he carried the Olympic torch with a big smile as a VERY PROUD MAN.
                            We also have as the BEST example of how wrong u r, Dr. Young, a person who doesn't even HAVE TO be here answering all our questions and giving us strength by showing whats going on, how, where and when. IMO he could be one of these cold hearted doctors who spends their free time in a gym. I posted once the results of my MRI with the frustration of not having a Doctor caring enough to explain it to me and, within that day, he replied. Now tell me, who else would do that for FREE cause obviously, NON of your supposed "buddy" researchers you have mentioned. I haven't read 1 post of their own... Don't they have computers? Im sure that this community including Dr. Young would LOVE to hear their side of the story. You talk about more efficient therapies, what are they? AS PROMISING as SCNT? You talk about funding, I don't think there would be THAT much interest in funding if SCNT didn't seem promiselingy. Have u tried copying and pasting some of the Pros on cloning. Don't get me wrong, it is petrifying to think about human cloning, but, then BAN that. Kelly, my point is, there is much much more to that decision then NIH funding.
                            Last week there was a Breast cancer walkathon, they went 20 miles a day for three days, I admire their UNITY and felt very disappointed that out of a 1700 member community, the only person that went that extra mile did it AGAINST us.... Now that's sad... U went and gave them what they want to hear, that's all. Now, the world thinks we r all like u when we r not, WE want every single little chance of walking explored, searched and researched, worked till it's last drop in hopes of it being our so deserved CURE. Like another member said and it's PROVEN right here on this thread.... DIVIDED WE SIT.... UNITED WE STAND!!!!!!!!! Think we can get united some day?????????

                            Me.
                            Thoughts become things, choose the good ones!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Polette,

                              Very well said. Thank you.

                              Jim,

                              You are wrong.

                              Deb
                              "Save the last dance for me!"

                              Comment

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