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Embryonic stem cell research disregards the lives of the living

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    Embryonic stem cell research disregards the lives of the living

    Letters to the Editor for November 12, 2002
    By Readers

    The Lie of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    "Mr. Goodenough has exposed the ugly nucleus of the embryonic stem cell issue. ('Embryonic Research Opponents Say Scientists Driven By Commercial Gain,' November 11)

    Since becoming paralysed due to spinal cord injury (more than five years ago), I've devoted my life to understanding my condition and assisting those determined to cure it. After reading research journals and speaking with leading scientists, I've concluded that many with SCI, including actor Christopher Reeve, are being misled and used to promote research far more likely to slow the advent of the cures they need than hasten their arrival.

    We have been told that embryonic stem cell research holds mankind's brightest "promise" to cure its most catastrophic medicical afflictions. In my opinion we've been told a lie.

    Leading scientists admit the therapeutic potentials of embryonic stem cells are probably ten years away or more. When used in adult tissues, embryonic stem cells from any source, whether from cloning or not, have led to inappropriate tissue growth, malignant tumor formation, genetic mutation, and immune rejection. Cloning is being promoted as a source of embryonic stem cells able to avoid rejection.

    However, leading pro-cloning researchers admit they fully expect that stem cells derived from cloning will still be rejected by the donor from which they're cloned. In fact, a study in mice has already confirmed this point. Plus, the cloning process leads to widespread genetic flaws.

    Therefore, regardless of what embryonic stem cells may or may not have the potential to do, huge safety, reliability, and practical issues must first be overcome. Meanwhile, the misery, impairment, and deaths of millions might be avoided if resources needed to develop this highly speculative, highly problematic avenue were instead used to develop safe, effective, more immediately available alternatives.

    If we do indeed have safer, more direct paths to our clinical goals, why are we being encouraged towards the embryonic choice? In my opinion this question goes to the heart of a matter that many see as a struggle to define human life, but that I see as a test in which our actions will expose who and what we are. Mr. Goodenough has opened the lid to this Pandora's Box. Consider the following pro-embryonic research perspectives.

    Actor Christopher Reeve supports embryonic research avenues. His views are shared by other entertainers and the media. Some do so because they've accepted speculative claims about miraculous cures that seem to make sense until one looks at cold, hard facts. Others promote embryonic research out of pro-abortion viewpoints.

    But in my opinion this issue is not about abortion, it's about diverting funds and resources away from research having a strong likelihood for leading to effective treatments or outright cures in the foreseeable future.

    In some cases, including for Diabetes, reversing paralysis, Parkinson's Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Leukemia, and Heart Disease, Science literally stands on the threshold of producing these treatments, not ten years away.

    Consider the case of Mr. Reeve, who raises millions for basic academic research. According to Reeve, he bases his agenda in part due to statements he attributes to Dr. John McDonald, an embryonic stem cell researcher funded by Reeve's foundation. Dr. McDonald supposedly told Reeve that only embryonic stem cells could recoat his spinal cord with a fatty insulation, called myelin sheathing, and that only embryonic stem cells derived from cloning would be safe to use.

    Yet this same researcher has implanted cells taken from pigs into human patients for the same purpose. Why is it safe to use cells from pigs on others, but only cloned embryonic cells on Reeve? Nor was Mr. Reeve told that four adult cell-types have proven able in animal models to remyelinate the brain and spinal cord (neural stem cells, bone marrow stem cells, olfactory ensheathing glial cells, and Schwann Cells), none of which face rejection, and all are on the verge of human testing.

    Apparently he wasn't told that researchers at Harvard claim neural stem cells provide the optimum means to achieve this end, or that Yale is already conducting a Multiple Sclerosis clinical trial using one of these methods (adult Schwann Cells).

    Mr. Reeve's condition is much worse than mine, and his time is much more constrained. Therefore Mr. Reeve has little choice but to believe what he's told by those with a financial stake in these issues, either through his foundation's support, or through its continued existence. In New York he claimed the only possible cure for ALS lay in embryonic stem cell research. When told a multi-center clinical trial for ALS was underway in Italy using the patient's own bone marrow stem cells, he refused to believe this easily verifiable fact.

    Regarding the motives of biotech: Embryonic stem cell and cloning research need public assistance. Their problems are too many and too complex. Future profit potentials are too far in the future to attract knowing investors. Embryonic cell-based companies therefore actively support public and private funding of these avenues in the hopes a gullible public will pay for solutions that investors won't.

    Regarding the motives of biotech and pharmaceutical firms not interested in pursuing these avenues, but who politically support their cause: What better way can they protect profits gained from selling drugs or treatments that only treat conditions, which adult stem cells or other non-embryonic avenues are likely to cure, than to support the diversion of resources towards avenues that offer no immediate threat and only a very uncertain future threat? The same course of action protects their product pipeline.

    Regarding Academic Researchers: Some study embryonic science. Some want to stay in the good graces of pro-science funding organizations, such as America's National Institute of Health. For others, Science is an end in itself, not a means to an end, not to be questioned, and never to be denied.

    Regarding politicians: Some honestly believe the hype. Others have no regard for truth and less for their constituents suffering. These latter embrace embryonic research as a means of gaining campaign financial support from bio-tech (as in Utah Senator Orrin Hatch), or campaign voter support based on the illusion that embryonic research is in the voter's interest.

    Regarding the sick, disabled, and dying: We need hope to survive. We need to believe the scientists and doctors we blindly trust are primarily interested in saving our lives, or making us well. We don't want to consider we're being used...used by researchers, corporations, institutions, foundations, and political leaders. But the sad, unvarnished truth is we are.

    Embryonic Research is about Science for the sake of Science, or Science for the sake of profits, or Science for the sake of votes, but not Science for the sake of cures. We need to look past our hope to see this cold, hard truth. Or not only will we be swayed by the lie, but we'll have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker."

    Granbury, TX

    James Kelly

    [This message was edited by James Kelly on Nov 16, 2002 at 01:56 PM.]
    James Kelly

    I trust the opinion of forty nobel lauraetes

    I trust the opinion of forty nobel laureates and the great majority of the Scientists and Doctors in the world. The entire scientific and medical profession know the future of medicine is regenerative medicine.

    Even if ESC don't benefit many of us tomorrow, it will be a great benefit to mankind in the future. Opposition and stalling by religious and political groups will only delay this research.

    The opinions of some right wingers don't matter much to me. I keep thinking about the wars and scandels religions have brought upon the world and I have decided I will use my own judgement about what is moral and what is not.


      Bill M:

      Are you saying that in these issues you think for yourself regarding their moral implications, but concerning their scientific aspects you base your viewpoints on your trust of "forty nobel laureates," such as Economist Milton Friedman?

      Bill, it's your life, so you should do what you feel is in your best interest. For my part, I had a mother who shared your high opinion of medical professionals. She was buried when 48 years old due to medical incompetence. This, of course, doesn't have anything to do with the matter at hand. But for my part, concerning life and death issues impacting my, I'll research the issues and think for myself.

      If twenty years from now I'm still sitting in this chair because I tried to focus research on avenues with real potentials for leading to cures by supporting a total ban on human cloning, or because in 2002 I pointed out the many flaws in ESC Research, then I'll have no one but myself to blame. But at least I'll have been responsible for my life.

      However, if in twenty years (or more) you're still sitting in your chair waiting for an embryonic stem cell cure that never overcame its complex hurdles because you trusted forty nobel laureates, who will you blame...them, for promoting a pro-science agenda, or you, for handing responsibility for your future to others?

      James Kelly

      [This message was edited by James Kelly on Nov 16, 2002 at 05:05 PM.]
      James Kelly


        james you either like to argue or like to see your name somewhere

        why dont you get on with fundraising for cures that you like and leave other people to pursue their direction for a cure,without you jumping up and down every five minutes.
        you remind me of the little kid in the playground saying"play the game my way,its better".other people dont want to play by your rules.
        now take your bat and ball and go home.pls

        "If neccessity is the mother of invention,Sci cure is one mother of a neccessity".
        "If neccessity is the mother of invention,Sci cure is one mother of a neccessity".


          Dear Sir:

          What I wonder, Mr. Kelly, is if you would be so adamantly opposed to ESC if it was just as hopeful a proposed treatment but did not involve the use of unfertilized eggs. You are morally and ethically offended by this type of research because of your Christian beliefs.

          I agree that monies for medical research should, indeed, fund a variety of hopeful studies and not be limited to one particular arena, however, I do not agree that you or the government or religious organizations have the right to set yourselves up as the moral conscious for the entire world.

          I am a Christian. I am a woman. I am able-bodied. I was born with thousands of eggs which my ovaries have been releasing every 28 days since I was 12. I have two beautiful children but my own body has disgarded thousands of eggs in my lifetime already. If you or someone else suffering from a spinal cord injury or some other affliction could possibly benefit from an egg that would essentially be destroyed by my body anyway what right would any of us have to interfere with that? Is that moral? Is that ethical? Is that even Christian?

          How many women do you know or have even heard of that have a hundred children let alone a thousand? Has it occurred to you that perhaps God, in is infinite wisdom, not only provided women with the ability to sustain and give birth to a new life but also the ability to help heal a life that has been damaged.

          I believe you claim to be Christian. If that is so, why would you choose to deny your fellowman the gift of life? If politicians represent "the people" then shouldn't they represent ALL the people, including the disabled? If the church represents God and enforces God's laws then why isn't it a crime to molest children but it is a crime for injured people to seek healing?

          I do not understand your God. The God of the religious hypocrites; the God of the morally righteous; the God that apparently delegates the right to pass judgement on all people.

          My God expects me to love my fellowman; try to help my fellowman; sacrifice for my fellowman; show compassion. It is not my place to judge or punish nor do I have the right to interpret His word to suit my own agenda.

          I thank (my) God, Mr. Kelly, that you are NOT God.


            For those of you who are new to the forum, you should know a little about Jim Kelly's history.

            Mr. Kelly was injured in a car accident near Missoula, Montana, a little over five years ago. While in the hospital, he hired a Shaman (a Native American spiritual healer) in hopes of getting healed of his sci. Obviously, that did not work.

            After leaving the hospital, he did some investigations into sci research and came to believe that a cure was discovered in the 1980s but was deliberately kept off the market by a conspiracy between drug companies and Wise Young. This cure was the Diapulse machine, a device that emits pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). On the old Cando forum for which I was moderator, Mr. Kelly viciously attacked Wise Young, called him a liar, unethical and immoral, and called for his resignation a number of times because of Kelly's steadfast (albeit unsubstantiated) belief in the conspiracy.

            Kelly also believed that inosine (at the time and still now being investigated by BLSI as a possible cure for sci) was a cure that was being kept off the market because if such a common and inexpensive drug was available for sci, the pharmaceutical companies would lose billions of dollars. Mr. Kelly would not listen to Dr. Young when told that inosine, ingested orally, would not cross the blood brain barrier. Kelly then took massive doses of inosine orally and others on the Cando forum also took the drug on Kelly's advice and urging. Kelly even advised others as to what dosages should be taken. When that didn't work, Kelly then tried snorting inosine in an effort to get it into his brain and nervous system. That did not work either.

            Besides inosine and Diapulse, Mr. Kelly has also touted other cures such as CM-101, SAMe, ASC, etc. SAMe is a common pill that can be purchased in any drugstore and Kelly maintained that it should be given to every newly injured sci and was not given because it was inexpensive and available and would cost the drug companies billions in lost revenue if it was put in use. Kelly also advocated the use of SAMe when taking inosine orally.

            The underlying believe in all of Kelly's theories from Diapulse to inosine to CM-101 was that drug companies and unethical scientists were keeping sci cures off the market in order to maintain profits. Although I can not remember if he ever said so outright, but Kelly insinuated that drug companies just "bought off" the scientists and researchers.

            Mr. Kelly projects himself as knowing a lot about sci science but in my opinion, he knows very little. This was driven home to me one day when I was talking to him on the phone about inosine. When I told him that axons grew up the cord toward the brain as well as down the cord, he refused to believe me so he asked Dr. Young on the Cando forum who confirmed that sensory axons do grow upward in the cord. When Kelly told me that axons do not grow upward, I thought to myself, "Wow, and this is the guy who is prescribing inosine and Diapulse for sci and calling for Dr. Young's resignation!"

            Kelly's ignorance of sci science also came to light recently on this forum when he mistakenly called regeneration the same as neuron replacement, something so elementary that it was astounding that Kelly did not know the difference because it has been discussed so often on these forums in so many different discussions.

            When someone disagrees with Kelly, Kelly will likely use two tactics. 1) Kelly will call the person disagreeing with him immoral and unethical or 2) Kelly will accuse the person disagreeing with him of not being able to think for himself: in other words a simpleton.

            What is most astounding about Kelly is his supposed ability to always know what others are thinking. He knows scientists don't want a cure because they don't want to end their research careers. He knows drug companies don't want a cure because they will lose billions in profits. (At one point on this forum Kelly stated that his "economics training at Penn State" taught him how directors of companies thought. But no one should believe that Kelly is an economist. He has no degree and may very well have flunked out of econ 101 at Penn State, I don't know. I do know that economists support their views with hard data, but Kelly, in spite of being asked for data to support his views in the past, has provided none and does not respond to requests for data or for his qualifications). Kelly also knows that Christopher Reeve is being misled (the poor simpleton). And if anyone on this forum has the sincere belief that ESC might hold some potential for a cure, well, as I said, Kelly is just not likely to accept that at face value. He will simply tell us that we are being misled, manipulated, don't think for ourselves, or are unethical because we know the truth (his truth). Witness Kelly's responses on this thread.

            Kelly has given forum members and the press the impression that he is somewhat of an expert on sci, but when forum members ask for his qualifications, he starts backing off because he has none. Kelly was working for the railroad as an electrician when he became sci. He is neither a scientist or an economist.

            Someone once described Kelly as a "wannabe" and I think that may an apt description. Kelly doesn't know enough about science to get a job sweeping a lab floor, and he knows even less about economics, but he has found a niche in fighting ESC research that has given him some recognition which he seems to crave. He was invited to the Rose Garden ceremony in which Bush announced his support of the Brownback bill and which Kelly announced on this forum. Most recently, Kelly was invited to New Jersey to give testimony against the proposed New Jersey bill that would allow ESC research. Since Kelly once told me he has no money, I can only assume that groups opposed to ESC research (like right to life groups) are financing Kelly's travels. Forum members have asked Kelly from time to time for his credentials and who is financing his activities, but he has always refused to answer either question. When the questions get tough, Kelly clams up.

            What is really interesting is how Kelly has seemingly completely dropped the Diapulse cure issue. In the past, Kelly was adamant that this is the "cure," but he has done absolutely nothing to get the cure to market. If the Diapulse machine cure works as Kelly believes it does, it could cure every single new case of sci. But instead of spending his time promoting Diapulse and getting it to market, Kelly spends his time being against ESC. Seems to me this is a waste of time given his belief that a cure already exists.

            I have said in the past that the best thing Kelly can do to help those of us who believe that ESC might someday have some benefit for us or others, is to continue doing what he is doing. If you read his editorial, you may conclude that it was written by some right wing nut as I would do, even if I did not know Kelly. The more letters like his that appear in print, the more our cause is helped.

            Thank you Jim, for continuing your crusade in such vehement and incoherent manner laced through and through with your never ending conspiracy theories. You are helping us more than you will ever know. Bill



              No, my opposition to allowing research resources to be diverted to cloning and ESC research is based on technical roadblocks to their development compared to the availability of alternative avenues that offer the same benefits, but without the problems, and that are far closer to clinical trials.

              Not only do I not belong to an organized religion, but I'm not a Christian either. Nor am I pro-abortion or pro-life. Nor am I Republican or Democrat. I have a single-minded purpose: I'm pro-cures.

              James Kelly
              James Kelly


                discussed to death

                Jim, please put your drive & effort into lobbying for more ASC funding, OEG human trials, etc. Imagine where we could be today. I don't believe that your desire to quash ESC & SCNT helps us and in fact it only hurts those with worse conditions than SCI. I think it's a very selfish approach & incredibly short sighted. OK maybe the results are 20 years away. So what? How will you feel if your grandson dies an unnecessary death because of a medical condition that ESC technology could have cured?

                Banning this research now doesn't help you & me and only hurts future progress.

                Regardless of what you do, ESC & SCNT will soon be completely dead in the USA anyway. The right wingers will see to that. The effects of these decisions may be felt for many years and could very well mean more preventable human misery, suffering & death occurs.

                What are you going to focus on after ESC & SCNT are killed and no longer an issue?
                "Oh yeah life goes on
                Long after the thrill of livin is gone"

                John Cougar Mellencamp



                  As you know, I try my best to ignore you because I believe drunks and idiots can't help themselves. But since you feel the need to keep kicking long-dead cats (and I happen to like cats), I can't help but point out the following. In your rantings you mentioned:

                  "Kelly's ignorance of sci science also came to light recently on this forum when he mistakenly called regeneration the same as neuron replacement, something so elementary that it was astounding that Kelly did not know the difference because it has been discussed so often on these forums in so many different discussions."

                  ...which wasn't the case at all. In the discussion in question I had suggested that "regeneration" involves the replacement of diseased or damaged cells or tissues, rather than an adult healing process of existing organs, cells, or tissues. Dr. Young and others corrected my mistake by pointing out that inducing broken axons (which are not cells, but rather are broken extensions from existing cells) to regrow was "regeneration" too, if not a more accurate definition of the term. However, neurobiologist Masato Nakafuku states in the latest edition of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience:

                  "Only if the cells lost to pathological insults are replaced with new ones anywhere in the brain, can it be considered a regenerative event."

                  James Kelly
                  James Kelly


                    Linda I applaud you

                    And agree with you completely


                    I am so far behind I think I am first....


                      So you are nothing, Mr. Kelly.

                      That would explain a lot of things.

                      Thank you for setting the record straight.



                        Thanks for your advice, but I already am focusing my efforts on promoting the most effective, most immediate research avenues not only for our condition, but also for Diabetes, Heart Disease, MS, Parkinson's, Leukemia, ALS, Liver Disease, Stroke, and TBI.

                        Mike, you say:

                        "I think it's a very selfish approach & incredibly short sighted. OK maybe the results are 20 years away. So what?"

                        Are you that unaware of the state of research for the conditions listed above (including our own) that you can truly believe it's in the interest of "progress" to divert massive resources to cloning and ESCs for "twenty years?"

                        James Kelly
                        James Kelly


                          Hello, again!

                          Good old James, always ready to tweak whatever nerves us poor souls have left functioning . . . a couple of points of advice, if you're willing to hear it.

                          1. Aim for brevity. You, sir, are way too longwinded for anyone's good! Hire an editor if you have to, but please, cut the gas.

                          2. Calling people "pro-abortion" is a red flag. It means that you're either lying about your own position, or you have badly misunderstood the issue. It's best to stick with what you know yourself . . . however humble or grandiose that might turn out to be.

                          Aside from that, post away. You're the comic relief some of us are dying for.


                          [This message was edited by kate on Nov 17, 2002 at 12:04 AM.]


                            Thanks for the explanation about your "mistake," Jim. Too bad you could not do it with some class instead of juvenile type insults and name-calling , which you so often resort to. I should have also stated in my post that when someone disagrees with you, you will often also resort to a third tactic: 3) childish name-calling


                            "Bill: As you know, I try my best to ignore you because I believe drunks and idiots can't help themselves.
                            Anyway, Jim, perhaps you could also explain why you believe axons do not grow upward in the spinal cord, if you still believe that, or why you believed that at the time when you were so busy prescribing inosine for people.

                            Yes, Jim, I know you try your best to ignore me and have in the past refused to answer my questions along with the questions of others who have put you on the spot. But I do think it is important that people that are newly visiting these forums know your history. I only regret that I did not have the time to write a more complete history of your postings and ideas or that your postings on the old Cando Forum are no longer available. Your own postings would serve as a better witness to your lack of qualifications and irrationality than anything I could write about your history.

                            I do think it is important that people who visit these forums understand the forums are unedited and that any person, regardless of intelligence (or lack of ) and regardless of formal qualifications (or lack of) can express ideas here. It has been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Readers of these forums must realize that Jim Kelly has just very little knowledge about neuroscience or any other branch of science and that he is not anything even close to being a scientist in spite of the language he may use or the image he may attempt to project. I do not want anyone conned by him as some were in Kelly's inosine fiasco on the old Cando forum. That caused harm and expense to some people who took his advice. When you are on the Internet, you should always be very careful who you take advice from and careful and cautions of those you don't know who are attempting to shape your ideas. Bill

                            [This message was edited by Bill J. on Nov 17, 2002 at 07:48 AM.]


                              Care/Cure Commnunity:

                              I apologize for diverging from the important issues being discussed in this topic to indulge in a childish spat.

                              I addressed the definition of "regeneration" in response to Mr. Johnson's personal attack. The feasibility and direction of sensory axon growth is another worthwhile topic. Perhaps another thread could provide peer-reviewed evidence that sensory axons have in fact grown up through a chronic SCI lesion and re-made functional connections. I would be very encouraged to read of it. (Dr. Jerry Silver had told me he thought this might be more easily said than done, as he believed that before functional sensory connections could be re-established that neuronal dendrites would need to grow down to meet sensory axons growing up.)

                              But the sensory axon issue is not the topic at hand. I raised certain points in this thread's topic concerning the most effective means of promoting cures through regenerative science. If others disagree with their merit, I suggest they refute them. Attacking the writer, rather than the content of his writing, strongly suggests the content is sound and correct.

                              [This message was edited by James Kelly on Nov 17, 2002 at 12:39 PM.]
                              James Kelly