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Tell facts on stem cells/ Public opinions about stem cells in Press

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    Tell facts on stem cells/ Public opinions about stem cells in Press

    Tell facts on stem cells
    Sunday, June 5, 2005

    The Associated Press story in the May 26 paper about embryonic stem cells fails to tell the whole story.
    The headline (I know this is added by the local paper) leaves out the fact that this bill is about embryonic stem cells.

    I know of no one who is anything but thrilled about stem cell research.

    Stem cells are available from adults and from umbilical cords.

    The umbilical cords can supply far more stem cells with a far lower cost than the tedious and lengthy process associated with embryonic stem cells.

    The scientists at Penn State were on the television news recently telling us the stem cell lines they have under current law are sufficient for the present needs.

    At the present time, there have been no successes with embryonic stem cells. There have been a number of successes with adult stem cells and with umbilical cord stem cells. If you look at the simple fact that umbilical stem cells are much less expensive and are the ones that are showing success, how can you say with a straight face that this isn't purely political?

    Let me try to accurately state the position of those who oppose embryonic stem cell research being funded by the government.

    Embryos are live human beings who only need time, food and protection to grow into adults. It is wrong to kill a human being for research. (At least we seem to think it was wrong when Hitler tried it.)

    To Wise,

    This is posted purely to inform carecure peers about other opinions existing.

    I personally thing that all avenues of research adult/embrionic or South Korean way (where no life created, thus not destoyed)- should be equally exploited.
    And in case of carecure-all opinions should be heard-no matter if they false in your opinion [img]/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img]..

    Thank you,

    [This message was edited by Max on 06-05-05 at 09:02 PM.]

    Use stem cells to save lives
    Talk about it

    Steve Chapman's argument against the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research is both incredibly maudlin and poorly reasoned ("Raising the stakes in the stem cell debate," Opinion

    Commentary, May 30).
    Using the example of a cute, 1-month-old baby makes no sense at all.

    And no one is advocating using every frozen embryo in stem cell research. There will always be more than enough frozen embryos to satisfy the desires of anyone who wants to conceive a child in this way.

    Like most of the opponents of embryonic stem cell research, Mr. Chapman doesn't address the reality that the great majority of frozen embryos wind up unused and thrown out. If he feels so strongly about this, why isn't Mr. Chapman out picketing the garbage cans where these unused embryos wind up?

    The crux of his argument is that a frozen embryo is human life, and it is here that I disagree with him. Such an embryo, while frozen, will never become life, nor will it become life even if it is merely unfrozen. It will never begin the process of becoming a human being until it is placed in a womb. Not ever, not nohow.

    If this embryo is used in medical research, no beating heart would be stilled, no little fingers and toes destroyed.

    And by what logic can a society that permits the abortion of a fetus in the womb refuse to permit the use of a microscopically tiny cluster of cells that is not nearly as far along in the process of becoming life?

    I believe that using the embryonic stem cells we can get from those excess frozen embryos that would otherwise be thrown out will, in time, lead to medical breakthroughs as important as the discovery of antibiotics.

    Indeed, I believe that learning to use these stem cells, which are the building blocks of human life, will lead to cures for conditions such as paralysis, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and other illnesses that affect tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.

    Let us make the vitally important decision to support the use of embryonic

    Link Here

    [This message was edited by mk99 on 06-06-05 at 04:50 PM.]


      No: Use adult stem cells instead

      Jann Armantrout
      Guest essayist

      (June 5, 2005) - Confusion reigns among many people of good will as they contemplate whether our nation should continue to permit and fund research that destroys human life while seeking cures for disease. Anxiety around the question of embryonic stem cell research is heightened by the emotion stemming from contemplating one's own death or a loved one's suffering. In self-interest, it becomes tempting to cast aside ethical qualms about embryo destruction. In desperation, it is easy to fall prey to a belief that a disease can only be cured using human embryos.

      But a closer examination of the science, economics and politics of the question indicates that the most promising techniques for treating devastating diseases and injuries lie in the companion area of regenerative medicine called adult stem cell research. It is this research and therapy that needs to be expanded and made available to patients. The misdirection of funds to embryonic research drains limited resources from scientists, labs and medical centers, otherwise poised to make significant contributions to patients through ethical regenerative medicine.

      Adult stem cells exist in every body, as well as in umbilical cord blood and the placenta. At least five major types of adult stem cells have been isolated and used to treat over 100 diseases. These treatments include the cure of leukemia, improvement in the pumping capacity of damaged hearts and the restoration of some sensation and movement in paraplegics' limbs.

      Many of these treatments, however, are only available in Europe. Countries such as Germany, which have a heightened sensitivity to the danger of disregarding the inherent dignity in every human life, banned the harvesting of all embryonic stem cell lines in 1990 and the import of embryonic stem cell lines in 2002. Rather than resulting in a "brain drain" of researchers and doctors, adult stem cell research flourished. In fact, some U.S. hospitals such as the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan are teaming with European facilities to make these treatments available to Americans. For example, Cortney Hoffman, a 19-year-old paraplegic from Michigan, went to Portugal in January so that her severed spinal cord could be treated with her own adult stem cells. Cortney is showing signs of improved functioning.

      Shouldn't major medical centers such as the University of Rochester pursue adult stem cell therapies, so that Americans can access treatments in our country? States and private donors in America have already pledged over $5 billion for human embryonic stem cell research. To date, not a single cure for a human disease has been developed with human embryonic stem cells. Wouldn't we all be better served by expanding on the successes of ethically acceptable adult stem cell research?

      Concerted efforts are being made to soften the public's opposition to human embryonic research. Last month, the House of Representatives passed a bill to allow experimentation on unwanted human embryos from fertility clinics. However, the debate about these embryos, which will undoubtedly perish, no longer keeps pace with human embryonic research. South Korean scientists just announced the creation of a human embryo made through therapeutic cloning. The intention is for this type of human embryo to render cells and tissues genetically identical to its DNA donor for the donor's tissue repair and replacement. This should cause us all to consider just where the research is headed. Some may see human embryonic research as a door to immortality for people with enough resources to harvest products of the most advanced medical technology. Others see the macabre possibility of humans being created and destroyed so that others may use their body parts. Even those in science who support embryonic stem cell research admit this possibility

      Link Here

      [This message was edited by mk99 on 06-06-05 at 04:49 PM.]


        I'm not Anti-Stem Cells

        I'm not Anti-Stem Cells
        By: MachoNachos · Section: Diaries

        There's nothing that makes you feel so good as a blogger as when another well-known blogger in their own right asks you to blog about some news item that they found. Still, when Ben Domenech pointed this Corner tidbit on stem cells, my reaction was pretty much, "ho-hum."
        Still, who am I, as a lowly afternoon snack on the food chain, to deny the request of one of the founders of, when he thinks a particular story ought to interest me? And so I promised Ben that I would give it some serious thought over the weekend trip that I just returned from, and see what's what when I returned. I was really quite surprised to find that the more I mulled the original piece, the more significant Tim Graham's off-the-cuff remark became, until I became convinced that Graham may have very well hit the mark with one of the key tactical decisions that can change the tide of the battle over the use of embryonic stem cells in research.

        Jun 6th, 2005: 01:52:05, Not Rated

        For those few of you who regularly read my diary entries here, and the even fewer who read my personal blog on a daily basis, you know that my personal metamorphosis into "stem cell opponent" has been an extraordinarily recent phenomenon. I think that it's telling that someone who has spent essentially his whole life in politics, and is a strident pro-lifer like myself, until five days ago still found some wiggle room on the question of Embryonic Stem Cells in research.
        The reality is that we've once again allowed our technology to run leaps and bounds ahead of our common sense - and rushed headlong into what we can do before considering what we should do. It has long been the case that ethics has lagged behind science, and the current battle over Embryonic Stem Cells has been no different. Most people in this country - even the hyper-politically aware like me, barely have an understanding of what Embryonic Stem Cells are, much less how they are created, and even still less the complex moral issues that come to bear on an issue like this.



          What I am asking you to do is to comment on what is false about the material that you are posting. You would not post something that is knowingly false on any subject, so why would you post something that is false on embryonic stem cells. You should not be posting something here just for the purpose of posting. Say that you agree or disagree, point out what is good or bad, please. The following are my comments.


          Let me agree with some parts of this letter and disagree on other parts. I agree that many people are and should be thrilled about stem cell research. In fact, it is a shame that for nearly four years, those who opposed embryonic stem cell research but thought that bone marrow and umbilical cord blood research would be an adequate replacement did not support the latter. This year, for the first time, the House of Representatives has passed a bill (501-1) allocating funding of a national umbilical cord blood stem cell bank network. There is also a Joey Testaverde Bill asking NIH to place a higher priority of umbilical cord blood and adult stem cell research. These are important bills that everybody should support.

          In 2004, NIH spent less than $200 million on human umbilical cord blood and adult stem cell research. For an area of research that has beneficial effects in over 58 conditions and may have beneficial effects in many more, this is a pitifully small investment. They spent far more than that on the human genome project and gene therapy, for example, which has yet to yield a single approved therapy. It is important that people who support umbilical cord blood and adult stem cell research put their money where their mouths are.

          The slow pace of stem cell research, particularly adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells, has held back the application of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood therapies. At the present, we still do not have any reliable way of identifying the stem cells in these two sources. Since these sources have relatively few stem cells (probably less than 1 out of a million cells) and we still don't know how to identify, grow, and isolate these cells reliably, it is difficult to take these cells into clinical trial and expect successful results.

          We also need to do research to overcome one intrinsic limitation of umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells. They have limited growth capabilities in culture. Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells do not divide forever in culture. They die after several weeks and it is difficult (although not impossible) to grow large amounts of them. Developing methods to culture and expand these cells is very important because our current technology requires us to collect the cells, store them, and use them every time. This makes umbilical cord blood and bone marrow stem cells very expensive.

          The average insurance reimbursement for an umbilical cord blood transfusion is about $23,000. A bone marrow transplant costs over $50,000. Thus, the claim that adult and umbilical cord blood is much cheaper is not true. Why are they so expensive? First, the cells must be collected from people. In the case of umbilical cord blood, probably over 50% of donors or blood collected cannot be used because of some donor history of genetic disease or infections. Of the ones that are collected, a significant number do not meet the size qualification to be stored in a public bank. Finally, the blood must be extensively tested for all sorts of diseases before they are stored or used.

          Umbilical cord blood and bone marrow stem cells must also be matched for their HLA antigens. In order to find a match, it is necessary to maintain a large and diverse collection of bone marrow or umbilical cord blood bank of 50,000 (in the case of umbilical cord blood) and 250,000 (in the case of bone marrow, unless the bone marrow is obtained from the same person).

          Note that bone marrow is not usually banked. Instead, what they do is have a registry of people who have donated blood samples to be typed. When a person needs a bone marrow transplant, the doctor looks through the registry to find a match. There are currently about 250,000 people in various registries around the world. If a match is found, the person must be contacted to come into the hospital and the bone marrow is collected and shipped to the treatment center. Probably about 40% of people cannot get a 6/6 HLA antigen match. In such cases, a transplant not only may be rejected but may be harmful to the recipient because the transplanted bone marrow cells may manufacture white blood cells that attack the recipient's body. This condition, called graft-vs-host disease occurs in perhaps 20-40% of cases. Note that umbilical cord blood will usually engraft (i.e. is not rejected) if there is a 4/6 of HLA antigen match, the reason why one can usually find match despite the smaller number of units (50,000) that are available in public banks. Also, umbilical cord blood does not produce as frequent or as severe graft versus host disease.

          Finally, I disagree with the comments concerning embryonic stem cells. The bill in Congress will allow research on stem cells obtained from blastocysts that are being thrown out by fertility clinics. The choice is not between being killed and not killed. The choice is between being trashed or being used to save lives. Some people say that it is better to trash them but I respectfully disagree. By the way, I am all for adoption of as many of these blastocysts as possible and also minimizing the number of blastocysts that are created. But even so, there are hundreds of thousands of blastocysts that will be thrown out. Finally, trashing the blastocysts not only kills but wastes the cells.