Skip to comments.Christian Doctors Call for Support of Adult Stem Cell Study (Oppose Embryonic Stem Cells)
Posted on 08/10/2004 2:07:42 PM PDT by xzins
Christian Doctors Call for Support of Adult Stem Cell Study
Mary Rettig and Jenni Parker
August 10, 2004
The Christian Medical Association recently sent a letter to Congress speaking out against embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), and asking the U.S. legislature and the White House to support adult stem cell research, which actually holds promise for improving and saving human lives.
While speakers at the Democratic National Convention were promoting ESCR and so-called "therapeutic" human cloning, the members of the CMA were appealing to the nation's lawmakers to invest in ethical research that is already yielding successful therapies for patients.
Dr. David Stevens is Executive Director of the Christian Medical Association, the nations largest faith-based organization of doctors. He was one of more than 2000 doctors nationwide who signed a July 30 letter to Congress urging the President of the U.S. and Congress to invest in adult stem cell research, rather than in ESCR.
Stevens feels the exploitation of human embryos for their supposed medical and scientific benefits must be opposed for several reasons. Besides the fact that ESCR results in the destruction of the embryos, he warns that cloning human beings for stem cells -- the practice Ron Reagan Jr. urged in his recent convention speech -- would produce abnormal embryonic stem cells. He also notes that this research would inevitably result in the exploitation of women in order to acquire to the millions of human eggs needed for human cloning.
"Ron Jr.'s speech was 'political science' of the worst sort," Stevens says. On the other hand, he points out, adult stem cell research can be accomplished without these ethical problems, and it is already yielding encouraging results.
For instance, the pro-life doctor notes, "A patient out in California had a 90 percent decrease in his Parkinson symptoms after his own brain stem cells were harvested, grown in culture in a laboratory, and transplanted back into his brain." And this is not an isolated success. He goes on to describe how, in Germany, patients "have received their own bone marrow stem cells, directly injected into an artery of the heart after they've had a heart attack, and that has caused repair of the damaged heart muscle.."
Stevens notes that adult stem cell research has also yielded encouraging results in stroke patients, and investigators are looking at many more possible applications in the laboratory. All over the nation and the world, in research on adult stem cells, he says "they're looking very promising," and investigators anticipate that adult stem cell research will play a part in many medical breakthroughs "including curing diabetes."
Putting people ahead of profits
According to the CMA spokesman, the doctors speaking out in favor of adult stem cell research have a vested interest in it, simply because they care daily for patients who desperately need cures that could arise from regenerative medicine. At the same time, he adds, these doctors "have the motivation, knowledge and experience to analyze stem cell research without the inherent bias of fund-seeking firms and researchers who have hyped embryonic stem cell research far beyond scientific integrity."
The bottom line, Stevens asserts, is that Christian doctors want the quickest, most ethical, and most economical way to find real cures for real patients. He says adult stem cells are giving results now and providing cost-effective treatments, while embryonic stem cells are "prohibitively expensive" and, at best, any possible help from them is probably 10-15 years away.
Since few private investors will risk funding the quest for the "miracle cures" that ESCR may or may not provide, Stevens says scientists who are after fame and wealth are using outrageous promises and gullible celebrities to help them pick the public's pocket. Rather than be led by the false claims of ESCR proponents' "junk science," the doctor says the government should put taxpayers' money into ethical research that will bring about the most affordable cures for patients in the quickest time.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- © 2004 Agape Press.
There is no ban on ESCR....they just want to use your tax money to do it with.
Have them introduce a bill in congress and see if it gets through. If it does, then it's passed the hurdle for forcing upon people things that they morally reject.
If it doesn't, then that's the way decisions are made on controversial items in our Constitutional democratic republic.
Adult stem cell research is already supported. It has a lot more promise than embryonic stem cell research at the moment, but since we have stem cell families derived from long gone embryos, the funding level is currently sufficient. If private researchers want to do more, they can find private funding. Private funding could double federal funding by just asking a few hollywood stars to toss a little bit of money into a research fund.
But as is typical of liberals - they'd rather spend tax payer money for a specific research project that most Americans would oppose if they understood the differences between adult stem cell harvesting and embryonic stem cell harvesting.
Christian Medical Association
Yeah right - Anybody can use any word they want in their name now without ever being challenged by anyone.
How many "conservative ..." or "...for conservative..." or any other "conservative" sounding names are actually fronts for communist organizations?
Who knows for sure, because the media whores will never ask them who they are, nor report it if they do know.
Look them up on the internet and see if they have a website. Then tell us your opinion.
So I've never been able to find and explanation (layman terms please) of why embryonic stem cells would be preferrable to adult ones..
Bump for a later read.
Aside from the well-documented finding that adult stem cells are yielding better results than embryonic stem cells, the short answer to your question is this: Embryonic stem cell research promotes abortion and abortion rights is an all-important issue for the left.
Almost all adult stem cells are already of a particular type of cell (fat, bone marrow, etc.). It takes quite a bit of biochemical manipulation to turn them into other types of cells (heart or brain cells) that do not have stem cells, but it can be done. Once turned, they tend to stay that way during cell division.
Embryonic stem cells should be far more flexible and more easily turned into any sort of cell you want, after all as they divide in the developing embryo they do eventually and naturally produce every type of cell. A major technical problem here is that embryonic stem cells are all too flexible and once they start living and dividing in the target organ they could easily produce anything else (hair, bone, skin) unless extremely carefully controlled.
Of course, the embryonic stem cell control problem is separate from the moral problem of harvesting developing humans
Please let me know if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.
I'm no biologist, but I believe the embryonic stem cells have a greater potential to be "anything" in terms of cells.
Dobson reported that the anything they become is far too frequently tumorous.
I'm afraid that you don't understand the definition of "embryonic stem cells." These are the cells that are harvested from embryos that are approximately 5 days old, before the differentiation that makes them "fetal" or, subsequently, "adult" stem cells.
There are no embryonic stem cells in cord blood.
If there were, then the thousands of patients who have received cord blood transplants would be growing embryos or tumors in their bodies.
Thank you for the ping on this important subject. I hope that everyone who cares about human rights will call their family doctor and their Legislators to let them know that it is not acceptable to harvest human embryos for their parts.
If anyone wants on or off my ProLife Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.
I wish the republican talk show hosts would go to a Mike Reagan seminar and learn about this issue. They screw it up all the time. Something I have noticed. Between embryonic and adult stem cells.
By the 1950s doctors had turned this horror into hope, transfusing marrow stem cells into humans to treat various blood diseases. By the 1980s stem-cell transplants with marrow and umbilical cord blood were routinely curing leukemias. ASCs now treat about 80 different diseases.
And ESCs? "An inescapable truth is that the adult versions are the only human stem cells so far employed for therapy in humans," writes Parson. She also admits it appears the only advantage of ESCs is potential; that it's widely believed they can differentiate into any type cell while differentiation of ASCs (at least 14 types have been discovered) is more limited. Yet she also concedes this belief may not be true; that one laboratory seemingly showed an ASC to be as pliable as an ESC.
Here's an article from April 2002 on results we knew about, even then, from adult stem cells, including the treatment of Parkinson's and spinal cord damage (and which is still being ignored in favor of ever tiny report on embryonic stem cells):
You are exactly right,twhitak. There has to be justification for the destruction of all embryos in order to continue justifying the emptying of uteruses.
Also, the purpose is to learn from the lab animals, uh, human embryos, uh, spare embryos that are going to be wasted, anyway. So that when human cloning is perfected, clones can be produced, implanted in a woman or some animal that has been modified to carry a human fetus to near-term when the adult stem cells can be harvested. That sounds so complicated and evil, but that's what I see coming.
Adult stem cells work there is NO need to harvest babies for their body parts.
|Alzheimer's gene therapy trial shows early promise||Drug slows advanced Alzheimer's disease
*In 2000, Israeli scientists implanted Melissa Holley's white blood cells into her spinal cord to treat the paraplegia caused when her spinal cord was severed in an auto accident. Melissa, who is 18, has since regained control over her bladder and recovered significant motor function in her limbs - she can now move her legs and toes, although she cannot yet walk.
This is exactly the kind of therapy that embryonic-stem-cell proponents promise - years down the road. Yet Melissa's breakthrough was met with collective yawns in the press with the exception of Canada's The Globe and Mail. Non-embryonic stem cells may be as common as beach sand.
They have been successfully extracted from umbilical cord blood, placentas, fat, cadaver brains, bone marrow, and tissues of the spleen, pancreas, and other organs. Even more astounding, the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep successfully created cow heart tissue using stem cells from cow skin. And just this week, Singapore scientists announced that they have transformed bone-marrow cells into heart muscle.
Research with these cells also has a distinct moral advantage: It doesn't require the destruction of a human embryo. You don't have to be pro-life to be more comfortable with that.
*In another Parkinson's case, a patient treated with his own brain stem cells appears to have experienced a substantial remission with no adverse side effects. Dennis Turner was expected by this time to require a wheelchair and extensive medication. Instead, he has substantially reduced his medication and rarely reports any noticeable symptoms of his Parkinson's. Human trials in this technique are due to begin soon.
*Bone marrow stem cells, blood stem cells, and immature thigh muscle cells have been used to grow new heart tissue in both animal subjects and human patients. Indeed, while it was once scientific dogma that damaged heart muscle could not regenerate, it now appears that cells taken from a patient's own body may be able to restore cardiac function. Human trials using adult stem cells have commenced in Europe and other nations. (The FDA is requiring American researchers to stick with animal studies for now to test the safety of the adult stem cell approach.)
*Harvard Medical School researchers reversed juvenile onset diabetes (type-1) in mice using "precursor cells" taken from spleens of healthy mice and injecting them into diabetic animals. The cells transformed into pancreatic islet cells. The technique will begin human trials as soon as sufficient funding is made available.
*In the United States and Canada, more than 250 human patients with type-1 diabetes were treated with pancreatic tissue (islet) transplantations taken from human cadavers. Eighty percent of those who completed the treatment protocol have achieved insulin independence for over a year. (Good results have been previously achieved with pancreas transplantation, but the new approach may be much safer than a whole organ transplant.)
*Blindness is one symptom of diabetes. Now, human umbilical cord blood stem cells have been injected into the eyes of mice and led to the growth of new human blood vessels. Researchers hope that the technique will eventually provide an efficacious treatment for diabetes-related blindness. Scientists also are experimenting with using cord blood stem cells to inhibit the growth of blood vessels in cancer, which could potentially lead to a viable treatment.
*Bone marrow stem cells have partially helped regenerate muscle tissue in mice with muscular dystrophy. Much more research is needed before final conclusions can be drawn and human studies commenced. But it now appears that adult stem cells may well provide future treatments for neuromuscular diseases.
*Severed spinal cords in rats were regenerated using gene therapy to prevent the growth of scar tissue that inhibits nerve regeneration. The rats recovered the ability to walk within weeks of receiving the treatments. The next step will be to try the technique with monkeys. If that succeeds, human trials would follow.
*In one case reported from Japan, an advanced pancreatic cancer patient injected with bone marrow stem cells experienced an 80 percent reduction in tumor size.
* In separate experiments, scientists researched the ability of embryonic and adult mouse pancreatic stem cells to regenerate the body's ability to make insulin. Both types of cells boosted insulin production in diabetic mice. The embryonic success made a big splash with prominent coverage in all major media outlets. Yet the same media organs were strangely silent about the research involving adult cells.
Stranger still, the adult-cell experiment was far more successful - it raised insulin levels much more. Indeed, those diabetic mice lived, while the mice treated with embryonic cells all died. Why did the media celebrate the less successful experiment and ignore the more successful one?
* Another barely reported story is that alternative-source stem cells are already healing human illnesses.
*In Los Angeles, the transplantation of stem cells harvested from umbilical-cord blood has saved the lives of three young boys born with defective immune systems.
This [isolating stem cells from fat] could take the air right out of the debate about embryonic stem cells, said Dr. Mark Hedrick of UCLA, the lead author. The newly identified cells have so many different potential applications, he added, that it makes it hard to argue that we should use embryonic cells. -- Thomas H. Maugh II, Fat may be answer to many illnesses, Los Angeles Times, 4/10/01
With the newest evidence that even cells in fat are capable of being transformed into tissue through the alchemy of biotechnology, some scientists said they are beginning to conclude theyll be able to grow with relative ease all sorts of replacement tissues without resorting to embryo or fetal cells Its highly provocative work, and theyre probably right, said Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas Like many biologists, Olson believes that adult, fetal and embryonic stem cell research all merit support its heartening, he said, that almost every other week theres another interesting finding of adult stem cells turning into neurons or blood cells or heart muscle cells. Apparently our traditional views need to be reevaluated. --Rick Weiss, Human Fat May Provide Stem Cells, The Washington Post, 4/10/01
In a finding that could offer an entirely new way to treat heart disease within the next few years, scientists working with mice and rats have found that key cells from adult bone marrow can rebuild a damaged heartactually creating new heart muscle and blood vessels Until now researchers thought that stem cells from embryos offer the best hope for rebuilding damaged organs, but this latest research shows that the embryos, which are politically controversial, may not be necessary. We are currently finding that these adult stem cells can function as well, perhaps even better than, embryonic stem cells, [Dr. Donald] Orlic [of the National Human Genome Research Institute] said. --Robert Bazell, Approach may repair heart damage, NBC Nightly News, 3/30/01.
[Dr. Donald] Orlic said fetal and embryonic stem cell researchers have not been able to show the regeneration of heart cells, even in animals. This study alone gives us tremendous hope that adult stem cells can do more than what embryonic stem cells can do, he said. --Kristen Philipkoski, Adult Stem Cells Growing Strong, Wired Magazine, 3/30/01
Like several other recent studies, the new work with hearts suggests that stem cells retrieved from adults have unexpected and perhaps equal flexibility of their own, perhaps precluding the need for the more ethically contentious [embryonic] cells. --Rick Weiss, Studies Raise Hopes of Cardiac Rejuvenation, The Washington Post, 3/31/01
Umbilical cords discarded after birth may offer a vast new source of repair material for fixing brains damaged by strokes and other ills, free of the ethical concerns surrounding the use of fetal tissue, researchers said Sunday. --Umbilical cords could repair brains, Associated Press, 2/20/01.
"PPL Therapeutics, the company that cloned Dolly the sheep, has succeeded in reprogramming' a cell -- a move that could lead to the development of treatments for diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The Scotland-based group will today announce that it has turned a cow's skin cell into a beating heart cell and is close to starting research on humans... The PPL announcement...will be seen as an important step towards producing stem cells without using human embryos." --"PPL follows Dolly with cell breakthrough," Financial Times, 2/23/01
Because they have traveled further on a pathway of differentiation than an embryos cells have, such tissue specific [adult] stem cells are believed by many to have more limited potential than E[mbryonic] S[tem] cells or those that PPL hopes to create. Some researchers, however, are beginning to argue that these limitations would actually make tissue-specific stem cells safer than their pluripotent counterparts. University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Glenn McGee is one of the most vocal critics on this point: The emerging truth in the lab is that pluripotent stem cells are hard to reign in. The potential that they would explode into a cancerous mass after a stem cell transplant might turn out to be the Pandoras box of stem cell research. --Erika Jonietz, Biotech: Could new research end the embryo debate? Technology Review, January/February, 2001.
Doing a bookmark. Thank you.
Bump for later read!
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