May 24 2005

Umbilicals 57 – Embryos 0

Published by at 9:46 am under All General Discussions,Stem Cell Debate

I have posted on this subject earlier here and here. Today is the day the House of Representatives decide what kind of nation we are. One that gambles with the unproven approach to harvest human beings in their earliest stages of life (“embryo” refers to a stage of life, not a form of life) that has seen NO usable results for treatment of illnesses, or one which uses stem cells that are available in massive quantities on a daily basis.

Umbical cord research has identified 57 probable treatments for illness. Embryonic stem cell research has found none, and guessing on the lack of results, and some hints about the efforts to date, I gather they have found negative results and aren’t talking because it would risk their funding. The Washington Times has an editorial that discusses this very subject today:

About one, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, there is little controversy. The bill would establish a national umbilical-cord blood bank to allow researchers to continue study on adult stem-cell therapies. The other, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, or HR 810, would allow federally funded researchers to use discarded embryos from fertility clinics to develop new stem-cell lines. Both bills are expected to pass. President Bush supports the former; he has promised to veto the latter.

The cord-blood bill has wide support for a number of reasons. First, adult stem-cell research avoids the ethical quandary involved with embryonic stem cells. As opposed to their counterpart, adult stem-cells are not harvested from human embryos. It’s a field of research that has already produced proven therapies. So far, scientists have treated 57 diseases with stem cells extracted from umbilical cords. Among these are leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease and other forms of lymphoma and sickle cell disease. Even more promising is a medical process being performed in Portugal, where Dr. Carlos Lima has successfully regrown spinal cord tissue using adult stem cells taken from a patient’s nasal cavity.

So, what kind of country are we? Do we play the lottery with human life so some researchers or labs can get rich, or do we buckle down and slog through the science as we have done forever – working it out on animals and proving some potential value before we start risking human life?

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One Response to “Umbilicals 57 – Embryos 0”

  1. […] research – you can form your own opinion about that. Writes AJ: …to date, has shown no tangible results. But adult stem cell research is blazing trails on many fronts. Adult ste […]