For more than a decade, researchers have touted stem cells as the most promising advance in medicine since antibiotics. And this winter, when President Obama lifted the Bush administration's ban on federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, talking heads buzzed that his decision could bring scientists that much closer to cures — not just treatments — for conditions like heart failure, spinal-cord injuries and Alzheimer's disease. Biologists around the world toasted their new prospects with champagne. "Lifting the ban will free us up to use additional cell lines," says Jack Kessler, director of the Feinberg Neuroscience Institute at Northwestern University. "It's very important for science."
The hype surrounding stem cells runs high these days. But getting the straight story — where the cells come from, what they do, and why they warrant executive orders and billions in research dollars — is surprisingly difficult. Making sense of the torrent of stem-cell research findings, separating the false claims from the scientists and studies that matter, requires an unusually well-honed baloney detector. In this comprehensive survey of the stem-cell landscape, we've done the vetting for you: hashing out the core science, analyzing the challenges, and getting firsthand insight from the patients themselves.
Stem Cells 101: Master the Lingo
Scientists talk up all types of stem cells and techniques to create them. But don't feel overwhelmed — much of the jargon can be boiled down to these fundamental terms.
Embryonic stem cells: The Swiss Army knife of regenerative science, these cells are harvested in the early fetal stage and have the unique characteristic of pluripotency, meaning that they can turn into any one of more than 200 tissue types. This makes them ideal for regenerating diseased heart tissue, repairing spinal cords, and replenishing brain cells. But to critics who believe that human life begins at conception, harvesting these cells is akin to killing a baby.
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells: These cells are as close as you'll get to a fountain of youth. Inserting genes responsible for embryonic pluripotency into adult skin cells effectively rewinds their developmental clock and gives them embryonic-like powers to morph into heart, cardiac and other tissue types. An added bonus: No embryos necessary.
Somatic-cell nuclear transfer: This process birthed the famous cloned sheep Dolly. The basics: Take an egg cell and replace its nucleus with the genetic material of an adult cell from the organism to be cloned. Shocking the cell yields an embryo with the same DNA as the donor, which eliminates the risk of an immune reaction. But cloning humans may carry too much ethical baggage to be truly worthwhile, especially given the viability of iPS cells, which also contain a patient's own DNA.
Cord-blood stem cells: These multipotent stem cells are derived from babies' umbilical cords. Most of them are precursors for blood and immune cells, so they aren't as versatile as embryonic or induced pluripotent adult cells. Recently, however, cord-blood stem-cell transplants have become a viable alternative to bone-marrow transplants in treating blood disorders like leukemia, especially when a bone-marrow match can't be found.
This lifted ban is just more postmodern politically correct maneuvering by the low-life-value cult.
Why the lift off the ban when we already know how to get stem cells from adults?
Obviously this is yet another political/moral move.
You yourselves published:
"Embryonic stem cells, which can be coaxed to turn into any kind of cell type, have been hailed as a 21st-century panacea. But they are fraught with ethical problems because they come from embryos. Last November, two teams of scientists turned ordinary adult skin cells into pluripotent stem cells—capable of becoming any kind of tissue—a feat that could solve the ethical problem forever. Here’s how one group did it.
1. The scientists, led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan, identified 24 genes that are active in embryonic stem cells but not in adult cells. They deposited combinations of the 24 genes into the DNA of adult mouse skin cells.
2. They found that just four of the original 24 genes will turn adult cells into stem cells. The scientists aren’t quite sure what the genes do. They think two of the genes code for proteins that encourage further protein synthesis.
3. The scientists repeated their experiment on human adult skin cells using the same four genes as in the mouse model. The human cells also turned into stem cells and then differentiated into brain and heart cells."
So in one article you say the controversy need no longer exist. In another you laud the lift of the ban where it is indeed controversial and should remain.
So now all the mad, inane drone asshole 'scientists' passing for intelligent agents can do as they please.
Maybe you'll be next on the experiments table - actually you already are - you just haven't figure it out yet because you really aren't half as smart as you think your are.
Oh well, 'you're nothing but a pack of neurons' anyway - according the illustrious but saliently stupid Darwinian crowd.
Why lift a ban when there's another way? Because they HAVE to have embryonic cells - even though, as YOU pointed out, they don't need them. It's a psychological anomaly and moral illness.
In truth, it has nothing to do with science - it's about the atheist Darwinist fundamentalists having their way - again. Such insecurity should go unrewarded.
This is just another symptom of the moral disease eating away rights, values and freedom.
Lord knows it's all the popsci dde's fault that the government is out to destroy all them blessed fetuses. Yes sir-y bob, gotta hail satan and what-not.
With the technologies that we have today we are able to explore to the things beyond our reach. But there are still diseases today that are still incurable. The value of meditation to help maintain a clear mind and focused approach is given high importance in many religions. There are definitive medical benefits. The great thing is that you don't need any payday loans or money to do it. Money matters are never fun, are chief among the causes of stress, and rumored to be the root of all evil. You can take heart that you have options, like a payday loan for emergency cash, which will put things in order, which is one of the things that does bring happiness. Check this site for more information: http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/05/25/meditation-payday-loans-change/.
"Although adult stem cells are promising, the need to avoid controversy can't drive things — the field needs all the research options it can get."
It's not the need to avoid controversy that should drive things, but ethics should *always* steer research. When ethics are not condsidered, when pure scientific investigation is given the guiding hand, we get cruel projects like the forced sterilization of the eugenics projects in the United States in the first half of the 1900's. So ethics should always drive things, and if in a path of research there is a chance at all of doing harm or comprimising ethics, it should be avoided. (Google "eugenics in the united states" to see what I mean by a case when science did not examine the ethics.)
Some may say, "What about the ethics of saving lives?" Let me pose another question to that. Imagine a large metal box with two doors. There is a person locked inside, and that person will probably die of starvation and dehydration if you don't open the door sometime soon. The door on the left you know you can open and let the person out, but the door on the right may have a tripwire that sends a radio signal to another room where the occupants will be gassed to death. So you know that the door on the left can cause no more harm, and the one on the right could cause more. Which do you open? The answer is clear. Take the door on the left. Save the person and don't risk the chance of harming anyone else. This is the scenario of adult stem cells versus embryonic stem cells.
Since the article starts off with a political statement, I think is is disengenuous of the author not to make a clear distinction between embryonic stem cells, ESC (federal funding ban recently lifted) and adult stem cells, ASC (always been funded).
- In particular, many of the listed successes of "stem cell" research are isolated to adult stem cell research.
- Embryonic stem cell (ESC) research has continued just not with Federal funding. Free market theory would suggest that a miracle drug developed from ESCs would be just as "exciting" with or without Federal funding.
- Quick search on Alzheimers and stem cells brought up articles that suggest that stem cells are not an appropriate approach to this disease.
- ESCs usually cause cancer (this was mentioned in the article).
First, the article is actaully extremely clear on the different types of stem cells and where they get them from.
Second, successes are isolated to adult stem cells because as the article states there has only been a single FDA sanctioned trial (even with private funding, you can't have a succesful trial without being allowed to have a trial).
Third, free market theory is not what we're dealing with (free market theory is applicable to free markets, and what we have is an artifially controlled market) meaning embryonic stem cells are a much riskier investment, with a low likelyhood of success if they're aren't allowed clinical trials.
You're comment is nonsense. "Obviously this is yet another political/moral move." Is that a surprise? The government changed the law on a moral issue, thats how politics/morals work.
Its ignoramuses like you who go say stupid things like "In truth, it has nothing to do with science - it's about the atheist Darwinist fundamentalists having their way - again." Its the people who have no knowledge of the science who are trying to politicize the issues and make such black-and-white distinctions.
The reversal of this ban is a huge victory for human rights and a huge blow to those hypocritical "right to life" groups who are against embryonic stem cells but are for the death penalty.
The death penalty has no bearing on this issue. I remember doing research for a paper on capital punishment a few years back, and the statistics showed that when the death sentence was reinstated in the United States in the early 80s, murders fell by approximately 120 per execution. I would argue that defending 120 lives with an execution is not hypocritical, but supportive of someone who believes in the "right to life."
Good comments, but you have part of it wrong. The government DID fund ESC research, thanks to Pres. George W. Bush.
Adult Embryonic Stem Cells were discovered by private researchers in 1998. (Bdhoro87 take note, private research is usually more likely to come up with breakthroughs.) The U.S. government debated whether or not to provide public money to aid research. Pres. Clinton deferred to the next administration. Meanwhile, Congress decided to restrict research with the Dickey Amendment.
President Bush decided to allow federal funding of research but only on the currently existing stem cell lines, which was a balanced answer to the need to do research in a promising field as well as address the moral issue of destroying embryos. Those with different ethics chafed at the imagined "restriction" on research. In reality it did not prevent research, but rather provided federal funding for that research.
As otherdude illustrated so well, we run into problems when science is not guided by ethics. President Obama's executive order, while applauded by the uninformed who despised what they perceived (wrongly) as a ban on research, was more a token political gesture to gain points with his left-wing supporters. In actuality, the NIH is still guided by the Dickey Amendment to this day which restricts funding on ESC research.
Being for the death penalty as well as in favor of the "right to life" is morally consistent, not hypocritical. The essence of it is the protection of innocent life.
It is those who terminate a viable, nascent human life for no reason other than its inconvenience who are hypocritical when they also claim moral superiority for condemning the termination of an adult human who has murdered others; a judgment that has been rendered by a jury of peers after considerable weighing of evidence.
I think men should stop playing God.
I think God should stop playing men.
"Sanctity of life" includes abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and the "right to die". These Sins and the sins of Homosexuals all have one thing in common, they are controls of population. These are the sins that you hear the religious right always shouting about. Look at all the 10 Commandments and only number 5 which they twist to use for the "Right ot Life" is considered important to them. Unless, you are talking about killing abortionist and Muslims. The Catholic Church and other organized religions want to control the population. They want to make sure that their congregations keep getting bigger. Why do they do this, because they want more money and power. They will continue to interpret the Bible for their own gain. Let the scientist help people, by creating cures for horrible disease. The Lord will decide who are the real sinners. "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the Meese, for they shall make Cool Cat references.
Pardon the jibes, I really did like your post, martiniduck.
Eh. It seems simple to me. As people (not referring to government sanctioned executions, different part of the Bible), we're not supposed to kill. I figure if it has it's own unique DNA, it is its own unique individual. Thereby falling under the do not kill law.
Contraception that destroys a fetus that has already formed it's DNA, same as above for me.
Euthanasia. Killing people seems to fall under the do not kill people law. So ya.
Right to kill yourself? Eh. Taking a life, even if it's your own. Same as the rest above.
Homosexuality is (Biblically) an abomination. Right up there with killing, rape, child molestation, witchcraft,
prostitution, and a few others:-P
As far as Muslims, the Koran says to kill anyone who doesn't follow their faith. 200 years ago when the first Muslim terrorist attacks began against the US, Thomas Jefferson went to negotiate a ceasefire with the nation that was funding and protecting them. Their ambassador told him as long as there are those not of the Muslim faith, we will hunt them down and kill them. Which is what they've been doing for about 1,400 years now. Christians (finally) fight back to reclaim their captured lands, and they get lambasted for starting the Crusades.
Funny how it's always the Christians that get attacked and denied and belittled by everyone else... for things everyone else does...
As far as the Catholic church goes, most Christians who aren't Catholic don't consider them apart of Christianity anyway, that religion is the embodiment of everything the Bible teaches against, so... ya:-P
But you're right, there are those our there that will always twist everything to their own interpretation and profit, unfortunately there's not much you can do about that.
And again, you (and Matthew) are right.
And like the guy above said, if ESC's cause cancer, and ASC can do all the same things and don't cause cancer... What's the point of researching ESC's if there's even a chance it could be killing a person? Especially if the end result kills people too?
I grew up Catholic and now don't seem to belong to any organized religion and I don't deny that "Rights to Life" are considered sins. I stated that they are considered sins by Catholic and other organized religions. My argument was why is it, that the "sins" that deal with population control are the ones that most organized religions fight hardest to make illegal. Why are the other Ten Commandments mostly ignored?
About your argument about abortion: A Cow has it's own DNA, does that make killing a cow for that burger you just ate murder? The bacteria that gave me an infection has DNA, did I murder all of them with the antibiotic I took. Just because a zygote has DNA does not make it a person.
Your argument about Muslims is ill informed. Have you ever read the Koran? I can bet your fish bumper sticker you haven't. The text of the Koran, just like the Bible, has been misinterpreted and verses have been taken out of context for the power of manipulators for their own gain. The Christians are always given a bad rep. Could it be events like the Spanish inquisition have anything to do with it? Here is an interesting read...http//qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=9801&CATE=3500
I guess taking a mass of cell that is a less of a life form than a earthworm to possibly save a human life is bad, but killing a doctor or a Muslim, who are humans is all good. I don't see your argument.
Buddism isn't a religion.... but it's pretty nice. How 'bout lookin' into that? (Just jibin'.)
Buddhism, Hinduism, Jewdisim, Islam, and Christianity all have their good and bad. It just seems like the two newest and biggest, Christianity and Islam, seem to cause most of the worlds problems. Could it be that they took a good religion and manipulated it for their own selfishness? Maybe that is why they are the most populous?
The sad part is that, they do have more in common then their followers would like to believe. Both have their foundation in the same God, they both have fundamentalist groups that are extremely dangerous, and they both have a majority of their followers that have know idea of the others religion. Maybe that is why they are the most populous? Why would God have created these two religions, that teach their followers to love each other and yet most of them seem to forget that part about their religion? Could it be the leaders of these religions are putting these negative thoughts in their followers minds to achieve the power they want? I don't know, but I would love to have a world where we can forget about our differences and live in peace.
I didn't find the article "The Essential Guide to Stem Cells, Everything you need to know about the hottest topic in medicine" to live up to its claim. In fact, it did more harm than good by creating fear where balanced fact would suffice. It's roughly the equivalent of warning people not to use water because people drown, not drive cars because people die, and not to go to the hospital because doctors make mistakes.
Although it does point to recent publications, it is wholely misleading by failing to report the most important finding of the century on the stem cells, that being that anyone can readily access one's own. There is a raw food that stimulates a phenomenal and phenomenally safe production of one's own adult stem cells: aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA).
With this primordial food you can readily, effectively, and ethically access your very own stem cells and within 45 minutes exact a 25% circulatory increase in healthy stem cell activity. As a former nurse practitioner, I became disabled in 1989 and was in bed for 17 years with a very painful and incurable disease. Since taking AFA in its optimal form I am able to function out of bed all day.
Sufficiently concentrated and optimally processed, AFA bypasses all other scientific and ethical issues and expectations mentioned in the article. It is as simple as taking any other form of vitamin, mineral, or nutritional supplement.
For more accurate and relevant information, please study the work of Christian Drapeau and Gitte Jensen. Do allow yourself to navigate beyond the counterclaims of those in the pharmaceutical industry whose wallets are threatened by anything Mother Nature has mastered :).
I think people should quit being so ignorant and judgmental. Here is a great website: amandaboxtel.wordpress.com. Check it out. It is very informative.
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Do we really know what we are doing here? Look at what has happened in the Gulf with deep sea drilling. Messing with stuff that is too big for us can be disastrous.
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