T Nation

Stem Cell Research

I’m just curious as to some opinions out there about stem cell research. I was reading an article on how stem cell allowed paralyzed mice to walk again. There is a big controversy about the use of stem cells. Without me writing a book on the subject cell stem come from a human fetus less than a week old. These cell can become just about anythign depending on how scientists/doctors program them. Hair, muscle, nerves. Some people say that using these cell is devaluing life, and anti-abortion people are very against it, whereas some are for it. Right now they are getting these cells from the embroyos that were never implanted in women trying to get pregnant. My take on this is that I think the gov’t should fund research on something that could benefit so many people, but I also don’t really think that we should farm embroyos for this purpose. I recommend doign a search on Stem cell stories and read up and it and post an opinion. I’m just curious what the T-People think about this.

I’m for it completely. I’m pro-life yet I can recognize the difference between an embryo in a woman’s body and an embryo in a glass plate. I know a large group of people are against it but I think they’re just misinformed. I just don’t see how we can pass up on something that has the potential to help so many people with various forms of illnesses.

The media is misinforming about the promises of embryonic stem cell research. First of all, killing any embryo (human) to save the life of someone else borders on what Hitler did to the Nazis. The fact that a human embryo has a complete human genetic code in each of his or her cells is part of the proof that he or she is a distinct human being.

I sell capital equipment to research labs in the universities and in biotech companies and I can tell you these advances in tissue-regeneration research are coming fast and furious because of something either ignored or pooh-poohed by embryonic-cell advocates — non-embryonic stem cells NOT EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS! Scientists are finding such stem cells in tissues throughout the body, then converting them into mature cells with the ability to combat a vast number of diseases.

Yet across the board, proponents of lifting the embryonic-cell research ban either are ignorant of the tremendous advances in NON-embryonic stem cell research. Often they fail even to recognize that there are stem cells that are not embryonic. the New Scientist was reporting that researchers have removed stem cells from adult human hair follicles and converted them into skin grafts for victims of severe burns and ulcerated wounds.

Other facts:

*Two studies published last December in Nature Medicine reported that non-embryonic stem cells injected into rodents can transform themselves naturally into neurons and insert themselves into the brain, giving hope to persons with Parkinson’s and other disorders. A third study found that injecting a chemical into damaged areas of rats’ brains stimulated stem cells to grow and differentiate into a massive number of normal, fully developed nerves. The cells repaired damage and restored mobility to the rodents. Ironically, it was funded in part by the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation which supports lifting the embryonic-stem-cell ban.

At least four rodent studies (some published and some not) and one pig study have shown that non-embryonic stem cells can be used to repair heart tissue in animals whose hearts had been intentionally damaged.

As reported in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, rats with degraded retinas were injected with non-embryonic stem cells that traveled to the site of damage. There they showed signs of making connections with the optic nerve, which would be expected to improve or even restore vision.

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers injected non-embryonic stem cells into the spinal fluid of paralyzed mice and rats, half of which partially or fully recovered. This paves the way for human trials for those afflicted with ALS and muscular dystrophy.

Cells from liposuctioned fat (our nation’s most plentiful resource as T-mag readers know) have been transformed into bone, muscle, cartilage, and mature fat cells, according to an article in the April issue of Tissue Engineering.

And if it’s harvesting you’re talking about, nothing will ever compete with the non-embyronic stem cells removed from umbilical cords and placentas from babies born alive.

Companies like Viacell, Inc. of Boston have been extracting stem cells from human umbilical cords for years now. Recently New Jersey-based Anthrogenesis announced it had been able to collect 10 times as many stem cells from a single post-birth placenta as have been gathered from any other single source.


THESE ARE THE SAME TYPE OF CELLS USED IN FETAL DEVELOPMENT, AND CAPTURE WHAT’S LEFT IN PLACENTA AND UMBILICAL CORDS.


The use of embryonic cells plays around with human life and should not be given our hard earned taxpayer money to do research.
Hopefully you will do your own research and find out yourself but don’t expect to get the facts from the LIBERAL media sources (CNNNBCCBSABCTIMENEWSWEEK etc.)

Krak, if you did not agree with my argument about adult stem cells, I forgot to mention a study that took place a few months ago that was very disturbing about fetal cell research (that you will not hear about in the mainstream media too much). It was reported in the New York Times (not known to be a conservative pro-life newspaper) on March 8, 2001. The title of the article was “Catastrophic Side Effects Derail Study of FETAL-cell implants.”

What had happened is the NIH did a carefully controlled study designed to treat Parkinson’s disease with EMBRYONIC dopamine cells not only failed to benefit patients, but also produced “catastrophic” side effects in 15% of the transplant recipients. Apparently, the implanted cells grew too well, churning out chemicals that caused patients to wither and jerk uncontrollably. One researcher in the study said the results were “absolutely devastating” and a “real nightmare that we cannot turn off.”

So fetal cell research is not the breakthrough research that every proponent is talking about. It is very unproven.

You only reported half the story. They recently found that stem cells are found in fat cells. After doing research on “leftovers” from liposuction, they found stem cells were located within. So now, your own fat cells could be used to do all those wonderful things that stem cells are capable of. So this doesn’t have to be some pro-life/pro-choice debate about what’s right or wrong or whatever. Leave the political stuff at home.

My hard earned taxed dollars get pissed away by the gov’t in many programs that I see as worthless. I respect your opinion but I think the research is very important.

To quote the movie "Dave" "You mean to tell me that we are spending 40 million on a advertising program that makes a person feel good about a car that they already bought?"

I guess you didn’t read my whole response (I know it was long but I will repeat that part about fat).Cells from liposuctioned fat (our nation’s most plentiful resource as T-mag readers know) have been transformed into bone, muscle, cartilage, and mature fat cells, according to an article in the April issue of Tissue Engineering.

Cjack:you can’t call the embryo(blastocyst) at
the point of inner cell mass removal a distinct
human being since the embryo can still split
to form twins, but the moral and ethical argument is still weighty.Pluripotent ESC are
easier to work with and culture from what I remember, but I believe mature SC can do
anything ESC are capable of with a little more investment from the scientists using them.

You’re a fucking idiot, cjackoff. Does the fact that all cells in your body contain a COMPLETE genetic code prove that you are comprised of billions of distinct human beings?What-the-fucking-ever.

Regardless of whether the media is hyping stem cells, there is NO rational reason to ban the scientific use or funding of a bunch of dead cells, ESPECIALLY when said cells hold promise for treating and curing disease. There is nothing holy or sacred about human embryos – they are less developed then the most primitive lifeforms. Get over your religious brainwashing and think for yourself for a change. It’s scary, but you might find you like it.

Mike I guess we can agree to disagree on a few points. First of all, I believe human life begins at conception. There are two reason for this. First, unlike sperm and ovum, the embryo possesses the active capacity to develop itself into a fetus, infant, child, and adult. It is a distinct, unified self integrating organism. It is an immature human, as is an infant, but a human nonetheless. Second we know know the embryo is a human because it has human parents. According to the law of biogenesis, every living thing reproduces after its own kind. If we want to know what something is, we ask: “What are its parents?” In the case of the human embryo, its human parents produce human offspring.

I also disagree with you that pluripotent ESC are easier to work with and culture. Numerous peer reviewed studies indicate that adult stem cells are far more effective at treating disease than previously thought (LOOK AT MY FIRST POST AND YOU CAN READ THE STUDIES. I STILL HAVE MORE IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO POST THEM).

It is interesting that I have science to back up my argument and all that you can intelligently say as a response is, “You’re a fucking idiot, cjackoff.” Very interesting way to debate something. Your argument that a human embryo is the “funding of a bunch of dead cells” is ludicrous. It might help to take a few courses in “basic” biology.

as someone with little or no religious beliefs I still do not support the use of embryos, and Mike let me tell ya’ why, first they ARE human, we can argue about alot of things but the fact is they are a unique genetic HUMAN code that can NEVER be created again, I know that may not be enough to sway you but bare w/me. As a libertatian you know what this gov. is like, you have seen what it has done w/our constitution, what makes you believe that THIS gov. can control itself? there WILL be a progression and eventualy the gov. will be useing some form of human cells that you dissagree with, they may breed them eventualy,they may…, follow the progression of what YOU think may happen, do you think our founding fathers thought we would destroy the constitution the way we have(being a libertarian I am sure you do not)I do not know for sure if I am against their use right now but I do know that if it continues I WILL have major problems with what will happen, I know it is all speculation on my part and I am sure this will not convince you I just ask you to look at what has happened to the laws of this country and think what MIGHT happen. peace

cjackoff, you wrote, “The fact that a human embryo has a complete human genetic code in each of his or her cells is part of the proof that he or she is a distinct human being.” This establishes the following cause-and-effect relationship: If x has a complete genetic code in each of the cells comprising x, then x is a distinct human being. This inane reasoning, the obvious product of a childish mind, can be applied to any cell or cluster of cells in your entire body, thus rendering your argument absurd. The fact is an embryo is no more special than a cluster of fungi cells growing on the bark of a tree; both are comprised of atoms, and contrary to your religious brainwashing, neither has a “soul”, as if that word could mean something. Consequently, wanting to outlaw research using embryos is like wanting to outlaw research using water, or any other thing, for that matter. The only distinction between such collections of atoms exists in your mind, not in the real world.

hetyey, fine, go ahead and call the cells “human”, define them “human” if you wish, that doesn’t change the fact that they are not special in any supernatural sense. They’re just a collection of atoms. As for the government, they don’t do any research, they only fund research (of course, being a lib, I am opposed to all taxation, even the taxation that funds research – I just don’t think stem cell research should be treated differently than any other area of research). The universities and medical schools perform the research. And I don’t really care what they do with embryos. Grow them, engineer them, burn them, torture them (ha!), who the fuck cares? No one with half a brain, that’s for sure.

My point was that the embryo can’t be considered an individual or distinctive since
harvesting of the inner cell mass occurs before the embryo has a chance to divide into
twins, ergot it’s not an individual.Mike L did
remind me of an interesting point in that with cloning technology every cell could be considered an individual.Granted nuclear
transfer technology is fraught with potential disease.

What kind of libertarian supports government funded research. It’s fine to support private research, but not with my money.

Stem cell research is WRONG!!! It is morally and ethically wrong! Humans should not play God…Wait…what’s that??? It can regrow hair!!!
I’m ALL FOR IT BABY!!!

To Cjack, You know, I am glad to find someone here who at least seems to have real scientifict knowledge about what is happening in the research domain and in general molecular biology.
But I must point something you probably know, but I think the intent of the original post was about about Embryonic Stem Cell Research, since clearly, Non-ESCR doesn’t pose any real ethical problems, yet I must say that according to all the research papers I have read (I am pretty much aware of all the ones you mentionned…wasting my time studying and getting the papers in my E-mail) it does not seem as promissing as the embryonic research…granted they both kick-ass but Non-ESCR doesn’t quite equal the ESCR.
On the other hand NON-ESCR will shut up all pro-life problems.
It basically comes down to your own belief about the beginning of human life. Personnally I still ask myself this question, especially when I see all those dumb asses in the world and wonder if an ‘‘abortion’’ on a 34 years old fetus would be unethical.
It all basically revolves around human life value and when does this value emerge.
Utimatelly, it is not a real debate, since many countries will remain in the ESCR race. The ethics of it will remain, for a while, but when it’s use becomes rampant, people will see it as a normal part of there lifes and it’s detractors will probably have the same weight in world politics as the ones who say that vaccines kill more than save and that they are evil.
And even thought I really enjoy ethical debates and discussions, I realize that they are pretty pointless since most of the philosophy I have studied seems to emerge as a logical sword and shield to defend ones own emotional(spiritual also) beliefs. Do you see all human life as being equal…yes…then go see the Allies…if not…side with the Nazis…and pending who wins the war, we’ll see if you were right or wrong…
Alex-H.
BioMed student @Univ. of Montréal, Canada.

I suggest you get on MSNBC.com and read the transcript of the interview with Christopher Reeves. He mentioned a lot of points out these embroyos. For example, if they were not used for this research they WOULD BE THROWN in the trash. Some people would look at that and say that it is state funded murder. These things are going into the trash anyway. Sure it has the potential to become a human, IF and I say IF they were implanted into a uterus and then from there there isn’t a guarantee that it will attach and develop.

Weird analogy but follow me: I spend last Friday in a warehouse sorting tons of food that will be distributed throughout the country for the homeless at various “soup kitchens” I must have separated a couple hundred pasta dinners, juice drinks, personal care products, diapers, and pet food. After it was all done it was very sweaty and rewarding. What totally made my day was that when we were leaving the person that was in charge of volunteers thanked us and told us that if these things were not sorted and send to the shelters, they would be in a landfill. That would have been a huge waste, bad for the environment and bad for starving families.

Not using these cells that end up in the trash anyway is very sad. These cells, while YES, in the very early stage of research, they were only discovered 3 years ago, the possiblity of hope for many bad diseases could be there.

I have some friends that are deeply religious and we get along fine but they know that I fucking hate organized religion. My reason for making that statement is I don’t let something like religion cloud my view on an issue that could have the potential to save tons of lives. Have you ever heard of “the greater good?” Throw away whatever your book says and attack this issue with logic. Logic always wins.

Mike “the butt pirate” libertarian said, “They’re just a collection of atoms.” So are you dumbass. Every human being is fundamentally “just a collection of atoms.” First abortion, then euthanasia, not this. Human life is being reduced to inconviences and spare parts. Man, you are a total ass wipe to people when they post their opinions. So, I don’t feel guilty at all for calling you a dickhead.

doogie, I do NOT support taxation for any cause whatsoever – including medical research. But neither do I support selective banning of funding for certain areas of research based on religious mumbo-jumbo. It is not as if by banning federal funding of embryo research would cut taxes. The money would just go somewhere else.