Thursday, June 16, 2005

Embryonic Stem Cells -- Hope and Hype

"The prestigious British medical journal has denounced media claims that cures for diseases from embryo stem cells are around the corner. Calling it �sensationalist� and �hype.� In a June 4th editorial titled "Stem cell research: hope and hype," The Lancet warns that "no safe and effective stem cell therapy will be widely available for at least a decade, and possibly longer.�
While this warning may be true for stem cell therapies derived from human embryos, the Lancet mentions that the future of stem cell therapies is far from dead in the water. Dozens of diseases are currently giving way in experiments to treatment with adult stem cells. Several forms of cancer are already routinely treated using the patient's own stem cells derived from his blood or bone marrow.
The Lancet quotes Neil Scolding, a British neurology researcher at the University of Bristol saying, "(An) increasing appreciation of the hazards of embryonic stem cells has rightly prevented the emergence or immediate prospect of any clinical therapies based on such cells. The natural propensity of embryonic stem cells to form [tumors], their exhibition of chromosomal abnormalities, and abnormalities in cloned mammals all present difficulties."
(Lifesite 6/15/05)

I have posted on this topic before and would encourage continued, extensive research into the use of adult stem cells and those found in placentas and cord blood. These have been documented to be effective in various disease states. Embryonic stem cells, requiring the destruction of potential human life, have not had positive findings. Why should research dollars continue to be spent on potential life destroying techniques rather than being spent on the form of stem cell research that has been more promising?

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