The debate over stem cells is slowly reigniting. A federal judge has recently lifted a ban on Embryonic Stem Cell research.The stupidity of this ruling by the judge is overwhelming in its ignorance. While stem cells show promise and real success in curing a multitude of human ailments, not all stem cells are created alike.
The concept of using stem cells to cure human ailments is a relatively new technology. Our knowledge of the potential of stem cells to cure disease goes back to around the late 60’s , early 70’s. The first human trials weren’t until very recently, the early to mid 90’s.
All through this debate the term ‘stem cells’ has been convoluted into a meaningless phrase. The term Stem Cells, doesn’t tell the entire story. In my humble opinion, the term has been deliberately twisted by those that support embryonic stem cell research to obfuscate the debate and give themselves some cover. You see, not all stem cells are equal in their creation or efficacy.
One type not only doesn’t kill anyone to acquire it, it is the only one that has actually cured some ailments. This type of research is Adult Stem Cell Research. It is the only form of stem cell research that will and has cured human diseases and ailments. The added benefit is that there is zero, not even a small chance of rejection by the patients body. The reason is that to acquire these adult stem cells, they first take a sample of the patients cells. In the articles I’ve read about this technology they typically take skin cells from the patient, or more recently take cells from another part of the body that is similar to the affected area.
These scientists and many others have figured out how to take these already differentiated cells and turn them back into stem cells. When a stem cell finally becomes what it’s been planned to do, it has become differentiated. That’s how it’s always worked with all higher lifeforms, until these scientists came along. The scientists figured out how to take this skin cell and turn it back into a stem cell. Stem cells are blank templates waiting for instructions on what to turn themselves into. This is the process by which we develop in our mother’s wombs. From a bundle of cells called a blastula an embryo develops ( us ). All the cells in this blastula are in effect stem cells. Each one has instructions already coded in its RNA on what to do. Some will be heart cells and build a heart, some will be bone cells and build your bones and so on. They are the little tiny construction workers that build , You.
So the scientists take the patients skin cells, for instance ,and turn them back into stem cells. Then they program these cells to fix whatever is wrong with the patient. The scientists then introduce these reprogrammed cells into the patient. The stem cells, being reprogrammed to their new task, dutifully go about their new task. They begin repairing or rebuilding the deficiency in the patient. This technique is already in use today, it’s not some pie in the sky future promise as happens in embryonic stem cell research. The added benefit of Adult Stem Cell research is that there is absolutely no risk of the patient rejecting the cells because they are his/her own cells.
However, the research that gets all the press and the one that all the “cool” scientists promote is Embryonic Stem Cells. There are many problems with Embryonic Stem Cell research, I’ll try to touch on a few. The absolute main and justified argument against embryonic stem cells is that someone has to die to acquire them. That someone is a human embryo, it might not have a name yet, but it’s a human and it was killed, who cares if it didn’t have a name yet.
The second problem with embryonic stem cells is the very high risk of rejection by the patient. We humans have gotten to the point where we can transplant new organs into patients to replace the ones that aren’t working anymore. That is an amazing feat that we’ve accomplished. But there is a lifelong side effect of this for the patient. The constant possibility that their new organ will be rejected by their body. Despite the fact the organ is working just fine, to your body it is a foreign object and our bodies are designed to attack any and all invaders. Otherwise , when you got sick, you’d never get better no matter what medication you were given etc.
Another problem with stem cell research is that none of the promises of it have come to pass, unlike the successes with adult stem cells. The cures are always a few more years in the future. The last problem I can think of off the top of my head is the fact that scientists have not figured out how to shut these embryonic stem cells off when they’re done doing their job. This runs the very serious risk of cancer developing in the patient. If the cells aren’t able to stop doing their job when it’s done, they keep growing and dividing and then you have the definition of cancer: Uncontrolled cell growth. To the best of my knowledge , this problem does not occur in adult stem cells.
The bottom line is this, stem cells and stem cell research holds the very real promise of being able to cure many of the diseases that now afflict humans. There is research going on now, with some minor successes that takes a patients cells and grows a new organ they need. This new organ is then transplanted into the patient to replace the defective organ. There is zero chance of rejection because the new organ is as much a part of that patient as the defective one. All of the real success and future potential in stem cell research lies in Adult Stem Cell research. But for obvious political reasons, the worst possible side of this type of research is promoted as the Magic Bullet. Why do I say this? Because in my opinion, embryonic stem cell research is promoted as a way to assuage liberal guilt over so many abortions. Why do I say this? Because I’ve read many articles about this subject on both sides and have read liberals saying essentially that. They talk about how these embryos are going to be “wasted” after abortions, why not put them to good use. It’s one of the most sickening things I’ve ever read, and coming from people who claim such moral superiority to us simple-minded conservatives. It’s all but turning my stomach as I write this.
Adult stem cells will and already are saving and improving human lives as we speak. They’ve helped with spinal injuries, there are successes in regrowing damaged heart tissue in patients that have suffered heart attacks. There is success in restoring sight in formally blind people. In some clinical studies they have cured Lupus and other autoimmune diseases in patients. In this case adult stem cells, saved a leg from amputation and rebuilt part of a woman’s windpipe after it collapsed from TB. All of this with adult stem cells derived from the patients themselves. Furthering this research is the logical course of action for our nation.
Embryonic stem cells need the death of one human to save another and shows no real promise of fulfilling the promises of the scientists. It is the least logical course of action available to us.
Guess which one our government has chosen?