Adult Stem Cell Research Continues To Flourish

Adult stem cells has been compiling more promise for future medical research with no ethical qualms.  On the other hand, embryonic stem cell research has no compiling  record with major ethical concerns! The breakthrough of science back in 2009, continues to dazzle with more breakthroughs with understanding pluripotent cells (adult stem cells reprogrammed back to their embryonic stage).

New Scientist reports of a discovery with human skin containing important adult stem cells that are able to repair wounds! These cells exist in sweat and are not found in animals, the article adds this…“Humans have three times more eccrine glands than hair follicles, making them the major contributor to new skin cells.”  Elaine Fuchs from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland says the discovery was unexpected and goes against current dogma!

In Medical Xpress, pluripotent cells could be used to create personalized medicine for cancer patients!

“In the November 19 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they report that these new stem-like cells do not express the same genes as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) do.”

“That explains why they don’t produce tumors when they grow in the laboratory, as the other stem cells do, and why they are stable, producing the kind of cells researchers want them to. “These seem to be exactly the kind of cells that we need to make regenerative medicine a reality,” says the study’s senior investigator, chairman of the department of pathology at Georgetown Lombardi, a part of Georgetown University Medical Center.”

Very exciting news in adult stem cell research! Are you looking to refresh those old cells of yours? Well guess what? Researchers at the University of Toronto discovered a way to refresh those old cells, making them look young again!

Science Daily reports…

“A new method of growing cardiac tissue is teaching old stem cells new tricks. The discovery, which transforms aged stem cells into cells that function like much younger ones, may one day enable scientists to grow cardiac patches for damaged or diseased hearts from a patient’s own stem cells — no matter what age the patient — while avoiding the threat of rejection.”

With so much success continuing for adult stem cells which has been quite amazing, it seems superfluous to continue work with ethically-charged embryonic stem cells where concerns about abuse are being raised.

Can one trust scientist to regulate themselves with ethics? This is something the public insists upon.  However rigging public support is an unethical practice. Here is an example of claiming to employ an unbiased statistical sample of the public concerning stem cell research…

“Representing the Public in Public Engagement: The Case of the 2008 UK Stem Cell Dialogue” where Alison Mohr and Sujatha Raman (PLoS Biology) analyze the situation…

“Efforts to engage the public in science take many forms, yet in many cases, “engagement” is a means toward acceptance rather than true participation. In 2008, the largest ever public engagement (PE) exercise sponsored by UK Research Councils was held. The Stem Cell Dialogue (SCD), designed to identify the range of views and concerns amongst the wider public about stem cell research, was jointly supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), and Sciencewise.”

The SCD revealed high levels of public support for stem cell science and technology, according to the official press release [1], and thus seems to validate the traditional reasons offered for conducting PE around cutting-edge science: that engaging the wider public in dialogue at an early stage can help scientists communicate the motivations for their research, including its expected societal benefits, assuage potential ethical concerns, avert damaging controversies, and secure public acceptance.”

“But, is this instrumental rationale–engagement toward a predetermined goal–sufficient? Can it offer the democratic legitimacy that underlies the recent turn to this type of “upstream” engagement? And does the SCD as it actually unfolded merit the summary finding of public support reported in the press release? In this paper, we draw from our work as official evaluators of the SCD (see Box 1), and recent debates on the purpose of engagement, to ask: how should we understand the “public” in PE; why is PE important for both society and science; and what lessons should we take from actual PE exercises? “

Some very good questions, the problem is, employing an unbiased statistical sample of the public concerning stem cell research is not the case! Yes, you read about how “competing rationales for representing the public can lead to particular outcomes that conflict with the democratic ideals of PE.”  So they take into account opposing viewpoints towards the research. But look who they omitted in the sample…

“The lack of alternative or more critical/skeptical perspectives of counter-experts (e.g., advocacy/pro-life group, religious group, journalistic, or National Health Service viewpoints) limited the range of participants’ discussion and increased the potential for obtaining positively biased indications of public approval and acceptance.”

The workshops contained mostly those who were for the research while skeptical perspectives were practically invisible! What does that mean? It means, a rigged sample of representing the public! By using this method, the public would be portrayed as overwhelmingly supported of any type of research being conducted!

“The homogeneity of responses appears to have been shaped by the role played by experts in framing the discussion. Framing played a significant role in bounding the discussions as participants showed a strong tendency to follow and explore the main issues raised in the experts’ presentations.” 

Not only does this rigging of public support happen with stem cell research, but it happens often with evolution which also requires public engagement! Despite the flaw and unethical ways of rigging public opinion, adult stem cell continues to flourish with astounding advancements for promising treatments for various people which would enhance our heath greatly!

4 thoughts on “Adult Stem Cell Research Continues To Flourish

  1. With so much success continuing for adult stem cells which has been quite amazing, it seems superfluous to continue work with ethically-charged embryonic stem cells where concerns about abuse are being raised.

    Michael cribbed this post from “Adult Stem Cell Breakthroughs Continue” in Creation Evolution Headlines, Nov. 28.

    Once again, may we remind Michael, and CREV, that everyone is pulling for adult stem cells. But, at the present stage of the technology, embryonic stem cells are still needed. A year ago, during the debate on ESC research, it was estimated that a ban on embryonic cells would halt 85% of the adult stem-cell research in its tracks. At the present time, unfortunately, adult cell progress continues to rely upon work done on embryonic cells.

    Also, Michael may have forgotten that his previous post, written just last week,[1] he featured a Nature paper that revealed possible problems with adult stem cells. Ah, creationists have such short memories for facts that controvert their beliefs.

    So, yes, we are all on the side of adult stem cells. But research proceeds realistically, and not riding the back of a fond hope.


    [1] “Has The Assumption Of A Unique Genome Been Overthrown” Michael often forgets that he must read all of a scientific paper, not just the part that agrees with him.

  2. Michael had a lot to choose from this week. It must be the turn of stem cells instead of other subjects.

    Let’s see—
    > Bill Nye trashed Marco Rubio’s waffle answer on the age of the earth on CNN. Reported in both AiG News to Note ans in the Disco Tute’s Evolution News & Views, 12/01.

    > A Nature news article called DNA a “stupid design” Reported in spluttering prose at Evol News & Views, 11/30.

    > More functions were found for “junk DNA.” Science Daily, 11/26, featured in Evol N&V 11/29.

    > Creation Evolution Headlines claims a discrepancy in the dating of Grand Canyon minerals, on 11/29. The original source was Science OnLine, 11/29.

    > PLoS One reported a possible early molecule capable of storing genetic information—before DNA and RNA. AiG News to Note reported it on 12/01.

    So the field is rife this week. Perhaps Michael will choose one of these other developments to post in the near future. If he does, I can supply him with the links. (Putting all of them in this comment would trigger a moderation flag, and delay it significantly.)

    Carry on.

  3. Here’s another juicy one for Michael’s perusal. Creation Evolution Headlines notices on Dec. 1 that harmful protein-coding mutations in humans arose largely in the past 5,000 to 10,000 years. A Science Daily article is referenced. The study comes from Science, 336:740-743 (11 May 2012).

    C’mon, Michael, have at it!

  4. Answers in Genesis (News to Note, Dec. 8) takes apart Pat Robertson’s defection from a 6,000-year age of the universe. According to AiG, Robertson misunderstands the religious world view. (That is to say, he disagrees with Ken Ham.)

    Laudable. But if you read it closely, notice several times where Robertson incorrectly applies the concepts of religion to science. Such as calling it “revealed” science. So he has a ways to go yet.

    But he has also come a ways from the time he cast the citizens of Dover, PA into Hell singlehandedly after the Kitzmiller decision.

    Dig in, Michael. Time for a new subject.

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