Is The Stem Cell Debate Over?

Harvesting embryonic cells for research had sparked a debate with the pro-life movement. Not with the research itself but how the stem cells were obtained. Years ago, I can remember some friends of mine who were highly critical of George W. Bush for withdrawing funding for the research along with celebrities like Michael J Fox who had Parkinson’s disease. All of which was found to be a non-issue with the discovery in 2007 when scientists were able to reprogram adult stem cells back to their embryonic state.

In the last few years, there hasn’t been much news about stem cell research in general. Here are a few new developments in the field… Wildfires have been raging in California, fighting fires like these often times result in injuries. Canadian researchers have devised a way to grow stem cells from the burnt victims own skin in order to increase the recovery time.

From Medical Xpress

“Until now, almost nobody thought of looking for viable cells in the burned skin itself, which is normally considered medical waste. When the U of T researchers began looking in the first pieces of discarded skin, they hoped to find even one living cell. They were exhilarated by the discovery of thousands of cells – in some cases up to one million cells.”

“Much faster healing would be a major step forward.”

Not only would faster healing be a tremendous accomplishment but also limit the rejection rate. Prior to this proposed research, stem cells used in this type of treatment came from other people’s bodies. The rejection rate is very high for the patients who obtained this type of treatment which is something critics of the pro-life movement failed to take into an account.

Who would have thought to use burned skin? Practically nobody but these Canadian researchers decided to think outside the box and will put into practice next year as they test their new theory! This is great research hopefully they will get good results!

The debate over harvesting embryonic cells for research isn’t quite dead, despite the fact that stem cells can be used from a patient’s own body whether that be reprogramed stem cells or adult stem cells, in general, which produces a much greater success for recovery. Some Scientists are trying to be a little sneaky about using embryonic cells which are considered to be human. They changed the term to “hES” cells rather than calling it “human embryonic stem cells”., Of course, there is an ethical issue with their experiment so even though they admit as much, they still try and hide it. So if are a patient of this research, be aware of the terms used so you know what you are getting because it’s not only your life (because your immune system can perceive them as “foreign,” and reject them) but someone else’s life too.

Scientists do not have to be sneaky, in fact, it’s unethical to be that sneaky! They can use better alternatives like the Canadian researchers are planning on doing next year. Another indication that the debate is not over is the fact that there is a rising popularity with cloning. By cloning the person, embryonic cells would have a much better chance of being accepted by the patient’s body. However, when Human Embryonic cells were injected into mice, the mice got tumors which were cancerous. There is no margin for error, if just one cell doesn’t reproduce the right way, it would mean death for the patient. So the treatment may someday cure someone with one disease but then kill them with another.

Reprogrammed cells have not eliminated the cancer threat. If scientists can reprogram adult stem cells without altering the DNA which may reduce the risk of cancer, you might see the pro-life movement and those against it on the same side on this issue!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s