Great News For Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Former first lady Nancy Reagan and others believed the use of stem cells from embryos could lead to cures for such illnesses as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. President Bush in 2001, restricted federal funding of embryonic research. But when former President Reagan died, 58 senators asked Bush to relax federal restrictions citing 19 out of the 78 embryonic stem cell lines were only good enough for research.

Mrs. Bush back in 2001, referred to alternatives rather than what she called, “abusing embryos” in research. Back at that time, neither side knew how successful the alternatives would be in the future as the main focus from liberal groups was to fund the embryonic stem cell research in the United States while others opposed it and rightfully so on morality issues.

Reprogramming stem cells to their embryonic stage (pluripotent stem cells) has been making tremendous strides for future treatments on various diseases. In MedicalXpress

“Now, for the first time, scientists at Monash University’s Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL) have shown that they can make human stem cells from healthy adult kidneys without working on human embryos, circumventing ethical concerns around this research.”

“This achievement will allow group leader Associate Professor Sharon Ricardo and her team to model genetic kidney diseases in the laboratory and tease out the mechanisms that control these difficult-to-treat disorders. “We’re taking human kidney cells and winding back the clock to make their early precursors,” Associate Professor Ricardo said.”

In another article from the same source, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research are using stem cells from bone marrow can be genetically altered which enables it to resist damage from chemotherapy, helping cancer patients endure the treatment without harmful effects! Things like brain cancer take its toll on human bone marrow when patients are being treated with chemotherapy.

Great news for those with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from South Korea and Harvard have identified a “protein-based” human iPS cell” that appears promising for reversing nerve cell loss in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.  Their experiments “reversed disease when transplanted into the brain of rats modeling Parkinson disease.” However, embryonic stem cells was mentioned as one of the two sources of the stem cells but no evidence that it worked too, only the iPS cells were effective.

What about adult stem cells? This month we see another amazing discovery that took place. researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found a “human lung stem cell that is self-renewing and capable of forming and integrating multiple biological structures of the lung including bronchioles, alveoli and pulmonary vessels.”

Cell News reports…

“This research describes, for the first time, a true human lung stem cell. The discovery of this stem cell has the potential to offer those who suffer from chronic lung diseases a totally novel treatment option by regenerating or repairing damaged areas of the lung,” said Piero Anversa, MD, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and corresponding author.”

This has been remarkable and very encouraging for Christians and others who value ethics to see adult stem cell research take off, leaving embryonic stem cell research in the dust while the discoveries show promising treatments.  But what if it had turned out the other way?  What if embryonic stem cells were actively producing cures for these same diseases?  Experimenting on human embryos would still be unethical! Also, in the past decade of stem-cell research has shown that some scientists’ greed for fame and money outruns their interest in ethics. But those who value ethics and solid research to improve mankind this is great news for non-embryonic stem cell research!