Major breakthrough in adult stem-cell research

There are two kinds of stem-cell research. The first kind is called embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR). This kind is opposed by pro-lifers because it kills unborn persons by extracting their stem cells for use in medical research. The second kind is called adult stem-cell research (ASCR). This kind is supported by pro-lifers.

You may be surprised to know that ESCR doesn’t work as nearly as well as ASCR. Despite all the advocacy from left-wing Hollywood actors, ESCR has not helped a single patient. But ASCR in being used for 73 different kinds of therapies. According to the Family Research Council:

…adult stem cell research had an impressive track record as of 2006-over 1100 FDA approved clinical trials in the United States for 72 different illnesses and disabilities. 2007 has seen further advances in adult stem cell research and therapy. Currently, peer-reviewed studies have documented 73 different conditions in humans where patient health has been improved through adult stem cell therapy, and over 1400 FDA approved trials are ongoing.

Adult stem cells are found throughout the human body from birth onward, in placentas, and in umbilical cord blood. Unlike embryonic stem cell research, no embryos are destroyed in retrieving them.

…There have been no successful treatment trials in human beings using embryonic stem cells.

But there were still a couple of problems with ASCR as Telic Thoughts explains here:

In 2007 scientists found a way to induce pluripotency in adult somatic cells. There were just two problems. First, it was a slow process. Second, the cells were modified via a virus delivery system which increased the risk of cancerous mutation in the future.

Cancerous mutation? That sounds bad. But wait:

Yesterday the second problem was solved as it was announced that scientists had found a way to induce pluripotency similar to that of embryonic stem cells without the use of viral delivery systems.

And their post closes with this:

Last week the Obama administration promised to move soon to repeal the funding ban on embryonic stem cell research. It will be interesting to see if this monumental scientific breakthrough will alter Obama’s course of action.

That won’t happen. For more information about why pro-lifers oppose ESCR and support ASCR, here is a series of 3 Townhall.com articles written by Greg Koukl, (first, second, third). Greg is the founder of Stand to Reason, an apologetics ministry with a heavy emphasis on bioethics.

UPDATE: Video of Michele Bachmann opposing ESCR funding.

One thought on “Major breakthrough in adult stem-cell research”

  1. And don’t forget the fact that embryonic stem cells, because they come from other people’s bodies, have a high rejection rate. That’s why patients have to be pumped with other medicines to suppress their immune system.

    Stem cells from one’s own body are not only abundant, but there is zero chance of rejection.

    My aunt in the US actually went through stem cell treatment: they took stem cells from her bone marrow to help treat a blood disease. This has helped her immensely and she is now back on her feet (she can actually leave the house now).

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