By Peter J. Smith
UNITED KINGDOM, August 23, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Modern stem-cell advancements in umbilical cord blood have rendered human embryonic stem-cell research unnecessary according to a prestigious UK researcher, who calls cord blood the “realistic future of stem-cell technology.”
In this second part of an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews.com, Dr. Peter Hollands, the Chief Science Officer of the UK Blood Bank and early pioneer of embryonic stem-cell research, explains that embryonic stem-cell researchers will keep their public mandate unless a vast media campaign educates the public about the superior benefits and proven cures of cord blood.
In a previous interview, Dr. Hollands explained that the success of cord blood depends on its superior “mesenchymal stem-cells” found in the blood of the placenta and umbilical cord after a baby’s birth. These stem-cells possess unique properties giving them “just as much potential as embryonic stem cells but without all of the related objections and technical concerns.” (http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/aug/06081804.html)
“As a scientist, and even as a lay person, it is simple to see that cord blood as a source of stem cells for therapy and research is the easiest route to take,” says Dr. Hollands. “We have a never ending supply of cord blood and if we can start to collect and store this valuable resource instead of discarding it then we will start to make real progress in stem cell therapy and research.”
However, Dr. Hollands takes issue with those who contend that patient therapies can be obtained from human embryonic stem-cells.
“To claim that there are enough ‘spare’ embryos in IVF clinics is nonsense,” says Dr. Hollands. “These embryos could not support the demand for stem cell transplants” adding embryonic stem cells also have a tendency “to form tumors on transplantation”.
He adds, “It is important to note that embryonic stem cells have never been used to treat anyone and that there are no plans to do so. In the UK for example we have invested millions in a national stem cell bank which contains approximately 6 different embryonic stem cell lines none of which are suitable for transplant.”
Dr. Hollands says that embryonic stem-cell researchers have taken advantage of the public ignorance about stem-cells.
“Currently the average person thinks that embryonic stem cells are the only option available … [believing] if we are going to help those people suffering from disease then we have no option but to pursue embryonic stem cell technology. This is completely incorrect,” maintains Dr. Hollands.
He adds, “If the public knew that there is a source of stem cells, available at the birth of every child in the world, which carry no risk at all to anyone in their collection or production, then there would be immense public pressure to support cord blood stem cell technology.”
Believing that the media and celebrities are responsible for the current confusion about stem-cells, Dr. Hollands advocates a counter strategy using the media and celebrities to educate and inform the public about the superior benefits of cord blood as a source of stem-cells. Dr. Hollands says a five pronged strategy would include:
-prime time TV/radio reports/interviews,
-public education campaigns (TV/radio/media/posters/internet)
-celebrity endorsement of cord blood stem cell technology (a key ally for embryonic stem-cell researchers)
-politicians campaigning for cord blood stem technology
Â-Newspaper reports on cord blood stem cell technology
Dr. Hollands argues that once the people are made aware that cord blood offers superior benefits over embryonic stem-cells then “embryonic stem-cell groups will find it impossible to justify their actions.”
However he believes that a real turnaround in the stem-cell debate “needs someone, at the highest level, to realize that the wrong path has been chosen and to have the courage to change.”
“Rightly or wrongly there has been a massive investment in embryonic stem cell technology in time, money and resources,” says Dr. Hollands, adding that many scientists have built their careers around human embryonic stem-cell research.
“We should be focusing our time, money and expertise on cord blood stem cell technology,” says Dr. Hollands. “The sooner we stop wasting precious resources on embryonic stem cells research the sooner we will have stem cell cures for the people who really matter in all of this - the patients.”
See Part 1 of the LifeSiteNew interview with Dr. Hollands about the amazing advancements in cord blood stem cell research:
UK Researcher: Cord Blood Real Potential for Cures, Not Embryonic Stem Cells - Part 1
Reporter’s Note: A researcher in the stem-cell biology/clinical embryology field for over 25 years boasting a PhD from Cambridge University, Dr. Peter Hollands has worked on all types of stem-cells with the exception of human embryonic stem-cells. He worked as a clinical embryologist with the team that created the first ever ‘test-tube’ baby at Bourn Hall Clinic, trained under Prof. Robert Edwards (the IVF co-inventor), and even set the groundwork for embryonic stem-cell research through the mouse-model. However, it was during his mouse-model research that Dr. Hollands realized the impossibility of transferring this technology to human beings, besides the violation of human life in destroying human embryos.