By Peter J. Smith

June 13, 2006 ( –Â The real potential for adult stem cell research is being sacrificed by scientists more interested in the “possibilities” of embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, according to James Kelly, the Biotech writer of The Seoul Times. In the 4th part of his series entitled Stem Cells – A Changed Personal Course: From Embryonic Stem Cell Support to Its Opposition, Kelly documents in clear detail the scientific case for adult stem cell research, whichÂhas alreadyÂshownÂpractical clinical results, unlike the morally reprehensible procedures of embryonic research.

The use of embryonic stem cells has a host of problems since they are not compatible with adult tissues, says Kelly. The dangers run the gamut of immune rejection to the formation of life-threatening tumors; this last concern is not surprising since embryonic stem cells are designed to further the rapid growth of a human embryo. In order for embryonic stem cells to really have the potential of adult stem cells, argues Kelly, they need to be matured to fetal stages.

Adult stem cells, on the other hand, have been shown to have actual practical results that surpass what capability embryonic stem cells may have. In clinical trials, Kelly says that adult stem cells have consistently outperformed embryonic stem cells, which tend to be “genetically unstable and function abnormally.” Kelly quotes Australia’s Prof. Alan Mackay-Sim, who says that adult stem cells from an individual’s nose, “appear to have the same ability as embryonic stem cells in giving rise to many different cell types.” These stem cells can be obtained from all individuals for stem cell therapies and tissue reconstruction without fear of immune rejection. For Prof. Mackay-Sim these adult stem cells are “easy to harvest and grow very well in lab.”
  Kelly blames the misinformation on powerful researchers and industries that are intent on pursuing embryonic stem cell research and human cloning techniques. Professor James Sherley, an associate professor in biological engineering at MI, said in an interview with MercatorNet that “Many scientists who do not support human embryo research are afraid to speak out because of possible reprisals from powerful scientists who can affect grant success, publication acceptances, tenure promotion, and employment.”

There is a drive for human experimentation rather than in clinical therapy that works. Even though adult stem cell research has been proven to have actual results, its potential nevertheless has fallen victim to scientists and researchers enamored with the possibilities of experimenting with human embryos and human cloning. Just in California alone, over 3 billion US dollars have been committed to embryonic stem cell and human cloning research, as opposed to the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) budget of 300 million dollars.

James Kelly, a paralyzed researcher himself, realizes that many people are buying into the misinformation about embryonic stem cells and human cloning that offers defective if not empty hope. The Director of the Cures 1st Foundation Inc., he had debated embryonic stem cell proponent and actor Christopher Reeve, and said his own views on support for embryonic research changed in 2002 because of “a horrifying vision – the image of millions of desperate and trusting humans holding plates of hope to an empty sky.”

Link to Original Seoul Times Story: