Mainstream Media Recognizes Adult Stem Cell Research Far Ahead Of Embryonic
By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
WASHINGTON, DC, August 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Following an announcement on Friday by U.S. biotech firm Geron Corp. that it received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to carry out clinical trials using stem cells derived from human embryos, the mainstream media has been awash in stories that acknowledge the success of adult stem cell treatments, and the absence of any positive results from embryonic stem cell research.
AP reported the fact that adult stem cells have the ability not only to differentiate into bone, cartilage and blood vessels, but have also been shown to stimulate tissue repair.
"That gives adult stem cells really a very interesting and potent quality that embryonic stem cells don't have," Rocky Tuan of the University of Pittsburgh told AP.
Harvard University’s Dr. David Scaden, on the other hand, told CBS News of adult stem cells: “That’s really one of the great success stories of stem cell biology that gives us all hope. If we can recreate that success in other tissues, what can we possibly imagine for other people?”
In one prominent case that is being cited by the mainstream press, a patient had a broken ankle that would not heal, despite multiple surgeries. Dr. Thomas Einhorn, Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at Boston University Medical Centre, drew bone marrow from the man’s pelvic bone, and condensing it he then injected the four teaspoons of rich red liquid into his patient’s ankle.
Four months later, the man’s broken ankle had healed, which Einhorn credits to the adult stem cells in the marrow injection. Einhorn said he tried the procedure based on published research from France.
"Adult stem cells are being studied in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, heart attacks and diabetes. Some early results suggest (adult) stem cells can help some patients avoid leg amputation. Recently, researchers reported that they restored vision to patients whose eyes were damaged by chemicals," AP reported, adding that adult stem cell treatments "have become a standard lifesaving therapy for perhaps hundreds of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases."
According to CBS news, U.S. scientists at biotech companies and at the Pentagon are devising potential treatments that use adult stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells, news that is being welcomed by those who oppose the destruction of human embryos, both for moral reasons and based on the fact that embryo research has not resulted in a single positive outcome.
Stories of "catastrophic" results from the experimental use of fetal stem cells abound.
Last year a report by Israel's Public Library of Science journal said that a young Israeli boy suffering from a fatal genetic disease was injected with fetal stem cells that resulted in the development of brain and spinal cord tumors. Tests revealed that the tumor tissue was composed of fetal cells.
A study published in the March 2001 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine describing the use of fetal tissue to treat Parkinson's disease, said that the treatment resulted in what the researchers themselves described as "disastrous side effects."
The study said the treatment caused patients to "chew constantly" and "writhe and twist, jerk their heads, fling their arms about."
Dr. Paul Greene, a neurologist at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, said that the results of the experiment were "absolutely devastating ... It was tragic, catastrophic. It's a real nightmare. And we can't selectively turn it off."
Earlier this year California's Institute for Regenerative Medicine quietly changed its focus, after years of fruitless work and the expenditure of billions of dollars, from embryonic stem cell research to adult stem cell research. The institute cited adult stem cell treatment as responsible for dozens of positive results and all-out cures for maladies ranging from spinal cord injury, to Alzheimer's, to type I diabetes.
Los Angeles-based Investor's Business Daily magazine commented that, "Five years after a budget-busting $3 billion was allocated to embryonic stem cell research, there have been no cures, no therapies and little progress. We are pleased to see California researchers beginning to put science in its rightful place."
The Vatican responded on Saturday to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of Geron Corp.'s clinical trials using embryonic stem cells.
Elio Sgreccia, emeritus head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Radio Vatican, "Despite the efforts that are made to deny it, science continues to show us that the embryo is a human being in the making" and condemned the move as "unacceptable."
See related LSN articles:
Calif. Quietly Shifts Fruitless Embryo Research Funds to Adult Stem Cells
Fetal Stem Cell Injections Create Brain Tumors in Israeli Boy
Fetal Tissue Transplants Cause Disaster Again for Parkinson's Patients in Experimental Treatment