Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Two more adult stem cell treatments discovered

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.

Which kind produces more scientific discoveries and new treatments?

Well, consider this article from Yahoo News which describes a new treatment made possible by ethical adult stem cell research.

Excerpt:

Scientists have for the first time succeeded in taking skin cells from patients with heart failure and transforming them into healthy, beating heart tissue that could one day be used to treat the condition.

The researchers, based in Haifa, Israel, said there were still many years of testing and refining ahead. But the results meant they might eventually be able to reprogram patients’ cells to repair their own damaged hearts.

“We have shown that it’s possible to take skin cells from an elderly patient with advanced heart failure and end up with his own beating cells in a laboratory dish that are healthy and young – the equivalent to the stage of his heart cells when he was just born,” said Lior Gepstein from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who led the work.

The researchers, whose study was published in the European Heart Journal on Wednesday, said clinical trials of the technique could begin within 10 years.

Last month, Science Daily had another article on adult stem cells.

Excerpt:

Organ replacement regenerative therapy is purported to enable the replacement of organs damaged by disease, injury or aging in the foreseeable future. A research group led by Professor Takashi Tsuji (Professor in the Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, and Director of Organ Technologies Inc.) has provided a proof-of-concept for bioengineered organ replacement as a next stage of regenerative therapy.

Reporting in Nature Communications the group demonstrate that bioengineered hair follicle germ reconstructed from adult epithelial stem cells and dermal papilla cells can regenerate fully functional hair follicle and hair growth. Their bioengineered follicles showed restored hair cycles and piloerection through the rearrangement of follicular stem cells and their niches. The bioengineered hair follicle also developed the correct structures and formed proper connections with surrounding host tissues such as the epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibers.

This study thus reveals the potential applications of adult tissue-derived follicular stem cells as a bioengineered organ replacement therapy.

These individual cases show the overall trend in stem cell research. ESCR is supported by Democrats, but it is ineffective – which is why biotech companies like Geron have abandoned it. Nevertheless, Obama has pushed millions of taxpayer dollars into embryonic stem cell research, and is still pushing for more ESCR. The politics is driving the science – just like with his global warming alarmism and alternative energy funding.

 

Related posts

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Jordan says:

    “This kind is opposed by pro-lifers because it kills unborn persons by extracting their stem cells for use in medical research”

    This is false. When couples go into in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics, they get multiple eggs fertilized. These fertilized eggs are then grown in-vitro (in a petri dish) until the “blastocyst” stage. A blastocyst is an outer shell of “trophoblasts” (cells that will not become embryonic tissue) protecting a fluid-filled cavity with an inner cell mass (“embryoblasts” which will become embryonic tissue). Once the blastocyst stage is reached, each is scored according to quality of its development. While most could theoretically become human, those that fail to achieve a certain score are discarded since their poorer quality reduces probability of pregnancy success. Instead of throwing these out, researchers can use these as a powerful tool for investigating regenerative medicine.

    “ESCR is supported by Democrats, but it is ineffective”

    This is not false, but misguided. The reason embryonic stem cells are not effective treatments is the cancer risk. Because these cells are far more proliferative, there is far greater malignant potential. Also, the ability to control differentiation along a specific lineage is another hurdle.

    The treatment you spoke of – transitioning a skin cell to a heart cell – requires transitioning an ectodermal cell to a mesodermal cell (these are two of the germlines, the third being endoderm). This is where the potential in the field lies, and while adult stem cells will continue to hold important medical application, our knowledge and capabilities will be dramatically accelerated with the concurrent use of emrbyonic stem cells as a research tool, even if they aren’t used in actual treatments.

    The ethical issue is not that they’re taken from growing fetuses, because they’re not, but rather that they theoretically COULD become fetuses if implanted.

    • For point one, fertilized eggs are the beginning of a distinct human being, because it has a DNA signature distinct from the mother or the father. So we just disagree on when life begins – I think that human life begins at conception, and that’s supported by science.

      For point two, there are many reasons why ESCR is ineffective, with the cancer risk being one of the biggest. The main point that I made is that ESCR is almost entirely ineffective, and that’s why the biggest investor in ESCR, Geron, stopped researching it. It was never anything but a way to grab federal money from Democrat politicians anxious to find some positive aspect of abortion. I must have written two dozen stories on advancements with stem cell research and almost invariably the type of stem cell used was adult stem cells.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,510,752 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,156 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,156 other followers

%d bloggers like this: