Monday, November 13, 2006

The Politics of Stem Cells...

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"British scientist announced a break-through in stem cell technology last week. They grew the world's first artificial human liver in a lab using stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood." Investor Business Daily 13 Nov 2006

Unfortunately we do not see this reported in the Mainscream media as it would be if the human liver had come from embryonic stem cells. Actually it has been reported that there have been numerous problems with projects using embryonic stem cells resulting in tumors and other problems most of the time.

It is sad to see that this issue has become a "Political" tool used by many during the election season...

6 comments:

zen said...

"Actually it has been reported that there have been numerous problems with projects using embryonic stem cells resulting in tumors and other problems most of the time." (emphasis mine)

How about some support for these claims?

JohnMaxfield said...

"--Pluripotency very useful in many respects can also turn out to be something of a pain; embryonic stem cells can make any type of cell in the body and they frequently do. It is very difficult to control what type of specialised cells they make and if you can generate your cell of interest you often have a jumble of other unwanted cell types mixed in as well. This is something of a problem, for instance, it would not do to transplant heart cells along with photoreceptors into the eye! Therefore targeting the generation of a specific specialised cell type from embryonic stem cells is a major goal currently.
--Embryonic stem cells used for transplant would be genetically different from the recipient. This is an advantage in the sense that they should not have any of the genetic mutations which can cause inherited diseases of the retina, unlike adult stem cells taken from the patient themselves. However the body's own defence systems would likely recognise these genetically foreign cells as non-self and mount a harmful immune response to get rid of them. To reduce this effect, stem cell banks of the most common tissue-type identities could be set up and patients individually matched to the candidate transplant cells most compatible with them.
Alternatively ways of modifying stem cells in the laboratory, so that they hoodwink the body into recognising them as its own are being explored. Another much talked-about way of escaping the rejection problem is to effectively clone the patient, by artificially triggering blastocyst formation from a donated egg, which has had its genetic information swapped for that of the patient. Embryonic stem cells could then be generated from the blastocyst and coaxed into forming photoreceptors for transplant. The resultant cells would be largely identical in genetic terms to the patient and would not be rejected. However this is an extremely labour intensive and technically difficult process with a high failure rate at present. Therefore this method dubbed therapeutic cloning is not likely to be employed in practice, despite the media attraction it has received.
--It is paramount that one hundred per cent of embryonic stem cells be triggered to specialise at least partially outside the body, before transplantation. This is because any unspecialised embryonic stem cells that remain amongst the cells being transplanted have a propensity to form tumours. This is a particular problem since it is difficult to be sure that all of the unspecialised cells have been removed. However it should be possible to modify stem cells, so that any cell that starts to show tumour-forming properties kills itself first."

--By Omar N Pathmanaban B.Sc (Hons)
Stem Cell Laboratory Centre for Neuroscience Research and Academic Dept. of Ophthalmology
Guy's, King's College and St Thomas' School of Medicine London

RightsideVA said...

Zen,

Heard it reported several times on radio prior to the last election. I can & will look for more sources for you but I don't work for you so don't be disapointed if I don't show up with a full staff of medical professionals for your review...

zen said...

Just a link to back up your claims will do.

JohnMaxfield said...

http://www.brps.org.uk/White/W_Stem_Cell_Therapy.html

RightsideVA said...

http://www.cbhd.org/resources/stemcells/mcconchie_2004-06-16.htm

There are numerous sites out there with info on this subject. I found it interesting that the media was quick to jump on the side of embryonic stem cells being the "Miracle" that everybody has been looking for but yet this aspect has been somewhat ignored. Unfortunately agendas are everywhere and the facts do not also get out there as they should. I believe we should avoid using the embryonic cells for I do believe they are potential life and should not be destroyed. With these facts surfacing that there are such problems with the embryonic cells as compared to adult cells, which also have problems, we should avoid destroying potential life. But then again there are those out there who feel that the barbaric procedure of partial birth abortion is not killing for the baby (Tissue) has not yet been fully delivered before it is destroyed. Explain that one to me...