Magazine article The Human Life Review

Keep Stem Cells Adult-Only

Magazine article The Human Life Review

Keep Stem Cells Adult-Only

Article excerpt

The stem cell debate needs to get over its fixation with embryonic cells, which remain both useless and dangerous, and focus on the dramatic but safe achievements using these precious stem cells from our own "adult" tissue, and from the afterbirth of babies.

So far we have had "a factually undernourished, immature debate" according to Christopher Pearson in the Age (1/4), referring to the astonishing ignorance of politicians, journalists, and therefore the public, concerning stem cell therapies. The one essential fact-that we can harness the magnificent power of stem cells without ever destroying human embryos-has so far been successfully buried under a heap of embryonic hype.

Credit for thus keeping the public "factually undernourished and immature" must go to the "well-orchestrated lobbying campaign" by the IVF embryo industry, noted in the Australian Financial Review. The embryo researchers, whose four or five spokesman appear invariably in every news item on stem cells, understandably emphasise embryonic sources of stem cells rather than adult sources. Embryos are their chosen field; if embryonic research is sidelined, they are sidelined.

As a result of this professional lobbying and media work, the Premiers and the public have come to think that embryos are the only game in town when it comes to stem cells and those cures for terrible afflictions like Parkinson's and spinal paralysis. That is completely false.

We will send the Premiers a list of several dozen medical reports of dramatic new human therapies and cures using adult and placental stem cells, if they would care to fax us back a list of embryonic therapies and cures. Their sheet will be completely blank. There is not, contrary to public illusion, a single therapy using embryonic stem cells, while stem cells from these other uncontroversial sources are rapidly being applied to a wide range of previously incurable conditions.

The most recent medical example-and a fine example of the trickle down effect of an ignorant media keeping us all stupid-was young Rhys Evans, a British toddler with "bubble boy" immune deficiency. On Friday night, immediately after reporting the COAG agreement to allow embryo research for stem cells, Australian television networks reported Rhys's cure using genetically modified stem cells. The illusion was created that this was a breakthrough for embryonic stem cells, but of course they were his own non-embryonic marrow stem cells.

Half a dozen other children with severe immune deficiency have been fixed with adult stem cells. A child last year in Singapore with thalassemia was cured using stem cells from another baby's placental blood. Several blind Taiwanese men were likewise reported cured last year using stem cells from their cornea. French and German trials last year were successful using adult stem cells to repair heart muscle after heart attack. An American woman with a severed spine has now regained at least the movement in her feet and control of her bladder after treatment with her own adult stem cells. All this achieved ethically without ever destroying or cloning a single embryo.

None of our leaders seems to be aware of the successful use of adult stem cells in a range of cancer therapies, or of further promising trials in juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, MS and other immune disorders-including a "phenomenal" response in a Chicago trial for Crohn's disease last August reported at stemcellresearch. …

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