Demystifying Stem Cells: A Serious Error in Semantics Is Causing a Tragic Misunderstanding. We Should Be Asking for "Blastocysts" for Medical Researchers. the Term "Embryonic" Should Be Abandoned!

By Oz, Mehmet C.; Mangi, Abeel A. | The Saturday Evening Post, November-December 2004 | Go to article overview

Demystifying Stem Cells: A Serious Error in Semantics Is Causing a Tragic Misunderstanding. We Should Be Asking for "Blastocysts" for Medical Researchers. the Term "Embryonic" Should Be Abandoned!


Oz, Mehmet C., Mangi, Abeel A., The Saturday Evening Post


"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."

Bertrand Russell, "Outline of Intellectual Rubbish," Unpopular Essays (1950).

Strictly speaking, a stem cell is derived from the inner cell mass of an egg 4 days after fertilization, is capable of indefinite reproduction, and is independently capable of generating every tissue that ultimately constitutes an adult organism. These powerful properties have launched stem cells into the forefront of a revolution that offers to change the way doctors treat degenerative diseases and scientists approach fundamental questions of development, birth, degeneration and death.

Recently, the term stem cell has also been applied (somewhat more loosely in the eyes of purists) to cells derived from adult animals and humans. The presence of these so-called adult stem cells has been known since 1998. They can be identified and harvested from adult animal and human organs such as heart, muscle, brain, blood or bone marrow and can actually be cultured in the laboratory. Not only that, these adult stem cells have the ability to propagate for long periods of time in the laboratory while retaining their ability to differentiate into the tissues from which they were initially harvested under certain conditions. The earliest investigators demonstrated convincingly that the bone marrow of mice housed specialized cells known as "satellite cells" that migrated to the skeletal muscle when it was injured (and only when it was injured) and participated in a regenerative process that restored the injured

muscle almost back to complete health. This finding has unleashed the hope of tremendous potential that such cells could be harvested and expanded in culture and therefore be applied to cure the damage inflicted by degenerative human conditions such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, wasting bone diseases such as osteogenesis imperfecta, and muscle conditions such as muscular dystrophy. In doing so, clinicians would be following the same paradigm established by colleagues that had developed strategies for repopulating the bone marrow that has been destroyed by high-dose chemotherapy.

Indeed, the successes that our groups and others have had in the isolation of human adult stem cells (and with resultant clinical application) have been astounding, with 3,600 scientific papers written on the subject in 2003 alone. Investigators from all over the world have claimed that adult human stem cells can differentiate into structures as varied as liver, pancreas, intestine, brain tissue, heart, bone, cartilage and even fat.

Not only that, the literature is replete with claims that these cells demonstrate remarkable plasticity, the ability to trans-differentiate from one structure into a completely unrelated structure.

For example, fat cells have been shown to differentiate into blood vessels, muscle, cartilage and bone. We would caution that the reproducibility of a lot of these claims is yet to be determined in rigorous peer-reviewed fashion.

Our interest as cardiac surgeons who have devoted our lives to the treatment and eradication of heart diseases has been to identify adult stem cells that can either repopulate the heart with new muscle cells or with new tiny blood vessels, thus treating heart failure and hardening of the arteries.

Adult stem cells offer us obvious benefits as clinicians and as scientists--we avoid the ethical issues inherent in the use of embryonic stem cells, the cells are autologous (cells harvested from one patient would be used for therapy in the same patient), thereby avoiding problems with immunologic rejection--and the authors of this article are fully invested in this strategy for clinical benefit. Both authors have studied and published research on the use of adult stem cells for the treatment of cardiovascular ailments and are currently designing safety and feasibility clinical trials involving these cell types. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Demystifying Stem Cells: A Serious Error in Semantics Is Causing a Tragic Misunderstanding. We Should Be Asking for "Blastocysts" for Medical Researchers. the Term "Embryonic" Should Be Abandoned!
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.