“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

Yet Another Stem Cell Alternative

Illustration of organ regeneration from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cell) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The case for continuing embryonic stem cell research continues to get laughably smaller.  Scientists have now developed an even better process for using adult stem cells.

For years now, non-destructive adult stem cell research has resulted in dozens of successful treatments for illnesses and injuries including brain injury, stroke, retina regeneration, heart tissue regenerationanginadiabetes, bone cancer, cheek bone tissue, nerve regeneration, sickle-cell anemia, cerebral palsy, cartilage regeneration, Parkinson’s, kidney damage, liver cancer, lupus, multiple sclerosis, leukemia and more.

Meanwhile, embryonic stem cell research, which destroys human embryos, has not produced a single successful treatment. It also has problems with tissue rejection (just like an organ transplant) and often generates tumors in the recipient, as a poor Israeli boy found out.

Scientists have come up with numerous sources of stem cells for research and treatment which do not require the destruction of innocent human life as embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) does.  Stem cells can be obtained from dental tissue, nasal tissue, fat cells, testicular tissue, blood,  and more. Scientists have learned how to reprogram various cells in our bodies to behave like other cells, and can even generate neurons.

Though the “culture of death” segment of our society remains hell-bent on not only pursuing ESCR despite these non-destructive advances, they insist taxpayer dollars be used to do it.  About a year ago, expert Dr. David Prentice gave an extensive presentation in Rapid City demonstrating how unnecessary this is, and even some “mainstream” media sources are starting to openly admit ESCR is unnecessary.  Sadly, the overblown hopes and promises from a “scientific” community that stands to gain grant money continues anyway.

But there is now one more nail in the coffin of the destructive line of research.

The Washington Post reported today that scientists have made a major advance in the use of adult stem cells.

The researchers published a series of experiments showing they can use laboratory-made versions of naturally occurring biological signals to quickly convert ordinary skin cells into cells that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. Moreover, the same strategy can then coax those cells to morph into specific tissues that would be a perfect match for transplantation into patients.

The work, by a team led by Derrick J. Rossi of the Children’s Hospital Boston, was praised by other researchers as a breakthrough.

The previously developed process of using retroviruses carried a risk of causing cancer and was slower than we would have liked. But the new process uses messenger RNA, avoids those risks, and works much faster.

The new approach involves molecules known as “messenger RNA,” or mRNA, which the DNA inside cells use to create proteins they need carry out various vital functions. The researchers created mRNA molecules carrying the instructions for the cell’s machinery to produce the four key proteins needed to reprogram themselves into iPS cells.

After tinkering with the mRNA molecules in the laboratory to make signals that the cells would not destroy as dangerous invaders, the researchers found that a daily cocktail of their creations were surprisingly fast and efficient at reprogramming the cells. The approach converted the cells in about half the time of previous methods – only about 17 days – with surprising economy – up to 100 times more efficient than the standard approach.

The article says the results are virtually identical to the much-lauded embryonic stem cells.

Our scientific and medical community needs to start putting truth and human life ahead of hopes of glory and financial gain.  We can develop therapies to help people without destroying human life in the process.

Isn’t it time we all admitted the ESCR emperor isn’t wearing any clothes? Isn’t it time to stop the deception, choosing instead the line of research that is (a) ethical and (b) has produced fantastically more results than the destructive ESCR?


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15 Responses to “Yet Another Stem Cell Alternative”

  1. Yes, I noticed that they felt it necessary to “check” things using embryonic stem cells, and actually thought of addressing it at one point, but it dropped off my mental radar by the time I’d put the whole thing together.

    I had planned to say something along the lines of, “As we have seen over and over and over and over in the stem cell debate, the ‘death culture’ will always find some excuse to continue destroying life, some reason why we ‘must’ continue the destruction.”

    The proof is in the pudding, and we don’t need to continue destroying innocent human life to verify the “flavor of the pudding,” or to make the pudding either.

  2. Yeah, actually in every paper you reported about reprogramming of adult cells to pluripotency, authors used hESCs as a standard, or foetal cell lines for reprogramming.
    Besides, any form of reprogramming to ESC-like is based on previous knowledge gained with hESC.
    Since using hESC is a sin, according to you, and any form of research using these cells should be banned, you seem to be markedly tolerant with the articles you support in this blog.

  3. Not true, Julien. And while your sour grapes are quite revealing, I’m low on patience with them.

  4. Bob, you may say whatever you want, the facts remain that without hESC there would not be any hiPSC now. I would even go further and say that since hiPSC have been developped, it has attracted even more teams to move to hESC research field.

    I actually don’t feel sour, I don’t even feel threaten by a possible interdiction of public money for hESC, since I am privately funded. It is just sad to see how you misrepresent hESC research, and how you misunderstand the research process in itself.

    Basically, your position is like saying electricity is evil, but explaining how great is your computer…It is highly inconsistent.

  5. Electricity does not kill an innocent human being every time it is applied; ESCR does.

    Your sour grapes are obvious, and I’ve had enough of them for this go around. I have an admittedly low tolerance for people who shove their fists into their eye sockets when presented with compelling truth that challenges their false assumptions.

  6. Seems to me we have two separate discussions going on. One discussion is how promising and what benefits has ESCR provided. The other is one of ethics.

    If you research the scientific literature just over the last 2 to 3 years, what is being done with hESC research is remarkable but subtle to many. Have hESC’s directly cause a cure for multiple diseases-no, but that isn’t what research is always all about and I think it is a strawman argument. The contributions of hESC research to the entire science of stem cells is simply staggering and without it, adult cell research would be in the dark ages still. Stem cell research is a collaborative effort as is all research .

    Now on the moral issue, I understand both sides and it is a worhty discussion.

  7. Adult and embryonic stem cell research have been studied congruently because both types of stem cells have the ability to become different types of cells (bone, lung tissue, etc.).

    And while study of ESC has yielded some information, it is completely disingenuous to claim adult stem cell therapy would have made the success it has enjoyed without ESCR. That line of research is able to stand on its own intellectually, scientifically and practically.

    It is further telling that while some people seem incapable of not singing the praises of ESCR, that line of research has yet to produce one single successful therapy for human beings. Meanwhile, as I pointed out in the main article, the number is somewhere between 70 and 80 for ASCR. The proof is in the pudding…and the ESCR bowl is empty, despite years of private and taxpayer-funded research around the world.

    The ethical issue also stands on its own. Even if ESCR were producing the same successful therapies as ASCR, it would still be immoral because it destroys innocent human life in the process.

    I’m sure we could learn a lot if we designated 20% of all six year olds in America to be test subjects for human medical experiments. It would be hard NOT to learn something from so many living test subjects…but it would be utterly horrific, morally. Somehow we manage to live with the destruction of innocent human life a little better (in both abortion and ESCR) when we don’t have to look the victims of our depravity in the face as we kill them.

  8. As I mentioned, your ethical argument has great merit and should be discussed broadly and deeply.

    But I think if you review the scientific literature on stem cells, you will quickly see that the advances in adult stem cell research has been greatly dependant upon knowledge of the embryonic stem cell line. You even mentioned retroviruses and messenger RNA and how they can be used to re-program adult stem cells into pluripotent stem cells..

    How they knew this could be done is because they have to use the genes from the embryonic line to mix with the retroviruses or messenger RNA. Without that knowledge of the embryonic line, the adult cells couldn’t be transformed back at all.

    When Shinya Yamanaka first showed that retrovuses could be used to re-program adult cells into more pluripotent ones, he had to use genes from embryonic cells to prove it could be done !

    Without extensive knowledge of embryonic cells, adult cell research would not stand on its own. It couldn’t, because how would they know what they wanted the adult line to transform to if they didn’t understand what it was they were trying to transform them into.. The science between embryonic and adult stem cells is greatly interwoven and dependant on each other.

    Adult SCR can not stand on its own. It must rely on deep knowledge of embryonic lines. Again, a brief review of the literature will show this. Thanks Bob

  9. The ethical argument alone is enough to warrant abandoning this fruitless line of research. But the practical aspect is just as compelling.

    Has ASCR been augmented by ESCR? Yes. Was it dependent on ESCR to make it’s incredible advances? No.

    You act as if humans were the only organism on the planet. We are not. As I’m sure you know, mice have been used extensively in stem cell research. There are a host of other organisms upon which experiments could be conducted, and the structures and principles involved are not that different.

    Yet somehow the culture of death is inescapably compelled to destroy innocent human life; it’s like a programming they just can’t break out of.

    As I said, the proof is in the pudding. ASCR: 70+, ESCR: zip. That speaks for itself (for anyone with ears to hear, that is).

  10. I didn’t mean to imply that only HUMAN ESCR has allowed adult SCR to get where it is, but that all ESCR has been instrumental in furthering adult cell research and indeed much has been done using mice etc and not necessarily with the human lines.

    I think your ” ASCR 70+ESCR zip ” is a strawman in this case, because it says nothing of how important ESCR is to ASCR. Nothing at all. Think about it. Adult stem cells are not pluripotent, but researchers want them to be ,which means they want these adult cells to resemble embryonic cells as much as possible. If you don’t know the gentic structure and chemistry of embryonic cells and how they work and differentiate, how can you ever re-program adult cells to act like their younger embryonic brethern. Again, a review of the literature will show this.I guess we both agree that ESCR is imporatnt to ASCR, but not to the same degree.
    But I am curious about something. How do you feel about scientists killing God’s creatures like mice, sheep etc in order to do this research ? Would this be an ethical issue as well ? Thanks Bob.

  11. When I was in med school, one of my lab partners was Mormon. We did some experiments on dogs where the end result was death for the dog. My Mormom friend and partner wouldn’t actively participate in the experiment because of religious, ethical reasons.

    That is why I ask earlier if conservative Christians would or should object to embryonic SCR in mice, sheep etc. since these animals are God’s creatures as well that would be killed just for research sake..

  12. When I was in med school, one of my lab partners was Mormon. We did some experiments on dogs where the end result was death for the dog. My Mormom friend and partner wouldn’t actively participate in the experiment because of religious, ethical reasons.

    That is why I ask earlier if conservative Christians would or should object to embryonic SCR in mice, sheep etc. since these animals are God’s creatures as well that would be killed just for research sake..

  13. Sorry, I had a very busy weekend and forgot to get back to you on this one.

    The Bible makes a clear distinction between human life and animal life. Only human life is created in God’s image and only human life is sacred. God says we are not to kill animal life indiscriminately (that would be bad stewardship of God’s creation, if nothing else), and are not to inflict intentional suffering on an animal. But animals may be used for food, for work, for use in making human life easier, and use in protecting human life and easing suffering is a legitimate use of animals.

    Destroying innocent human life is immoral because we have eternal souls and are created in the image of God.

  14. Sorry, I had a very busy weekend and forgot to get back to you on this one.

    The Bible makes a clear distinction between human life and animal life. Only human life is created in God’s image and only human life is sacred. God says we are not to kill animal life indiscriminately (that would be bad stewardship of God’s creation, if nothing else), and are not to inflict intentional suffering on an animal. But animals may be used for food, for work, for use in making human life easier, and use in protecting human life and easing suffering is a legitimate use of animals.

    Destroying innocent human life is immoral because we have eternal souls and are created in the image of God.