DAVID GRANOVSKY

STOP SELLING EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS AS A PANACEA, THEY AIN’T

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS on November 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

In Greek mythology, Panacea (Greek Πανάκεια, Panakeia) was a goddess of healing. She was the daughter of Asclepius and Epione. Panacea and her five sisters each performed a facet of Apollo‘s art: Panacea was the goddess of cures, Iaso was the goddess of recuperation, Hygieia was the goddess of disease prevention, Aceso was the goddess of recovery, and Aglaea was the goddess of natural beauty. (wiki)

Some very well respect doctors, scientists and politicians are still screaming from the roof tops about the benefits of embryonic stem cells and how treatments derived from their funding will be a huge panacea for the world:

“The therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem cells is remarkable and could well prove to be one of the most significant paradigm-shifting advances in the history of medical science…”

It is a lie at worst and couched narrow-focused misinformation at best and it is typical of what we’ve been hearing from the US media for the past 10 years.  I’ll explain why…

These are only a few of my issues with this article:

THIS ONE, I MEAN THAT ONE

They say: ‘federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research “is essential” if scientists are to succeed in turning the cells into usable treatments.’

CART BEFORE THE HORSE MUCH?

They say: “The therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem cells is remarkable and could well prove to be one of the most significant paradigm-shifting advances in the history of medical science,”

  • They neglect to mention that ESC form cysts/tumors at the site of injection that can become cancerous + they require immunosuppressive drugs. So, at this point, you would have to cure cancer first to use them safely (a not insignificant hurdle to overcome)…then again, if they did cure cancer, then that WOULD be a significant paradigm shift…but that’s not going to happen any time soon either.

YOU ARE NOT A UNIQUE AND SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE!

They say: “These cells have the unique potential to differentiate into any human cell type and offer real hope of life-affirming treatments for diabetes, damaged heart tissue, arthritis, Parkinson’s, ALS and spinal cord injuries, to name but a few examples.” [to differentiate into any of the 300+ human cell types is pluripotency]

  • ESC are NOT unique. While they are pluripotent, there are also pluripotent ADULT stem cells…there are even pluripotent ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ but they have they same problems as embryonic stem cells.  And btw, adult stem cells are already successfully treating ‘diabetes, damaged heart tissue, arthritis, Parkinson’s, ALS and spinal cord injuries, to name but a few examples.’

YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

They say:  “…to help ensure the potential of this research is translated into treatments and cures.”

  • Scientists are going to research ESC + push the envelop of our knowledge + understanding. They will do so amidst controversy + debate, but it will happen. And it may produce wondrous things…BUT…it will not generate life saving treatments, not for a long time and maybe not even in our lifetime.  So, dear scientists and politicians: go ahead and solicit funding, pursue knowledge, bang your drums…just don’t try to sell their funding + research as something they are not.  Stop trying to mislead congress and the public.  Stop calling embryonic stem cells a medical nuclear bomb for TREATMENTS.


That bomb already hit + has positively affected 10’s of thousands of patients around the world. That bomb is ADULT stem cells.

ADULT STEM CELLS produce treatments for 130+ diseases.
They are SAFE + EFFECTIVE NOW.
http://bit.ly/stemcellblog

———————————–

Scientists to Congress: Pass the stem cell law … while you still can
Supporters of stem cell research want the law passed while  Democrats still have a majority.Supporters of the stem cell research bill want a vote while Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, still have majorities in both houses of Congress. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press
By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times6:22 p.m. CDT, November 5, 2010 // 

The people who bring you advances in medical research have an urgent message for Congress: Pass the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act … while you still can.

In a letter sent Friday to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the deans of American medical schools, chief executives of U.S. hospitals and heads of organizations with names like the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the American Society of Human Genetics said that federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research “is essential” if scientists are to succeed in turning the cells into usable treatments.

“The therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem cells is remarkable and could well prove to be one of the most significant paradigm-shifting advances in the history of medical science,” they wrote. “These cells have the unique potential to differentiate into any human cell type and offer real hope of life-affirming treatments for diabetes, damaged heart tissue, arthritis, Parkinson’s, ALS and spinal cord injuries, to name but a few examples.”

The law would reiterate that no federal money can be used to destroy embryos or create cell lines. One of the pluses of passage is that it would ensure that the controversial research be conducted according to strict ethical rules.

The bill has been passed twice before by bipartisan Congresses, though in both cases it was vetoed by then-President George W. Bush. The imperative to pass it in this congressional session was thought to have diminished after President Obama broadened the scope of federal support for stem cell research though an executive order. Then the surprise decision by a U.S. district judge to halt federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research (which was temporarily reversed) underscored the need for congressional action.

And if that’s going to happen, there’s no time like the present.

The scientists don’t say so explicitly, but they must be thinking that their chances will be worse come January, when majority control of the House shifts to the Republicans. Here’s what they did say:

“We urge you to put this legislation on the floor calendar and pass it when Congress returns in November to help ensure the potential of this research is translated into treatments and cures.”

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