DAVID GRANOVSKY

Posts Tagged ‘rat’

INTER-SPECIES PANCREAS TRANSPLANT REVERSES DIABETES

In HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Color Rat Laboratory Cage Mammal Rat Rodent Pet

Let’s take a page out of what was not too long ago science fiction; which is now science-fact.

  • A pancreas was grown in a rat,
  • the organ was transplanted into a mouse,
  • the mouse was given immunosuppressive therapy to prevent rejection,
  • the diabetic mice were able to normalize their blood glucose levels for over a year.

This illustrates the long proven regenerative capacity of stem cells and the recent advancements scientists have made with anti-rejection protocols…And of course, the cool inter-species transplant of rat to mouse.

Rat-grown mouse pancreases help reverse diabetes in mice

Growing organs from one species in the body of another may one day relieve transplant shortages. Now researchers show that islets from rat-grown mouse pancreases can reverse disease when transplanted into diabetic mice.

White rat with black patches

A rat in which researchers were able to grow a mouse pancreas. Islets from the pancreases were transplanted into mice with diabetes. The transplants helped control the mice’s blood sugar levels.
Courtesy of the Nakauchi lab

 Mouse pancreases grown in rats generate functional, insulin-producing cells that can reverse diabetes when transplanted into mice with the disease, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo.

The recipient animals required only days of immunosuppressive therapy to prevent rejection of the genetically matched organ rather than lifelong treatment.

The success of the interspecies transplantation suggests that a similar technique could one day be used to generate matched, transplantable human organs in large animals like pigs and sheep.

To conduct the work, the researchers implanted mouse pluripotent stem cells, which can become any cell in the body, into early rat embryos. The rats had been genetically engineered to be unable to develop their own pancreas and were thus forced to rely on the mouse cells for the development of the organ.

Once the rats were born and grown, the researchers transplanted the insulin-producing cells, which cluster together in groups called islets, from the rat-grown pancreases into mice genetically matched to the stem cells that formed the pancreas. These mice had been given a drug to cause them to develop diabetes.

“We found that the diabetic mice were able to normalize their blood glucose levels for over a year after the transplantation of as few as 100 of these islets,” said Hiromitsu Nakauchi, MD, PhD, a professor of genetics at Stanford. “Furthermore, the recipient animals only needed treatment with immunosuppressive drugs for five days after transplantation, rather than the ongoing immunosuppression that would be needed for unmatched organs.”

Nakauchi, who is a member of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, is the senior author of a paper describing the findings, which was published online Jan. 25 in Nature. Tomoyuki Yamaguchi, PhD, an associate professor of stem cell therapy, and researcher Hideyuki Sato, both from the University of Tokyo, share lead authorship of the paper.

Hiro Nakauchi

Although much research remains to be done, scientist Hiromitsu Nakauchi and his colleagues believe their work with rodents shows that a similar technique could one day be used to generate matched, transplantable human organs in large animals like pigs and sheep.
Wing Hon Films

Organs in short supply

About 76,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for an organ transplant, but organs are in short supply. Generating genetically matched human organs in large animals could relieve the shortage and release transplant recipients from the need for lifelong immunosuppression, the researchers say.

People suffering from diabetes could also benefit from this approach. Diabetes is a life-threating metabolic disease in which a person or animal is unable to either make or respond appropriately to insulin, which is a hormone that allows the body to regulate its blood sugar levels in response to meals or fasting. The disease affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and is increasing in prevalence. The transplantation of functional islets from healthy pancreases has been shown to be a potentially viable option to treat diabetes in humans, as long as rejection can be avoided.

The researchers’ current findings come on the heels of a previous study in which they grew rat pancreases in mice. Although the organs appeared functional, they were the size of a normal mouse pancreas rather than a larger rat pancreas. As a result, there were not enough functional islets in the smaller organs to successfully reverse diabetes in rats.

Mouse pancreases grown in rats

In the current study, the researchers swapped the animals’ roles, growing mouse pancreases in rats engineered to lack the organ. The pancreases were able to successfully regulate the rats’ blood sugar levels, indicating they were functioning normally. Rejection of the mouse pancreases by the rats’ immune systems was uncommon because the mouse cells were injected into the rat embryo prior to the development of immune tolerance, which is a period during development when the immune system is trained to recognize its own tissues as “self.” Most of these mouse-derived organs grew to the size expected for a rat pancreas, rendering enough individual islets for transplantation

Next, the researchers transplanted 100 islets from the rat-grown pancreases back into mice with diabetes. Subsequently, these mice were able to successfully control their blood sugar levels for over 370 days, the researchers found.

Because the transplanted islets contained some contaminating rat cells, the researchers treated each recipient mouse with immunosuppressive drugs for five days after transplant. After this time, however, the immunosuppression was stopped.

After about 10 months, the researchers removed the islets from a subset of the mice for inspection.

“We examined them closely for the presence of any rat cells, but we found that the mouse’s immune system had eliminated them,” said Nakauchi. “This is very promising for our hope to transplant human organs grown in animals because it suggests that any contaminating animal cells could be eliminated by the patient’s immune system after transplant.”

Importantly, the researchers also did not see any signs of tumor formation or other abnormalities caused by the pluripotent mouse stem cells that formed the islets. Tumor formation is often a concern when pluripotent stem cells are used in an animal due to the cells’ remarkable developmental plasticity. The researchers believe the lack of any signs of cancer is likely due to the fact that the mouse pluripotent stem cells were guided to generate a pancreas within the developing rat embryo, rather than coaxed to develop into islet cells in the laboratory. The researchers are working on similar animal-to-animal experiments to generate kidneys, livers and lungs.

Although the findings provide proof-of-principle for future work, much research remains to be done. Ethical considerations are also important when human stem cells are transplanted into animal embryos, the researchers acknowledge.

The research was funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, a KAKENHI grant, the Japan Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus Network and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Stanford’s Department of Genetics also supported the work.

KIDNEY BREAKTHROUGH: COMPLETE LAB GROWN ORGAN WORKS IN RATS

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on April 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm
A brand new rat kidney being built on the scaffold of an old one <i>(Image: Ott Lab, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital)</i>

A brand new rat kidney being built on the scaffold of an old one

(Image: Ott Lab, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital)

Kidney breakthrough: complete lab-grown organ works in rats

 

  • 18:00 14 April 2013 by Andy Coghlan

 

For the first time, complete lab-grown kidneys have been successfully transplanted into rats, filtering and discharging urine as a normal kidney would.

 

The breakthrough paves the way for human-scale versions, which could potentially provide an inexhaustible supply of organs, eliminating the need for recipients to wait for a matching donor kidney Movie Camera.

 

Similar techniques have already been applied successfully in people with simpler tissue, such as windpipes. But the kidney is by far the most complex organ successfully recreated.

 

“If this technology can be scaled to human-size grafts, patients suffering from renal failure, who are currently waiting for donor kidneys, could theoretically receive an organ grown on demand,” says Harald Ott, head of the team that developed the rat kidneys at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

 

“In an ideal world, such grafts could be produced from patient-derived cells, enabling us to overcome both donor organ shortages and the need for long-term immunosuppression drugs,” says Ott. Currently in the US alone, 18,000 transplants are carried out each year, but 100,000 Americans remain on waiting lists.

 

Strip and coat

 

To make the rat kidneys, Ott and his colleagues took kidneys from healthy “donor” rats and used a chemical solution to wash away the native cells, leaving behind the organ’s scaffold. Because this is made of collagen, a biologically inert material, there is no issue of the recipient’s body rejecting it.

 

Next, the team set about regrowing the “flesh” of the organ by coating the inner surfaces of the scaffold with new cells. In the case of humans, these would likely come from the recipient, so all the flesh would be their own.

 

The kidney was too complex to use the approach applied to the windpipe – in which its scaffold was coated by simply immersing it in a bath of the recipient’s cells.

 

Instead, the team placed the kidney scaffolds in glass chambers containing oxygen and nutrients, and attached tubes to the protruding ends of the renal artery, vein and ureter – through which urine normally exits the kidney. They recoated the insides of the blood vessels by flowing human stem cells through the tubes attached to the artery and vein. Through the ureter, they fed kidney cells from newborn rats, re-coating the labyrinthine tubules and ducts that make up the kidney’s urine filtration system.

 

It took many attempts to establish the precise pressures at which to feed the cells into the organ, as if it was growing in an embryonic rat. Remarkably, given the complexity of the kidney, the cells differentiated into exactly those required in the different compartments of the organ. “We found the correct cell types homed in to specific regions in the organ matrix,” says Ott.

 

The kidneys, which took about a fortnight to fully recoat, worked both in the lab and when transplanted into rats. They filtered out and discharged urine, although they did not sieve it as well as a natural kidney would. Ott is confident that the function can be improved by refining the technique.

 

Humans and pigs

 

The team is now attempting the same procedure using human kidneys, and also pig kidneys, which could be used to make scaffolds if there were a scarcity of human donors. The team has already successfully repopulated pig kidneys with human cells, but Ott says further studies are vital to guarantee that the pig components of the organ do not cause rejection when transplanted into humans.

 

The fact that heart valves and other “inert” tissues from pigs are already successfully used in humans without rejection suggests that this will not be a big problem.

 

Other researchers working in the field hailed the team’s success at recreating such a complex organ. “The researchers have taken a technique that most in the field thought would be impossible for complex organs such as the kidney, and have painstakingly developed a method to make it work,” says Jamie Davies at the University of Edinburgh, UK, who was part of a team that last year made some headway in their attempts to grow kidneys from scratch in the lab. “By showing that recellularisation is feasible even for complicated organs, their work will stimulate similar approaches to the engineering of other body systems.”

 

Journal reference: Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3154

STROKE RECOVERY IMPROVED THROUGH STEM CELLS

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 30, 2013 at 9:00 am

_65521433_stems

Stem Cells Aid Recovery from Stroke, Study Suggests

Jan. 28, 2013 — Stem cells from bone marrow or fat improve recovery after stroke in rats, finds a study published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy. Treatment with stem cells improved the amount of brain and nerve repair and the ability of the animals to complete behavioural tasks.

Stem cell therapy holds promise for patients but there are many questions which need to be answered, regarding treatment protocols and which cell types to use. This research attempts to address some of these questions.

Rats were treated intravenously with stem cells or saline 30 minutes after a stroke. At 24 hours after stroke the stem cell treated rats showed a better functional recovery. By two weeks these animals had near normal scores in the tests. This improvement was seen even though the stem cells did not appear to migrate to the damaged area of brain. The treated rats also had higher levels of biomarkers implicated in brain repair including, the growth factor VEGF.

A positive result was seen for both fat (adipose) and bone-marrow derived stem cells. Dr Exuperio Díez-Tejedor from La Paz University Hospital, explained, “Improved recovery was seen regardless of origin of the stem cells, which may increase the usefulness of this treatment in human trials. Adipose-derived cells in particular are abundant and easy to collect without invasive surgery.”  (sciencedaily.com)

 

“The ease of collection, and the ability to use “allogenic” cells from other rats rather than having to harvest the animal’s own cells and culture them, meant a treatment was available not weeks after a stroke, when the damage was done, but in this case minutes.

“From the viewpoint of clinical translation allogenic stem cells are attractive because they can be easily obtained from young healthy donors, amplified, and stored for immediate use when needed after a stroke.”  They suggested that it might be possible to overcome the risk of immune rejection of the donor cells in humans.”  (bbc.co.uk/news/health)

47 DEATHS FROM HPV VACCINES YOU WILL NEVER READ ABOUT

In ALL ARTICLES, DISEASE INFO on October 26, 2011 at 1:55 am

THE UNLUCKY 47…

AND WHAT REALLY SCARES ME IS THAT OVER 1/2 OF THEM ARE

“CAUSE OF DEATH = UNKNOWN!”

via http://www.judicialwatch.org/files/documents/2009/vaersdeathsALL_20090616.pdf

“Dwarf’s (lung) standing on the shoulders of giant’s (heart)”

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on July 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

“Dwarf’s (lung) standing on the shoulders of giant’s (heart)”

(Latin: nanos gigantium humeris insidentes) is a Western metaphor meaning “One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past.

A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant

—————————————

Lungssss, get yer lungs here!

Soon enough, organs grown from YOUR OWN stem cells will be available at a store near you.  What began as the outlandish quest of one woman in 1998…one woman who swam against a huge tidal flow of scientists and doctors telling her she was out of her mind…is now, almost 20 years later, hitting mainstream science, academia and media.

Who is this woman and what did she do?  You’ve probably never heard of her (unless you’ve read my book – “Super Stemmys) but she will most likely go down in history as the mother of 21st century patient specific organ regeneration. Organs, btw, that are both rejection free and require no immunosuppressive drugs. In other words…

YOUR OWN organs grown from YOUR OWN stem cells.”

Here’s how it all started…

1998 – Dr Doris Taylor takes stem cells from the thigh of a rabbit, injects them into scar tissue in the animal’s heart and repairs the damaged muscle.  Published in Nature Medicine.

2002 – Dr Taylor herself witnessed, in Rotterdam, the first patient in the world to get stem cells injected through a catheter into the wall of the heart. Encouraging results began to come in—improved ejection fractions, reduced diameters, thicker muscle tissue.

2005 – Advancements continue as Dr Taylor rinses rat hearts with detergent until the cells washed away and all that remained was a skeleton of tissue translucent as wax paper. She then injected the scaffold with fresh heart (stem) cells from newborn rats.  Four days later, “We could see these little areas that were beginning to beat.  By eight days, we could see the whole heart beating.”  The experiment, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, marked the first time scientists had created a functioning heart in the lab from biological tissue.

Read it again! Doctor Doris Taylor grew a new heart in a lab 5 YEARS AGO!

So congrats to the docs at Harvard Medical School for growing a lung…just don’t forget that Dr Doris Taylor’s heart is the giant on whose shoulders your lung is standing. -dg

—————————————————————————

Stem cell scientists unveil lab-grown lung – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

By Kellie Lazzaro

Updated Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:04am AEST

Harvard doctors used stem cells to generate the organ. (Supplied: Harald C Ott)

A decellularized rat lung. Harvard doctors have used stem cells to generate the artificial organ

Artificial lung: a recellularized lung in a bioreactor during organ culture (Supplied: Harald C Ott)

Artificial lung: a recellularized lung in a bioreactor during organ culture (Supplied: Harald C Ott)

First breath: the recellularized rat lung takes in air at the end of the organ culture period (Supplied: Harald C Ott )

American researchers have provided some hope for the hundreds of Australians languishing on organ-transplant waiting lists.

Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have used stem cells to construct a miniature lung, which functioned for up to six hours when transplanted into a rat.

Lung transplant specialists say the research is a significant breakthrough in efforts to develop ways to expand the organ donor pool.

For the 50 million people worldwide with end-stage lung disease, the only definitive treatment is a transplant.

Kate Hayne, 66, waited four years for a double lung transplant after she was diagnosed with bronchiectasis.

“You’re waiting for the phone to ring and it doesn’t ring and you’re life is getting narrower and narrower because you can do less and less and less,” she said.

“You’re basically waiting to die … and a lot of people do die.

“I met some lovely people who didn’t survive the wait.”

It is hoped the research by the Harvard Medical School in Boston will go some way towards improving the chances of survival.

Dr Harald Ott and his team removed the cells from a rat lung and rebuilt the organ blueprint using human umbilical and foetal rat cells.

Within about a week that lung began exchanging oxygen like normal lungs and was transplanted into a rat where it continued functioning for six hours.

“There’s a lot of work to do in up scaling this now from rats to human-sized organs,” he said.

“But I think that we are looking at a situation where over the next five to 10 years we might be seeing more regenerated products to actually hit the patients’ side.”

Professor Allan Glanville, the medical head of lung transplantation at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, says specialists in Australia are watching with interest.

“This is extraordinarily exciting work and it lays the groundwork for the beginning of the development of a inartificial lung that might benefit so many people,” he said.

Dr Michael Musk, who heads the West Australian Lung Transplant program, agrees the research is a huge step forward.

“It hopefully means we don’t need the degree or amount of immunosuppression required, which is associated with a lot of side effects,” he said.

“It would not only improve donor pool, but also improve the quality of life.”

The research is published today in the journal Nature Medicine (see Technical Report abstract below).

via Stem cell scientists unveil lab-grown lung – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).


Nature Medicine
Published online: 13 July 2010 | doi:10.1038/nm.2193

Regeneration and orthotopic transplantation of a bioartificial lung

Harald C Ott1, Ben Clippinger1, Claudius Conrad1, Christian Schuetz1, Irina Pomerantseva1, Laertis Ikonomou2, Darrell Kotton2 & Joseph P Vacanti1


About 2,000 patients now await a donor lung in the United States. Worldwide, 50 million individuals are living with end-stage lung disease. Creation of a bioartificial lung requires engineering of viable lung architecture enabling ventilation, perfusion and gas exchange. We decellularized lungs by detergent perfusion and yielded scaffolds with acellular vasculature, airways and alveoli. To regenerate gas exchange tissue, we seeded scaffolds with epithelial and endothelial cells. To establish function, we perfused and ventilated cell-seeded constructs in a bioreactor simulating the physiologic environment of developing lung. By day 5, constructs could be perfused with blood and ventilated using physiologic pressures, and they generated gas exchange comparable to that of isolated native lungs. To show in vivo function, we transplanted regenerated lungs into orthotopic position. After transplantation, constructs were perfused by the recipient’s circulation and ventilated by means of the recipient’s airway and respiratory muscles, and they provided gas exchange in vivo for up to 6 h after extubation.


To read this technical report in full you will need to login or make a payment at Nature Medicine.  – http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.2193.html

Stem Cells From Menstrual Blood May Benefit Stroke Patients

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on April 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

https://i2.wp.com/www.amc.edu/research/CNN/images/rat_stroke2a.jpg

Cerebral ischemia, or reduced blood flow to the brain, as occurs in stroke or trauma, is a significant clinical problem.

Menstrual Blood Cells Display Stem Cell–Like Phenotypic Markers and Exert Neuroprotection Following Transplantation in Experimental Stroke

Cesar V. Borlongan,1 Yuji Kaneko,1 Mina Maki,2 Seong-Jin Yu,1 Mohammed Ali,2 Julie G. Allickson,3 Cyndy D. Sanberg,4 Nicole Kuzmin-Nichols,4 and Paul R. Sanberg1,5

Cell therapy remains an experimental treatment for neurological disorders. A major obstacle in pursuing the clinical application of this therapy is fi nding the optimal cell type that will allow benefi t to a large patient population with minimal complications. A cell type that is a complete match of the transplant recipient appears as an optimal scenario.

Here, we report that menstrual blood may be an important source of autologous stem cells. Immunocytochemical assays of cultured menstrual blood reveal that they express embryonic-like stem cell phenotypic markers (Oct4, SSEA, Nanog), and when grown in appropriate conditioned media, express neuronal phenotypic markers (Nestin, MAP2). In order to test the therapeutic potential of these cells, we used the in vitro stroke model of oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) and found that OGD-exposed primary rat neurons
that were co-cultured with menstrual blood-derived stem cells or exposed to the media collected from cultured menstrual blood exhibited signifi cantly reduced cell death. Trophic factors, such as VEGF, BDNF, and NT-3, were up-regulated in the media of OGD-exposed cultured menstrual blood-derived stem cells.

Transplantation of menstrual blood-derived stem cells, either intracerebrally or intravenously and without immunosuppression,
after experimentally induced ischemic stroke in adult rats also signifi cantly reduced behavioral and histological impairments compared to vehicle-infused rats. Menstrual blood-derived cells exemplify a source of “individually tailored” donor cells that completely match the transplant recipient, at least in women. The present neurostructural and behavioral benefits afforded by transplanted menstrual blood-derived cells support their use as a stem cell source for cell therapy in stroke.

Via http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/scd.2009.0340 or scd.2009.0340 (application/pdf Object).

RATS LEARN AGAIN AFTER NERVE TRANSPLANTS

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on December 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Nerve-cell transplants help brain-damaged rats fully recover lost ability to learn

http://www.sciencedaily.com

ScienceDaily (Dec. 11, 2009) Nerve cells transplanted into brain-damaged rats helped them to fully recover their ability to learn and remember, probably by promoting nurturing, protective growth factors, according to a new study.

via HERE

Adult Spinal Stem Cells Reverse Paralysis in Rats

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on April 2, 2009 at 10:50 am

rat-robotBoth the stem cell vocabulary and the scientific advancements seem to be growing at an almost logarithmic pace!

Stem Cell Acronym for the day:  epSPCs = ependymal stem/progenitor cells

Ependyma is the thin epithelial membrane lining the ventricular system of the brain and the spinal cord. Ependyma is one of the four types of neuroglia in the central nervous system. It is involved in the production of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). wiki -dg

Injured spinal stem cells effectively differentiate into nerve cells

Publish date: Apr 1, 2009

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) — Spinal stem cells taken from adult rats with an injured spinal cord are effective at differentiating into oligodendrocytes and motor neurons and can reverse paralysis when transplanted into rats with a spinal cord injury, according to a study published in the March issue of Stem Cells.

Victoria Moreno-Manzano, and colleagues from the Centro de Investigacion Principe Felipe in Valencia, Spain, studied the characteristics of ependymal stem/progenitor cells (epSPCs) from adult rats with a spinal cord injury and from uninjured adult rats. Ependymal cells line the central canal of the spinal cord and can regenerate the injured spinal cord in lower vertebrates; mammalian turnover of epSPCs declines during the postnatal period but can proliferate in response to injury, the study authors note.

The investigators found that epSPCs taken from injured rats proliferated 10 times faster in vitro than epSPCs from uninjured rats. Neurospheres derived from epSPCs from injured rats were more effective in differentiating into oligodendrocytes and functional spinal motor neurons. Transplantation of epSPCs from injured rats into a rat model of severe spinal cord contusion led to significant recovery of motor activity one week after injury, the researchers report. The transplanted cells migrated from the rostral and caudal regions of the transplant to axons in and around the lesion.

“Our findings demonstrate that modulation of endogenous epSPCs represents a viable cell-based strategy for restoring neuronal dysfunction in patients with spinal cord damage,” Moreno-Manzano and colleagues conclude.

via http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Adult-Spinal-Stem-Cells-Reverse-Paralysis-in-Rats/ArticleNewsFeed/Article/detail/591031?contextCategoryId=40148

Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Stem cells, dead kittens, fur coats…reality is truly stranger than fiction.

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 25, 2009 at 12:48 am
Please be advised, this article does not represent the opinion of the moderator of The Stem Cell Blog.  It was just simply too bizarre not to post.  With thanks to guava_love for pointing it out to me. -dg

president-bush-eats-kitten-1259
STEM-CELL STRANGENESS

WASN’T THIS A FAR SIDE CARTOON?

“I want a coat made out of baby animals – kittens, maybe.”

By SUSAN KONIG, March 14, 2009

ON Monday, when President Obama announced the re versal on embryonic-stem- cell research, there was a small parade of celebrities with diseases and families with sick kids on TV rejoicing in the president’s move.

At least one CNN stem-cell report, however, featured not a human but a a rat with a bum leg hobbling around his cage like – well, like Ratso Rizzo from Midnight Cowboy.

The CNN newsgal explained helpfully, “Look at this poor little rat, there’s clearly something wrong with his legs.” Then, to the reporter’s “Now, look!” delight, the rat – treated with stem cells derived from human embryos – was running all over the place on strong, healthy rat legs.

So, we were watching a rat whose life had been dramatically improved, thanks to the sacrifice of . . . potential human babies. Wasn’t this a Far Side cartoon?

Research shows that adult and umbilical-cord stem cells provide the materials needed for stem-cell research – embryonic stem cells are not needed to cure and treat diseases. So why is the pro-embryonic-research lobby so loath to admit this? Because if we say that destroying human embryos for scientific research is wrong and unnecessary, it’s harder to say that abortion is fine.

Pro-choicers almost never argue that there’s nothing wrong with abortion. They give justifications – usually, the mother’s health and well-being – because they (implicitly, anyway) understand that the taking of human life needs to be justified.

But with research that destroys embryos, there are no mothers – just embryos orphaned in the lab. And looming behind the stem-cell issue is cloning: The scientists can make more embryos when they run out.

Will we allow a whole industry of conceiving and harvesting human life, if it’s for the greater good? And if it’s OK to create and destroy human life for medical research, why limit abortion at all?

Last summer, I went up and down my block to collect for the March of Dimes, the great charity that helps find cures for birth defects. One of my neighbors wouldn’t donate because “I heard they use lab rats in their research, and I’m against that.” I didn’t debate with her (she’s a terrific lady), I respected her belief and moved on to collect from less rat-friendly neighbors.

Still: It’s socially unacceptable to experiment on rats to try and help babies, but it’s now apparently OK to destroy potential human babies?

Here’s my bottom line: I want a fur coat. Before Monday, I thought that it was too politically incorrect. It turned my head to see a woman wearing a really fabulous mink – but then I’d feel guilty for wanting one and think, well, maybe I’ll get a faux fur . . .

But now I want one. If we can experiment on and destroy human babies, then I get a fur coat. And I don’t want to hear any complaints from any animal-rights advocates. I want a coat made out of baby animals – kittens, maybe.

via http://www.nypost.com/seven/03142009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/stem_cell_strangeness_159441.htm

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