Stem Cells - Rumor vs. Reality
June 26, 2005 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Stem cell pioneer does a reality check
posted by daksya (9 comments total)

 
Damn! Beat me to it. I was just finishing reading the article. So I'm obliged to say: Excellent post daksya!!

It is an interesting reality check. It would be also good to hear from a few others from different stem cell disciplines as to their take on the future/recommendations.
posted by peacay at 11:49 PM on June 26, 2005


Great article! In terms of the political debate, this guy points to the main issue I think people need to understand: this is not a supply-and-demand problem. These embyos are already being made for in vitro fertilization. They will be discarded if they aren't used to make embryonic stem cells. If people want to outlaw IVF, that's another issue altogether. But the embryos will be killed/discarded either way and there is no reason to waste their incredible scientific potential.
posted by sacrilicious at 12:38 AM on June 27, 2005


Didn't RTFA, really no need since I am not a bioethicist nor do I feel the need to be a buttinski with this.

I can understand the moral qualms of people fearing the devaluation of human life (and/or collective sins against God for those of a more Judeo-Christian mentality), but I think I should worry about me & mine and let the experts oversee themselves. Peer review should be sufficient to avoid Frankenstein-level freakiness.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:53 AM on June 27, 2005


And right now "Frankenstein-level freakiness" could be legally happening anyway. As long as they use their own private money they can go nuts in the USA.

The problem is that only the government funds basic research, and that research then has tons of restrictions on it.
posted by Iax at 1:44 AM on June 27, 2005


I didn't read Heywood's comment, but I just want to say it's extremely silly to think peer review will keep Arkham University's Biology Department in check.
posted by trondant at 4:09 AM on June 27, 2005


Scientific American has a feature article The Future of Stem Cells.
posted by daksya at 9:38 AM on June 27, 2005


Heywood Mogroot writes "Didn't RTFA" - ?read the fucking article???
but I think I should worry about me & mine and let the experts oversee themselves

Heywood Mogroot, not to denigrate you but wouldn't this attitude keep us all ignorant about a great many things in life that might be outside of our personal frame of reference, were we to follow it? I should hardly open a magazine or click on a link for fear of nosing into business outside my immedidate concern.

The most interesting thing in the article to me was the historical perspective spoken of by James Thomson. He noted that the promise of the early 70's that gene therapy would be the vogue clinical therapeutic tool has not panned out. And so with embryonic stem cells, he thinks that utilizing the techniques for growing a 'test tube' heart for drug testing for example would likely have more near future applications than growing a heart for transplant back into the patient from whom the cells originally derived.
He seems to only modestly condemn the stem cell policy of the present adminstration (and in fact, moreso identifies that it makes for an incongruous policy dichotomy) but being a bit PC towards the govt. is probably going to ensure he doesn't have to suffer funding problems I guess.
posted by peacay at 1:19 PM on June 27, 2005


We're Not Dismembering Babies
posted by homunculus at 2:59 PM on June 27, 2005


"the two announcements hinted at a brave new world of medical possibilities and moral debates"

Real subtle. I guess we know where the author stands.
posted by BarePaw at 8:23 PM on June 27, 2005


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