Science and the Stem Cell Debate

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  • 08/24/2006

Merrill Goozner criticized us (or me) for being pro-industry enroute to explaining why I did not post anything on the stem cell legislation vote last month. That logic is convoluted. Goozner is assuming that the drug industry is conservative, and therefore opposes stem cell research and that I am conservative and oppose stem cell research and that therefore as a tool of industry I did not write something that my minders would not like….. Actually, considering that industry supported the California bond initiative and would stand to benefit from stem cell research, that I wrote an oped in the Washington Times in favor of stem cell research Goozner’s logic is shall we say, about as good as his reporting? PS Merrill, CMPI is NOT part of the Manhattan Institute…or do facts not matter in your left wing world?

In any event, heres a post on stem cell research. The latest experiment coming from Advanced Cell Technology — a followup to it’s research with mice embryo’s demonstrate that it is possible to produce stem cells without harming or destroying embryos. According to an article on WebMD:

“ACT researchers Irina Klimanskaya, PhD; Robert Lanza, MD; and colleagues used a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD; it is used during in vitro fertilization techniques. This basically means plucking out one of the eight cells from a blastomere, a very early stage of embryo development.

Such “biopsied” embryos are perfectly healthy and, after implantation in a woman’s womb, develop into normal fetuses. More than 1,500 PGD children have been born.

The researchers cultured 19 stem-cell-like “outgrowths” derived from these harvested stem cells. From these, they were able to get two stable lines of human embryonic stem cells. Under proper conditions, these cells showed the potential to become any cell type of the human body.

Klimanskaya and colleagues predict that the technique will become more efficient in the future.

“Blastomere-derived human embryonic stem cells could be of great potential benefit for medical research, as well as for children and siblings born from transferred PGD embryos,” they conclude.

The findings appear in an advance online issue of the journal Nature.”

For some, even this will be a bridge too far. But for the vast majority of Americans, this approach, if reproducible and usable will settle the debate since such biopsies are already done. Opponents will find themselves increasingly isolated because their position will have shifted to fit the shift in science. The NIH should at the very least provide federal funding to replicate the ACT research.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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