Friday, November 30, 2007

Stem Cell Vindication

If Charles Krauthammer's description is accurate, then Bush's much vilified position was extremely important, on its own merits and for its future implications. I don't know enough about the subject to say if Krauthammer's depiction is accepted by everyone, but the relative silence the breakthrough has been greeted with may be an indication it is.

1 comment:

Lydia McGrew said...

This is a subject I've read up on quite a lot. The reprogramed adult cells are at least as good as embryonic cells for the purposes desired. Better in the sense of being person-specific and hence avoiding rejection. The tumor concerns--though you might not hear this from everyone--are universal to pluripotent cells and would be a problem with embryo-derived cells as well.

I have always contended that it is unlikely, because of the real possibility of tumors, that pluripotent cells (however derived) will have the therapeutic benefits for which some have hoped. For treatments, I think our best hope lies with multipotent cells, because the greater level of differentiation means that the cells are more stable and less likely to develop into tumors.

However, to the extent that pluripotent cells are relevant for research, treatment, or anything else, the reprograming technique should really end the whole debate. There is no reason whatsoever at this point to derive cells from embryo destruction, and those who call embryo-derived cells "still our best hope" and other such phrases really have no evidence on their side whatsoever.

It's worth pointing out too that it's very hard to get human eggs, and the reprograming technique obviates this problem.

I recommend

for updates on all of this, as well as on media reactions.