March 02, 2009
Can We Be Done with Stem Cell Ads Already?

A notable scientific breakthrough:

Scientists have developed what appears to be a safer way to create a promising alternative to embryonic stem cells, boosting hopes that such cells could sidestep the moral and political quagmire that has hindered the development of a new generation of cures.

The researchers produced the cells by using strands of genetic material, instead of potentially dangerous genetically engineered viruses, to coax skin cells into a state that appears biologically identical to embryonic stem cells.

With luck, that will further diminish the odious and disingenuous "Republicans oppose stem cell research" attack line Democrats have become fond of in recent years, reaching a pathetic climax last year (including a trashing from MSM editorial boards).

One would expect that absent a GOP Congress and/or Bush 43 as a foil, the issue would naturally dissipate - it being somewhat important for Democratic majorities to focus on issues like the economy and budget disasters right now. But, it never hurts to have science even more firmly on your side.

Posted by Eric Earling at March 02, 2009 08:02 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Eric, are you trying to confuse the issue? Of course Republicans oppose only embryonic stem cell research. But most Americans would rather that scientists choose their research methods based on science than by the "moral" objections of the religious right that have no practical moral consequences. The article you cite "boosts hopes" that ("with luck", as you say) the damage from Bush's policy will eventually be less than it might otherwise be.

Posted by: Bruce on March 2, 2009 08:17 PM
2. Bruce, are you trying to confuse the issue? Bush only limited Federal funding to embryonic stem cell research. The private sector was free to engage as much as they wanted into embryonic stem cell research. State governments even (supposedly) allocated billions for stem cell research.

For the millions of people in the US that do believe that life begins at conception, the advancement of stem cell research that does not use embryos is very encouraging. Still waiting for the definitive scientific declaration of when human life begins.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on March 2, 2009 08:41 PM
3. Bruce IS trying to confuse the issue. As pointed out by others, there has never been a ban on embryonic stem cell research. In fact Bruce, you are free to write a check out right now or use your favorite credit card.

Most Americans would rather scientist continue to pursue the research that has actually shown results.

Posted by: pbj on March 2, 2009 08:53 PM
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Posted by: gs on March 2, 2009 08:53 PM
5. Poor Southern roots:
Obviously, you have no clue about the issues involved in stem cells and the pathetic lack of science in the Bush decisions.

First, if you beleive life begins at conception - then why would you allow or tolerate all those fertilized embryos being thrown in the trash?

Because that is what happens to the unused embryos. Also, there are many fertilized eggs that never implant (naturally) in the uterus. Those too are flushed down the toilet.

Are you concerned about all of those fertilized embryos - I mean life begins at conception, right?

In the meantime, there are no real replacements yet for embryonic stem cells in the research and the US has fallen way behind most other countries.

Somehow, the currrent stem cell lines are fine (but of course inadequate to really do research) but any future embronic stem cells will not be funded (even though they will be thrown in the trash anyways).

What is better: Using embronic stem cells for research or throwing them in the trash?

I guess you pick throwing them in the trash.

Is that the extent of your argument?

Posted by: correctnotright on March 2, 2009 08:55 PM
6. I'm somebody now! I earned a diatribe from correctnotright. You assume much without actually reading what I said. I'll type slower.

The extent of my argument was that the private sector has always had the total freedom to pursue embryonic stem cell research. Bush only limited (not eliminated) federal funding. If the results of embryonic stem cell research were as promising as you indicate, the private sector would be busting at the seams to fund the research that would make them rich from all the cures they produce. Bush's order would not, did not, and does not stop that. Period.

Look into the facts on stem cell research. Non-embryonic stem cells are producing results at much greater rates than embryonic. This pleases me because it means that it is possible to acheive the end result we all want without needless destruction of embryos.

By the way moron, just so you know, I married into a family with a history of Huntington's Disease. I do follow the research and I do know what the benefits could be. Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me what the absolute scientific definition of "life" is.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on March 2, 2009 09:18 PM
7. Incorrect and Not Right -

"In the meantime, there are no real replacements yet for embryonic stem cells in the research and the US has fallen way behind most other countries."

Please name (and link to ) one successful use of embryonic stem cells in the treatment of disease.

Contrary to fantasyland "maybe's", couldas shouldas and wouldas of embryonic stem cell harvesting, there are real treatments available today tfor adult stem cell therapy - proven in double blind studies.

So, please provide the link to one treatment with embryonic stem cells that has been double blind tested and shown a statistically significant improvement of a condition. Surely there must be something out there since you implied everyone but the US is out there doing embryonic stem cell research.


Posted by: pbj on March 2, 2009 09:30 PM
8. I'm for stem cell research either way. But this debate has always been more about Democrats engineering a nice argument to bash the right, and less about the stem cells. The left has done a great job of vilifying pretty much anything conservative, to the point that just being for a relatively centrist/libertarian position of reasonable fiscal restraint is equated with Hitler or something. Progressive Insanity I know, but another great example of where Republican messaging has been unable to respond. This is a good post Eric, but what's needed is actual Republican leaders to make this same case.

And as for the Progressives, I guess it's a matter of flipped timing as compared with abortion. Progressives are all for protecting the fertilized embryonic stem cells, but more fully formed fetuses are to be sucked out and thrown in the trash.

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 2, 2009 09:49 PM
9. I heard recently about a family that tried experimental treatment on their child using embryonic stem cells. It didn't work. In fact, what they found was that it created tumors in the child.

Posted by: Michele on March 2, 2009 11:42 PM
10. The difference between adult or mature stem cells and embryonic cells is that embryonic cells are undifferentiated. This means they have not matured to the point where they have genetic coding directing them to what they will actually become, i.e. organs, skin, eyes, bone, etc. This is why the scientific emphasis was on embryonic stem cells because it was hoped it would enable genetic engineering to prevent or cure disease or conditions caused by injury. The articles on the stem cells produced from skin cells states they have been able to "create embryonic stem cells". That would preclude the need to use fertilized eggs for that research. However, the hoped for breakthroughs on the genetic engineering side have not been forthcoming with embryonic stem cells, and in fact have produced some disastrous results. To reiterate, as stated above, embryonic stem cell research was never banned, just federal funding of same was restricted. The private sector is free to do as much of this research as they wish. And I agree, it is the height of hypocrisy for anyone to decry fertilized eggs being thrown away, yet remain silent about growing, living fetuses being torn from the womb and thrown in the trash, or if the child survives an abortion, being left to die on its own. Selective morality, I guess.

Posted by: katomar on March 2, 2009 11:54 PM
11. "CAN WE BE DONE WITH STEM CELL ADS ALREADY?"

(Awww, using a serious social issue as a club to bash one's political opponents! That's just wrong, wrong, I say! World's Smallest Violin, etc.)

Science proceeds by pursuing lines of inquiry and experiment wherever they might lead. If a Star-Gazer looks through his telescope, and sees moons orbiting Jupiter, then the weight of evidence has Jupiter revolving around the Sun, not around the Earth. If such a discovery is a threat to the local organized religion, and to local conservatives, well that's just too goddamned bad. (No need to worry: as a Bush-era education bureaucrat, we do not expect you to understand the value of academic freedom.)

Your local hero, Rep. Reichert, will blindly follow the orders of his Party's leadership with no questions asked. If the Democrats, in their control of Congress, schedule a vote ahead of next year's election, how will Mr. Reichert be ordered to vote? How will his high-tech constituency in King County judge his obedience? Not really many comforting answers there for you, hm? (Especially if he brags on TVW about why he votes the way he does...)

But such local concerns are small beer. As the head of Washington State's Naral affiliate once said, "Old men are going to want those cures." All of their righteous rhetoric about life, morality, etc. will mean as much as Teh Right-Wing Reverend Haggard's public pronouncements upon homosexuality & drug use. The Henry Hydes (R-Adulteries) of (y)our world will gladly feed whole orphanages alive into log-chippers, in the forlorn hope of re-inViagrating themselves into violating their marriage vows, yet again. The entire anti-choice political coalition collapses into rank hypocritical muck before your very eyes, to no one else's recorded sorrow. (Undone by science, oh the irony!)

President Barrack Hussein Obama, in his first Inaugural Address, stated that science will be properly restored. (He wasn't asking for your permission.)

Posted by: tensor on March 3, 2009 12:16 AM
12. Tensor--that is probably the most offensive comment I've ever seen on this list, and I've seen a lot of them. The stupid...it burns!

Posted by: Marc on March 3, 2009 05:47 AM
13. Back in the days of Newton, pseudo-scientists and even some actual scientist practiced Alchemey, whose main purpose was to turn ordinary metals into gold. Never mind no one could ever make it happen, they continued to pursue that "science".


I am still waiting for one of our resident troll geniuses to provide a link to a treatment using embryonic stem cells that hase been proven, via a double blind study (the academically accepted method of determining), to treat a disease.

How about we let result determine which lines we pursue? Or all the rich liberals like Soros can pony up money to work on alchemy themselves and not ask the tax payer to fund their follies.

Posted by: pbj on March 3, 2009 06:22 AM
14. PBJ proposes, "How about we let result determine which lines we pursue?"

Excellent idea! And fortunately the scientific community in the modern world has a well-established system of grant applications, peer reviews, etc. to accomplish just that. Laws and executive orders are not a part of this system, and I am glad you agree that stem cell research should be treated no differently from all other scientific research.

Posted by: Bruce on March 3, 2009 08:10 AM
15. Michele@9, in perhaps the most inane of her always hysterically logic-free postings, parrots, "I heard recently about a family that tried experimental treatment on their child using embryonic stem cells. It didn't work. In fact, what they found was that it created tumors in the child."

I heard recently about a family that tried ignoring the request to send this message to 100 of their friends and send all their money to an email correspondent in Nigeria. It didn't work. Their house was struck by lightning, their car blew up, and their cat woke up in the bathtub missing a kidney.

Posted by: Bruce on March 3, 2009 08:18 AM
16. Like it or not Bruce. Using stem cells this way has been a failure!
Giving gov/taxpayers monies for something that has had NO results, shows it's a bad idea and a waste.

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 3, 2009 08:52 AM
17. Science proceeds by pursuing lines of inquiry and experiment wherever they might lead. If a Star-Gazer looks through his telescope, and sees moons orbiting Jupiter, then the weight of evidence has Jupiter revolving around the Sun, not around the Earth.

tensor great. So you've come around on the fact that CO2 is not causing global warming and there is no crisis. Good to see you are now on the side of science.

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 3, 2009 08:59 AM
18. ...in perhaps the most inane of her always hysterically logic-free postings, parrots...

Hey Bruce, it really happened, and if you Google for it the first thing that comes up are mostly scientific journal stories on it.

http://www.sciam.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=embryonic-stem-cells-cause-cancer-i-2009-02-19

Posted by: Mike H on March 3, 2009 09:19 AM
19. Medic/Vet, I don't "like it or not". The only thing I would like is for this discussion to be entirely off SoundPolitics and every other political arena. I think our scientific establishment, while not perfect, does a much better job of allocating scientific dollars than the political system.

We don't debate other scientific research on this forum, and you know very well why. This is not about what's the best science -- it's about a religious/political agenda. Fortunately, the American people have rejected that agenda.

As for people who argue that embryonic stem cell research hasn't led to proven treatments, all this proves is how ignorant you are of the process/timeline for scientific research.

Posted by: Bruce on March 3, 2009 09:21 AM
20. Bruce at 19,

You are in need of memory enhancement. We have debated the science and scams of "global Warming" on this forum.

Selective memories are a great tool for those who wish to deny certain things.

Posted by: Bob in SeaTac on March 3, 2009 09:46 AM
21. As for people who argue that embryonic stem cell research hasn't led to proven treatments, all this proves is how ignorant you are of the process/timeline for scientific research.

Embryonic stem cell research has been around for 30 years. That's a long time to go without proven treatments.

Posted by: Mike H on March 3, 2009 09:55 AM
22. well most people dont know that embryo stem cell research has not provided with 1 case of success as opposed to adult stem cell research who has seen its share of success.

im for both adult and embryonic as long as it can help us.

and dont be too excited yet. it still has not proved anything. and
embryos still needed for stem cell research

Posted by: kelcya on March 3, 2009 10:20 AM
23. #15: Do you not want to hear the truth of one family's experience that was recently broadcast on the radio? Have you not heard that studies with embryonic stem cells have yielded only tumors and nothing positive?

Posted by: Michele on March 3, 2009 10:51 AM
24. @2 Life began a few billion years ago, at least on this planet. The question is not when life begins or even when an embryo is alive (both the sperm and the egg are). The question is when is the resulting thing of a sufficient character to be considered human. Its the same as the question on the other end when we talk about brain death.

These are questions of philosophy and on which there is much debate. When it comes to such things I prefer the government to stay out.

As for stem cells, its not about embryonic vs adult, vs cloned, its about how we fund basic research in this country. Like it or not the government is heavily invloved in the funding of science, especially in the beginning of such endeavors. I would prefer we allocate those funds based on what scientists say is most promising and not what various others whose science training consists of occasionally perusing Popular Science.

So right now that means fund all stem cell research.

Posted by: Giffy on March 3, 2009 10:59 AM
25. @23, Such is the risk of experimental procedures. Do you think all the first transplants went well, do you think that vaccines were an instant success.

Anecdotes are not evidence. Do you really think the scientists who are working on this are morons, or just feel like wasting their lives? There is promising research on embryonic stem cells and on adult ones. We are early one and there will be set backs. And people will die, but that's why there are strong regulations for experimental research and doctors must fully inform people of the risks.

Posted by: Giffy on March 3, 2009 11:13 AM
26. Giffy.

Yet how long should our government keep spending OUR taxpayer monies on this?
If a private company wishes to keep spending, so be. I just think that our tax money must show results.

One only has to look at the earth warming waste out there (gov cash) to see how it can be abused. (NASA-Hanson)

Posted by: Medic/Vet on March 3, 2009 01:26 PM
27. #25: What's funny is that #15 seems not to be interested in the results of something he supports, and instead just hurls ad hominem attacks. And then he calls other 'illogical.'???

Posted by: Michele on March 3, 2009 02:18 PM
28. Thank you Michelle for providing us with the unfounded rumors and innuendo.

You know I once heard that you we're a bot programed write random conservative opinions. I'm think I'm more likely to to believe that over your random miracle tumor story.

Posted by: Dingo Rossi on March 3, 2009 02:20 PM
29. #28: simply google something like "tumor embryonic stem cell sick child" and you'll be able to read about it instead of hurling insults like your friend at #15..

Posted by: Michele on March 3, 2009 02:26 PM
30. How about giving us a link to the story Michelle? Your replying to other, that's some quality programing for a bot. Wonder if you are really a conservative based Turing Test.

Posted by: Dingo Rossi on March 3, 2009 02:33 PM
31. Dingo, in defense of Michele (who I agree could be a bot), the tumor story is true. But as Giffy@25 points out, and as anyone with the most passing understanding of scientific research well knows, this is just one of a million factors that go into determining what should be researched. I actually took her post #9 as a parody at first, until I saw her name.

Posted by: Bruce on March 3, 2009 03:42 PM
32. How about giving us a link to the story Michelle?

She doesn't have to, I did at #18

Posted by: Mike H on March 3, 2009 04:08 PM
33. Tensor--that is probably the most offensive comment I've ever seen on this list, and I've seen a lot of them.

Thank you! But my puny attempt cannot beat this: "We'll stop funding potentially life-saving research, based upon nothing other than our misinformed misinterpretations of some Bronze Age mythology. [And, for the corker:] We'll call this hurtful policy 'pro-life.'"

The stupid...it burns!

You owe Duncan Black an apology.

So you've come around on the fact that CO2 is not causing global warming and there is no crisis. Good to see you are now on the side of science.

Oh, please. Galileo had far less evidence for his 'heresy' (as his local Religious Wrong then called it) than modern scientists do for man-made climate change. His evidence, the four largest moons of Jupiter, was indirect. The evidence for man-made climate change is much more compelling.

(Since you raised the topic, our Administration of President Barrack Hussein Obama has begun classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Your point?)

Back in the days of Newton, pseudo-scientists and even some actual scientist practiced Alchemey, whose main purpose was to turn ordinary metals into gold. Never mind no one could ever make it happen, they continued to pursue that "science".

Newton himself practiced alchemy. He learned that it did not provide answers of the quality his other method produced. This is how science advances, by testing accepted notions, finding them wanting, and devising new notions. Constricting the ability of scientists to do this will not help the effort.

(BTW, man-made nuclear fusion can turn base metals into gold, although not in the way alchemists thought. Failure via one method does not imply impossibility.)

Embryonic stem cell research has been around for 30 years. That's a long time to go without proven treatments.

Once upon a time, the greatest genius of his age tried to devise a powered flying-machine. Leonardo failed. Hundreds of years later, the continuing research of many well-funded worthies still had not produced a so-called 'aeroplane'. Thank God this heretical research was ended, by noting that the Good Lord had not meant for man to fly. We have transcontinental steam trains, and transoceanic steamships; what need has a God-fearing people of flying beyond the pinnacle of The Tower of Babel itself?

Posted by: tensor on March 3, 2009 10:12 PM
34. Stem Cell Enhancers: The NEW Science

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StemEnhance is a revolutionary breakthrough, all natural product that supports adult stem cell physiology. It's the first patented product on the market in the latest phytoceutical category called "Stem Cell Enhancers".

Standing singly, away from all the controversy, some of the scientific community is giving rise to the world's very first patented, organic stem cell enhancer. With only a single dose of this modern day amazement your body can begin the renewal process. In fact, within just one hour after taking this wonder supplement, three to 4 million, yes MILLION stem cells are added to your bloodstream and go to work.http://www.phyl247.com or http://www.phyl247.biz phyl247 970-985-4076

Posted by: phyl franklin on March 4, 2009 03:05 AM
35. Stem Cell Enhancers: The NEW Science

Standing singly, away from all the controversy, some of the scientific community is giving rise to the world's very first patented, organic stem cell enhancer. With only a single dose of this modern day amazement your body can begin the renewal process. In fact, within just one hour after taking this wonder supplement, three to 4 million, yes MILLION stem cells are added to your bloodstream and go to work.

StemEnhance is a revolutionary breakthrough, all natural product that supports adult stem cell physiology. It's the first patented product on the market in the latest phytoceutical category called "Stem Cell Enhancers".

Standing singly, away from all the controversy, some of the scientific community is giving rise to the world's very first patented, organic stem cell enhancer. With only a single dose of this modern day amazement your body can begin the renewal process. In fact, within just one hour after taking this wonder supplement, three to 4 million, yes MILLION stem cells are added to your bloodstream and go to work.http://www.phyl247.com or http://www.phyl247.biz phyl247 970-985-4076

Posted by: phyl franklin on March 4, 2009 03:05 AM
36. tensor,

You are obviously not familiar with the science. But it's never too late to get educated. The fact is that CO2 is a trace gas that plays far less a role in warming than does water. Any basic science student know this, because the specific heat of water is 40 times greater than that of CO2. Water vapor in the atmosphere and water in the oceans are the primary retainers of heat. Experiments show that even as CO2 rises dramatically, it has less of an effect on water beyond the initial amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. That's one of the reasons why even as CO2 has dramatically risen over the last 10 years, we've seen no corresponding increase in temperature.

Further, there are many other oceanic, atmospheric, planetary, solar system, etc. effects to the climate that go far beyond CO2, humans, etc. Much of the real science shows that humans play a tiny if even perceptible role in the climate. And even if we play a larger role, there is the politics of crisis. I know that Rahm Emmanuel tells you to never waste a crisis, but there is no perceptible crisis. And less and less even for the typical environmentalist or Democrat. Have you noticed any perceptible rise in the shoreline at say, Alki over your lifetime that would cause you to panic, or even move your picnic blanket up the beach? No you haven't. Because there has not been any. And even according to the IPCC, it will be hundreds of years before you need to panic. Far outside of any living person's lifetime is by definition, not a crisis.

IPCC estimates of ocean level rise, temperature, etc. have all been far off over the past ten years. They've continually revised, and not met estimates for any serious implications. We'd be far better off dumping billions in to the Democrat War on Poverty, or in to Third World Nations, AIDs, Obesity, pulling troops out of wars, adding more air bags to cars, Stimulus Spending, or just about any other human endeavor that poses a far greater risk to us now, and in the mid and long term future than the climate.

And note how, after engaging in quite lame Civil Disobedeince at the Capitol Coal Fired plant in DC on Monday, protestors then retreated to the warmth of buildings to blog about their ridiculous Che and Hemp Beanie topped shenanigans. The reality is that energy is the industrial respiration on which we all depend for life. It's what built the transformation from a 40 to 50 year lifespan to an 80 year lifespan. Right now, almost every abundant source of energy has the byproduct of CO2, including human burned energy in the form of food.

And unless you leftards are willing to start using nuclear energy, there's nothing else on the horizon that will be plentiful enough to keep you warm, without emitting CO2. Check in to baseload energy numbers, and what it takes daily to keep the gigawatts flowing. Hint, it ain't wind. And wind and solar are subsidized right now to the tune of about $25 per MWh in order to create a tiny fledgling industry that contributes near nothing to our total energy needs. Is that sustainable even with Obama's checkbook? Short answer, NO.

So begin your education here: Discovery Magazine: Global Warming May Stop for Awhile

Posted by: Jeff B. on March 4, 2009 10:11 AM
37. Bruce @14,

"Excellent idea! And fortunately the scientific community in the modern world has a well-established system of grant applications, peer reviews, etc. to accomplish just that. Laws and executive orders are not a part of this system, and I am glad you agree that stem cell research should be treated no differently from all other scientific research."

Um so where are the results for embryonic stem cells. Please link . I showed you mine. Show me yours.

Posted by: pbj on March 4, 2009 10:58 AM
38. "(Since you raised the topic, our Administration of President Barrack Hussein Obama has begun classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Your point?)"

Stop breathing! You liberals are polluting mother earth!

Posted by: d on March 4, 2009 11:01 AM
39. Again we get the straw man argument from pro-embryonic stem cell advocates. There is no ban on embryonic stem cell research. The government has only a limited amount of resources for which to fund research. It is only prudent to spend money on that which actually produces results.

It is interesting that our liberal posters advocate for unproven research like embryonic stem cell that haven't been statistically proven in a double blind study to be effective for any disease, yet they call missile defense "unproven" and to be abandoned when there is in fact evidence it does work.

Again I say to all the lib posters, reach into your wallet and privately fund embryonic stem cell research if you feel that strongly about it.

Posted by: pbj on March 4, 2009 11:06 AM
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