Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Politics in Science

One of my compadres over at PAWatercooler noticed this:

In perhaps his most ridiculous, hateful, and insane action as president yet (and that’s saying something), Barack Obama has reversed an executive order calling for more research with forms of stem cells which do not involve destroying human embryos. So much for embracing science. Barry is embracing abortion while ignoring the type of stem cell research which actually works.

It's my understanding (though I am certainly open to some more informed opinion on this) that while non-embryonic stem cell research might not have the same range of potential that embryonic cells have, certain adult cell applications are more promising in the short term due to their increased stability -- the flip side of reduced pluripotency -- not to mention the research that has been done on non-embryonic stem cells in the supposed Dark Ages of the Bush administration's funding ban.

With all the waste that has been promoted by this administration I find no reason to not pursue both lines of research other than a petty hostility to all things Bush. Why would we not want to at least explore a stem cell solution that avoids ethical concerns?

6 comments:

cbullitt said...

I wrote about this a couple days ago with a link to a dr. who quotes an Israeli study saying embryonic stem cell implants can lead to runaway tumor growth.

Samay said...

Obama didn't restrict access to the other stem cell lines.

Anonymous said...

I think there are a couple of points to make here.
1) Adult derived stem cells have been used in medicine for decades (bone marrow transplant). They are swell and have saved thousands of lives and continue to do so. Current sources include bone marrow (less common), peripheral pheresis (inducing expression of precursor cells, concentrating and infusing), and cord blood (cells derived from umbilical cords).
2) There is a difference between forbidding research on non-embryonic stem cells and reversing an "executive order calling for MORE research with forms of stem cells which do not involve destroying human embryos". Even from the grammar - you aren't barring those investigatiosn - just de-emphasizing it as you broaden the scope of stem cell investigation.
3)The comment by cbullit is essentially meaningless in the discussion of embryonic cells. The purpose of stem cell investigation is not necessarily to implant these cells themselves but to understand the process of cell differentiation. Stem cells have the potential to help us understand cancer, to replace damaged tissue, to cure diabetes and a host of other congenital anomalies - all kinds of laudable goals.
4) I can see how thinking people have different perspectives on stem cells - that will be a durable division.
- Matt

Sockless Joe said...

2) There is a difference between forbidding research on non-embryonic stem cells and reversing an "executive order calling for MORE research with forms of stem cells which do not involve destroying human embryos". Even from the grammar - you aren't barring those investigatiosn - just de-emphasizing it as you broaden the scope of stem cell investigation.

Having gone back and read the original Bush E.O., it has some generally pro-life language that I can see why Obama would want to rescind the E.O.

However, with the lack of a specific mandate to explore induced pluripotency, etc, the issue is effectively moot, and administration policy is pretty clear as to what will be getting funded.

Anonymous said...

Not necessarily - the value of using adult stem cells would be the possibility of using an individuals cell for self or related family member - still an area that will receive aggressive research attention...

Matt

Samay said...

also, your "comrade" needs to tone it down a notch.

We're talking about re-use of abandoned embryos that were headed for a dumpster.