2/14/2007

The Great News About Stem Cell Research the NYT Doesn't Want You To Hear

Instapundit points to an astonishing article by Michael Fumento entitled Code of Silence about new discoveries about non-embryonic stem cells:
"Scientifically, all embryonic stem cells tend to become cancerous; they require permanent, dangerous, immunosuppressive drugs because the body rejects them as foreign; and they are difficult to differentiate into the needed type of mature cells. Non-embryonic stem cells, however, do not become cancerous; they are far less likely to cause rejection (especially the youngest, including umbilical cord and amniotic/placenta); and they have been used therapeutically since the late 1950s (originally for leukemia) because they have the amazing ability to form the right type of mature cell merely upon being injected into a body that needs that type of cell.

As stem cell researcher Malcolm Alison of the University of London told a British newspaper, the amniotic cells "appear to be at least as malleable as embryonic stem cells but without all the ethical baggage."
[emphasis mine]

You should read the whole thing, because it's clear and well-written. My understanding has been that embryonic stem cells have two unique characteristics that makes researchers eager to use them despite the aforementioned drawbacks:
  1. They can be multiplied outside the body for a long time
  2. They can be 'differentiated' into all three 'germ layers', which means they have the potential to create all 220 types of cells in the human body
In the January issue of Nature Biotechnology, Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine published findings of a study showing that stem cells from amniotic fluid exhibit these same characteristics.
"Atala's new amniotic stem cells grow as fast outside the body as embryonic stem cells (doubling every 36 hours), and he's now been growing the same stem cell line for two years, with no indication of slowing.

and

As Atala told PBS's Online NewsHour, "We have been able to drive the cell to what we call all three germ layers, which basically means all three major classes of tissue available in the body, from with all cells come from."

The article has much more detail about this exciting work. I didn't know that non-embryonic stem cells "cure and treat more than 70 diseases and are involved in almost 1,300 human clinical trials", did you?

The article also expounds on efforts by the New York Times and Newsweek to suppress and distort this news. You can read about that, too, and be glad that many researchers are making great strides despite this type of tomfoolery.



posted by Mike at 8:19 AM


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