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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

Chris of Rights and Charles Martin <-- Lists of debunked Sarah Palin rumors

"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Friday, August 05, 2005

Another potential stem cell source

Since government money is not in infinite supply, it amazes me that some people have an unbreakable desire to direct federal funding to only one source of stem cells that also happens to be the most controversial. Why not direct it to research that has shown the most success and has the least moral controversy? Of course, this passes over the notion of whether government should be putting any money whatsoever into such research. I think some could make a very good argument that it goes beyond the Constitutional powers allowed to the federal govt. or at the very least, government is not very successful at picking the correct technology to promote and therefore money is wasted, while the private sector takes a different route.

As it stands, there is no ban on scientific research with embryonic stem cells (ESC), in the United States. The Bush administration has merely limited federal funding to existing embryonic stem cell lines. This being the case, why has private investment gone mostly towards adult stem cell technologies? When one's own money is at stake, one tends to invest it what has the highest potential for reward.

It is undeniable that adult stem cells have the most success in actual practical treatments in humans. If the federal government is going to be involved, why not follow the market and continue investing in what has shown success? With no ban against ESC research, why not let the market lead?

This may become irrelevant though, if thoughtful scientists keep finding new sources for stem cells as the following article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:

These cells -- called amniotic epithelial cells -- share many of the characteristics that make embryonic stem cells so highly coveted, such as the capacity to become cells for other body tissues and organs and to make copies of themselves, according to Stephen Strom, an associate professor of cellular and molecular pathology at Pitt.

Unlike embryonic stem cells, their harvest doesn't require the destruction of human embryos.

Amniotic epithelial cells can be collected after full-term childbirth from the placenta's amnion, a thin cavity filled with fluid that forms eight days after fertilization to cushion the fetus, Strom said.

Now, the question I have is what would it take for some to give up on destroying embryos; too see that the cost is not worth the very much hyped, yet unfulfilled fantasy of cures for everything? Sadly, some may not give up on the desire to harvest embryos, no matter how many good alternatives become available. When there is only a fairy tale for justification, it is easy to change criteria and rationalize desires, while ignoring the dangerous road that society is being asked to take. Even now, other countries may be on the verge of choosing to ignore the dangers and "bravely" moving forward with ESC research and destruction. I pray and hope the United States is thoughtful enough to choose a better path.

Previous posts:

What Kool-Aid do GOP Senators drink?
Embryonic stem cells - Narcissism unleashed
Stem cell research
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