Stem Cell Research

What are “Stem Cells”?

They are a “blank” or “generic” cells that can be programmed to become other types of cells – skin, heart, blood, nerve, hair, etc.  They can reproduce and potentially regenerate tissue.

What is so special about them?

If new types of cells can be harvested, they can be used for healing, regeneration, treatment of injuries and diseases.

  • neuron cells for degenerative brain diseases
  • new heart cells to replace damaged heart tissue
  • insulin-producing cells for diabetes
  • cell therapies for cancers
  • cell regeneration for organ transplants

Types of Stem Cells

  • Embryonic: come from the human embryo (ESCs)
  • Non-embryonic: adult

What is the controversy about regarding embryonic stem cell (ESC) research?:  It kills human life in the process

  • Does not involve the death of a human life
  • Has already produced hundreds of successes

Non-embryonic stem cell treatments and cures – a few examples:

  • In South Korea a 20-year old quadriplegic received transplanted umbilical cord stem cells to the site of her spinal injury.  She’s ow mobilel with a walker.
  • June 208 – British doctors replaced the damaged windpipe of a 30-year old woman with one grown from her own stem cells at Bristol University

Adult Stem Cell Successful Uses

  • In the US, Germany, Brazil and France, human patients have been treated with their own stem cells to regenerate heart muscle destroyed during a heart attach or injury.  In most cases this was successful.

Cancers:

Brain Cancer – Retinoblastoma – Ovarian Cancer – Skin Cancer: Merkel Cell Carcinoma – Testicular Cancer – Tumors abdominal organs Lymphoma – Non-hodgkin’s Lymphoma – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia – Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Chronic – Chronic Myelogenous Leukemai – Juvenile Myelomonocystic Leukemia – Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia – Cancer of the lymph nodes:Angioimmunoblastic Lymphadenopathy – Multiple Myeloma – Myelodysplasia – Breast Cancer – Neuroblastoma – Renal Cell Carcinoma – Various Solid Tumors – Soft Tissue Sarcoma – Ewing’s Sarcoma – Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia – Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocystosis – POEMS syndrome – Myelofibrosis

Auto-Immune Diseases:

Diabetes Type I (Juvenile) – Systemic Lupus – Sjogren’s Syndrome – Myasthenia – Authoimmune cytophenia – Scleromyxedema – Scleroderma – Crohn’s Disease – Behcet’s Disease – Rheumatoid Arthritis – Juvenile Arthritis – Multiple Sclerosis – Polychondritis – Systemic Vasculitis – Alopecia Universalis – Buerger’s Disease

Cardiovascular:

Acute Heart Damage – Chronic Coronary Artery Disease Ocular Corneal regeneration

Immunodeficiencies:

Severe combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome – X-linked Lymphoproliferative Syndrome – X-Linked Hyper Immunoglobulin M Syndrome

Neural Degenerative Diseases and Injuries:

Parkinson’s Disease – Spinal Cord Injury – Stroke Damage

Anemias and Other Blood Conditions:

Sickle Cell Anemia – Sideroblastic Anemia – Aplastic Anemia – Red Cell Aplasia – Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia – Thalassemia – Primary Amyloidosis – Diamond Blackfan Anemia – Fanconia’s Anemia – Chronic Epstein-Barr Infection

Wounds and Injuries:

Limb Gangrene – Surface Wound Healing – Jawbone Replacement – Skull Bone Repair

Other Metabolic Disorders:

Hurler’s Syndrome – Osteogenesis Imperfecta – Krabbe Leukodystrophy – Osteopetrosis – Cerebral X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy

Liver Disease:

Chronic Liver Failure – Liver Cirrhosis

Bladder Disease:

End-Stage Bladder Disease

Human Trials with ESC research

  • Supposed to start June 2009 – were put on hold due to test animals experiencing significant side affect after receiving the proposed treatment.
  • Geron Corporation proceeded with human testing in October 2010 – results pending.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research = Millions of dollars paid to kill human lives, countless hours of research time and money that could be used for the advancement of proven methods of stem cell use.

So why the relentless pursuit of embryonic stem-cell research?

  • Believed to hold great promise due to their (ESCs) potential to develop into many other cell types (“pluripotency”)
  • Some see their pluripotency as being able to treat a wider variety of conditions
  • Possible lucrative source of money
  • ESC research may soon be obsolete
  • “induced pluripotency” – scientists are learning how to take adult stem cells and “reprogram” them to have the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells
  • This would make ESC research basically unjustifiable and superseded.
  • Those who profit from ESC research, however, are unlikely to just cease.  They may try to “justify” their continuation by saying that ESCs may yet prove to be better…

Where do the embryos come from?

  • Fertility drugs cause the production of many embryos (typically 10-30), but only one (or two) are implanted – the rest are sent to ESCr labs.

What if ESC eventually succeeded?

  • No matter how successful, it would still involve loss of human life and be inherently morally intolerable.

Stem Cell Research Links

Stemcellresearchfacts.org is a pre-eminent website giving the facts about adult and embryonic stem cell research in a way that is clear, concise and perfect for research projects. 

Do No Harm – the Coalition of the Americas for Research Ethics has current research, news, commentary, and other information on embryonic and adult stem cell research.

Cells for Life – Dr. Peter Hollands, PhD in Stem Cell Biology from Cambridge University in England is the Scientific Director of this organization dedicated to the preservation and use of umbilical cord blood in regenerative stem cell medicine.