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Stem Cell Question

Old 03-09-2009, 04:01 PM
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Default Stem Cell Question

I hope this doesn't end up in the bilge, although I suspect it may. In light of Obama's reversal of stem cell research today, I've had a question for years that no one seems to know the answer to.

If the prohibition of stem cell research has prevented a cure for disease such as parkinsons, spinal cord injuries or whatever else this research is supposed to cure.....

Why have these researchers/doctors etc... not moved to countries that do allow this research, or simply have no laws on the books to prevent this research?

I don't understand why the USA is the ONLY place this research can be done? If you tell me its because we have the best health care facilities on earth, I may agree but it doesn't answer the question why facilities haven't been built where this is legal.

Could it be that we should "FOLLOW THE MONEY"? or am I too cynical?

Not political, just curious.
Old 03-09-2009, 04:24 PM
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Some research takes much time and much money. Science is a very political discipline anyway -- right down to what is taught; what research gets grants; what gets published; etc.
Some other Countries cannot afford shoes for their soldiers. Some Countries cannot afford not to reuse single-use needles. There is an endless sea of need out there.
And then there are laws restricting the employment of foreign nationals. Lots of those laws out there.

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Old 03-09-2009, 04:40 PM
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I believe a lot of it has been done overseas. If I am not mistaken, South Korea has made some recent announcements. I'm sure there are others here more knowledgable.
Old 03-09-2009, 05:18 PM
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Why should our doctors and researchers move to another country just to do research? To appease the religious right?
Old 03-09-2009, 05:18 PM
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Stem Cell reserch was HAS ALWAYS BEEN LEGAL IN THE US. Bush just stopped federal funding for certain stem cell reserch. That reserch could nstill be done with private funds but not federal tax dollars.
Old 03-09-2009, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by fishingfun View Post
Stem Cell reserch was HAS ALWAYS BEEN LEGAL IN THE US. Bush just stopped federal funding for certain stem cell reserch. That reserch could nstill be done with private funds but not federal tax dollars.
Thanks

splains it all.
Old 03-09-2009, 05:25 PM
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As far as I am aware, and I really don't follow it closely, every advancement(?) in fetus stem cell research has thus far yielded nothing usable. But using other parts of adult stem cells in similar research has been more successful. I think there has also been some success using cells from umbilical cords. The whole thing is all new research with a very very long way to go -- and with competing theories. Some researches think fetus cells are the answer, some think cloning an ill person's own cells are the answer, some think cells from umbilical cords ... Lots of room for lots of research from different angles.

One of the ironies of claiming fetus cells must be used for the research is that it acknowledges human life begins at conception -- and that doing the research would not be possible without destroying a human life.

There is potentially a huge moral/ethics issues landslide waiting to come down on all of this. While a woman may choose whether or not she wants to take a fetus to full term, it takes a boy and a girl to make that fetus in the first place. An aborted fetus used for research has a both a male and a female creator -- aka a male and a female owners. That has its own problems. But those problems can be circumvented by growing research fetuses in petri dishes -- and that has its ethics issues -- creating human lives with the intent of destroying those humans.

In the West we place a high value on human lives, even lives in petri dishes. In other parts of the world they do not share that same value for those lives. So other parts of the world may become sources of research tissue in the future that causes the West to rethink its values.

The morals/ethics part, the contradictions and arbitrary limits, is more interesting to me than the actual research itself.

ETA - its my understanding, perhaps incorrectly, that no research was stymied by Shrub's ban on the use of federal dollars. And no research was stymied by limiting research to an existing set of fetal tissue that could be closed.

Last edited by Eyeball; 03-09-2009 at 05:31 PM.
Old 03-09-2009, 05:33 PM
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Hello Mike,

The hope of stem cell research is to manipulate cells, through genetic/hormonal/etc means to "become" a replacement for the lost cellular activity. Theoretically, you can transplant/infuse these tricked cells into patients deficient in Substantia Nigra cells (parkinsons) or islet cells in the pancreas (diabetes), or spinal cord (regeneration???) The transplanted cells will resume the lost cellular activity caused by the disease/degeneration/injury.

Stem cells are the hope, because prior to any cell maturing to it's current state, it originated from a predecessor stem cell line. (Basic embryology--all cells in the very early blastula/gastrula/embryo have the ability to differentiate to any eventual mature cell.

Cloning is taking one of these cells and developing an entire new organism with the same genetic constitution of the original donor cell. (Dolly the sheep)

This topic has become a political issue because of the ethical and moral issues surrounding the manipulation of "future life."

Stem cell research is done in other places than the USA. Every soverign government has the ability to determine the laws/morals/ethics of their country. Don't expect the Taliban to embrace much stem cell research. Other countries don't care.

In the US, the shuttle cock is swatted back and forth between administrations, whether there is or isn't embryonic stem cell research funding with government funds.

Researchers do move all over the place. Lots of foreign researchers in the USA/UK/France/Italy. Everyone want's to "invent" the cure for XYZ. Lot's of money at stake.
There's nothing wrong with this.

Grandstanding politicians on each side of the isle shameless take positions for their own gain. They claim to represent their constituents, and take the name of "science" or "life" and hijack it for their own use. AlGore has done this with climate "science." Obama and Bush have done this with embryonic stem cell research.

Final point. There are very serious ethical considerations and issues related to embryonic stem cell use and research. The issues are particular complex, and vague, so be very wary of zealots from either side. These ethical issues would take pages to enumerate here, but they are very real. Society will have to come to terms with the future of this field, for the better or worse.
Old 03-09-2009, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sprockets View Post
I believe a lot of it has been done overseas. If I am not mistaken, South Korea has made some recent announcements. I'm sure there are others here more knowledgable.
Sadly, the prominent South Korean stem cell researcher has been discredited as a fraud. He fudged his numbers and produced unreproduceable results.

There are frauds in all fields. Yes, Korea produces many excellent medical researchers. Not this guy.
Old 03-09-2009, 05:41 PM
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Good stuff, very informative, thanks.

As far as the politicians, as I suspected, follow the money. This is why you can't get the news from the news!
Old 03-09-2009, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dssmith View Post

There are very serious ethical considerations and issues related to embryonic stem cell use and research. The issues are particular complex, and vague, so be very wary of zealots from either side. These ethical issues would take pages to enumerate here, but they are very real.

Well, they are very real in the West. I can guarantee you not everyone in Asia agrees the ethical issues with using embryonic tissue for research is "serious", "complex", "vague" -- or even an ethical issue at all.

So. Korea has tried to clone every animal it could get its hands on. I wouldn't bet a nickel there was never an attempt to clone a human somewhere in that bunch.
Old 03-09-2009, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dssmith View Post

Stem cells are the hope, because prior to any cell maturing to it's current state, it originated from a predecessor stem cell line. (Basic embryology--all cells in the very early blastula/gastrula/embryo have the ability to differentiate to any eventual mature cell.

Embryonic stem cells are the hope, but so far, not the cure for anything. Adult stem cells are. They were just talking about this on the radio; current score: 85 to ZERO. Adult stem cells and stem cells from umbilical cord blood have been successfully used to cure or find therapy for 85 different diseases, including some that were previously terminal illnesses. Embryonic stem cells have cured nothing. Some attempts are implant embryonic stem cells have resulted in some really ghoulish results. Most recently, a guy in China that had one of those stem cells implanted in his brain grew teeth and toes in his brain tissue. Another person grew an arm out of his neck, a woman grew a nose on her foot. So you are right, those embryonic cells can grow into anything -- anywhere -- on anyone. They can't be controlled.

I had not realized this but there is almost no private funding for embryonic stem cell research, oodles of private money for adult stem cell research -- investment money looking to cash in on new cures. Current theory has a person's own adult stem cells as the best chance of curing their disease, not embryonic stem cells, hence the lack of investment funds for embryonic stem cell research.

Me thinks the federal govt has no business funding any research. That's what private investment money is for. If my tax dollars are going to be used to fund embryonic stem cell research I think I am entitled to see the ghoulish results -- on YouTube or something like that. Hell, I at least want access to the entertainment value that is in embryonic stem cell research.

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Old 03-10-2009, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Boehler View Post
Why have these researchers/doctors etc... not moved to countries that do allow this research, or simply have no laws on the books to prevent this research?
I don't understand why the USA is the ONLY place this research can be done? If you tell me its because we have the best health care facilities on earth, I may agree but it doesn't answer the question why facilities haven't been built where this is legal.
I’ve read the body of this post and I know it’s direction, so my following comments are not intended to derail this post nor is it a personal attack on you Mike.
- "You should probably go Really easy on this America is so GREAT part Mike, it’s what puts America in such poor light throughout the world. Many countries throughout the world are miles ahead of the States in many different areas".
- USA is Not the only country in the world that is doing stem cell research.
- The States does not have the BEST health care facilities on earth......well maybe some in some areas.
Mike you should probably rethink your idea of flying a kite in a thunder storm, nothing good can come from it.
- Take a position Mike. In one sentence you talk about doctors moving to other countries that allow stem cell research and yet in the next sentence you say the USA is the only place stem cell research can be done.
- To say the feds are not funding stem cell research in the States is like saying Area 51 doesn’t exist. On the public opinion books the Pres. needs to say they don’t support the research, but that’s as far as I’m willing to take that. Personally I think it would be political suicide for any government to make a stand in favour of it
Originally Posted by Eyeball View Post
Embryonic stem cells have cured nothing. Some attempts are implant embryonic stem cells have resulted in some really ghoulish results. Most recently, a guy in China that had one of those stem cells implanted in his brain grew teeth and toes in his brain tissue. Another person grew an arm out of his neck, a woman grew a nose on her foot. So you are right, those embryonic cells can grow into anything -- anywhere -- on anyone. They can't be controlled.
Now I really have a problem with your final words Joe, "They can’t be controlled". BS, researchers just have not figured out how to 100% control it YET. Me personally, I see the good in teeth and toes growing in brain tissue and noses growing on feet. It says the use of stem cells does achieve the desired effect, just the control and direction of it’s use still has to be sorted out. Personally I am 100% in favour of federal funding for this research. I believe society as a whole can not move forward if we as a people say no to advancements in medicine and technologies.

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Old 03-10-2009, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Eyeball View Post
I had not realized this but there is almost no private funding for embryonic stem cell research, oodles of private money for adult stem cell research -- investment money looking to cash in on new cures. .

If this is true, it would explain a lot. Since we live in a sociatal and capitalistic vacuum, that void would certainly be filled with private funds if the risk/reward where there. Don't you think?

Only our Government ignores risk/rewards, not the private sector.
Old 03-10-2009, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Boehler View Post
If this is true, it would explain a lot. Since we live in a sociatal and capitalistic vacuum, that void would certainly be filled with private funds if the risk/reward where there. Don't you think?

Only our Government ignores risk/rewards, not the private sector.

Old 03-10-2009, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
...Me personally, I see the good in teeth and toes growing in brain tissue and noses growing on feet. It says the use of stem cells does achieve the desired effect, just the control and direction of it’s use still has to be sorted out.

A boy was injected with embryonic stem cells in Russia, went home to Israel and suddenly started growing tumors in his brain, in his spine. I'm not entirely sure but I have a sneaky suspicious that embryonic stem cells growing tumors does not rise to the level of a "desired effect".

WASHINGTON (AP) - A family desperate to save a child from a lethal brain disease sought highly experimental injections of fetal stem cells—injections that triggered tumors in the boy's brain and spinal cord, Israeli scientists reported Tuesday.

But was the boy prone to tumors anyway or were the fetal stem cells to blame? A Tel Aviv University team extensively tested the tumor tissue and concluded it was the fetal cells. Among other evidence, some of the cells were female ...

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php...show_article=1

I agree there needs to be research including fetal stem cells up to the point they are fully understood and their potential for cure or danger can be categorically classified. I just do not want my tax money paying for that research outside of academic environment -- give the money to the universities and let they study it. Don't waste it in the private sector.

A heart doctor was talking about stem cell research last night. He pointed out something else I hadn't realize, using embryonic stem cells for a treatment/cure (if they every find one that works) will require the person being treated to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life. But that same treatment using the person's own stem cells would not.

The doc was saying research is sooooooo close to using a person's own stem cells to treat arterial plaque build up. If/when that breaks though it is going to be phenomenal.
Old 03-13-2009, 01:47 PM
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I guess the whole issue of experimenting with embryonic stem cells just became a moot point if that research depends on federal funds.


Obama Signs Law Banning Federal Embryo Research

On Wednesday ... President Barack Obama signed a law that explicitly bans federal funding of any "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

The provision was buried in the 465-page omnibus appropriations bill that Obama signed Wednesday.


http://www.cnsnews.com/public/conten...x?RsrcID=44943


Oops!!!
Old 03-13-2009, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Boehler View Post
If this is true, it would explain a lot. Since we live in a sociatal and capitalistic vacuum, that void would certainly be filled with private funds if the risk/reward where there. Don't you think?

Only our Government ignores risk/rewards, not the private sector.
First, I'd like to express my admiration for the extremely respectful tone shown in these posts. This is a touchy issue for many, and whatever one's beliefs, they tend to be passionate beliefs. I only saw one smart remark wondering why the government does anything to appease pests like me on the religious right. We're always worried about trivial little little things like life and death...

Mike, this is a key post. Private funds can be used for embryonic stem cell research. And it makes sense that if the breakthroughs were likely, even forseable, some rich gyu would be backing all the research money can buy.

I can see both sides. I'm Catholic, and pretty conservative, so I do not like embryonic stem cell research. From what I know (not much), there is a lot of potential using umbilical stem cells, which aviod the ethical dilemma.

I also am a cancer survivor. And I can say with confidence I don't want a cure through embryonic stem cell research, I'd rather take my chances. So I do have some skin in this game.

Again, I am very impressed with the respect and thoughfulness of the posts. That's not always easy in email, which tends to read as harsher than it was intended. Very respectful.
Old 03-13-2009, 05:22 PM
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I don't think stem cell research was ever prohibited. Federal funding of stem cell research WAS prohibited, but not any more. These are cells from fertility labs, that are NOT connected to a uterus, and are destined to destruction in any event. Use 'em or lose 'em. Is anyone out there besides me old enough to remember when CONDOMS couldn't be sold over the counter?
Old 03-13-2009, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by t3rockhall View Post
I don't think stem cell research was ever prohibited. Federal funding of stem cell research WAS prohibited, but not any more.

Well, you were right for a couple of days. The "but not anymore" only lasted for 2-days. See my post above. When obama signed the last spending bill it contained language that anyone receiving federal funds was prohibited from using those funds for stem cell research that results in the destruction or loss of life. That means the 20 stem cell colonies currently available for research are the only ones that can be used. Exactly the same as under the last administration.


Here is the actual title of the article I linked to above. I had shortened it to remove the suggest of politics that has nothing to do with this thread. I include it now so you can see what I am talking about:

Obama Signs Law Banning Federal Embryo Research Two Days After Signing Executive Order to OK It

The link is above.

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