Tuesday, August 15, 2006

ESCR encore

How many times are we going to do this? A lot....

In one of the weekend papers (I believe the Cincinnati Enquirer ) there was an article about a 27 year old man who went to D.C. to lobby for additional federal funding of ESCR. Of course, as we know, it didn't work, but still he's hoping for it, although he didn't seem all that bitter in the article. I forget the exact details, but I believe he has leukemia and then kidney problems, so he used cells from his sister and such to keep him alive. He has no idea when the cancer will come back, but it's a pretty certain guess that it will come back.

Like I said, I'm not totally heartless. We're really not, those of us that don't support ESCR. But can't we focus on adult funding, which has actually shown results? And doesn't have moral/ethical qualms attached to it? Why is this so hard? I would never, ever support ESCR, as we know. It goes against my moral beliefs, my religious beliefs, everything. I don't care how big the cells are, we were all exactly that size once. How quickly we forget.

Enough for now, b/c we've covered this other places. But it's amazing how often it just pops up.


andrea said...

Just for some additional info:

Adult stem cells are significantly different than embryonic ones. Theoretically, with the right environment/growth factors, you can make an embryonic stem cell change into any cell in the body you want. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are already farther along on the developmental scale and cannot become certain cells. Therefore, adult stem cell research is significantly limited (and has less possibilities).

In addition, I think that the fact that there has been funding for the adult stem cell research (and none for embryonic) is why this area has shown more results than the embryonic research - not that adult cells are easier to work with or better.

Not that I'm promoting embryonic stem cell research here - I'm just trying to fill you in on some scientific background for the argument! :-)

J.D. said...

I think the fundamental point in opposing things like ESCR is not the scientific practicality, but to actually hit the root of the principles involved. If an embryo is a human being, then there is neither more nor less justification in sacrificing that embryo to cure leukemia than in, say, sacrificing the life of a toddler.

It may be cynical, but I suspect many of those who are desperate for the magical solutions of ESCR would be willing to do even the latter, if it meant even the faintest chance for a cure. Convention rather than conviction is the only reason infants are not now used in medical experimentation.

That is the essential question: Are we justified in sacrificing one innocent human being for another?