Stem Cell Deceptions: Making Silk Purses from Cow Dung

December 21, 2010 09:00 AM

The facts about stem cell research are not complicated. For example, we know that a stem cell taken from someone’s bone marrow or from the cord blood stored after a baby is born is a stem cell without ethical problems. Such stem cells have been the source of some incredibly amazing progress toward treatment and healing, as evidenced by one study that indicates that the use of adult stem cells for treating heart disease can have positive results. 

On the other hand, the use of human embryonic stem cells, which requires the killing of an embryonic human being, does not appear to be succeeding on any front other than creating hoopla in the media so that more federal funds can be spent on failing research. Such research, regardless of the claims, is unethical.

The third type of stem cell, known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), is allegedly the product of manipulating adult skin cells. The entire argument in favor of these particular stem cells has been that their creation does not involve the killing of a human embryo. But this is not the case.

In a recent article entitled, “The Moral Frontiers of Stem Cell Research,” Matthew Hoberg pointed out, “Besides being slow and unreliable, the techniques [for developing iPS stem cells] were dangerous. Viruses were used to insert specific genes into the adult cells, which increased the cancer risk for the stem cells and thus for prospective patients receiving stem cell therapy. Without a safer technique, the promise of iPS cell research remained in the future.”

Not only that, but Hoberg explained that the demand for human embryonic stem cells is growing, and when it comes to the iPS stem cells, “In order to determine that the transformations work properly and the cells are safe for therapeutic use, researchers need to compare the iPS cells to ES cells, which means destroying embryos. In the long run, fewer embryos may be destroyed in stem cell research as research shifts to iPS cells; but this transition may take years.”

In the meantime, human beings are going to continue to suffer and die. Even though some in the pro-life ranks tout the iPS stem cell research as good, it is far from it. This is how we get from the cow dung to the silk purse. 

But there’s more in this fertilizer fodder. Most recently, researchers have taken to breeding mice from two males! What’s this all about? Dr. Megan Munsie explained, “The mice were not born simply from two fathers. Rather they were created by a complex process dependent on access to fetal tissue, the creation of stem cells, additional embryos, surrogate mothers and natural mating.”

The scientists conducting the research claim that iPS cell technologies played a role in their efforts as well. It is suggested that one of the byproducts of said research could be the promise of same sex couples contributing their own “genetic material” to the creation of a child.

Dr. Theresa Deisher of AVM Biotechnology weighed in, saying, “Too many have given hESC [human embryonic stem cell] proponents what they want, rather than giving the public what they need. As a result the latest experiments are moving toward reproductive cloning instead of toward treatments that will actually help patients.” 

Deisher continued, “The NIH [has] been duped into believing the empty promises of pluripotent stem cells. In order to get Americans to accept embryonic stem cell research, scientists simply convince the public this is the only way and in doing so they have viciously suppressed adult stem cell successes.” 

In an article entitled, “Pro-Lifers Beware: Lead Does Not Turn into Gold–Another Stem Cell Deception,” Children of God for Life reports on the push for embryonic stem cell research by the government and states, “Unlike adult stem cells which cannot be patented, embryonic and reprogrammed pluripotent stem cells hold the potential for millions of dollars to be made by these scientists. It doesn’t matter if these patents ever help a single human being—the money is made up front.”

And there you have it. The stench begins and light is shed on the truth. It’s all about the money. Human embryonic persons are of no interest when pockets can be filled. But the fact is, no matter how you package it, cow dung is always going to smell—even when it appears to be silk.
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