Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Discovery Makes It Obsolete (Again)

The Washington Post yesterday reported (click here) on another major breakthrough in creating from adult stem cells, cells with all of the characteristics of embryonic stem cells. The difference being, of course, these manipulated versions don't come from embryos and, therefore, don't destroy life. The research was published online yesterday at the Web site of the journal Nature (click here). The key here is the word "another" because many may remember about 15 months ago a different group of scientists discovered the first such procedure to do this. Please see this extensively cited post I wrote at the time.

If the first method made the argument for embryonic stem cell research obsolete, surely this method does, reducing to practically nothing risks associated with diseases caused by viruses. Furthermore, doctors quoted in The Post article say more such methods are on the way to fruition.

Regardless, all of the procedures proven or under research have in common the fact that they make research with these emulated embryonic stem cells more accessible and less expensive because highly sophisticated labs won't be needed. That means if there's any cure to be had from them, more researchers, doctors and scientists will be able to have at it. That is to say, if something is there to be discovered it'll happen quicker with more people giving it a go. The embryonic crowd should be delighted.

Of course, the best part of it all is that the divisiveness over embryonic stem cell research — which has produced not one significant medical advancement, while adult stem cell therapy is responsible for dozens of cures — can end, now, right? Let the harmony begin. Oh, were we to wish. ...

Said Mark A. Kay of Stanford University:

"The point is, we don't know yet what the end potential of either of these approaches will be. No one has cured any disease in people with any of these approaches yet. We don't know enough yet to know which approach will be better."

How ironic. Who are supposed to be the flat earthers? Sadly, destroying life still trumps obsolescence, while the argument remains obstinate.