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Past Years of Hype Notwithstanding, Adult Stem Cells Are Now the “Gold Standard”

first_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Medicine Past Years of Hype Notwithstanding, Adult Stem Cells Are Now the “Gold Standard”Wesley J. SmithMarch 20, 2019, 5:17 PM Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Culture & Ethics Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide During the Great Embryonic Stem Cell Debate, circa 2001-2008, I watched “the scientists” blatantly lie about the supposedly low potential for adult stem cells and the CURES! CURES! CURES that were just around the corner from embryonic stem cells. You remember: Children would soon be out of their wheelchairs and Uncle Ernie’s Parkinson’s would soon be a disease of the past.The pro-ESCR campaign was filled with so much disinformation and hype — willingly swallowed by an in-the-tank media — all in a corrupt attempt to overturn the minor federal funding restrictions over ESCR imposed by the President, and to hurt President Bush politically.After the Bush presidency, the issue became quiescent. And now, it turns out that the clinical advances that have been made are not from embryonic stem cells.Punished by University AdministratorsDuring the debate, David A. Prentice — a stem-cell researcher and my good friend — took a sabbatical from his Indiana State University professorship to tout the great potential of adult stem cells (and to oppose human cloning) around the world. He became quite prominent in the debate — for which he was punished by his university’s administration. For example, despite receiving teaching awards, he was moved from graduate classes and his lab privileges were curtailed.Prentice eventually headed for The Swamp to continue his advocacy. He is now with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, where he has continued to track and educate about stem-cell science and engage policy controversies.Prentice just published a major peer-reviewed article in the science journal Circulation Research, in which he details the amazing successes of adult stem-cell research — demonstrating that the ESCR hypers had it wrong and he had it right.The Hypers Had It WrongPrentice outlines the many problems that make embryonic stem cells “ill suited for clinical use,” including the difficulty of  “differentiating and integrating” ES cells into the body, the problem that these cells “have shown evidence of causing arrhythmia,” the potential to cause tumors, and “immunogenicity,” in real people’s language, rejection caused by triggering the body’s immune response.In contrast, ethical stem cells have had excellent successes. For example, “induced pluripotent stem cells,” which can be made from normal skin cells, are splendid for use in cell modeling and drug testing.Hopeful Results from Ethical Stem CellsBut Prentice’s primary focus is on adult stem cells, often taken from donor bone marrow or a patient’s own body. They have also not advanced as fast as was hoped, but they are progressing into clinical uses and human studies. From, “Adult Stem Cells”:Not only do adult stem cells carry no ethical baggage regarding their isolation, their practical advantages over pluripotent stem cells have led to many current clinical trials, as well as some therapies approved through all phases of Food and Drug Administration testing.Peer-reviewed, published successful results abound, with numerous papers now documenting therapeutic benefit in clinical trials and progress toward fully tested and approved treatments. Phase I/II trials suggest potential cardiovascular benefit from bone marrow–derived adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood–derived cells.Striking results have been reported using adult stem cells to treat neurological conditions, including chronic stroke. Positive long-term progression-free outcomes have been seen, including some remission, for multiple sclerosis, as well as benefits in early trials for patients with type I diabetes mellitus and spinal cord injury. And adult stem cells are starting to be used as vehicles for genetic therapies, such as for epidermolysis bullosa.If this progress had been derived from embryonic stem cells, the headlines would have been deafening. The cheering from the media would include anchors dancing with pom-poms!Favored Ideological AgendasBut the media isn’t much interested in reporting adult stem-cell successes prominently because doing so doesn’t promote favored ideological agendas. That’s not good journalism.Prentice concludes:The superiority of adult stem cells in the clinic and the mounting evidence supporting their effectiveness in regeneration and repair make adult stem cells the gold standard of stem cells for patients.That’s excellent news for everyone, and may it continue.But as we benefit from these ethical treatments, the next time ideologically driven scientists, bioethicists, and their media water carriers seek to drive public opinion on scientific issues in a partisan direction by deploying the propaganda tools of hype, exaggeration, and castigation of those who espouse heterodox views, remember how the Great Stem Cell Debate turned out.Photo: An adult stem cell, by Robert M. Hunt [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.Cross-posted at The Corner. Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogoscenter_img Tagsadult stem cellsarrhythmiabioethicisbone marrowCharlotte Lozier Instituteclinical trialsDavid A. Prenticeepidermolysis bullosaFood and Drug AdministrationGeorge W. Bushhuman cloningimmunogenicityIndiana State Universityinduced pluripotent stem cellsjournalismmultiple sclerosisParkinson’sscientists,Trending Recommended Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Wesley J. SmithChair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human ExceptionalismWesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.Follow WesleyProfileTwitterFacebook Share A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Manlast_img read more

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