July 28th, 2006

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12:22 pm - on children, clones and cell research...

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on children, clones and cell research... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: cuddlyd00m Date: July 28th, 2006 - 10:42 pm (Link)
Well, first and foremost, no embryonic stem cell (ESC) research has been banned in the U.S., contrary to what people would like you to believe. What has happened is that research on stem cells not on a list of currently established cell lines cannot receive federal funding. That's all.

To say that the research was banned is equivalent to saying that the U.S. Army banned smoking when they stopped including cigarettes in C rations. Just because they're not going to pay for it doesn't mean they're not allowing it.

The real question is: why aren't any drug companies funding such research? They can smell money a mile away. If there were money to be made (and a cure for Parkinson's would be a licence to print money), they'd be funding it themselves. So why aren't they?

Well, there has been NO progress yet on ANY therapy involving ESC's. None. At all. Despite what the researchers who are working on them want you to believe. This is the dirty little secret of the cellular biotechnology world.

You want to know what they have created for the most part? Teratomas. Direct translation: Monster Tumors. These are cancerous bodies containing a multiplicity of differentiated cell types. So, you get a tumor with bone, teeth and hair. They are, in fact, one of the most disturbing things I've seen in my entire life.

Let's assume, though, that they get past that point. Well, you're going to have the same rejection issues you have with any transplant. Your very sick patient is going to end up on immunosuppressive drugs for a long time, and will likely catch pneumonia. Hope it doesn't kill him.

Now, adult stem cell (ASC) research is moving along quite well. There are no issues over funding, and no question of destroying human life to generate them. Best of all, you get cells from the patient. No question of rejection, because they're the patient's own cells. There are a number of different sources for ASC's - one of the most promising happens to be fat. Adipose-derived stem cells are one of the by-products of liposuction. They can differentiate into nerve, bone, muscle, connective tissue cells, and several more that I can't think of at the moment. Implant them with the right growth factors to drive differentiation along the pathway you want, include biodegradable scaffolding for them to grow on, and you have a fixed patient.

So, how far along are things with ASC's? They're working on the scaffolds. The cells are great. We know the signalling molecules to use in many, many cases. It's just a question of delivery now. Oh, and drug companies are lining up to get in on the research.

So, given all that, what's my opinion on ESC research, and the "ban"? I think you can tell.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 31st, 2006 - 02:47 am (Link)
ah... a different argument. First lets go with the specifics of the veto. Yes, I know. I've addressed that elsewhere.

Now onto your new issues. I find your anology between stem-cells funding ban and cigarrette provisions kinda weak, but I'll support it. That said, I absolutely believe that cigarettes should be included in rations. If I'm sitting on a fence line waiting for days to shoot someone before they shoot me, then I damn sure want a smoke on me. And if I got placed on said fence line by the government, then yes, its the least you could do to give me a carton of Marlboros. That's all I'm saying. You don't want yours, that's fine. Pass that over. Also, if I'm going to be deployed for a while, it'd be nice if Uncle Sam could hook a brother up with a copy of Penthouse or two. At least an issue of Juggs.

Now, the converse arguments to your actual points. One the fact that ESC research hasn't yielded results. We could debate this, but I don't really care because it doesn't matter. The fact that results haven't been reached is irrelevant. We don't have a working AIDS vaccine either. But I still think we should work on one.

Argument 2. Drug companies aren't interested in ESC because they have ASC. That's fine. But I'd argue its all the more reason for federal funding. Same reason I am in favor of the NEA, Social Security and Welfare. We could reduce all of this to a fiscal argument of big government vs. little government, but that wouldn't matter either. Because at the end of the day, George Bush didn't veto the bill as a matter of fiscal policy. If he had, I'd actually support his decision as it wouldn't be arguable. It would be inline with his established little government platform that he ran on 6 years ago. He didn't veto the bill because ASC was working and ESC wasn't. I'd actually understand that as well (obviously, from my constant arguing of alternate sides of various issues, my agreeing with something has nothing to do with my understanding it).

No, in his own words, he vetoed the bill to save innocent lives. That was a religious argument due to what you are quite correct in pointing out was a fiscal issue. And that's what I take exception to. He stood up on a stage in front of a dozen frozen embryo babies and argued that he was vetoing the bill because if ESC were allowed to exist then those children couldn't. And that was patently false, and that's what bothered me.

That said, I'm not even complaining about that. I'm more asking for people's rationales as to why stem cell research is wrong or right. Your answer is effectively "its wrong, because its expensive and ineffective" which, while not my point, I do consider more or less a reasonable answer.

Sorry to write so much in response, but with everyone else, I basically answered bits and pieces to different people. Your arguments were more unique, so there was a lot more to respond to.
[User Picture]From: cuddlyd00m Date: July 31st, 2006 - 03:24 am (Link)
I wrote an ethics paper on this exact subject last year. While I've reproduced much of it in my previous reply, I'd be happy to send you the paper as well - I'm a lot more cogent when writing for a grade. :)

Now, to explain my ethical response to this issue.

I'm very torn. Part of me believes that life begins at conception. Part of me disagrees with that. That's all I can really say at the moment. I've tried numerous times to add more to this paragraph, and keep coming up with something that is either trite, meaningless, or completely irrational.

What it boils down to, though, is that I believe research on already isolated cell lines should be continued. However, no new lines should be isolated. Better safe than sorry when it comes to the possibilty of ending life. Or, as doctors say, "First, do no harm."
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: July 31st, 2006 - 12:08 pm (Link)
What it boils down to, though, is that I believe research on already isolated cell lines should be continued. However, no new lines should be isolated. Better safe than sorry when it comes to the possibilty of ending life. Or, as doctors say, "First, do no harm."

now that answer I can buy. Like I said, earlier, its consistent. However, as pointed out by so many others in comments here, the embryos that aren't harvested for research or used in baby making are destroyed anyway.

You could store them forever, but then you create a financial issue. And if the embryos are honestly alive then isn't freezing them for eternity and allowing them never to grow just as inhumane and harmful. Like i said... arguing both sides of the issue here.

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