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An overview of the process. Note researchers can use any mouse tissue (the blue box) as the starting point for iPS creation. The method features less manipulation, reducing the cancer risk and produces, for the first time genetically identical cells. It also has higher yields.  (Source: Tom DiCesare/Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research)
Welcome to the stem cell revolution

There has been an ongoing moral debate in the U.S. which has crippled the funding of stem cells and left the future of stem cell research uncertain.  Fortunately, about a year ago, scientists made an exciting breakthrough -- ordinary adult cells in mammals could be reprogrammed with viruses to become pseudo-stem cells.  By eliminating the moral debate, the research reopened the door to one day developing treatments for Parkinson's Disease, Sickle Cell anemia, paralysis, and many other debilitating afflictions.

However, the pseudo-stem cells created from mice skin cells, known as induced pluripotent stem (IPS) stem cells, were not genetically identical like fetal stem cells, and required different methods of triggering for every tissue.  Now scientists with Rudolph Jaenisch's lab at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have discovered a way to transform any type of tissue into a stem cell and ensure all the produced stem cells are genetically identical.

The transformation is triggered by the simple release of a drug; no additional genetic manipulation is necessary.  Marius Wernig, one of the paper's two lead authors and a postdoctoral researcher at the lab stated, "This technical advancement will allow thousands of identical reprogrammed cells to be used in experiments."

"Using these cells could help define the milestones of how cells are reprogrammed and screen for drug-like molecules that replace the potentially cancer-causing viruses used for reprogramming," added Christopher Lengner, the other lead author and also a postdoctoral researcher at the lab.

Lengner alluded to an important fear with the current method.  Past efforts used viruses to induce the transformation and it was found that the viruses could trigger cancer.  A batch of stem cells could unwittingly contain cancer cells that could do far greater damage to the diseased person's body than the ailment they're being treated for.

While the new research still uses viruses, it is different in two important ways.  First the viruses target a specific spot in the genome.  Past efforts inserted genes anywhere in the genome, raising the likelihood of cancerous mutation.  In the new research, lentiviruses artificial viruses, are used to randomly insert four genes (Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc and Klf4).  All mice cells processed thusly have the same number of viral integrations in the same location within the genome.  This both leads to genetically identical stems cells and cuts the cancer risk.

The second important way the research is different is that in its specificity, researchers can now focus on developing replacement molecules to the viruses, eliminating the cancer threat.  The old research only worked on skin cells, so the focus was on developing different methods that could trigger various tissues to become IPS cells.  The new method can trigger virtually any cell -- including cells from the intestine, brain, muscle, kidney, adrenal gland, and bone marrow -- into becoming an IPS cell.

After the cell is transformed, the cell was further modified to wait to switch on these genes upon a doxycycline trigger.  This allowed researchers to control when they wanted to transform the cells into stem cells, with a simple chemical.  The new method is much more efficient, with yields up from one in a thousand cells to one in twenty.

Jaenisch, who is also a professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, "In experiments, the technique will eliminate many of the reprogramming process's unpredictable variables and simplify enormously the research on the reprogramming mechanism and the screening for virus replacements."

The research can be found here in the July 1, 2008, online issue of Nature Biotechnology.

Funding for the research was provided by the Human Frontiers Science Organization Program, the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, and the National Institutes of Health.



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By michal1980 on 7/2/2008 11:39:04 AM , Rating: 5
not a ban on the research itself.

As far as I know, a private company can do research on embyro stem cells, as long as the study is not funded by the federal goverment.

The amount of ignorance of posters on this issue here is funny.

esspically when you consider that they think the president is an idiot. Wheres that mirror.




By daftrok on 7/2/2008 3:04:02 PM , Rating: 4
I agree with everything you said...until you said that the president is NOT an idiot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EvNJWM_NDg

Yeah....


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 4:44:28 PM , Rating: 5
Your premise is incorrect. Morality and ethics have every place in politics. The fact those ethics are motivated by religion is irrelevant...the very nature of politics is the expression of an ethical position in terms of action.

While I happen to sharply disagree with Bush's ethical position in this, it's important to debate the topic rationally and honestly.


By Bender 123 on 7/2/2008 5:47:03 PM , Rating: 5
Please remember Mr. Bush, for all his issues is not Catholic and i am insulted to have him lumped in with it.

as to the serious point you are making, Religion is little else than Codified ethics and morality. There is no connection between freedom and ethics, in fact it is possible (however unlikely) that there can be a benevolent/ethical dictator.

There is a strong sense of religion in this country, that affects all things, because thats how we were built. If you dont want religious view points in our country, nothing is stopping you from electing an atheist, but you need to have a majority share to get there.

As for the point about stem cells saving lives, where do you put your values? Remember, the chicken has little skin in the game when it comes to your eggs for breakfast, but the pig is all in when you eat bacon. Same goes for embryos, either they are people or not, define that and then build an argument that supports it...Its exceedingly difficult and far more intelligent people than us have been unable to do so, so why do you feel that your belief is any more valid than someone elses?


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 6:57:36 PM , Rating: 4
> "Is it ethical to make a woman who was raped and inpregnated be required to have the baby?"

You're still missing the point. If a person believes abortion is unethical, they have a right to engage the political process to have it declared illegal. The fact their beliefs may be motivated by religious reasons are irrelevant.

Saying "religion has no place in politics" is an utterly nonsensical statement. People support laws which fit their ethical code. For anyone who is religious, their ethics are defined by their religious beliefs. Your statement equates to saying people shouldn't have the right to freedom of religion, which is certainly one of the more fanatically horrifying beliefs a person can hold.


By Ringold on 7/2/2008 8:29:48 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Saying "religion has no place in politics" is an utterly nonsensical statement.


I think the breakdown between his side and your own is straightforward. He believes government should only represent a liberal, secular ideology, where as you believe the government should represent whatever the wishes and values of the voters may be.

He makes it clear, however, he's not an American, so I for one forgive him of his ridiculous ignorance of our founding fathers, their beliefs, and the prevailing sense of what government should represent. Religion has been a fundamental part of the prism through which our government has viewed policy choices since, literally, day one.

In case European liberals need help, from Washington's first Inaugural Address:

quote:
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations , and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.


By phattyboombatty on 7/2/2008 7:01:48 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I agree morality and ethics do have every place in politics but those ethics get skewed because of religious beliefs.

One could easily define religion as a person's set of moral and ethical beliefs that they live by. Thus, your statement doesn't make any sense. What you probably mean is that your moral and ethical beliefs have every place in politics but those ethics get skewed because of the moral and ethical beliefs of other people.
quote:
You live in what you call the land of the free, yet denying stem cell research funding which may potentially cure many diseases and many people.

How does the government not spending money on certain research deny anybody their freedom? There is no right in the USA to a free handout from the government.
quote:
Those so called ethics stem from a heavy catholic influence especially for Mr. Bush.

As a previous poster mentioned, President Bush is not a Catholic, which you infer.
quote:
Not long ago 30 states were ready to make abortions illegal. Once again heavily influenced by Catholic ideologies.

Let me just point out that opposition to abortion does not rest exclusively with Catholics. In my experience, the majority of Christian denominations oppose abortion. Also, there is no need to be a Christian to be opposed to abortion. Fundamentally, whether a person opposes or supports the right to abortion depends on the answer to a single question--At what point in a baby's development does it acquire rights as a person to be protected by the state? Some people answer "at the point of inception." Others say after the first or second trimester. There is no scientific way to answer this question, so it necessarily depends purely on policy grounds, with both sides offering compelling arguments.
quote:
Is it ethical to make a woman who was raped and inpregnated be required to have the baby?

Is it ethical to force a husband to endure the shame of his wife's adultery by not allowing him to kill his wife?
Is it ethical to allow a mother to kill her one-year-old baby who she no longer wants because the baby is taking up all her free time. After all, who are we to tell the mother what she can and can't do with her own child.
quote:
In the land of the free you deny gays the right to marry which is once again backed up by religious overtones.

Marriage itself is full of "religious overtones." The federal government does not deny anybody the right to marry. States are free to decide for themselves whether to recognize or not recognize gay marriage. Its called democracy. And some states do recognize gay marriage, but most don't. Furthermore, no state denies anybody the right to get married, they just don't endorse or recognize certain marriages such as same-sex marriages, polygamist marriages, marriages between closely related persons, etc. "The land of the free" doesn't mean a free for all where anything goes. It means the People are free to decide issues democratically, rather than a tyrant deciding for them.
quote:
Bush is continuously quoted with the use of the word God in many of his speeches. He refers to the good book guiding him and his faith and uses it as his excuse for trying to bring freedom to places like Iraq and Afghanistan through war.

And so did almost every previous leader in the USA. Get over it. If you take away all the religious motivation of prior influential people in this country, our country would probably be split in two, there would still be slaves, and there would be very few civil rights.
quote:
At the same time he is doing little in terms of providing for the people of his country.

This country was founded by people who wanted the government to leave them the hell alone. That's what makes this country unique. Every other country in the world is full of citizens that simply want handouts from their government and feel it is their right that every need be satisfied by the almighty government. We don't want Bush "to provide for us." We want him to stay out of our way and let us make our own lives.


By mikeyD95125 on 7/3/2008 3:44:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Is it ethical to force a husband to endure the shame of his wife's adultery by not allowing him to kill his wife? Is it ethical to allow a mother to kill her one-year-old baby who she no longer wants because the baby is taking up all her free time. After all, who are we to tell the mother what she can and can't do with her own child.


A rape victim having an abortion is not about shame though. It is about a woman not being able to carry the burden of child she had no fault in creating.


By Myg on 7/3/2008 8:33:04 AM , Rating: 5
The child has no fault in being created either, so why perpetuate the cycle of fear and misdeed with more victims?

To assert a dominion over the child and be judge/jury and executioner makes the woman no different in essence then the person who did the same to her by violating her body.

It is often said that the bullied becomes the bully; which is a very wise observation, if looked at properly. It would reveal that the pain and emptyness caused by the bully leaves a gap which needs to be filled, which the person who was bullied tries to close this gap by trying to copying the actions done to them in order to try and undo what happened to them.

We all know this doesnt work and at times constitutes "revenge", thats no good. What these victoms of rape need, is not a way to make it appear as though it never happened. They need our Love and caring, our unwavering support and dedication to see they they are looked after.

You are right, it isnt mostly out of shame; infact most women in these circomstances look at their life and decide out of what supports they have. What abortion does is disrupt the natural healing process. It removes a wonderful and unique creation that is the child, it removes a chance for the women to properly heal personally from it (abortion always causes emotional scars) and it denies us, as a society a chance, and an opportunity to share Love and support to others.

Rape is a trajedy and a destructive force against the fabric of society, just as much as abortion is. So why continue the cycle of violence?

Concerning the defition of "Life", that is pointless; because we know and scientifically define a child at conception, "Life". We even concern sperm and eggs with such defintions. The issue with most people is defining wether the child in early stages is a human being AKA:"one of us". Of course it is, and that is scientifically proven by the fact that it wont be anything else; observations of the human growth cycle/DNA anyone?

Anyways, back to the topic at hand please.


By phattyboombatty on 7/3/2008 9:39:03 AM , Rating: 3
The examples weren't meant to be exactly analogous. They were intended to show that many crimes which you may not even give a second thought to have very similar ethical dilemmas.

As I mentioned in my previous post, each of these ethical questions turn on whether the victim is recognized as a life worth protecting.


By Frallan on 7/3/2008 10:32:21 AM , Rating: 3
Masher - for once we acctually agree on something, well at least mostly agree on something LoL.

I agree that morality and ethics has its place in politics - acctually I would even say that morality and ethichs together with law and a a touch of pragmatism should be the basic fundament in politics (would be good if it was so in reality huh?). However Religion should have no place in politics more then as part of the fundaments of our morality and ethical values. Once the boreder is crossed where religion becomes a driver in politics it has crossed into very murky waters.

However as u stated it is good that the religious beliefs of our politicians is discussed openly so that eac of us can make an informed decision.


By Denigrate on 7/2/2008 1:46:34 PM , Rating: 5
Not sure of actual percentages, but the vast majority of money from private investors goes into adult stem cell research, because that's where the actual progress has been made. Embryonic stem cells supposedly has potential, but nothing has actually been accomplished using them to my knowledge.

If adult stem cells can cure disease, then there is absolutely no reason for embryonic research.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 4:11:49 PM , Rating: 4
> "The progress has been made on adult cells because no one's had the money to do anything but"

While I disagree with Bush's action here, I can't allow such patently false information to stand. After Bush barred federal research funds, the state of California alone passed a measure to fund stem cell research at a level far beyond federal spending levels. That's in addition to the billions from private research, as well as nations which didn't bar federal spending on embryonic stem cells, such as Australia, Britain, and many others.

In short, the US action was primarily symbolic, with little real impact.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 4:31:54 PM , Rating: 4
Guess you don't read the Massachusetts news:
quote:
BOSTON, May 8 — Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday unveiled a $1.25 billion proposal intended to help the state maintain its status as a pre-eminent place for stem cell research and other life sciences.
These funds were, of course, not restricted to non-embryonic stem cell research.


By Suomynona on 7/2/2008 8:34:18 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I can't allow such patently false information to stand. After Bush barred federal research funds, the state of California alone passed a measure to fund stem cell research at a level far beyond federal spending levels. That's in addition to the billions from private research


But you'll perpetuate your own patently false information? California passed legislation in 2004 to fund stem cell research at $3 Billion over 10 years. As of now, nearly 4 years later, $0 has been received to give out for research because it is tied up in litigation still. The Governor authorized a loan of $150 Million and they have been giving this out over the last 2 years. Many states talked about doing the same to bring in the biomedical research and to prevent people from leaving for California, but since opponents of this research have successfully tied up the funding in litigation (despite the fact it was VOTED in favor of by the citizens of California), most states have not passed such funding. In addition, your quote talks about a proposal, not actual funding. The law was signed only 2 weeks ago.

Please tell us where this "billions" from private research is?

The U.S. federal government provides the largest amount of funding for medical research in the world. Most people do not understand that what Bush has done isn't a simple blocking of funding. Anyone receiving any medical research funding is only allowed to do work on the stem cell lines that were grandfathered. Most of those are contaminated or useless. If you want to do private embryonic stem cell research, you must create a 100% separate lab. You can not share any resources that may've been funded by federal money. Who is going to pay for all that additional equipment? You risk all your federal money unless you segregate the embryonic stem cell research from everything else.

The action was not symbolic. It has crippled embryonic stem cell research in a country that outspends the rest of the world in medical research going on seven years.

The one thing I can and will credit Bush with is procedures like this and other similar ones probably would've never been investigated or pushed for without his ban. It would not have been necessary.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 10:44:23 PM , Rating: 3
> "Governor authorized a loan of $150 Million and they have been giving this out over the last 2 years"

Which all by itself is more than the $22.5M/year the Feds were funding. And that's just one state. Oh, and let's not forget that in 2000 - the last year Clinton held office, federal stem cell funding stood at $0. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

> "Please tell us where this "billions" from private research is?"

Glad to. This article is a bit old, but it details just a few of the many sources of stem cell research funding:
quote:
Setting aside commercial efforts like those of the California biotech company Geron, consider a few examples of private funding for academic stem-cell research. The Starr Foundation is providing $50 million over three years for human embryonic stem-cell research at three New York City medical institutions, including the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center. Weill Cornell Medical College, also in New York City, has established the Ansary Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics with a $15 million grant from philanthropists Shahla and Hushang Ansary.

In California, UCLA has established an Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine with $20 million in funding over the next five years. Stanford University created the Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, with a goal of $120 million in funding. An anonymous donor gave Johns Hopkins University a $58.5 million gift to launch an Institute for Cell Engineering. The University of Minnesota has set up a Stem Cell Institute with a $15 million capital grant. A grateful patient pledged $25 million over the next 10 years to finance stem-cell research at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston...
http://www.reason.com/news/show/34102.html

> "The action was not symbolic. "

It *was* symbolic. Federal spending on stem cell research before Bush was zero. During his tenure, it was still quite small, and utterly dwarfed by private and state funding. This is indisputable, and only someone utterly ignorant of the field could even attempt to dispute it.


By Suomynona on 7/3/2008 1:02:11 AM , Rating: 3
That's the only state to date. And nothing compared to the $1.2 billion it is supposed to be by now. And where do you think the bulk of the federal money would've gone had Bush not banned it? If the vast majority of the scientists believe the embryonic stem cells have more potential than adult stem cells, what would they research if given a choice between either without restrictions? $200M/yr goes to adult stem cell research. The reason only $20M/yr only goes to embryonic stem cell research is the restrictions.

I'm unsure why you want to include Clinton in this discussion, but embryonic stem cells weren't discovered until 1998. His intended policy was to allow for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as long as the funding was not used to destroy embryos and that the research was not done on embryos created for the sole purpose of medical research. Before the policy was finalized, the Bush administration put it on hold to reconsider. They then placed a bigger restriction than the ones that were to be enacted. So yes, it was $0, but it wasn't going to be for long.

Your private money examples don't even add up to half a billion dollars, and that includes the $150M in California. And all that is over a period of time, not per year.

I'm really not sure what you think symbolic means. If you think it means that what Bush has done (and what he continues to do with his veto power) has no impact on embryonic stem cell research, I can't disagree with you more. The public favors it and Congress favors it. The money currently spent on it (federally) is nothing compared to adult stem cell research. You make it seem like if the ban wasn't there, nothing would change. I'm not saying money isn't being spent. There is probably $200M/yr being spent currently. But if the harshest restrictions are dropped (as has been passed by Congress twice), many, many more Universities will be in line for funding for $100s of millions a year. Not to mention that this ban has been in place since 2001 and all the money that could've been spent in that time advancing research.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/3/2008 12:55:22 PM , Rating: 3
> "I'm unsure why you want to include Clinton in this discussion, but embryonic stem cells weren't discovered until 1998. "

Lol, what? Stem cells were discovered in the early 1960s...and we first isolated embryonic stem cells in 1981.


By Suomynona on 7/3/2008 11:30:17 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, that is all you had to say in response to my entire comment?

I wasn't clear. You are right, they were not discovered in 1998. Read about Dr. James Thomson. He was the first person to isolate human embryonic stem cells. Yes, people knew about them, but no one could do anything with them. His research was published in 1998 and you can view the patent he filed in 1998 at http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PT... . No line was created before this time, so for all intents and purposes, human embryonic stem cell research (with regards to it's potential applications) began in 1998. That was the crux of my point. So LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and H.W. Bush did not make decisions about human embryonic stem cells despite their discovery in the 1960s. Clinton was the first one presented with the issues and Bush was the first one to set the official policy.


By Hawkido on 7/8/2008 4:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If adult stem cells can cure disease, then there is absolutely no reason for embryonic research.


Of course there is a reason for embroynic stem cell research! It is the primary justification for abortion. DUH!


By encryptkeeper on 7/2/2008 3:50:30 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, the stupidity of this was that the president's veto of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (I think that was the name) prevented research on stem cells that were otherwise going to be thrown away. Basically, the bill would have allowed federal funding for research on stem cells that were left over in fertility treatments. You're telling me he was "smart" for not allowing federal money for research on legally created cells that are otherwise going in the trash?


To Be Clear
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 1:20:39 PM , Rating: 5
ok here we go: a federal funding primer

Animal stem cell work : adult or embryonic - fully fundable

Human adult stem cell work: fully fundable; IRB approval

Human primary tissue: fetal or adult- fully fundable IRB approval

Human stem cell work: approved lines- fully fundable

Newly created Human stem cell lines:- not fundable




RE: To Be Clear
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 1:42:05 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for the clarity.

Now, since you are in this field, what is the total Budgeted amount towards this available and approvable funding?


RE: To Be Clear
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 2:58:04 PM , Rating: 3
This is the best I can do. There is no single line item that defines how much is spent on stem cells, or aids or cancer or any other field of study. Every single division of the NIH has RO1 and R21 applications relating to stem cells. Its around 655 million in grants directly focused on stem cell biology, more since many disease grants may use stem cell work as only a part. To put it into perspective its more than what is spent on liver, lung or prostate cancer, aids Vaccines , all of the dystrophic diseases combined and a tad less than Alzheimer's Disease you get the idea. About an 18% increase over 2004 levels. There are about 2100 funded clinical trials using stem cells


RE: To Be Clear
By Suomynona on 7/2/2008 8:41:38 PM , Rating: 2
I only have data through FY07 (millions $):

Stem Cell Research FY03 FY04 FY05 FY06 FY07
Human Embryonic 20 24 40 38 39
Non-Human Embryonic 113 89 97 97 96
Human Non-Embryonic 191 203 199 200 200
Non-Human Non-Embryonic 192 236 273 274 273
Total, Stem Cell Research 517 553 609 609 608


My 2 cents
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 11:54:52 AM , Rating: 5
Please forgive this long post but I think some may want a lay mans terms explanation of what this work is and is not doing. Let me try to explain what is going on. This work is fantastic from a research point of view. The field of inducible pluripotent stem cell holds great promise. To turn an adult cell into a stem cell; genes that express stem cell factors must be re-expressed. In the cells themselves these genes are silenced and we currently have no idea how to wake them, so we put in active copies than are not auto regulated. One complication has been that infection with retroviruses caused multiple insertions in the different cells, generating a random population with many different sites of integration. Some of these events could be a root cause of oncogenesis observed in IPS cells, however the genes that are currently absolutely necessary are in themselves oncogenic. To be fair the difference in an “oncogene” and a stem cell factor is more semantic than real. Rudy’s work cleans this up considerably by creating an animal source for the production of more uniform IPS cells by using them to create a chimeric animal (this obviously cannot be done with human cells). Instead of creating new lines each time with their multiple differences a single source removes some of the “noise” from the downstream analysis. Doxycycline is not a miracle chemical involved in stem cell behavior it is used merely as a switch to coordinate the activation of the transfected genes. The fact is we simply have no idea how a cell goes from toti/pluri potency to a differentiated cell. We understand some of the genes in specific differentiation cascades like myogenesis and hematopoietic differentiation, but we know little about the start of the process, heck only a few years ago dogma implied that differentiation was a one way street. Contrary to the blog not ALL cells can be used some are to specialized others have actual rearrangements of their DNA to reach their state and simply cannot go back. This work gives us a stable platform to use high throughput analysis like Microarrays and Proteomics to hopefully see potential targets that MAY be tractable to stimulation from exogenous agents instead of using transfection with stem cell genes (waking the stem cell genes). Then again when all is said and done we may find the process cannot be done without the risk of oncogenesis. Development is a symphony of internal and external signal cascades, many with feed back loops, the vast majority we still have virtually no understanding of. I fear there will be such a rush that stem cell work will be put into clinical application far too soon and when something bad happens the backlash could literally cripple science. The public are fickle and while many are behind this work a major outbreak of cancer or some zooologic cross transfer of a virus leading top a pandemic infection could lead many to put down their banners and pick up the pitchforks. I’m already seeing studies that NEVER should have been done; being done for the glory of being first and yielding to the pressure of application, before a reasonable understanding of the process has been gained (without exception these studies have failed and worse very little additional information has been gained). I believe slow and steady wins the race, I’m more and more in the minority.




RE: My 2 cents
By BarkHumbug on 7/3/2008 5:43:17 AM , Rating: 4
OMG man! You gotta hit enter now and again, this is like reading a psycho's diary or something...


By kattanna on 7/2/2008 11:42:14 AM , Rating: 4
seriously.. i wonder how long till stem cells are used to start enhancing people, female or males for that matter.

if you can use stem cells to regrow a body part.. how long till they can train them to "enhance" existing ones.




moral not morale
By mattclary on 7/2/2008 10:29:49 AM , Rating: 2
eom




Approved.
By excelsium on 7/2/2008 10:56:02 AM , Rating: 1
We can get away with opening live monkey skulls and stuff this should be easy to get approval or whatever :].




RE: Approved.
By oab on 7/2/2008 11:23:41 AM , Rating: 1
Some people eat that live monkey's brain as it's clamped in the middle of a table. With forks and stuff just pick it out.


Applicability?
By cparka23 on 7/2/2008 11:48:52 AM , Rating: 2
"Well so then if the stem cells are placed next to a Shakey's Pizza, they would become another Shakey's Pizza! And you'd have your own Shakey's Pizza where you wouldn't have to charge yourself to eat!"




Softness Saver!
By FDisk City on 7/2/2008 10:33:17 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Cells Can Now be Produced From Any Tissue


Excellent. Now we can stop wasting Charmin Ultra Soft and just use Sam’s Choice.




What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Bender 123 on 7/2/2008 10:25:29 AM , Rating: 1
As a conservative minded person, this statement is purely from lack of understanding as much as those that speak out against stem cell use are ignorant to the other options for obtaining it.

I, personally, agree that stem cells are a fantastic source of medical knowledge and advancement, but I am not in favor of embryonic stem cells, because of the whole messy abortion thing. There are other ways to collect these cells without that specific point. I say go for these methods.

By the way, beware of non-ethical science...We gained a lot of knowledge about humans and medicine from Nazi concentration camps, but I dont think anybody will say the price was worth the findings...


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Amiga500 on 7/2/2008 10:34:08 AM , Rating: 2
but I am not in favor of embryonic stem cells, because of the whole messy abortion thing. There are other ways to collect these cells without that specific point. I say go for these methods.

+1


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Parhel on 7/2/2008 10:50:21 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
That's the most ridiculous comment I've heard. Most of the so-called science at the campus focused on injecting people with chemicals and bizarre experiments on twins and things of that nature. The German SS researchers were obsessed with the occult and offered little in the way of real science.


You're talking out of your ass. Again

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experiment...

quote:
The modern body of medical knowledge about how the human body reacts to freezing to the point of death is based almost exclusively on these Nazi experiments.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Parhel on 7/2/2008 10:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I posted the link incorrectly. It's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experiment...


By sld on 7/2/2008 2:47:54 PM , Rating: 2
...Human nature to flippantly dismiss what their worldview refuses to accept.


By threepac3 on 7/2/2008 3:26:55 PM , Rating: 1
Can you prove Wikipedia wrong...? Did you follow there references and find misquotes, no quotes, or extrapolations based on incorrect information? Did you really? Before you make a comment like that do your own research, don't spout the latest nonsense you've found on the Internet.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Bender 123 on 7/2/2008 11:03:22 AM , Rating: 5
Jason, I like your work, but you are out of your league here. I have been in BioEthics for over 10 years and believe me, this is a prime example of how beliefs of a culture impact science in a negative way. With eight years of ethics classes and medical training, I can spout these examples from any culture, but everyone knows the Nazis, so its easy to trace back.

The Tuskeegee study is similar, if you are not into the whole Nazi example. Yes, the US government specifically did not treat black patients for easily curable diseases, just to see what happens.

Thats why if you read the post I made, I am for stem cell research, just not for a specific type. We are not going to answer the abortion issue any time soon, so lets use the alternatives, learn and inform about the viability of the alternatives and come to an agreement...These are the deals that happen before any drug/medical device/etc...even hits phase one testing.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 11:16:08 AM , Rating: 2
> "With eight years of ethics classes and medical training, I can spout these examples from any culture, but everyone knows the Nazis, so its easy to trace back."

You are absolutely correct. Furthermore, I'd like to add that, even with this new development, the usefulness of fetal stem cells isn't wholly replaced. As I understand it, these induced stem cells are still genetically modified and thus differ from the original; the advantage is that they're not randomly modified...and thus can be used to generate highly repeatable experiments.

So while this certainly reduces the need for fetal stem cells, I don't see that it eliminates it. The argument therefore is still with us.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/2/2008 11:48:15 AM , Rating: 2
With the thought of original parts are usually the best parts in mind...
If we can generate stems cells from adults. Then could not the stems cells be generated from the patient? Thus matching him better?
Of course, I assuming that they can generate a clean, healthy stem cell and not one caring the same disease or whatever ills the patient. If this is not true then maybe stems cell can be generated from a health sibling or parent and still be better then a random donor?


By tmouse on 7/2/2008 11:57:38 AM , Rating: 2
You are absolutly correct. This is the exact thurst of this type of work.


By eyebeeemmpawn on 7/2/2008 11:26:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We are not going to answer the abortion issue any time soon,


Yes we can, mind your own business :) /end of discussion


By Bender 123 on 7/2/2008 11:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
Let it never be said a Ethicist doesn't have a sense of humor...Nicely done!


By Myg on 7/4/2008 5:41:09 AM , Rating: 2
Are 40 million+ aborted babies not worth thinking or discussing? (USA alone, not including European countries)

Anyone here could of been one of them (which is why it is all our collective business) and not be here today to have these fanciful discussions about perspective and preference. Apparently we didn't care enough to spare millions of others the same opportunity.

The 'Land of the free' is losing ground to the very "evils" it tries to destroy, shame really.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Parhel on 7/2/2008 11:10:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I really can't believe you're trying to defend Nazi experimentation.


Where exactly did I defend Nazi experimentation? I was merely pointing out the fact that, as usual, you are talking out of your ass.


By JasonMick (blog) on 7/2/2008 11:21:34 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Most of the so-called science at the campus focused on injecting people with chemicals


Did you even read the linked wiki article you posted? Over half the "breakthroughs" described involved injecting people with toxic chemicals. AS I STATED. The rest chiefly dealt with exposure (high altitude, sea water, freezing).

While these had some scientific groundings, albeit being extremely immoral, there was a vast amount of research (ie. occult studies) that could not in the least what could be characterized as science.

And it seems to me that posting links lauding great breakthroughs from Nazi research is defending it.

I say that if you actually read that article, most of the "breakthroughs" only apply to warfare and or survival situations. Further, all of those "breakthroughs" could have been discovered without the use of human beings as guinea pigs.

If anyone is talking out their rear its you.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 11:27:06 AM , Rating: 5
> "there was a vast amount of research (ie. occult studies) that could not in the least what could be characterized as science."

You're ignoring the indisputable fact that much of the research conducted was valuable for science.

> "it seems to me that posting links lauding great breakthroughs from Nazi research is defending it."

Flatly incorrect. The OP was merely referring to one of the great debates in bioethics. It's a given that subjecting people to such experiments is unethical.

The debate, however, is this. Since people already WERE subjected to them, should we use the data or not? On one hand, we get valuable information, which very well might save lives in the future. On the other hand, the use of such data might (so the argument goes) encourage similar experiments in the future.


By GTVic on 7/2/2008 1:32:47 PM , Rating: 5
He said that science gained from Nazi concentration camps was not worth the price. Not hard to mistake that.

You then went on a rant about Nazi science, where your facts were apparently taken from your research of the Indiana Jones movies.

You wrote without thinking, got called on it and are now trying to unfairly blame someone else for being unclear. No excuses for that


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By SiN on 7/2/2008 11:17:57 AM , Rating: 4
I think everyone needs to get off this bandwaggon. If your trying to kill people and you investigating how your methods kill injure or mame i would have thought you will learn a lot more on how the subject reacts to the different methods of what you are trying to achieve through the process.

Regardless who did it how and why, there was probably a lot learned about the human body through the process.

To simply deny that the nazis are responsible for some of our knowledge about the human body is very ignorant. I hate how when something brought up is linked to a person/organisation that was imoral, people reject actual working knowledge brought to the table.

The Nazis also discovered testosterone then pioneered Anabolic Steroids to further their "super army".

The allies made great discoveries too, but you have to accept and give credit where its due.

/Just for the record i don't condone racial activities.


By Hawkido on 7/8/2008 5:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
/Just for the record i don't condone racial activities.


WHAT!!!?!!

You don't condone sports?!?!?!

/LOL/


By wordsworm on 7/2/2008 11:22:08 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I really can't believe you're trying to defend Nazi experimentation.


I think he was actually doing the opposite. He's opposing mad, uncontrollable science regardless of which foot (American or Nazi) it happens to be on.

To your earlier post, women could be forced to have abortions in certain places in the world so that unscrupulous doctors and clinics could have access to the raw materials required to make massive amounts of money giving medical treatments to people using those materials.

You might not like what he's saying, but he's not saying what you think he's saying.

Japanese learned a lot about medicine by experimenting on humans. Think of it this way, we learn a lot about mice by experimenting on them. If they had unfettered access to humans, certainly they would be able to cure cancer and lord knows what else by now as they've been able to do with mice.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 11:27:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sorry, but the idea that people are going to start having abortions to harvest stem cells is one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever heard from religious conservatives.


Jason, could you provide links to this? I've never heard the argument stated as you suggest... "having abortions to harvest stem cells"


By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 11:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I found a related link from what appears to be a conservative site claiming that this happened in Ukraine.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/dec/06121202....


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 11:41:21 AM , Rating: 2
Directly from bbc now... pretty disturbing

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6171083.stm


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 12:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
It seems those babies were taken more to feed a flourishing trade in organs, rather than specifically for stem cells. In any case, the argument could easily be made that, by barring the extraction of stem cells from Western abortions, we're simply encouraging an illegal trade from actual, live infants.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 12:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ab...

Looks like there are plenty of abortions in Ukraine where stem cells could be obtained already. The BBC article seems dubious -- perhaps the stem cells are a convenient bonus but the real targets are the organs.


By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 12:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
To clarify, I'm agreeing with your assessment of the article.

quote:
the argument could easily be made that, by barring the extraction of stem cells from Western abortions, we're simply encouraging an illegal trade from actual, live infants


However, this argument would be completely silly due to the large number of abortions performed outside the United States, in Ukraine and other countries.


By Hawkido on 7/8/2008 5:04:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"having abortions to harvest stem cells"


Try reading some of the quotes from enviromentalists... If you can stomach that much garbage... They are all out for the destruction of the human race, "so that mother earth..." (caps omitted deliberatly) "...can breath freely"


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By TheDoc9 on 7/2/2008 11:40:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sorry, but the idea that people are going to start having abortions to harvest stem cells is one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever heard from religious conservatives.


where you see a ridiculous argument, many of us religious conservatives see a more accurate truth. This is just one in a series of reasons that people will and do use to justify abortion.

Others include: I'm too young, meaning old enough to get laid but not old enough to stop having fun and do what I want in life. Why have a child when I have my goals to accomplish?

Or how about: he/she isn't the right person, it was a night out and just for fun. I don't even know this person. I won't let her/him borrow my car but I'll have sex with them.

There's always an excuse and this is just another on the pile - an arguably more justifiable one because by ending one life you're helping save another.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By porkpie on 7/2/2008 12:17:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I won't let her/him borrow my car but I'll have sex with them.
I actually put a surprising number of people into that category.


By TheDoc9 on 7/2/2008 4:25:44 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not surprised I got modded down on that one. Some people might not like it but it's only because they don't want to face the truth. Maybe it's just too difficult for many to accept that they're putting there own self interest ahead of their own child's.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By abscoder on 7/2/2008 10:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
Please tell be you're not really comparing the plight of a 6 week old cell mass to a sentient being.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Spivonious on 7/2/2008 10:40:56 AM , Rating: 2
Let's not get into the whole abortion debate.

A co-worker just went in for her 10 week checkup and listened to her cell mass's heartbeat.

For the record, I'm personally against abortion except in extreme cases (rape, health of the mother, etc.) but I don't think the federal government should have any say in it.


By abscoder on 7/2/2008 10:51:55 AM , Rating: 2
Nope, not interested in a debate on the finer points. Regardless of all our individual perspective on this subject, we'd never come to any reasonable ground on the matter. My comment was purposely neither for or against; was simply suggesting that there is a substantial difference. Maybe not morally (depending on perspective), but certainly empathetically.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By adiposity on 7/2/2008 11:29:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Let's not get into the whole abortion debate. A co-worker just went in for her 10 week checkup and listened to her cell mass's heartbeat.


If you didn't want to debate it, why did you bring up the heartbeat of a 10-week old "cell mass"? Here's something else with a heart beat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLkW7RuI5LU


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 12:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
> "Here's something else with a heart beat..."

I have to say that was a very compelling rebuttal.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 1:43:32 PM , Rating: 4
Five bucks to anyone who can defend adiposity and masher's statements without explicitly or implicitly implying killing a chicken is the moral equivalent of killing a human.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By abscoder on 7/2/2008 1:57:04 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure the statement was trying to equate the two, but rather suggest a heartbeat alone doesn't make a human. It does, however, make a Chevy.


By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 2:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
Spivonious didn't explicitly make the claim that heartbeat = human. I think people are reading too much into his statement.

He was arguing against "6 week old cell mass", by, oddly enough, talking about a 10 week old fetus.

Mostly irrelevant point that I probably should have let slide from the beginning.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By adiposity on 7/2/2008 2:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
Easy, all I did was show that heartbeats alone are not considered sacred.

-Dan


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By CatfishKhan on 7/2/2008 3:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
Spivonious didn't make the claim that heartbeat = sacred. He was arguing about your term "cell mass" to describe life at that stage.

You should have gone after him for using a 10 week example to counter a point you made about life at 6 weeks. Instead you and masher went after a straw man version of what he said.... not a big deal... I just get hung up on minutiae at times.


By adiposity on 7/2/2008 3:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Spivonious didn't make the claim that heartbeat = sacred


No, he didn't make any claims, except to tell a story about his friend. I didn't make any claims either, except to provide a link to something else with a heartbeat.

quote:
He was arguing about your term "cell mass" to describe life at that stage.


Actually "cell mass" wasn't mine. But I forgive you. I did notice that he used a different number of weeks, but I assumed that was because it was a personal anecdote. In any case, heartbeats can start at about 5-6 weeks, and can be heard at 7-8 weeks, so it's not really important.

In any case, if you think heartbeats are especially significant for some reason, which the original poster seemed to imply, perhaps the video will put that in perspective. Perhaps not.

-Dan


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Spivonious on 7/2/2008 3:36:45 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't want to get into this, but if I must...

A human is a human. A chicken is a chicken.

A heartbeat does not make a human. A heartbeat simply means it is alive (in my opinion). Would you call the egg alive, or would you say the chicken inside is alive? Would you call the cell mass alive, or would you say the human is alive?

Have you seen ultrasounds of embryos at 6, 8, 10 weeks? They are very much recognizable as human, even if all of their limbs aren't fully developed.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By adiposity on 7/2/2008 4:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Have you seen ultrasounds of embryos at 6, 8, 10 weeks? They are very much recognizable as human, even if all of their limbs aren't fully developed.


Really? Could you distinguish it from, say, the embryo of a chimpanzee?

Dan


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Spivonious on 7/2/2008 4:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
I searched a bit for a photo of a primate embryo but couldn't find one. I did find a dog, elephant, and dolphin, which all had distinguishing features (dog had a snout, elephant had those elephant feet, and the dolphin had a big tail).

Anyway, if the embryo was created by humans, it's probably human.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By adiposity on 7/2/2008 5:13:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Anyway, if the embryo was created by humans, it's probably human.


Or a cloned sheep.


By Hawkido on 7/8/2008 5:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Or a cloned sheep.


Correct me if I am wrong (if I'm not feel free to make an ass of yourself) Humans did not/do not/will not create a cloned sheep. All they did was a remix of the original album. They still owe royalties to the original creator of the work. Funny how this stands up in all courts of law.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By TheDoc9 on 7/2/2008 4:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
perhaps so perhaps not but only a fool would believe a baby chimpanzee is growing inside of a human mother.

It would make no difference if it looked like a penguin or a chocolate chip cookie, it's human. Saying that you can't visually tell the difference at an extremely young age is nothing more than an excuse, a justification for whatever you're trying to convince yourself of.

Doc


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 4:51:12 PM , Rating: 1
> "Saying that you can't visually tell the difference at an extremely young age is nothing more than an excuse"

Come now. He was simply disputing the previous poster's fallacious argument that, because a fetus *looks* human, it must be a human...with all the legal rights and responsibility therein.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By TheDoc9 on 7/2/2008 6:04:03 PM , Rating: 2
well I took his comment out of context in my reply but I did it for good reason. My thing is that a statement such as that could be seen as devaluing human life. It's a subtle thing that sneaks into to our thoughts.

I have to take just a moment and kind of explain what I mean here-

At a sort of a top, cut and dry level, we were talking about only the looks of the fetus. But the way we word our thoughts, especially on the internet, tends to contain several levels of meaning that we're typically not consciously aware of, and it has to. There is no body language to get any information from like for example if the three of us were standing in a group talking.

It's this other level that we have to be most aware of unless we want to leave ourselves open to having our thoughts reshaped.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 6:59:41 PM , Rating: 1
> "well I took his comment out of context in my reply but I did it for good reason"

The ends justify the means, eh?


By seekerofknowledge on 7/2/2008 11:23:41 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The ends justify the means, eh?


It does for the woman having the abortion.


By adiposity on 7/2/2008 5:57:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Saying that you can't visually tell the difference at an extremely young age is nothing more than an excuse


I didn't say otherwise. And I hope you can agree that saying that you CAN visually tell the difference is also nothing more than a fallacious argument. In this case, it's especially stupid, because chimp and human embryos are indistinguishable through the embryonic stage.

-Dan


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 12:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
Your point? That is a chicken; it is no more or no less a chicken than a feathered one walking around. A human embryo is a human, no more or less. Scientifically you do not become more human as you develop nor do you lose your humanness as you get old and senile. Now if you want to debate when society accepts the termination of human life I agree it’s up to the culture. Cultures have had many reasons for killing.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By abscoder on 7/2/2008 1:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
An infant does has more is more "humanness" than a fertilized egg, scientifically speaking. You know, "humanness" things like limbs, organs, and such. :)


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 1:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry; Limbs and organs do not define humanness. If you lose an arm in an accident are you less human?. If a kidney is removed are you less human? How much more human is a person with one eye than a person with none and are they half as human as a "normal" person? Is a two eyed chicken more human than a one eyed human? Your not even remotely on scientific ground with that argument.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 1:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
If I cut off your head and implant in its place a Moose head (and connect all fluid and life-sustaining passageways including a neural-bridge to sustain motor function)...

Are you a Moose, a Human, or a ?

Think about it. ;)


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 2:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
Some would scientifically call it a human moose chimera. In reality I think whatever is 51% is what you are ie a human with moose parts or a moose with human parts. Receiving a pig valve does not make you less human or a human pig chimera.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 7:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "In reality I think whatever is 51% is what you are ie a human with moose parts or a moose with human parts'

Ah, that solves the entire abortion issue then. All we need to is graft a couple of ounces of pig cells onto a human fetus, then we can abort that resultant "pig with human parts" without ethical concerns. What a relief!


By phattyboombatty on 7/2/2008 7:14:52 PM , Rating: 2
And this begs the question, what are you if you are 50% one species and 50% another species?


By kenji4life on 7/3/2008 9:01:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ah, that solves the entire abortion issue then. All we need to is graft a couple of ounces of pig cells onto a human fetus, then we can abort that resultant "pig with human parts" without ethical concerns. What a relief!
.. for people who have no problem killing pigs.. you should have chosen some type of fruit that has fallen from a tree. Then you would be much more hard pressed to find someone with ethical concerns, as even the fruititarian would not cry about aborting a rotten peach with human parts.


By tmouse on 7/3/2008 9:09:37 AM , Rating: 2
Ummmm, NO

Think about it when you destroy the human component you’re already in the ethical controversy.


By totallycool on 7/2/2008 3:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
You are Mighty Mouse


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By abscoder on 7/2/2008 1:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
Absurdly pointing out that you failed to define "humanness", so there is little context for your argument.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 3:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
My point is scientifically you do not become human; you either are or are not (kind of like yoda). I used humanness since humanity is not appropriate; you can lose that at any time. The "lump of cells" is merely the parasitic stage of a human being, just as a fly larva is no more or less a fly. NO other cells can form a fully developed human if left alone. Haeckel may have said Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny but it does not, it just looks that way.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By abscoder on 7/2/2008 3:32:41 PM , Rating: 3
>you do not become human; you either are or are not

Still depends on further defining human, don't you think? What is humanness? Is it defined genetically, structurally, spiritually or other metaphysical existences, or even potentially.


By Spivonious on 7/2/2008 3:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
What is dogness? What is catness? A human is just another species, distinguishable from other species by genetic makeup.

So, to answer your question, it's defined genetically. If I don't have the genes of a human, I'm not a human. Another key point is that it must be autonomous. If it doesn't have some sort of contained control system (i.e. brain) it's not human.

This same answer can be applied to every single form of life.


By tmouse on 7/2/2008 3:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
It seems I may have missed the humor. I'm neither one way nor the other on the abortion issue (I choose to keep my views to my self and not impose my views). I simply do not like it when people try to use science to define a human and look for terms like appearance or independence or even awareness. In all those cases adults can be brought down to a similar state and we are still human. My point you never change species, terms like embryo, fetus ect are scientific terms to define a state not imply a degree of species. It merely makes us feel better to dehumanize things.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 4:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "NO other cells can form a fully developed human if left alone. "

Actually, that's not true, as our recent cloning experiments have demonstrated. A few skin cells -- of which we lose in millions each day -- can indeed develop into a fully distinct human.

Likewise, the cells to which you refer can't develop into a human on their own...they need a huge amount of assistance from an already-developed human to do so.


By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 4:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
We could see chia-humans sometime in the not so distant future...

I can see it now, New! From Hasbro!

C-C-Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Human!

Grow your own clone in your own home.
Nail file, scanning electron real-time imaging array, petri dish and cover all included.

DNA not sold separately and not included.

Please keep away from pets and small children as cross-breeding could occur. If your new pet begins to exhibit cannabalistic properties, do not under any circumstances stick your arm down its throat.

And remember boys and girls, always get your Chia's spade and neutered!


By seekerofknowledge on 7/2/2008 11:30:56 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
...they need a huge amount of assistance from an already-developed human to do so.


So does a one-year old.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By adiposity on 7/3/2008 1:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
It only further makes his point. The original argument was that an embryo is someone special because other cells cannot grow into a human on their own. However, masher pointed out that even embryos cannot grow into humans without assistance. Therefore the original argument is meaningless.

You seem to be assuming that masher is suggesting we kill anything that cannot grow into a human without help. In fact he's simply disputing the claim that embryos are somehow autonomous humans who would naturally grow into maturity--they're not. Now, perhaps a one-year-old is not either (although I think in the right conditions a one-year-old could survive without other humans), but it's unimportant.

The fact is, embryos are NOT unique in the way the original poster suggested, namely that they are capable of growing into a human alone.

Dan


By seekerofknowledge on 7/3/2008 6:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
I was not posting with any regards to the previous argument. I was simply utilizing Masher’s own logic in an attempt to appeal to his apparent position on abortion.

Masher and I actually agree on most issues, and I enjoy his even-keeled approach to arguments that are based on fact and not emotion (he/she is a frequent recipient of my “worth reading” rating). I see a lot of myself in his dialog and thoughts, and I too once shared his/her position on the subject of abortion. Although, while the years have brought me greater understanding, through education and life experiences, it has also bestowed on me a greater sense of morality; hence my post.


By tmouse on 7/3/2008 7:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but in this you are wrong. Please supply a reference. Absolutely positively no fibroblast has the capacity to form any complete organism in mammals. Read up on the principles of genomic imprinting and you will understand why. IPS cells or the cloning experiments are NOT non-manipulated. Yes I should have said non-manipulated instead of left alone, All placental animals have a parasitic stage in which they depend upon a host to further develop. Once you get past the blastula stage the best you can get is a disorganized mass called a teratoma unless serial nuclear transplantation is employed to remove the epigenomic modifications imposed in the differentiated cell.


By Yossarian22 on 7/4/2008 7:08:36 AM , Rating: 2
Well, that is a bit of a cheap shot. "Left alone" is ridiculously ambiguous in meaning, but I am pretty sure he meant something along the lines of "Left to natural processes".


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Entropy42 on 7/2/2008 10:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't there some law of the internet where all forum posts eventually lead to comparisons to Hitler? Impressive that you managed to do it on the second post.

Using a pile of cells that one day may become a person is not the same as killing thousands of people.

I'm not going to claim I know much about the alternate source of stem cells, but I'm certainly sure that the scientists who want to use embryonic stem cells have a damn good reason for doing so. It's not as if they actually want all the hassle that comes along with trying to use those stem cells if there was some other way that was exactly the same and less politically sensitive.


By TSS on 7/2/2008 10:39:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are other ways to collect these cells without that specific point. I say go for these methods.


quote:
Researchers Make Leap in Stem Cell Research; Cells Can Now be Produced From Any Tissue


ya think?

honestly, as long as humans are in control, logic will not be. take your nazi example for example. it may be obtained in horrific ways that should never be practiced again... the results aren't used either. people find it more ethical to have the people that died (unwillingly) for the research, completly die in vain instead of learning what we could from it.

humans work on emotions. so, even with these new methods it it won't be used, i will not be suprised. even if we are to overcome our deepest flaw and yet our greatest strenght, we have weakness no.2 that'll frack it up: money.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/2/2008 11:10:57 AM , Rating: 2
We gained a lot more knowledge from the Japan's camps then the Nazi. However, because of the way the people were treated the books are still locked up. It was debated whether to burn them or not.


By Dirtnap on 7/2/2008 11:27:42 AM , Rating: 2
It is my personal opinion that we were seriously holding up scientific progress by banning embryonic stem cell research. I was actually a bit upset when that ruling was made, but that is just my personal opinion on the matter.

While I didn't agree with the ban at the time, now that methods have been developed as a 'work around', I can't help but think that the research conducted along the way to developing these versatile stem cells is likely worth just as much as the stem cells themselves.


By encryptkeeper on 7/2/2008 4:12:18 PM , Rating: 1
I am not in favor of embryonic stem cells, because of the whole messy abortion thing

Against abortion huh? So I guess you think the government has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. What a Don Juan you must be...

The cells to be gathered were going to be from fertility treatments. Unused, legally created cells that would otherwise be thrown away after the treatment was complete. Sorry, the "abortion" argument against this can't really be used. It was more of a scare tactic used to convince the conservative christians (looks like you fell for it) against stem cell research.

Or are you perhaps thinking that if the cells from an aborted fetus would be harvested because a woman PURPOSELY got pregnant, with the ultimate goal of an abortion so someone could harvest the materials for...some kind of payoff?


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 4:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
> "Against abortion huh? ...What a Don Juan you must be."

I'm on your side of this particular topic, but your debating methods leave a lot to be desired. Please refrain from personal attacks; such callow bombastic tripe does more harm than good.


By Bender 123 on 7/2/2008 5:02:06 PM , Rating: 4
Be very careful of your own views before you attack others. I am a paid professional, who does nothing but listen to this type of argument all day long.

The reason why the abortion debate is even a debate, is because there is no common ground on exactly what the argument is. In my view human is human from the point your genetic makeup is formed, at that point, the mass of cells stops being a part of the mother/father and becomes its own genetic human, thus it is in a womens body, but is not a part of it.

You, obviously, have a different definition of when a human becomes a human. This point has not been agreed upon yet and therefore taints all other discussions about it.
Even if the embroyos are unused, are they still not genetically human? I sure dont know and neither do you. All we have is a rough guess, and that is what bioethics is all about. Remember that at one point blacks were not considered "human", Jews were not "human" at one point in Germany's history, hindsight is 20/20, so we evolved our worldview to decide that those decisions are not ethical. We have even extended this thought process to lab animals.

Once you define and agree on your starting point, ethics become very clear.


By Goty on 7/2/2008 10:32:31 AM , Rating: 2
It's not the government that's the problem, it's the fear mongering populace.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By wordsworm on 7/2/2008 10:32:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They're so afraid of the consequences the always fail to see the benefits that stem cells research and therapies could have on the populace.


Don't get me wrong, I hate Emperor George Bush II as much as anyone. But this is one thing he got right. It was inevitable, in my opinion, that scientists would find a way to get around the rule. Had Bush not done so, would we be commenting on this article about this technology? Sometimes putting in a prohibition results in energy being put into getting around the prohibition. By concentrating on creating malleable cells that could perform the same functions as the fetal cells, we now have a far more abundant resource - any cell at all.

The social repercussions of not doing so were potentially mind boggling. Imagine women in poor nations being given money to get pregnant, only to abort the fetus so that the cells could be harvested. I'm not pro-life, don't get me wrong. But this potential just irks my conscience.

So, Bush may have delayed some research, but at the same time he may have spurred different research. Now scientists can potentially continue where they left off.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 10:43:37 AM , Rating: 3
You bring up a good point about Bush pushing us towards alternatives. However, I don't think this was his direct intention. If it were, we would have seen huge incentives towards researchers finding other ways. We haven't seen this at all.

Instead we've seen a stupid fence built instead of arming and supporting our border patrol agents properly. We've also seen stupid ethanol subsidies which has screwed up our food prices.

I voted for the man - so I can complain about him :)

Yes, you are very right that embryonic stem cell use could lead to baby farming etc. - in a sci-fi future, or horror story this could become a reality. As sick as the world is, I can actually see this happening in some places.

I also do not see the logic in letting what is there go to waste and just throw it away into oblivion counting the life for nothing at all. I think at this point I am skating on a double-edged sword.

However, why not instead pour large amounts of money towards research of these alternatives instead of saying - NO!, shaking their fist, and then turning a blind eye to the whole thing. I think the amount of government support in even the alternatives is reprehensible.


By wordsworm on 7/2/2008 11:15:25 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
If it were, we would have seen huge incentives towards researchers finding other ways.


Did he foresee scientists getting around the problem? As you concluded, I cannot help but agree. Only Bush could say that the French don't have a word for entrepreneur. But, just as Adolph Hitler inadvertently freed Canada and India from the House of Lords, put Israel on the map, and gave us the Olympic design that we enjoy today, Bush too has done something good.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/2/2008 11:40:56 AM , Rating: 2
you must know the alternative before you can fund it.

You can go back in time and give credit to a lot of leaders for having things happen, and either say they were a genius because they planned that outcome or an idiot that just got lucky. However, I think if you take a better look most of the time these leaders did not have the answer nor did they know the correct path. They with any luck just recognize the wrong path and lead their people away from it. Humans once they find/see something they want or need will always find away to reach that goal, just may take time.
I'm just glad to hear that they have come up with other solutions to obtaining the needed stem cells. If we do not have to ask ourselves, is this moral or not? Then we know it is moral.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 1:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
Rudy's work is mostly funded from his RO1 NIH grant. I do not see how people are confusing the limitation on the number of human stem cell lines as a global ban in stem cell research. There is just as much if not more stem cell research funded by the NIH in the US as anywhere else. We simply are NOT limited at this time. I guess I cannot blame the general population when some researchers are just as rabid. Just today another PI came to me (who does human stem cell work using primary fetal tissue which is also not limited in federal funding) and complained his microarray results were all over the place, well duh, humans are not inbred like mice, heterozygosity induces noise. There’s a lot of basic work that need to be done, everyone wants the freaking Nobel Prize.


By tmouse on 7/2/2008 1:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
As an aside the federal government is currently funding over 2100 clinical trials using stem cells.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2008 10:41:21 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of people are going oversees for surgery now anyway.

I'm not talking about 3rd world facilities either but more than qualified places that are run more like resorts than hospitals at a fraction of the cost of the American facilities with the same or better level of quality and again to emphasize were talking highly specialized physicians doing the work.

I'm waiting for some insurance companies to start covering these procedures of flying to another country and having the surgery performed especially since hospitals rob the insurance companies and the insurance companies rob us. Would be a good way of slapping the hospitals into a more economical price point.

Same reasons people buy their meds over the borders because big pharma prices the American consumer to death.

FYI I worked for the big evil empire of Pfizer and several other Pharma companies. Pfizer tops the list they wanted to patent the germs/viruses that cause illnesses. Pfizer highly deserves to be lumped into the patent troll group as a company that cares about how to get dollars out of you and everyone else with no regard to human life.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 10:48:36 AM , Rating: 2
It is a sick world when people have to go outside of their own country to seek help for their ailments.

Instead of giving Americans tax cuts, reducing government spending and forcing nationalized health care on us - why don't they try more creative solutions?

One such solution would be to force the "Big Pharma" companies to charge equal amounts for their drugs domestically and overseas. Instead of charging us 10 bucks for a pill that they charge Europe and the rest of the world 1 buck for, they could instead charge everyone 2.50 for the pill.

America wins, the world gets treated fairly and we get our "tax cut" indirectly without being forced into more government bloat.

Washington is too wrapped up in Lobbying, kickbacks and subsidies to think so clearly though.


By Mitch101 on 7/2/2008 10:51:28 AM , Rating: 3
Big Buisness runs the government.

Its no longer by the people for the people.

Its a country by the people with lots of money and large corporations with donations for the people with lots of money and large corporations with donations.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 11:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
Depends on the person actually as to what amount they spend.

If you look at the burgeoning number retirees and consider how much some of them spend on pills, it becomes slightly different. I know many who spend easily 6000 - 9000.00 a year on drugs. That is actually quite a bit.

Slash that figure to 1500 - 2250 a year and that is a huge "tax cut" and savings for them. It might not help everyone, but as I was pointing out, it is one such creative way to address problems in our country without creating excess bloat and striking at several problem areas in one fell swoop. I see too little of this creative thinking within our government right now.

You're right about the other nations - they do have laws/regulations etc. which make this hard. It can be done though - and our companies can simply tell them, you want it, pay for it. We can't allow ourselves to be bent over a board all the time because another nations crys it is unfair.

We have to look out for our own, too. I think if you did smooth out the price of drugs, you could reach an even-level which would still provide the same amount of revenue/income, it just would be collected in a different, but non-weighted scale. Assuming you get through the barriers of foreign acceptance that is. With their "nationalized plans," it won't hurt their people so much but their governments will just have to realize that hey, monopolies do exist of some sorts and if you want it bad enough, you have to pay for it.

I'd argue the costs of trying to figure out how to make all these drugs on their own would far outweigh the additional costs burdened upon them for acceptance of their weaker hand.

But, all of this is speculation and really we can't say if this would work or not. It is just a theory.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 12:05:06 PM , Rating: 2
> "our companies can simply tell them, you want it, pay for it."

Companies have products. Governments have guns. In arguments of this sort, governments always win.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 12:07:54 PM , Rating: 2
So you are saying foreign countries will shoot our corporations leaders in the heads if they do not comply with their pricing schemes, requirements, and demands?

Or

With your logic, Companies < Governments(guns)

so

Other Countries Government's Guns < United States Guns

:)


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 12:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
> "So you are saying foreign countries will shoot our corporations leaders in the heads if they do not comply with their pricing schemes, requirements, and demands?"

No, what they'll actually do -- and have done, in fact -- is seize their factories, offices, bank accounts, and other assets. And, if they attempt to resist that, then they'll shoot them.

Learn your history. Nationalization and seizure of assets is quite common in some countries.

Even in a more 'civilized' arena such as the EU, a company which attempts to refuse with arbitrary demands for price countrols or other actions will quickly find itself hit with billion-dollar fines. Continue to refuse, and it very quickly escalates into seizure of all assets.

Drug companies and others who rely in IP (intellectual property) are particularly vulnerable, since the majority of their costs are in research and development. If they don't agree to a country's demands, that nation can simply require them to turn over their intellectual property to a local firm, which can then manufacture away for nearly free.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 12:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
This is why we should keep our manufacturing on our own shores.

I know my history :) I've read all about it and seen it done many times. Keep your production domestic within the US and send your pushers overseas (or just ship the product to them).

What are they going to do? Come over hear and sneak in company employee's homes at night and threaten them?

There is more than one way to attack the problem - and draconian measures. You just have to be "creative," which is what I've been getting at all along. Sit around scared all day and nothing will get done.

Feel helpless about something all day long and nothing will get done.

If their citizens want it bad enough, and we remove their government's power over strongarming our companies, they'll cry wolf and eventually their governments will have to bend.

I don't think Rockefeller, Vanderbuilt (not that they were good people ethically - they were actually quite dirty) or many of the other great industrialists (even Bill Gates/Ballmer of Microsoft) would have tucked their heads between their legs as you suggest we should do.


By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 12:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
(sp) Vanderbilt *smacks head*


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 12:45:48 PM , Rating: 3
> "What are they going to do? Come over hear and sneak in company employee's homes at night and threaten them?"

First of all, you missed the part where I specifically discussed IP. When 90% or more of the cost of your product is publicly available knowledge, a nation doesn't have to "sneak in" to steal your IP. They already have it.

Secondly, it is physically impossible to sell products globally without having some sort of presence (and assets) overseas.

Thirdly, and most important of all -- if a company refuses to sell drugs to a specific country, they derive no revenues from there. Meaning if drug companies don't sell in those place, they have to recoup their R&D costs entirely from the US...which just raises prices here at home even more.

In other words, getting at least SOME revenues from those companies is better than none at all. Your "solution" is worse than the cure.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 1:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously missed my point a few posts up about the costs and barriers to entry for manufacturing all these drugs.

That is quite a bit of infrastructure they'd have to build up to supply their nations with these drugs. Do the costs outweigh the alternative of paying more?

I don't know. I'm not a pharmaceutical company but you failed to consider that. It is easy to say they can make it themselves and ignore the costs that it might create.

In your "world," our country, along with the rest, is at the mercy of other nations and they have no bargaining power nor leverage.

In reality, the man who holds the candy has the power as long as the child wants to eat it.

But, I dare you to "prove" numerically that my solution is worse than the cure rather than providing assumptions - or - better alternatives.

Instead, you've provided "no no no" without any solution. In business, that is worth nothing. If you're going to say no, provide an alternative solution rather than saying it can't be done.

Or we can just bang our heads against the wall all day. ;)


By Keeir on 7/2/2008 2:42:53 PM , Rating: 2
The basic problem with medication in the United States has to do with 1 very glaring factor. The Demand curve in the a typically Demand/Supply graph is essential vertical. The Doctors, Media, Activists, and people have all talked themselves into believing that not just that every human life is "priceless" but that every single second of human life is "priceless".

In your early example of the person paying 6,000 to 9,000 for pills... thats some pretty serious medication. I assume multiple different types of medicine for multiple treatments. At what point might this person stop using some of the more "elective" medication (which they may not have, I understand not all do) because of cost? 12,000 a year? 24,000 a year? 48,000 a year? My guess, it would pretty dang high as long as his Doctor is telling him it will help him live a little longer.

quote:
That is quite a bit of infrastructure they'd have to build up to supply their nations with these drugs. Do the costs outweigh the alternative of paying more?


The issue here is that most developed countries can produce drugs quite easily (Its really not alot of infrastructure once you know the formula and process to produce it with reasonable yield rates). Developed countries often have the same mindset as the US except with the provision that everyone is entitled to CHEAP cost extenion of life.

Underdeveloped countries... well it looks pretty bad when you deny drugs to poor nations.

As to numerically being a worse solution, just draw a simple Supply and Demand Curve. Draw in a price control at 1/2 the equilibrium price. Massive shortage. Now draw the a "Cross" (This is very close to the new drug supply and demand curves). Draw in a price control at 1/2 the equilibrium price. Notice? NO new drugs since NO profits.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/2/2008 12:37:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that is the real reason for the "right to bare arms". Everyone always thinks it to protect yourself and home. Well yes, but they forget that criminals might not be the only thing you need protection from. Our forefathers wanted to make sure the people of this country could stand up armed and stop the US government anytime they wished (if the majority wished it) - even if by force. However, this would take a major movement to get enough people to work together to take this action. A step I could see happening if this government keeps going down this far left path it's been following for the past 40 or 50 years.
So Government will not always win, but it has an easier path.


By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 1:07:47 PM , Rating: 2
I dare say that if the government ever got too far out of hand, as you say, we would blow the kablooie out of them with our own weapons.

You are soooo correct. Our right to bear arms does not just protect us from our enemies, but also our enemies at home within our government.

It keeps them in check, and on their toes.

God save America the day they try to take our guns away because most of us will go out shooting.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By overzealot on 7/2/2008 2:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
You know, I have bare arms right now.
It just feels right.


By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/2/2008 3:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have a bare butt...However, I don't want to fell it.


By hrishi2das on 7/2/2008 4:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
My arms are usually always "bare".


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By Murst on 7/2/2008 11:16:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
A lot of people are going oversees for surgery now anyway.

Although that may be true, I'm guessing that even more people come to the USA for treatment. The expertise and technology found in our top hospitals cannot be matched by anything that's in other countries.

Back when I was in college I used to have a part-time job translating for families who came here for treatment. They had extremely rare diseases, and the USA was the only place that would treat them. These people came from all over the world. In fact, I believe most of the people who were treated actually came from Canada and Europe. Unfortunately, in third-world countries, these people end up dying before they can get help.


By Omega215D on 7/3/2008 1:17:53 AM , Rating: 2
Sadly the people in the US pay more for the same medicine that other countries (Canada, EU and Singapore) get for much lower prices. Also Singapore seems to be making great strides in the biomedical field since they don't have too many restrictions (as said in a TIME magazine article).


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 10:49:57 AM , Rating: 2
Please "I don't think a single day goes by where I read a story about someone having to go to China for a stem-cell type treatment ". Are you SERIOUS?
We do stem cell work; all bone marrow transplantation IS stem cell work. I do stem cell research; there is no more advancements coming from china than anywhere else (as a matter of fact China is not a leader in this field). Most work is simply not ready for clinical applications PEROID. Maybe you feel random experimentation on people is justified, simply put without structured, well planned and controlled studies your no better off than a witch doctor and you will NEVER advance the science one iota. There is NO, let me repeat that NO general restriction on stem cell work in the US. There IS limits on what types of Human stem cells that can be used and many of these complaints are valid, however we are No where No how currently limited in our stem cell research with these limits. For example ALL or Rudy’s work is done in animal models. We are simply not at the stage where limiting human lines is actually a impediment to the work, its just not as sexy to use mice. Our knowledge is still in the most rudimentary stages, contrary to media spin which gives people the false notion we are on the cusp of human applications and are actively being held back.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 10:55:20 AM , Rating: 2
Look - if the patient is willing to take the risk - then I say let them do it!

Your mentality is the same as those who thought venturing into space was too dangerous. If all the supposed "astronauts" were afraid to accept the risks, we'd still be sitting on Earth, not have satellite television, not have a flag on the moon nor any photographs from the Mars surface.

It is not up to US, the populace, nor the government, to decide what the individual chooses to do with their own body and soul. If someone suffers from such a tragic ailment that they have no other "conventional" treatments available for a cure, and are willing to bet the odds and take the risks and venture down the stem-cell path (assuming they are educated of the risks, consequences and have been informed of all alternative treatments), then I say - let them!


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By tmouse on 7/2/2008 11:53:51 AM , Rating: 2
And when things go wrong? Random experimentation yields nothing, never has and never will. The backlash can however stop work cold for a great deal of time. It is up to the people doing the work to ensure there is some chance of success with a minimal chance of catastrophic failure. Doing work too soon only complicates the analysis, did it fail on a fundamental level or was it due to the poor choice of a test subject? Unfortunately many of the most desperate are simply not good choices. The process must succeed first and then be refined to handle more complicated situations otherwise you are battling too many variables at once and potentially good therapies that need tweaking may be abandoned. The situation you described is "hail Mary" science, great when it works but NOT a good platform to count on.


By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 11:57:16 AM , Rating: 2
You can't ever succeed unless you try first. :)


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 11:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
To further elaborate (sorry for double post), I personally know a guy who would be dead to this day (would have died 20 years ago) if he had not partook in an "experimental" treatment which had yet to be tested on humans.

It saved his life. The data collected from this attempted is now being used to try and save more lives.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 12:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
> "I personally know a guy who would be dead...if he had not partook in an "experimental" treatment "

While you are obviously enamored of the logical fallacy known as the "vivid example", I have to point out there's a difference between a controlled treatment which, however, still remains experimental, and randomly injecting stem cells into a body in the hopes of "getting lucky".

The former is science, the latter is shamanistic quackery.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 12:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. I never once said that we'd radomly pray for results.

You can conduct new treatments on a patient yet-untested through careful planning, observation and repoting of results.

My point is, if someone wants a doctor who thinks they have a shot at accomplishing something to try a cure, let them do it. It is their choice.

Or, we can sit back and watch people die without even raising a finger. Is that what you would prefer?


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 12:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
> "I never once said that we'd radomly pray for results."

At this point in time, randomly injecting stem cells into a person IS simply praying for results, whether or not you choose to admit it.

> "Or, we can sit back and watch people die without even raising a finger. Is that what you would prefer?"

Please don't engage in absurd histrionics. These "stem cell clinics" in China and the Caribbean are a scam, plain and simple.


By MrBlastman on 7/2/2008 1:30:25 PM , Rating: 2
We can prevent the shenanigans through our Government providing adequate Federal funding to research programs that look into Stem Cells.

That is, rather than the meer pittance they provide now.

I think the private sector will drive the research in this area more than anything else, but Government help on this would be very appreciated.


By tmouse on 7/2/2008 12:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
Is that what we do? NO

When were ready it will be done, hopefully not sooner. Public and political "pressure" is NEVER good for science. The vast majority of cardiac stem cell trials have been failures at best. Maybe a 3-5% improvement in the first year; then no difference after two years. Another trial had a 30 % mortality rate before it was halted the remaining participants had to have implantable pacemakers implanted to be safe. I think these were studies that should have waited a bit longer. Animal studies published that same year would have shown the risk.


RE: What is rediculous about all of this is...
By HeavyB on 7/2/2008 2:32:30 PM , Rating: 2
Masher would most likely be on board with your argument if the "experimental treatment" your friend had involved sucking in the exhaust from a semi tractor trailer truck, as we all know he thinks that carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption are the cure-alls for the world's woes.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/2/2008 4:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
A tailpipe contains emissions far more damaging than CO2. If you consider carbon dioxide noxious, I suggest you examine the gases flowing out of your own mouth.

As for fossil fuel consumption, cheap energy, and the progress and lifestyle it engenders, is exactly what has enabled the wealth that generated medical science in the first place. Do you really believe its just an accident that nations with the highest energy consumption are also those with the highest levels of wealth, industrialization, and innovation?

Crawl back into your Luddite cave, my friend, and keep scratching your fleas. The rest of society has moved on...and we aim to keep it that way.


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