More MS news articles for Jan 2002

Christian Doctors See Hope in Adult Stem Cells

http://news.crosswalk.com/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID74088|CHID194343|CIID1117300,00.html

January 25, 2002
By Jon Imbody
Senior Policy Analyst, CMA

Crosswalk.com News Channel - As a newly released research from the University of Minnesota reveals what is possibly the "most important cell ever discovered," the nation's largest faith-based physicians' organization says the findings provide new hope for patients and should end the push to clone and destroy embryonic human beings.

According to David Stevens, MD, executive director of the Christian Medical Association (CMA), "Cells taken ethically from adults with no loss of life have already shown tremendous potential and proven benefits.

"This discovery should remove any last vestiges of doubt in the lifesaving potential of adult stem cells. As many had predicted, it now appears that adult stem cells are the avenues to providing real cures for real people."

Stevens adds, "If the remarkable results of this study prove consistent with early published reports, then no reasonable person could justify violating ethical barriers to clone and harvest human embryos for their cells."

According to a recent report in NewScientist.com, Catherine Verfaillie at the University of Minnesota discovered cells in the bone marrow of adults that "can turn into every single tissue in the body."

Princeton University's Ihor Lemischka has labeled the work "very exciting," noting that the cells "can differentiate into pretty much everything that an embryonic stem cell can differentiate into."

Stevens notes, "Given this breakthrough news and the consistent performance of adult stem cells, if you were investing in the stock of companies pursuing therapies from adult stem cells or from cloned human embryonic stem cells, where would you put your money?"

What Can Stem Cells Do?

Studies using non-embryonic stem cells, derived ethically and safely from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, brain tissue and fat, have moved well beyond theory to application. These clinical studies offer solid benefits to patients suffering from heart disease, blood disorders and other afflictions.

Adult stem cells have already been used successfully with patients: to treat cartilage defects in children; restore vision to patients who were legally blind; relieve systemic lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis; and to serve as an aid in numerous cancer treatments.

The use of a patient's own stem cells is even preferable to using embryonic stem cells because it avoids the problem of the body rejecting cells other than its own. Other new methods such as somatic cell gene therapy are increasingly successful in tissue regeneration and otherwise treating disease.

By contrast, embryonic stem (ES) cells have yet to demonstrate a single human therapeutic benefit. The most recent studies in animals have shown ES cells to be unstable and unpredictable-"errors [that] can lead to premature death or serious abnormality."

Worried ES cell researchers were caught doctoring their interpretations of ES cell problems because they reportedly feared that "any mention of that potential problem in the article might be exaggerated by political factions that oppose the research on religious and ethical grounds."

As the ES cell hype smokescreen disappears, a lot of disillusioned and angry patients will question scientific integrity.

Learn more about the Christian Medical Association at http://www.cmdahome.org/
 

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