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Thread: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    I've always been curious about these types of responses. Do you feel this way because you think the embryos are forcibly removed from a woman for research purposes, or do you realize that the embryos destroyed were headed into the dumpster anyway? If you realize that the latter is the truth, are you equally opposed to fertilization procedures that millions of Americans will attempt in order to make a baby this year alone?
    If we use the logic that they were headed for the dumpster bin, then what stops us from using each other as guinea pigs? Since we are all headed for the same dumpster bin eventually.

    It seems that the only way one can be opposed to embryonic stem cell research is to simultaneously oppose IVF, which pretty much kills the "I have more regard for human life than you do" argument. I'm not making fun of your argument by any means, but I am understandably curious.
    Embryonic stem cell research kills life. It is completely different then any other type of medical research out there.

    Also, can you be for IVF, then complain about overpopulation? That one has always perplexed me.

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    Ahhh. Well, the way I look at it is that most of those embryos were on the way into the biohazard flames as they were approaching unviability.
    Who gets to determine which ones are viable and which aren't though? And how does somebody know a life is about to approach (un)viability?

    These are the kinds of moral and ethical questions that should be considered when dealing with life in general.

    I think there is a tendency to lump an embryo in with a baby among a lot of folks, and probably assume that these embryos were on their way to becoming an actually baby before the process of stem cell research interrupted all that.
    The embryo is a baby. The 2 are not seperable.

    To be honest, I just do the research, and I don't dwell on the potentiality of it all. I know it's a big deal among many folks, but i'd be curious to see if that would change if many folks realize that it's no different than IV fertilization, when it comes right down to it.
    Which also leads to other moral and ethical issues. Although, IVF and ESCR, are not the same thing either.

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    You are correct in that adult stem cell research has been very promising, but embryonic has not been a disappointment. Given the hoopla around all of it, it hasn't seen the funding that it needs up until recently. I'm certainly not qualified to compare the two, but I can talk all day about embryonic stem cell research and how fast things are moving along. Unfortunately, it looks as if it's now going to again suffer with funding issues. And just to set things straight, all embryonic stem cell research is done on 'leftovers' which are approaching nonviability - no one yanks an embryo from the mother and denies her a fetus in the name of research. I can tell you that everything that we got was a step away from the biohazard trash bin. Not sure if that changes your opinion any, but there it is.
    Why aren't there more private institutions taking up the mantle on ESCR? Why are you guys relying solely on government to fund this?

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by tlmorg02 View Post
    I worked many years in adult stem-cell research and can tell you that it matters not whether a stem-cell comes from and embryo or an adult, they serve the same function. Once the stem-cell is programmed with the DNA in question or grafted into the host area, it functions much the same. So to say that one is more promising than the other is not accurate. A stem-cell is a stem-cell. Now, whether or not there is the same promise in the future after newer discoveries are made is hard to say because embryonic stem-cells have been held back due to social issues thus have much more ground to make-up in order to have the same usage levels as adult stem-cells.
    If there is no difference, why are we doing both? Why not just do one of them and throw the other to the wolves?

    Otherwise, if the government is funding both, doesn't that mean they are funding the same program twice? aka....double dipping.

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by hazlnut View Post
    That's all that really matter to you? How Obama looks.

    You couldn't care less about Stem Cell research or the real issue, but as long as it can be used against Obama...
    My heart sank when I read that, because stem cell research is so very important ...

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    TheHat;

    First off, these are very good questions that you are asking. I believe that you (and others opposed) to embryonic research have a right to have your concerns addressed - something that far too many people on my side of the fence don't spend enough time doing, imho. If we can have a more open, honest exchange, we can work together to dispell a lot of the myths out there about what goes on in this type of research, and at least both sides can be more informed about the other, even if we still end up in disagreement. So i'll certainly address your issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheHat View Post
    If we use the logic that they were headed for the dumpster bin, then what stops us from using each other as guinea pigs? Since we are all headed for the same dumpster bin eventually.
    I have two parts to this answer. For one, we are dealing with embryos - specifically, embryos which are pretty much unviable. What this means is that, were we to actually attempt to grow these embryos in an attempt to make a "test tube baby", they simply would not take. I can tell you that many which have come our way were physically very damaged from whatever happened during their term of storage in their respective clinics. For purposes of baby-making, these just won't work. For research purposes, however, they will. So, these embryos are different from the ones which we would call 'viable' - those which could still be used in IVF. Given that the concern is over a viable fetus which could potentially become a baby, we are now capable of differentiating between the type of embryo used in research, and the viable version, which is where the concern lies if I am reading the opposition correctly.

    For another, we do "use each other as guinea pigs" when it comes to research, do we not? How many times have you heard about terminal cancer patients with little hope and, as a result, end up volunteering for experimental medications? For that matter, what about the "safer" experiments offered by many universities looking for voluntary participants, many of which offer cash? I'd say it's pretty fair to say that yes, we do research on our fellow human beings - even untested, potentially dangerous research, depending on how life-threatening the condition.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheHat View Post
    Embryonic stem cell research kills life. It is completely different then any other type of medical research out there.
    I'd say this is definitely false, and I think you'd agree. Almost all research inevitably needs a test subject(s), and one of the more popular is, of course, bacteria. How many colonies have been eradicated from simply searching for new antibiotics? But let's move a bit higher up the chain. What about lab mice? I can't tell you how many i've seen killed at various parts of my career, and I was just one of a team of researchers in a small lab. And such experiments aren't limited to those organisms; there are a number of different species involved in medical research, and while it may eventually lead to good news for human beings, from the standpoint of the organism involved, medical research is bad news.

    But what about the embryo? Well, I think the entire question boils down to this: given that there is no chance of that embryo eventually becoming a walking, talking, undamaged human being if we were to do our best to make it such, would you still oppose embryonic stem cell research, or does that alter the conditions enough for you to "ride the fence", so to speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheHat View Post
    Also, can you be for IVF, then complain about overpopulation? That one has always perplexed me.
    Good question, but I am neither opposed to IVF or population increase. You'd have to ask someone with much stronger opinions than myself on the subject, i'm afraid.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheHat View Post
    Who gets to determine which ones are viable and which aren't though? And how does somebody know a life is about to approach (un)viability?
    Another good question. I should preface this by saying that, in the abortion debate, we often hear the term 'fetal viability'. Medically speaking, this is different than embryonic viability for IVF and research, in the fact that we are not dealing with a fetus, but an embryo. Clinics that i've dealt with have staff knowledgeable about the damage suffered during cryopreservation, and we can determine this as well upon arrival. In the past, we've rejected a number of samples simply because they were too damaged for any purpose. But we've never recieved any sample that was in excellent condition after cryopreservation. Those samples will never see the inside of a research laboratory, as they are still quite viable.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheHat View Post
    The embryo is a baby. The 2 are not seperable.
    At the risk of saying something offensive to you or any person on the pro-life side of the abortion debate, let me preface by saying I totally understand and respect your view about life and the soul inhabiting the body at conception. I am answering this position from a scientific point of view, and from my own first-hand knowledge of the matter. In no way, shape, or form am I disagreeing with any ethical questions you have answered on the subject; i'm simply giving a scientific, morally-neutral answer.

    Scientifically speaking, an embryo is not a baby, as 'baby' is typically used as a postnatal term in fetal medicine. An embryo is the first stage in in human development, after which it becomes a fetus (typically 8 weeks). Tissue development and organogenesis are two of the main characteristics of this stage, along with early limb development, and - if all is well - no chromosomal abnormalities.

    I hope I was able to answer all of your concerns. If there are any others, feel free to post them. I think we have a nice discussion going, and for that, I thank you. Thanks, TheHat!
    Last edited by Singularity; 08-27-10 at 09:01 PM.

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    I hope I was able to answer all of your concerns. If there are any others, feel free to post them. I think we have a nice discussion going, and for that, I thank you. Thanks, TheHat!
    Singularity - you are the most reasonable and well informed poster that I have ever seen during my short time - less than 2 years - browsing these boards.

    Its nice to see someone who actually knows what they are talking about, posting apparently well thought out positions, backed up by facts.

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Singularity, there is no reason to support embryonic stem cell research with the advent of the Yamanaka Method for creating induced pluripotent stem cells. Never mind the fact that using embryos to develop stem cells capable of producing tissues has never worked, the Yamanaka Method avoids the moral dilemma and is much more effective.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    Singularity, there is no reason to support embryonic stem cell research with the advent of the Yamanaka Method for creating induced pluripotent stem cells. Never mind the fact that using embryos to develop stem cells capable of producing tissues has never worked, the Yamanaka Method avoids the moral dilemma and is much more effective.
    While I agree that inducing somatic stem cells avoids the controversy, I am not very familiar with the specifics of how much success this has met on a large scale. I do know that the genes for pluripotency have been isolated, but as I mentioned previously, our laboratory does not work with any somatic lines, so my only familiarity with it is through work relationships with laboratories that do. That being said, I can tell you what advantages the embryonic model has over the somatic counterpart (see earlier post in this thread, a few pages back). Also, to be fair, embryonic stem cells have not had the luxury of federal funding that somatic experienced, so we can expect greater advances from somatic stem cells for that very reason.

    However, let me clear up one thing in your post that is false, which is that induced somatic stem cells are "much more effective". In some things, yes. In others, no. I can give you a personal example here where embryonic is more effective. A few months ago we were partnered with a laboratory out of Kentucky for a project. This particular laboratory was set up for somatic stem cell research, and both of us were working towards the same goal. From the get-go, growth problems and outright culture failure plagued them, which is typical when dealing with somatic lines. From what I understand, the expense report for the entire shebang was pretty costly from their end - not just for new cells, but for maintenance, equipment, etc. So you're looking at greater expense, which means larger funding is probably going to be required. Currently, they are still plugging away at their end of the project. We finished ours a while ago. Turnaround time and speed of research are definite advantages to embryonic stem cell research.

    However, I need to reiterate that embryonic stem cell research is NOT "better" than its somatic stem cell counterpart, or vice-versa. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which I covered in this thread. The main concern seems to be the ethical questions about embryonic stem cell research, not the science.
    Last edited by Singularity; 08-28-10 at 11:20 AM.

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    Re: U.S. court rules against Obama's stem cell policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
    While I agree that inducing somatic stem cells avoids the controversy, I am not very familiar with the specifics of how much success this has met on a large scale. I do know that the genes for pluripotency have been isolated, but as I mentioned previously, our laboratory does not work with any somatic lines, so my only familiarity with it is through work relationships with laboratories that do. That being said, I can tell you what advantages the embryonic model has over the somatic counterpart (see earlier post in this thread, a few pages back). Also, to be fair, embryonic stem cells have not had the luxury of federal funding that somatic experienced, so we can expect greater advances from somatic stem cells for that very reason.
    ES cells have not been successful Adult vs. embryonic stem cell success now quoted at 70 to 0 | Geneforum, whereas iPS cells have been used in mice and other organisms, though the transfection method currently used to produce them results in tumor formation. Some kind of transposon system will have to be used in conjuction with a DNA binding protein in order to decrease the likelihood of these tumors.

    [/quote]However, let me clear up one thing in your post that is false, which is that induced somatic stem cells are "much more effective". In some things, yes. In others, no. I can give you a personal example here where embryonic is more effective. A few months ago we were partnered with a laboratory out of Kentucky for a project. This particular laboratory was set up for somatic stem cell research, and both of us were working towards the same goal. From the get-go, growth problems and outright culture failure plagued them, which is typical when dealing with somatic lines. From what I understand, the expense report for the entire shebang was pretty costly from their end - not just for new cells, but for maintenance, equipment, etc. So you're looking at greater expense, which means larger funding is probably going to be required. Currently, they are still plugging away at their end of the project. We finished ours a while ago. Turnaround time and speed of research are definite advantages to embryonic stem cell research.[/quote]

    It doesn't matter if your work was faster because even if you are fully successful with ES cells you cannot avoid the fact that you still possibly face rejection issues. This is not possible with iPS cells.

    However, I need to reiterate that embryonic stem cell research is NOT "better" than its somatic stem cell counterpart, or vice-versa. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which I covered in this thread. The main concern seems to be the ethical questions about embryonic stem cell research, not the science.
    The only disadvantage with iPS cells is the transfection method to produce them which is costly and can lead to tumors. However, newer methods are being developed which are efficient and will not lead to tumors.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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