Bioethics.net compares the Bush administration’s happiness about reprogrammed adult stem cells with that man, Mr. Clinton’s, “I did not have sex with that woman!” and President Bush’s statement “Mission accomplished,” after our US troops captured Baghdad.
I’ll accept the latter (at some future date, if the evidence supports it), but the first is at least as false as Clinton’s wagging finger – and (speaking of Yuk factors) did we really need to be reminded of that?
The author, James W. Fossett (who is anything but “non-partisan”) states that Yamanaka, the first to report reprogrammed adult cells in humans and mice is from Japan and wasn’t affected by the US Federal funding limitations. He doesn’t mention that Yamanaka’s research didn’t rely on the use of new embryonic cells, at all. Yamanaka took the information gleaned from animal research and the currently funded cells and moved to the front of all other stem cell researchers by pointing the way to the key to the production of stem cells from each patient who needs them – from his or her own cells.
Instead, Fossett is running scared due to the “rhetorical parity” from cell reprogramming and the possibility that the success in reprogramming cells will result in more reprogramming research!
Fossett doesn’t mention that James Thomson’s research using human Embryonic Stem cells (hESC). then human fetal cells harvested after abortions – and finally in skin cells harvested at circumcision of little boys – was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and that those hESC are the ones that supposedly are of no use.
Fossett also fails to mention of the new report by Yamanaka on the technique using only 3 inserted genes to the prior 4, and that the eliminated gene is the one that had scientists concerned about cancers.
I’m sure that he doesn’t recall the “first transplantable lung cells” from hESC’s by Texas researchers last year. These cells were developed by viral “transfection,” also, and were lauded as “a platform that could potentially be useful in the development of spinal cord cells, heart cells, nerve cells and others.” These were neither the first or transplantable, but they did get much more notice than similar cells developed from umbilical cord blood cells without viral transfection.
That may be the problem: the proponents of hESC research are used to getting many times the publicity from hESC research than that received by the non-hESC researchers. And so, we get the concerns about “rhetoric.”