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Stem cell successes go unreported

Charlie Butts and Marty Cooper - OneNewsNow - 9/5/2009 4:10:00 AM

The Culture and Media Institute believes the media is biased in favor of research on human embryos, but that there is scant coverage of successful work with adult stem cells.

CMI's Colleen Raezler says the media is playing upon emotions in its promotion of embryonic stem-cell research. "Reporter after reporter keeps touting the line that scientists believe that by turning embryonic stem cells into cells damaged by injury or disease, they can treat or even cure everything from spine cord injuries to Alzheimer's disease to diabetes," she notes.
She contends the media fails to mention that such research has proven nothing and has been scientifically ineffective.
"And they're also ignoring the fact that adult stem-cell research has provided 73 different breakthroughs to help people with spinal cord injuries, with Alzheimer's disease, with Parkinson's, and with diabetes," Raezler adds.
The CMI spokeswoman points out that adult stem cells can be taken from hair, skin, and fat and do not involve killing a tiny human being. Those successes, she laments, are not being reported in the media and should be.


No need for embryonic stem cells

11:46 a.m. CDT, September 28, 2009

This letter is in reference to the article titled "Hopkins scientist stirs stem cells' power to heal" in the September 25 Baltimore Sun.

The article is misleading on one major issue, namely that "… stem cell research is poised for more such significant advances [since] the Obama Administration has lifted Bush-era restrictions on federal funding of research using … stem cells from human embryos."

Careful reading of the article reveals that the successful developing therapies discussed are using only adult stem cells from the patients' own bodies -- not embryonic stem cell tissue. Jennifer Elisseeff  is working with patients' own bone marrow stem cells to rebuild cartilage; additionally, paragraphs near the end of the article mention the potential use of stem cells derived from a patient's own eye to repair a damaged cornea.

Two points can be made from this. First, using a patient's own stem cells makes sense biologically as there is no chance of rejection of a foreign tissue. Secondly, the article is misleading and potentially dishonest, implying that there is a great need for embryonic stem cells -- when in fact all successful techniques employed to date have used adult stem cells.

There is no need to use embryonic stem cells for the advancement of science. That argument is merely a political ploy, and it's about time it is brought to light.

Dr. Victoria E. Steiner-Larsen, Catonsville

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