Monday, March 16, 2009

New York Times advocates spending tax dollars on cloned embryo stem cell research

The New York Times editorial board throws the “just the leftover frozen embryos” argument out the window and argues for tax dollars to support research on stem cell lines from cloned human embryos created solely for research. Of course, they don’t use the scary C-word. “Somatic cell nuclear transfer” is the preferred terminology.
Scientists believe that one way to obtain the matched cells needed to study diseases is to use a cell from an adult afflicted with that disease to create a genetically matched embryo and extract its stem cells. This approach — known as somatic cell nuclear transfer — is difficult, and no one has yet done it.

Another approach — known as induced pluripotent stem cells — has shown that adult skin cells can be converted back to a state resembling embryonic stem cells without ever creating or destroying an embryo. Some experts think that approach may be the most promising, for moral and practical reasons.

Even so, work on genetically matched embryonic stem cells would still be important. They may be the best way to study the earliest stages of a disease, or prove superior for other purposes. They will almost certainly be needed as a standard to judge the value of the induced pluripotent cells.
The last sentence makes no sense at all. Why on earth would we need to create stem cell lines from cloned human embryos (something that hasn’t been done yet) to be the standard on which to judge induced pluripotent cells? There’s no evidence that non-existent embryonic stem cell lines from cloned human embryos are somehow the gold standard for patient-specific pluripotent cell lines. Also, notice how the Times editors never address the issue of where the human eggs for these cloning experiments are going to come from.

I don’t know if they are really stubborn or just completely ignorant. Those seem to be the only possibilities for why someone would advocate spending tax dollars on failed, costly, hopelessly inefficient, currently non-existent research which will never ever be used treat human beings.

No comments:

Post a Comment