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April 28, 2009

At some point, it just has to stop, doesn’t it?

Embryo bank Well, we should have seen this coming, of course: the British now have a choice to make, whether to let their government allow human "embryo banks" to be used for more than procreation efforts. That means having those nice little humans around for....spare parts. Read more here.

I think we really need to start bringing these kinds of absurdities to light more often, because we seem to be living in an age where most people think this kind of "progress" is inevitable. Why? Because so many people don't care, and those who keep pushing this mad agenda are determined folk.

But that kind of thinking would have prevented Wilberforce from working to end the slave trade. So instead of nibbling around the margins on these topics, how about let's start drawing some real lines in the sand and holding our elected leaders accountable? If you support anything like using embryos for spare parts, no more re-election for you. All that many politicians really respect is power. If they think they can get away with a controversial vote to cultivate a biotech donor, they'll oftentimes do it. 

So it's up to us to let them know what fates await their careers if they go there. Write your leaders and encourate your friends to do the same if this monstrous effort blows across the Atlantic to our shores.

(Image © EPA) 

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Ben W

At some point, it may be able to stop. I'm not opposed to embryonic SC research, and they still show an incredible amount of promise, but induced pluripotency stem cells may eventually be able to take their place (these are normal cells that are "taught" to act like stem cells, and may be used like embryonic stem cells eventually).

There was an excellent recent article in Nature on iPS cells, but it requires a subscription.. This one is also good, though, and I *don't* think you have to be subscribed..


Wow. This is exactly what Kazuo Ishiguro (author of Remains of the Day) wrote about in his excellent novel, "Never Let Me Go." Would that it had stayed fiction.

Benjamen R. Meyer

Sadly, people will do whatever it takes to live a bit longer....legal or not. I do agree that it needs to be outlawed and such - it's not morally right.

Interestingly, there was a movie along similar lines in 2005 - The Island. (Great movie, and leaves a lot to think about.)



Even tho there's great work being done in adult & induced pluripotent cells IPS cells (other cells changed into embryonic like cells without killing an actual embryo) -------some people STILL WANT TO DESTROY embryos!!!

They don't CARE about adult stem cells or ips stem cells...they want to take apart the embryos.

Here I go from observation to guess.

..Is it possible the research from embryonic stem cells can be copyrighted and the adult stem cell stuff can't be copyrighted - i/e one would return lots more CASH than the other???

Is it possible there is this desire to consume one's own young? like Saturn devouring his own child-per the Francesco Goya horror show painting???

Sometimes when I see the human devouring wannabees defending any and all abortions about any time---when I see the love affair with taking apart embryonic stem cells (despite the stunning results for adult and ips cells)
.....I wonder---is it simply money & power? Or is it some quasi pagan return to the strong dominating the weak???

Ps...This is the Do No harm Stem Cell Research center...Articles, statements by drs from noted universities are promoting adult style stem cells and IPS cells ...


Jason Taylor

Viking, it is because admiting a limit is admiting a need for a limit. There is no logical reason in this area why a line should be placed at one place and not another. Once you admit that restrictions MIGHT be needed because unborns MIGHT be human, you have admited that abortion might be murder after which the whole pro-choice case falls apart.

Ben W

It's not that the scientists have some desire or need to kill babies, it's that embryonic stem cells are the gold standard by which other stem cells are measured. Embryonic stem cells are the controls and help all kinds of stem cell research go much more smoothly and safely. So, when you make an iPS cell and it behaves a certain way, you need something to check its behavior against.. especially so when badly-made cells can cause cancer, like that recent case in Asia.

I don't think most of the scientists are caught up in pro-choice arguments, but they honestly don't believe that a clump of a couple cells isn't a human being.

Adult and iPS stem cell production methods can be patented, just like other methods.

Steve (SBK)

Ben, I don't think _you_ meant to say scientists honestly believe that a clump of a couple cells IS a human being?

I don't know enough about stem cell research. Why are Embryonic stem cells the controls? What makes them different?

Jason Taylor

Oh, as for scientists in particular, it is because they have a toy to play with and are annoyed that daddy won't let them.


Stephen wrote: "Well, we should have seen this coming, of course"

But Stephen, we *did* see it coming. Turning humans into sources of spare parts has been a theme in science fiction back to I-can't-remember-when, and has continued through the movie "The Matrix" and the book "Unwind" that Gina reviewed. (I recommend it myself, although it's a difficult read unless you're a horror fan like my daughter.) We've worried about this kind of immoral misuse of science since at least Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".

Problem is, most of us geeky types don't know our literature or its meaning, and could profit immeasurably from more and deeper discourse with Liberal Arts majors. (OK, Gina, you can quit with the "AMEN!"s...)

Ben W

Err, sorry, yes. Too many negatives, and I misread it while editing and messed it up.

Embryonic stem cells are naturally pluripotent (able to change into different cell types), while induced pluripotency stem cells (iPS cells) need protein insertions or chemical treatments to become pluripotent. But doing this changes how the cell works or the cell DNA, and can cause it to become cancerous or useless later on.

On top of that, we don't know how the original cell types can effect iPS cells. For instance, if you take a skin cell and turn it into a iPS cell, then grow it into a liver for transplanting, it may still try to behave somewhat like a skin cell even after being grown into a liver - or it might start acting like a bone marrow cell and try to grow bone. Or it might work fine. And this may vary by cell type - nerve cells might make great livers, bone cells might be always useless, etc.. But we have to figure out where the problem comes from - was it the treatment to make them pluripotent, or the type of cell we chose, or what we grew them into? There's just a lot we don't know yet.

Embryonic stem cells don't have some of these problems, since there's no leftover "memory" of being a normal cell, nor do you risk messing it up while getting it to become pluripotent.

Gina Dalfonzo

We'll lure you to the Dark Side yet, LeeQuod. :-)

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