18 May Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research is Obsolete
Ahhh…the irony is rich. James Thomson, the first scientist to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells; the man who, back in 2005, told President Bush he was wrong about not allowing federal tax dollars to go towards embryonic stem cell research, the man who founded a biotech start-up called Cellular Dynamics International with the aim of taking cells from human embryos and turning them into human heart cells; has just purchased the first licensing agreement to use iPS cell technology. Mr. Thomson and his company are moving away from human embryonic stem cell research.
That’s right; the man who insisted that human embryonic stem cells were the future –not adult stem cells—has come to understand what those in the pro-life world have insisted all along. There is absolutely no reason to cannibalize human embryos when it is adult stem cells that have already been and still are producing positive results and cures. Now with the iPS technology, no one can claim that there is any reason to destroy human embryos to “advance science.” Go here if you’d like more details.
Actually, I’m a little surprised that the pro-embryonic stem cell world seems to becoming to its senses this quickly. It was just three years ago that a scientist at Japan’s Kyoto University introduced the science of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). These remarkable iPS cells behave like embryonic stems cells, but do not require the destruction of new human life. With iPS technology, you add new genes and protein factors to an ordinary cell (skin, bone marrow, etc.) and you duplicate the qualities of the so highly-revered embryonic stem cell.
Just last year, President Obama lifted former President Bush’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research claiming it possessed “the most remarkable potential of any scientific discovery ever made with respect to human health.” Did you catch that? Obama was talking about embryonic stem cells. Makes you wonder what Pres. Obama has to say now. Somehow I doubt it will be “I was wrong.”