Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Here's What I Don't Get:

Why in the world is there the huge push to support the use of embryonic stem cells when non-embryonic stem cells are:
1. Readily available
2. Just as effective, and
3. Not ethically troubling?

I saw so much I broke my mind


Ben said...

ARE they just as effective? My understanding was they aren't.

Matthew B. Novak said...

They are. Initially (like 5+ years ago) it was thought that only embryonic stem cells were totipotent (able to generate into a complete organism/differentiate into any of different cells/tissues) and pluripotent (having capacity to affect multiple organs/tissues). (What the real distinctin between these two is, I'm not quite sure, but basically we want stem cells to be both to be optimally useful).

Anyways, research on non-embryonic stem cells - which is funded, and has led to most of the promising results attributed to stem cells generally - has proved them to be just as usable as embryonic stem cells.

I thought differently too, but in the past year I've seen/heard so much about these research results (in Bioethics, Advanced Health Law, from senators and even Ed Pellegrino - the chair of the President's council on bioethics), that pretty much, I'm as certain as I could be without doing the experiments myself.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Oh, and the real reason there's still the huge push for embryonic stem cells?

Money. Lots and lots of money.