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Author Topic: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments  (Read 1533 times)

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Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« on: September 01, 2010, 02:40:51 PM »
So I have been out of the loop for a few days and have just stumbled upon this. Needless to say I am not pleased.
Quote
(AP)   WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration's expansion of stem cell research has suffered a significant setback with a judge's ruling that blocks important work on treating life-threatening conditions, say private groups pushing for scientific breakthroughs in medicine.

Monday's decision by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth will "drive the best scientific minds into work less likely to yield treatments," says Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

"It will be incredibly disruptive," Tipton added.

Stem cell research holds the potential to address some of the most difficult areas in the medical field - from spinal cord injury to diabetes to Parkinson's, which all have resisted traditional treatment.
Although I can't blame the judge in this case (and try to avoid blaming judges in general, they get so much derision for just doing their jobs). No, the judge was just accurately interpreting the law. Specifically the ignorant, useless Dickey-Wicker  rider that makes one of the best cases for why an uneducated, idealistic, congress has no business making decisions regarding the sciences. Unfortunately that same congress of laymen are the only ones who can fix the problem they created.

*shrugs* Who knows maybe they will finally be motivated to actually be responsible rather than forcing us to work around them. Or maybe nothing will happen and complacency will allow politics to continue trampling all over a place into which it has no business intruding.

(What is also interesting about this case is that the plaintiffs made the argument that the current way of dealing with the inane regulations would cause some funding that could go to them to be distributed elsewhere...really? They have to compete for funding? Since when is that grounds for a lawsuit? You can really seek legal remedy for that? If that's the case, I need to make a few phone calls <_< and the chemistry department had better watch its back...)

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2010, 02:55:21 PM »
I don't see the issue they can still use private sector funds for this research, just divert the Federal funds into other areas.

Anyway what is the point for me they can whip up great treatments many low income will never get this is research for those with money that can afford the best care.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2010, 03:51:38 PM »
True, it may never affect any of us directly, but the more that research gets to be practiced, the faster it becomes 'commonplace' and therefore cheaper and more accessible.  After all, a mere 30 years ago, only people who had a couple thousand dollars in disposable income could afford computers.

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Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2010, 04:03:53 PM »
I might be wrong about this; I haven't checked back on it but do they still need human fetuses or can we use pig stem cells? I have this thing about desecrating a human fetus.

Offline Lypiphera

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2010, 04:04:28 PM »
I agree with Oniya.

To me it makes sense to research something as potentially vital as stem-cells to its fullest extent before we can judge its worth and there are so many women making difficult choices involving abortion out there at the moment, wouldn't it actually be nice if you were in that situation (or the partner of one in that situation) to believe that the life you had to end could be used to make someone else's life a whole load better through this sort of programme?

I know it raises a lot of questions on the value of foetuses and the age old question of 'when' we gain our soul / personality / essence but personally I feel we will never know if its a cure that will be worth the price till we consult all its angles and to do that, imo, we need research!

Offline Noelle

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 04:44:15 PM »
Anyway what is the point for me they can whip up great treatments many low income will never get this is research for those with money that can afford the best care.

To reiterate what Oniya said, for the most part --

Chemotherapy isn't affordable for the common man, either, but it doesn't prevent organizations like the ACS from helping those with cancer pay for the care they receive, nor does it mean those who can't pay are denied treatment. The thing about developing treatments and cures is that it typically goes through stages where it's not affordable (or just less expensive) because it's not yet standardized or mass-produced/distributed/etc. Experimental treatment isn't cheap, which is why it's usually only limited to patients typically with certain circumstances, not always wealth-based. It may not be accessible to you or me or most people, for that matter, but it's not to say it's any less important to develop and research.

In my opinion, I find it incredibly sad when the mere potential for life becomes more important than the pre-existing lives that could be vastly improved through stem-cell research. No, the results aren't immediate, but that's where you have to think long-term. What starts out selective today will likely eventually expand, streamline, and become more accessible for all further down the road. You'd think some of the pro-life-type people concerned with using fetuses would be equally as concerned with maintaining and improving the life that's all around them, including potentially their own, and not just an undeveloped blastocyte.

Also: Dug this up off of Wikipedia. A list of promising areas where further development of stem-cell research/treatment would be beneficial:

« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 04:47:29 PM by Noelle »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2010, 04:48:26 PM »
To clarify my post: I actually haven't decided one way or another regarding morality - I don't like the idea of people conceiving just for the medical benefits, but in cases like supernumerary fertilization (such as that done routinely for IVF), it seems 'less evil' to do stem cell research than to incinerate the 'extras'.  (I also think that stem cells can be sampled from certain sources without killing or desecrating anything - might be wrong about that, though.)

The reason for my post is that it bothers me to hear 'oh, well, it won't do me any good, so why bother?'  If that were the general attitude, we wouldn't have made as many medical strides as we have.

Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 12:35:36 AM »
I don't see the issue they can still use private sector funds for this research, just divert the Federal funds into other areas.
Problems with this being that 1) federal funding is a significant factor in most research in this country. Without that federal funding the entire field of research slows. Private companies cannot fill that research gap; 2) I personally have a problem with the government standing by and letting disease go untreated for an ill-informed idealogy; and most importantly and most stupidly 3) the laws governing this make it illegal to do research on stem cell lines in a laboratory that has ever received any government funding for any project ever. Which is basically every lab in the country. Meaning that to work on privately developed stem cell lines in a privately funded project you are required to build a new lab from the ground up. Something which is intentionally, excessively prohibitive.

I might be wrong about this; I haven't checked back on it but do they still need human fetuses or can we use pig stem cells? I have this thing about desecrating a human fetus.
To clarify a common misconception. We are not talking about human fetuses. Nor does this have anything to do with abortion. Once the fetus is developed it is too late. The cells have already differentiated. We want undifferentiated cells. These cells need to be extracted from blastocysts. This means 4-6 days after conception. These are barely embryos. These are certainly not fetuses. These are not even phenotypically recognizable as human in any way. This is not a creature, it is grouping of ~100 cells that will differentiate, split, and at some point down the road be a human. Nothing magic happened at conception. It is not like a perfect little homonculus forms in the womb. More than 1000 times the number of living cells in this thing die every time a man ejaculates.



Moreover the Dickey-Wicker rider reads:
Quote
(b) For purposes of this section, the term "human embryo or embryos" includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 (the Human Subject Protection regulations) . . . that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes (sperm or egg) or human diploid cells (cells that have two sets of chromosomes, such as somatic cells.
Which means that they are intentionally trying to bar even blastocysts that do not result from conception. Meaning that if I took a mouth scraping, and induced pluripotency (which we are perfecting the technology to do), and grew a blastocyst, according to this law it suddenly becomes a protected 'human embryo'. This is absurd and follows from an inane humanistic notion that human life is somehow magical. I agree that humans are quite nice, but at this stage of development the only thing separating us from any other eukaryote is our DNA. Which is to say a relatively small portion of our nucleic acids. And that small portion makes all the difference between being a human and being a seal. But those chemicals are not a human and are in no way 'sacred'. They are not the creature that they will be. The potential for life should not bar research into methods that can save actual, extant lives.

Especially not when there is a hell of a lot more potential out there between everybody's legs  :P

EDIT: Re-did my numbers now that I am more awake. 10,000-20,000 times the # of living human cells in a blastocyst condemned to death every time a man ejaculates.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 08:51:04 AM by DarklingAlice »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2010, 03:20:44 PM »
EDIT: Re-did my numbers now that I am more awake. 10,000-20,000 times the # of living human cells in a blastocyst condemned to death every time a man ejaculates.

I'm having a [noembed]Monty Python moment[/noembed] here.

Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2010, 05:53:05 PM »
I'm having a [noembed]Monty Python moment[/noembed] here.

Yeah...should have anticipated that <_<

Offline Jude

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 01:15:30 AM »
I don't see the issue they can still use private sector funds for this research, just divert the Federal funds into other areas.

Anyway what is the point for me they can whip up great treatments many low income will never get this is research for those with money that can afford the best care.
Since when are the lives of the middle class and the rich who can accord these treatments worthless?  I mean, I can sort of see your point, but it really just seems like an extreme class warfare comment...

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 10:56:56 AM »
Yes it is I'm poor and have no health care at all, they are threatening (Republicans) to take the recent reform away and I'm worried about getting insulin, basic drugs and doctors visits not this.

To me I'd rather see this money go to expanding my access so pardon me for saying this - they have theirs and I want some medical care now to. I'm losing use of my left hand due to carpal tunnel and nerve damage and no care in site. So for me its pissing away public funds when the private companies already are involved its not necessary to spend tax dollars on it.

Offline Will

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 11:43:05 AM »
Yes it is I'm poor and have no health care at all, they are threatening (Republicans) to take the recent reform away and I'm worried about getting insulin, basic drugs and doctors visits not this.

To me I'd rather see this money go to expanding my access so pardon me for saying this - they have theirs and I want some medical care now to. I'm losing use of my left hand due to carpal tunnel and nerve damage and no care in site. So for me its pissing away public funds when the private companies already are involved its not necessary to spend tax dollars on it.
True, it may never affect any of us directly, but the more that research gets to be practiced, the faster it becomes 'commonplace' and therefore cheaper and more accessible.  After all, a mere 30 years ago, only people who had a couple thousand dollars in disposable income could afford computers.

I don't think you really responded to Oniya's point here.  Just because it would be prohibitively expensive now, doesn't mean it would always be that way.  In fact, it's a little far fetched to think that. 

That's the way scientific progress works, generally.  Things get easier to do and/or make over time, because we find cheaper ways to go about it.  I can't say for sure that it would get cheap enough for you to afford it during your lifetime, but progress isn't about benefiting an individual anyway; it's about benefiting society.  I'm sorry you don't think making medical advancements (especially one as huge as this appears to be) is worth the money, but I disagree.  I'd like my grandkids to not have to worry about diabetes, cancer, and what have you, so I don't mind the money being spent now, even if it doesn't benefit me.

Offline DarklingAliceTopic starter

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 12:42:05 PM »
Yes it is I'm poor and have no health care at all, they are threatening (Republicans) to take the recent reform away and I'm worried about getting insulin, basic drugs and doctors visits not this.

To me I'd rather see this money go to expanding my access so pardon me for saying this - they have theirs and I want some medical care now to. I'm losing use of my left hand due to carpal tunnel and nerve damage and no care in site. So for me its pissing away public funds when the private companies already are involved its not necessary to spend tax dollars on it.

Okay, this is not to make treating diseases easier if you have the money. This is to treat diseases that we cannot treat at all. This is about getting a cure for diseases that currently nothing can be done about, like Alzheimer's. And yeah, it might be expensive. But you know what fixes that? RESEARCH. And public health reforms. We are talking about the difference between curing a disease and not, the cost of that treatment is pretty damn small when weighed against the costs of the alternatives...like death, dementia, or loss of muscular control. In case you missed this: academics & scientists are not exactly top earners. If the time comes when I have to choose between spending the rest of my life in debt for treatment, or having Huntington's and not having a life at all. The choice seems pretty simple.

Offline Serephino

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 09:13:46 PM »
I think if it might do some good it's worth looking into.  I feel a little iffy about how they get the stem cells.....   Though wasn't there something passed that said they couldn't create embryos, only use existing ones?  Like if a couple creates a bunch to try and have a baby, research labs can have the left over ones.  That I'm okay with I guess.  Then they're just using ones that would have otherwise just been thrown away. 

Offline Wolfy

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 09:25:02 PM »
.....I say we ignore the moral guardians and trudge on ahead. If their God didn't want it to happen, then why did "He" allow us to discover it in the first place?

.....Just my 2 cents. <_<>_>

Offline Noelle

Re: Yet More Stem Cell Impediments
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2010, 09:30:00 PM »
To clarify a common misconception. We are not talking about human fetuses. Nor does this have anything to do with abortion. Once the fetus is developed it is too late. The cells have already differentiated. We want undifferentiated cells. These cells need to be extracted from blastocysts. This means 4-6 days after conception. These are barely embryos. These are certainly not fetuses. These are not even phenotypically recognizable as human in any way. This is not a creature, it is grouping of ~100 cells that will differentiate, split, and at some point down the road be a human. Nothing magic happened at conception. It is not like a perfect little homonculus forms in the womb. More than 1000 times the number of living cells in this thing die every time a man ejaculates.

I believe that answers part of your question. Most specimens used in laboratories for stem-cell research are donated by women -- so basically, nobody's having an abortion for greater scientific justice :P

Quote
.....I say we ignore the moral guardians and trudge on ahead. If their God didn't want it to happen, then why did "He" allow us to discover it in the first place?

Certainly you can't completely ignore morality in scientific progress. If the suspicions that we were making scrambled egg babies for stem-cell research was true, that would be a bit of a moral crisis. Certainly there is moral crisis in the invention of nuclear missiles. In this case, the life-altering benefits, in my opinion, by far and away outweigh the potential for life in a lump of cells. As DarklingAlice said, masturbation in men is by far the bigger "offender" in terms of killing off more potential than donating eggs to curing life-wrecking diseases.