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Embryonic Like Stem Cells-No Cloning Or Killing Embryos!

Dolly The Sheep Creator Quits Cloning To Pursue New Avenue.

In STUNNING stem cell news, two teams of scientists announced that they have successfully reprogrammed adult stem cells back to an embryonic-like state without killing embryos.  This could break the rationale for cloning and in the process it vindicates President Bush’s stem cell policy.  This news has led the “creator” of Dolly the Sheep to quit cloning and pursue this new research which does not kill any embryos. 

The Journal Nature reports that "Shinya Yamanaka of the University of Kyoto in Japan reported that his team had created pluripotent cells from human skin cells and, on the same day, a team of researchers led by James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, reported the same." Pluripotent cells are stem cells-like embryonic stem cells-which are believed to be able to become any kind of cell.

Bioethicist Wesley Smith says that " researchers reverted human connective tissue cells back to an embryonic- stem-cell-like state - and then differentiated them into all three of the body's major tissue types. If this work pans out, there will be no need to create human cloned embryos for use in embryonic-stem-cell therapies."

This is great news. And this avenue of stem cell research is so promising for creating pluripotent/embryonic like stem cells, that Dolly the Sheep Creator Ian Wilmut sent shock waves through the scientific world this weekend when he announced that he was dropping human cloning to pursue this new research. Wilmut said that the new research was "extremely exciting and astonishing" and that he has no doubts "that in the long term, direct reprogramming will be more productive" than human cloning- called therapeutic cloning, which creates a cloned embryo to be destroyed for stem cells.

This discovery could mean the end of the rationale to clone to obtain patient specific cells for treatment because it is no longer necessary to clone and destroy human embryos to obtain embryonic stem cells that will not be rejected. Many researchers support cloning because even if scientists could make use of all the embryos frozen in lockers in fertility labs, they would not begin to provide the genetic diversity necessary for patient specific matches. Cloning is their attempt to procure genetic matches.

This news has wide ramifications. Our friend Wesley J. Smith is saying that " We now have the very real potential of developing thriving and robust stem cell medicine and scientific research sectors that will bridge, rather than exacerbate, our moral differences over the importance and meaning of human life."

There's also vindication of President Bush's policy. Smith says that "President Bush deserves some credit for the exciting research into 'alternative methods' of deriving pluripotent cells. Had the president followed the crowd instead of leading it, most research efforts would have been devoted to trying to perfect embryonic stem cell and human cloning research- which despite copious funding have not worked out yet as scientists originally had hoped." Thank you President Bush for standing tall!

And since cloning humans for stem cells is no longer necessary to create a source of embryonic stem cells, the NIH and the states should stop funding this sort of research and move the billions of dollars in taxpayer funding to more promising alternatives. The Congress should move to outlaw human cloning by passing the Brownback Landrieu Human Cloning Prohibition Act. Cloning to create human embryos not only treats human life as raw materials for manufacturing, it increases the chance that cloning to reproduce children will occur.  If human cloning is allowed, it will not be long before children are engineered to meet our specifications.

All of this is experimental, and pluripotent/embryonic stem cells have been shown to be difficult to control and are prone to tumors and these new cells may likewise present the same problems.  But, no destruction of human life is required and scientists have an ethical source of these cells to work with and the method is reportedly easy to use if there is real potential for pluripotent/embryonic stem cell research.   Dr. Yamanaka says, "Any scientist with basic technology in molecular and cell biology can do reprogramming." "If we can overcome the issue [of having to use dangerous viruses to ferry the genes into cells], many more people will move from nuclear transfer (Cloning) to this method."

Readers of the Nevada LIFE updates are already aware that tiny human livers have been created from umbilical cord blood and that a new kidney was created from a woman's stem cells.  The successes from non embryonic stem cell research are pouring in and this new discovery should not impede that these great discoveries.

Caution: expect ESCR supporters to debunk, down play these discoveries and to say that there is still important work to be done with cloning humans for embryonic stem cells. There is way too much money involved and this kind of ESCR has way too much political value. Supporters have expended too much political capital and credibility to let go of this so easily.

   

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