Stem Cells ‘R’ Us

For many conservatives and scientifically in-tune liberals, it’s the ultimate “I told you so.” Researchers have officially announced (numerous times, in fact) that viable stem cells can be utilized without damaging embryos. In fact, one recent announcement showcases research in which stem calls are derived from the amniotic fluid, instead of the baby (otherwise known as the “fetus”). This will, no doubt, completely revolutionize the debate that continues to rage between liberals and conservatives. When “Grandma” Pelosi took the helm, waving her gavel, and promising to pave the way toward federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, I just shook my head in awe. One must consider how recent reports that claim embryos are unneeded will change the Democrats’ agenda. Hillary Clinton, an alleged 2008 hopeful, has also pushed to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, as have other Democrats in the House and Senate.

The problem? Embryonic stem cells have been improperly touted as the silver bullet to cure every debilitating illness. Not only are these cells too sporadic to actually be controlled for this purpose, but they also have never cured a single individual of any disease or impediment. Whenever cures using “stem cells” are mentioned, the cells are “adult” or come from another source other than an embryo. The media tend to ignore the distinction which puts more fuel on the fire.

The thought that our society would promote the apple-orcharding of life for spare parts is absolutely horrific.

Amniotic cells are easier to grow than embryonic stem cells and they have longevity. Assuming this development gains some media attention, medical research may be turned upside down. Either way, one thing is for sure: A non-controversial method is available that will appease both sides of the political spectrum.

Even more astounding is the fact that researchers have believed in these possibilities for decades. Not only do the cells appear to be long lasting in Petri dishes, but they also have been used to repair brain cells in mice.

So, will the Democrats take the lead in directing research, or will we continue to rely on the false hope embryonic stem cell enthusiasts continue to provide? Recent developments teamed with a veto by President Bush leave this question unanswered and more than unpredictable.

Many Americans are unaware of the vast lack of success in the embryonic arena. Many people also remain unaware of the concrete examples in which scientists have experienced success utilizing adult stem cells to heal ailments. Doctors have cured thousands of individuals with diverse health issues utilizing this method and continue to do so on a daily basis.

Aside from rodent cures and treatments, embryonic stem cell research has been limited and unproductive. And since it’s so controversial and unnecessary, my vote goes to federal funding for the exploration of amniotic fluid and other methodologies. The conservatives and well-read liberals are definitely onto something here; let’s see if our unproductive Democratic Congress eventually comes around.