Friday, October 13, 2006

ESCR Scientists Admit Failure But Find Another Rationale To Contine Experiments

Thanks to Fr. Jerry Novotny's weekly update, I was alerted to a very enlightening article by Peter J. Smith from last month's LifeSite News. I encourage you to read the entire text of the article. In fact, you may even want to pursue the links to related stories which appear at the end. BUt, for those of you in a "quick surf" mode, here's an excerpt:

Scientific researchers are now beginning the tedious task of altering the public’s expectations of the aims of human embryonic stem-cell research, deviating from the primary goals of providing stem-cell therapies to cure diseases. In what amounts to a bait and switch, these researchers, no longer promising immediate theoretical cures for a myriad of diseases desired by a desperate public, are now justifying the research by claiming that human embryonic cells are instead marvelous research tools for investigating the mechanisms of disease rather than actively curing them.

According to the New York Times, a number of scientists continuing medical research on human embryos admit that the inherent difficulties of developing stem-cells from human embryos for therapeutic use place any cures - if possible in the first place - years down the road. Instead these researchers want to switch the primary focus from therapies to drug research or learning about diseases through embryonic stem cell experiments.

“Many of us feel that for the next few years the most rational way forward is not to try to push cell therapies,” said Dr. Jessell, a neurobiologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Dr. Jessell hopes that embryonic stem-cell research will yield drugs for neurodegenerative diseases within the next five years, conceding that a long time must pass before stem-cell based therapies will be considered effective.

Another neurobiologist at Columbia University Medical Center, Dr. Henderson admitted, “We all thought cell therapy first, then many of us realized there were a lot of hurdles to be crossed before that.”

“Stem cell biology is just a rubric that applies to many things going on in biology,” said John D. Gearhart, a stem-cell expert at Johns Hopkins University. “I personally feel that the beauty of these cells is that we’ll learn a lot about human biology and disease processes, and that that information will be more important than the cells themselves.”

However, this latest admission validates the conviction of many scientists and bioethicists who have opposed embryonic stem-cell research on the grounds of the dearth of evidence proving any practical possibility of obtaining the promised cures from embryonic stem cells. Instead embryonic stem-cell research is seemingly being exposed as a playground for scientists pushing this new front in human experimentation...