Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Latest Embryonic Stem Cell Hope Is Just the Latest Embryonic Stem Cell Hype

The mainstream media went absolutely gaga the last couple of days over scientific researchers hailing a "breakthrough" in embryonic stem cell research. The glowing stories were everywhere and they were overflowing with exciting promises of medical advances just beyond the horizon.

But we have gone this way many times before.

True enough, it's been awhile since the ESCR crowd has claimed a grand success. And even more problematic, those earlier "breakthroughs" turned out to be dead ends -- literally. Perhaps that's why the media jumped on this story so strong. They were desperate to have hope again in ESCR techniques, to find a reason to prefer ESCR to the adult stem cell research that the pro-life community is always touting.

Yet adult stem cell research has proven wonderfully successful -- and not just in the labs. The use of adult stem cells (in which no human person is destroyed) has developed into thousands of actual medical treatments. Indeed, the use of adult stem cells provides much more than potential; it's saving lives, restoring health, celebrating effective care right now.

But the media has proven to be heavily biased against adult stem cell promotion. They prefer ESCR. Thus the excitement in the last few days over the latest "breakthrough." They were really ready for new hope.

But, alas, the new hope is just new hype.

Here's Wesley J. Smith:

So, this seems the bottom line:

Scientists still have not succeeded in creating human embryos via usual SCNT processes, at least not that were maintained to the blastocyst stage of embryonic development.

The 69 chromosome stem cells derived from the cloning procedure are of limited value in and of themselves, although Stein reports that the scientists said the advance could be used to “decipher how eggs reprogram genes.”

IPSCs are already producing patient specific, tailor made pluripotent stem cells for use in drug testing and disease research, which we were once told would require human cloning to do

Here’s the macro bottom line: Even if IPSCs eventually provide every benefit supposedly to be obtained from human cloning for experimentation (therapeutic cloning), many scientists would shrug and keep on cloning anyway.  That’s because the ultimate agenda goes far beyond stem cell research and into Brave New World technologies that require cloning, e.g., genetic engineering, fetal farming and experimentation, and eventually cloning to produce babies.  Indeed, some bioethicists already support allowing cloning and gestating to birth.