Is stem cell research a fraud?

Stem cell research seems to be getting dealt some swift blows of late. I have no qualms about adult stem cell research, but I am opposed to embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). An article published back in July by the New York Post exclaimed in its title “The Great Stem-Cell-Research Scam.” The article goes on to explain that researchers have known for some time that ESCR is a dead-end road. It is plagued with problems that are extremely difficult to overcome. This is particularly important now that adult stem cells have been shown to have the same plasticity as ESC’s and don’t come with anywhere near the same amount of problems. The article contends that the reason so much is still being spent on this form of research is that it brings in the big bucks for select groups and companies. What really intrigued me in this article was the manner in which this research was being pushed. The author intimated that it is being sold as medical vs. pro-life politics or as our President so wonderfully stated on 3/9/2009 in his speech concerning federal funding of ESCR—“a false choice between sound science and moral values.” In other words, science vs. religion.

A more recent story in The New York Times reported that a new stem cell drug failed two different late-stage clinical trials. The drug was based on mesenchymal stem cells. These are produced from the bone marrow of adults and are different from the “typical” adult stem cells—induced pluripotent stem cells—which are derived from skin cells. The drug did no better or marginally better than the placebo used in the study. It really makes me wonder how genuine some who so heralded Mr. Obama’s statements that we must make “scientific decisions based on facts, not on ideology”…and “to restore scientific integrity to government decision making”…as well as “ensuring scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda.” It is beginning to seem that it is based more on politics than fact. There have been no successful clinical trials in the U.S. using embryonic stem cells (or adult stem cells at this point). Lots of stories have come from over seas, but many of these are proving to be over-rated, false, or frauds. The fact has come out time and time again that ESCR is a dead-end and the only promising stem cell research is now from adult stem cells. This was even stated by Dr. Oz on the Oprah Winfrey Show (HERE). The fact is if we are going to be spending millions and/or billions of dollars to fund this research it should be going to the more soundly scientific adult stem cell research and not to ESCR being kept on life support by federal funding.

What do you think, should embryonic stem cell research be abandoned to more vigorously pursue adult stem cell research? Why or why not?

President Obama's Speech (video)
What'd you think? 


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