Letter to the Editor

Stem cell bias

Thursday, March 3, 2005

Dear Editor,

Disturbing, to say the least, is the "news-coverage" concerning stem cell re-search.

Instead of useful information, we are fed a constant diet of speculation and wild conjecture! The secular media's bias is very evident - embryonic stem cell research is tremendously hyped, and simultaneously non-embryonic stem cell research (and it's proven, successful results) are all but totally ignored! Let us look at some facts:

* A stem cell is basically a "blank cell" that has the capability of becoming one of the 210 different cell types in the body (such as skin, nerve, muscle, etc.). Thus, their potential to be able to restore damaged tissue or organs.

* There are 2 types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells (ESCs), & non-embryonic stem cells (this category consists of adult stem cells [ASCs] & stem cells obtained from umbilical cords and placentas at birth).

* Every human body contains adult stem cells - they are part of the bodies natural healing process. They are found in the brain, bone marrow, blood, blood vessels, liver and skin. These ASCs can be obtained without doing harm to the donor -- thus, their use is morally acceptable.

* Stem cells can also be obtained from the placenta & umbilical cord. (Umbilical cord SCs show great promise: they are capable of generating many non-blood tissues, survive indefinitely when frozen, can be propagated, are free from exposure to environmental effects (disease, smoking, drug use, etc.), and are obtained easily. Again, no harm is done to the donor, and so their use is morally acceptable.

* Human embryos (the earliest stage of human life), also have stem cells -- labeled embryonic stem cells. Embryos are obtained from abortions & also by the same technology used for in vitro fertilization. There is only one way to obtain an ESC - destroy the life of the embryo that is from two to nine days old! This is homicide and obviously morally unacceptable!

* Adult stem cells have been used for years, & literally tens of thousands of people have already been cured of various ailments. Stem cells from the placenta, bone marrow and umbilical cord are being used to treat leukemia. ASCs have also proven helpful in people with Parkinson's, spinal cord injury, sickle-cell anemia, heart damage, immune deficiency, corneal damage and juvenile diabetes.

* The strongest argument for embryonic stem cell research was that these cells, theoretically, showed more promise than non-embryonic stem cells -- because they were thought to be more "flexible." ("Flexibility" is their ability to form any of the other non-blood tissues of the body.)

* ESCs also have some serious therapeutic drawbacks: they have shown to be prone to uncontrollable differentiation, genomic instability, cause cancerous types of growths (tumors) and rejection by the recipient body.

* Cloning of human beings also enters the picture at this point. It is theorized that cloning would lessen the chances for rejection of therapeutic stem cells! Must it be stated that this is morally unacceptable?!

* To date there have been no (zero) people cured of any disease by ESC use! (And it is not for lack of opportunity that there are no successful results -- contrary to popular allusion, much research has already been done with ESCs. As in most every other walk of life, not all scientists allow ethics to influence their work. Neither did Nazi Germany!)

* The tales of ESC research bringing us to the brink of a cure for Alzheimer's disease is nothing but a very well publicized myth! (In fact, some of the research with ESCs on Parkinson's patients has had disastrous results!) But that information did not qualify as "news."

* Finally, the latest research has identified a subpopulation of adult stem cells that has the capability of developing into all types of cells!! This research is being done at Caritas St. Elizabeth's medical center in Boston. The stem cells have been derived from bone marrow -- they have shown tremendous flexibility (previously not realized to this degree in ASCs)! This is an astounding breakthrough! This means that people could be treated with ASCs from their own body-- thus overcoming issues related to cell therapy, such as tissue rejection!

This discovery significantly weakens the case for ESC research -- but have you seen light of it anywhere in the mass communications media? Why not? Could it be that with the media's vehement pro-abortion bias, that they are interested only in ESC research -- since the therapeutic use of ESCs could be trumpeted as a tremendous benefit derived from abortions -- thus, attempting to justify that abominable crime?! America, wake up -- you are being duped!

If, as a nation, we do not respect the dignity of all human life, history will remember us for our atrocities against mankind! Almighty God, please give us the grace to see!

Jerome Biegler


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