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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Misinformation on stem cell research

My wife called me over to watch the TV documentary (ABC) which at that time showed Dr. Paul Brock, advocating for embryonic stem cell research. He is quick to point out that he used to be a Marist, a Catholic order, but rather than bolster his arguments, I find that to be simply sad. He has obviously lost his faith, so the Marist and Catholic credential is no longer his. What I still find incredible is that people like Dr. Brock would speak of stem cell research as if there were only embryonic stem cells to speak of. In this particular article I found, he is reported to have claimed that adult stem cells have yielded nothing while embryonic stem cell research offers the best hope. That's exactly the opposite. Adult stem cell research has yielded 72 successful human treatments, including for neural degenerative diseases, while embryonic stem cell research has yielded none. Not a single one. Add to that the problems that people haven't yet addressed with embryonic stem cell research: that in trials with animals, embryonic stem cells were incredibly difficult to harvest and mostly useless because they caused cancer that kills the subject.

So what I still find incredible and frustrating is the obsession with embryonic stem cells when the empirical evidence points to this as a futile avenue.

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