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November 30, 2007

Stem-cell research

Thanks, Drew Dimmel, for your comments on stem-cell research (11/26, As I See It, “Repeal of stem-cell amendment would stifle hope”). I, too, have a family member who was diagnosed when he was 51 with Parkinson’s. He worked six more years but had to retire early because of the natural progression of this disease.

We were elated to see the voters in Missouri pass Amendment 2. But the will of the people was disregarded by nay-sayers.

I will make all opponents a solemn promise: I will never make them receive stem-cell treatment if they will promise me that they will not interfere with my right to have stem-cell treatment if and when the need arises.

And just for the record, I don’t believe for one minute that opponents of stem-cell research would not choose to receive treatment if stem cells would keep them productive members of society.

My husband is only 62, and we pray that he will survive long enough to reap the benefits of this research.

Lynnette Koenig
Independence

Comments

bmmg39

"...I do not believe in a human soul and therefor do not see any wrong in SCNT."

You don't need to believe in "a human soul" to oppose the killing of a human being. As I've already demonstrated, the personhood of the human embryo is a scientific fact, whether you believe in a higher power or not.

"I just do not see the problem of using something that belongs to me. If a doctor came to me and my wife and told us he could save our life with an egg and a skin cell..."

-- which would create a new embryonic human being, who then would not "belong to you," just like you can't offer up your five-year-old daughter for medical research on the grouds that she's your daughter.

"The argument of killing a homeless person as you say, is flawed. They are indeed alive, cognitive, think, feel, suffer, and therefor have a say in how thier life plays out. A blastocyst that is solely created through SCNT has none of those attributes."

Being aware of one's surroundings is NOT a requisite for personhood. The science textbooks and encyclopedia entries tell us that a human embryo is a human being; people of your ilk, therefore, ignore that and instead work backwards, figuring, "whatever an embryo doesn't yet do, we'll make THAT the new criterion for personhood." Except that it doesn't work that way, Dude.

"I also do not think you and I are getting anywhere with each other."

That may be true, but I'm here to prevent you from misleading others.

"I am bit perplexed as to why you think science is on your side, when that is simply not true. Every major scientific organization is in favor of SCNT and Embryonic stem cell research."

Scientific FACT is on my side, as (again) medical textbooks and biology textbooks make it clear that life begins with the creation of the blastocyst/embryo, not at birth or implantation, or some other romanticized time (e.g. "first smile") that you folks unscientifically use for whether an entity is a human being or not.

Plenty of scientists, including many who don't believe in God, oppose the destruction of human embryos for research. Even some of those who favor it do so reluctantly, including James Thomson, who first came up with SCNT. Did you know that?

"I am not a religious nut, far from it. I am an Agnostic Atheist."

Sweet! So why do you keep bringing up religion, Dude?

ksskidude

Bmmg

I understand everything that you are saying, its just that I disagee with the value you place on an embryo that is cloned for the sole purpose of creating new embryonic stem cells. I do not believe in a human soul and therefor do not see any wrong in SCNT.
Your correct in stating that human SCNT has yet to be successful. However primate SCNT has recently been done, a good sign for the future of SCNT for humans.
I just do not see the problem of using something that belongs to me. If a doctor came to me and my wife and told us he could save our life with an egg and a skin cell, I am all for it, as would most if their life depended on it. You don't have to be, and you don't ever have to know that the procedure took place.

The argument of killing a homeless person as you say, is flawed. They are indeed alive, cognitive, think, feel, suffer, and therefor have a say in how thier life plays out. A blastocyst that is solely created through SCNT has none of those attributes. There is nothing lost with the creation of a SCNT blastocyst. I do not see it as a human being, I see it as an egg with embryonic stem cells, stem cells that have the potential to cure disease and injuries.

I also do not think you and I are getting anywhere with each other. I am bit perplexed as to why you think science is on your side, when that is simply not true. Every major scientific organization is in favor of SCNT and Embryonic stem cell research.
I am not a religious nut, far from it. I am an Agnostic Atheist.

bmmg39

"How do you create new embryonic stem cells? You clone them."

Wrong. What is done in somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) is that a person's cells are combined with an oocyte, and the result (if it proves successful) is not mere embryonic stem cells, but rather a complete human embryo, who is then destroyed for the purpose of obtaining those cells. This is the step the defenders of A2 are skipping when they explain the process to Americans. I'm not sure if you're one of the ones being misled, or if you're trying to mislead others.

"Are embryonic stem cells the same thing as a human being? If so, why are they called embryonic stem cells? Obviously adult stem cells are not human beings, they are stem cells."

You are still confusing an embryo with an embryonic stem cell. No one ever said that a stem cell is a human being. It is the human embryo himself/herself who is a human being. That embryo's body comprises stem cells, just as yours or mine does. The difference is: we don't need to kill an adult human being to obtain some of her stem cells, but currently we DO need to kill an embryonic human being in order to obtain hers. But we're not in the business of protecting stem cells, themselves. I'm registered with the National Marrow Donor Program, and if someone needs some of my stem-cell-rich blood, that person is welcome to it. I'd much rather let them extract some of my cells to save someone's life than have them kill an embryonic human being.

"Just like and acorn is not an Oak Tree. They are fundalmentally different. Cloning is a procedure that has saved many lives, and should not be banned. Would ban the cloning od skin cells as well?"

Aside from the botanical fact that, when it comes down to it, an acorn IS essentially an early-stage oak tree, do you understand that most species in the plant kingdom reproduce asexually, and therefore that such analogies typically fall flat? The cloning of a human embryo has not yet been successful (though they certainly are trying), and so it's rather silly for you to claim that they've saved lives with the process. Try not to get confused by discussing the "cloning of cells" and the "cloning of embryos" as though they can be interchanged.

"What should be banned is the attempt to clone a human being, by means of implanting a fertilized or cloned egg into a ueterus. Which Amendment 2 has done."

The medical definition of "cloning" used by the American Medical Association and other organizations -- even some of whom support the process -- is to use SCNT to create that embryo. Once SCNT successfully causes the creation of a new embryo, you have cloned, regardless of whether that embryo is ever implanted or not. You (and others) are trying to redefine the word "clone" so that the cloning you wish to do will be protected by law.

"Scientist have created a way to produce new embryonic stem cells, and they have done so without the use of fertilization.
If there is not sperm involved, and the egg is not fertilized, then why the problem?"

If you're speaking of cloning, then I shall repeat that the technique hasn't been successfully executed in human beings. If such a human embryo is ever created, (s)he will be exactly equivalent to one created sexually. Otherwise, you would have to argue that Dolly, created via SCNT, wasn't a real sheep.

"Why so against? If there really is a god, god has no problem with the killing of fertilized eggs, as nearly 50% of all eggs when fertilized are naturally aborted. So if god doesn't have a problem, then why should you?"

Dude, I'm an agnostic. Maybe you're a religious zealot, which is fine, but I have science on my side when I explain to you that human embryos are human beings. As for "natural abortions," I'll ask you if it should be legal to kill newborns in a country with a high infant mortality rate. After all, if "God" is killing so many newborns, then why shouldn't we? Do you yet see the flaw in your reasoning?

"But you do have a problem, and you are allowed to not benefit from such research. Stop trying to make decision's for other people. Who do you think you are? god? lol"

Again: if someone wanted to kill homeless people for medical research, and you (rightfully) objected, would you accept this "live and let live" philosophy for the killing of homeless people? Because I certainly wouldn't.

ksskidude

How do you create new embryonic stem cells? You clone them. Are embryonic stem cells the same thing as a human being? If so, why are they called embryonic stem cells? Obviously adult stem cells are not human beings, they are stem cells.

Just like and acorn is not an Oak Tree. They are fundalmentally different. Cloning is a procedure that has saved many lives, and should not be banned. Would ban the cloning od skin cells as well?

What should be banned is the attempt to clone a human being, by means of implanting a fertilized or cloned egg into a ueterus. Which Amendment 2 has done.

Scientist have created a way to produce new embryonic stem cells, and they have done so without the use of fertilization.
If there is not sperm involved, and the egg is not fertilized, then why the problem?

Why so against? If there really is a god, god has no problem with the killing of fertilized eggs, as nearly 50% of all eggs when fertilized are naturally aborted. So if god doesn't have a problem, then why should you?
But you do have a problem, and you are allowed to not benefit from such research. Stop trying to make decision's for other people. Who do you think you are? god? lol

bmmg39

"So, adult stem cells helping paralyzed patients to walk doesn't faze you at all?"

"This is not true."

It IS true:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF7JNx-Kt9M

And she, of course, is hardly the only spinal-cord patient to benefit from an adult stem cell treatment, though the media have been rather loath to discuss the matter.

"Secondly Neaves and The Coalition have been nothing but honest, as well as I have been. Amendment 2 did exactly what it said it was going to do, ban human cloning..."

WRONG. Amendment 2 does NOT ban cloning. The creation of new embryonic human beings via cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer) remains perfectly legal. What IS illegal is implanting such an embryo in a womb; instead he or she can only be killed for the purpose of research.

A new amendment is being proposed, one that will truly ban cloning in the state of Missouri. Now, if Neaves and Co. had no plans to clone, they would have zero problem with the newer amendment, as it doesn't touch any sort of stem cell research: adult OR embryonic. Yet they're doing everything in their power to smear the newer amendment. Hmmm...

ksskidude

Bmmg

It is not me who has little understanding of this research, it is you.
"So, adult stem cells helping paralyzed patients to walk doesn't faze you at all?"

This is not true. The reason is, that those people could walk already. There has been no documented evidence of an idividual that could not walk at all, then suddenly walk after the treatment. Many people with SCI's use wheel chair's even though they can walk. They use the wheel chair's because they are too weak to walk long distances. I have many friends who do this. Now I have a great friend who can not walk at all, she is a complete injury. Adult cells did nothing for her.
Again I am not against Adult stem cells, I am for whatever gets the job done.

Secondly Neaves and The Coalition have been nothing but honest, as well as I have been. Amendment 2 did exactly what it said it was going to do, ban human cloning, and protect all form of stem cell research that are allowed under federal law.

I have a solution for you. Just don't participate when cures are found. When one in your family breaks their neck and is paralyzed from the neck down, you look them in the eys and tell them, NO. I don't believe in that form of a cure. It's your choice BMMG. I would not ever try to make you use something that you did not want.

bmmg39

"NO what I was saying is, if adult stem cell therapies for spinal cord injuries actually provided a cure I would have participated already. They don't and there certainly isn't enough evidence to indicate that it does work."

So, adult stem cells helping paralyzed patients to walk doesn't faze you at all?

"My wife is pregnant right now, so I think I am positive as to what I wrote about."

Best wishes on the pregnancy, then, but having a child and understanding basic human reproductive biology are two different things. Science textbooks and the WORLD BOOK Encyclopedia make it clear that a human embryo is a human being.

"I say this because I am and was a member of the Missouri Coalition For Life Saving Cures..."

And now we have our answer! No wonder you're so far off base; you're merely reiterating the talking points of the mendacious Coalition and William Neaves, who was one of those to write to SCIENCE Magazine, making the ridiculous argument that if a successful adult stem-cell treatment isn't (yet) "widely available" and isn't (yet) "FDA-approved" then it must not exist. This is laughable and demonstrates that Neaves and his minions either don't understand the scientific method or are trying to mislead people.

Neaves and his Coalition have also been lying about their Amendment 2 for a few years now, dishonestly claiming that its purpose was to "prohibit cloning" when in reality it redefined the word "cloning" to suit their purposes. All A2 does is to ban the IMPLANTATION of a cloned embryonic human being. Creating that embryonic human being (via somatic cell nuclear transfer) and then destroying her/him remains protected.

Sorry, "Dude," but you've either been deceived or you're trying to deceive others. Either way, I'll be here to correct you -- aided by the scientists on this side of the aisle who actually understand the issue.

ksskidude

Bmmg,

NO what I was saying is, if adult stem cell therapies for spinal cord injuries actually provided a cure I would have participated already. They don't and there certainly isn't enough evidence to indicate that it does work. Do you really think that I as a partially paralyzed man would have not been the first in line to get a cure or a treatment?
If Adult stems cells worked, why aren't people in the USA getting these treatments and or cures, and why isn't it an absolute known fact?
"Then you obviously believe that these features are magically "added" at some moment (or moments) after fertilization. Sorry, but that's not how it works. Please consult a biology textbook at your earliest convenience." BMMG

My wife is pregnant right now, so I think I am positive as to what I wrote about. In the blastocyst stage, only cells are present, and those cells are embryonic.

My knowledge of this topic, Embryonic stem cells research is up to date and very thorough. I say this because I am and was a member of the Missouri Coalition For Life Saving Cures, and also spoke and debated on their behalf to 2006. So I had no choice but to learn everything inside and out. Every article, every medical breakthrough, every possible counter arguments against, I know and have debated against. I have sat down with Doug melton, president of the Harvard Stem Cell research facility. BIll Neaves, Stowers Insitute, Steve Tietlebaum, a scientist who has worked with Adult Stem Cells for 30 yrs, and absolutely knows that ESC's provide the most hope to find a cure.
I know all that there is to know. Embryonic stem cells need to be studied, and worked with. So do adult stem cells and the new pluripotent stem cells as well. We must continue the work, people are dying, while people like yourself balk at progress because you don't agree with.

The simple fact is this, you will not find one foundation, organization, non-profit, medical research, etc... against this research, except that that are religious or cloaked from their religious agenda. Missourians Against Human Cloning, Cures Without Cloning, Focus on The Family, etc. etc....

Real scientist, who actually want to help people and save their lives, understand the importance of research and discovery.

bmmg39

"if Adult stem cells worked, I would no longer be partially paralyzed now would I?"

Let me see if I have this straight. You're arguing that if YOU have yet to be treated with adult stem cells then that means that no one has. Does that sum up your argument?

"I have no problem creating a three to five day old blastocyst for research, because it is just a clump of cells, with no brain, no spinal cord, no organs, no sex, no eyes, nothing."

Then you obviously believe that these features are magically "added" at some moment (or moments) after fertilization. Sorry, but that's not how it works. Please consult a biology textbook at your earliest convenience.

"Like I have said, you don't have to be for it, just don't try to prevent it."

See my "compromise" question to Lynnette Koenig.

ksskidude

Bmmg

Boy you walked right into this one, if Adult stem cells worked, I would no longer be partially paralyzed now would I?

I have no problem with using an embryo that would otherwise be thrown away. I have no problem creating a three to five day old blastocyst for research, because it is just a clump of cells, with no brain, no spinal cord, no organs, no sex, no eyes, nothing. If that can produce cures then I am all for it.
Like I have said, you don't have to be for it, just don't try to prevent it.

bmmg39

"Hans Kiersted has done fantastic work with mice embryonic stem cells. He has actually been able to get the paralyzed legs of mice to function again with ESC's."

And? Adult stem cells are already being used to treat actual HUMAN patients with paralysis: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/innovation/about_episode6.html

"You are in the very small minded minority..."

If we were a "small-minded minority," this wouldn't be a political issue, would it? Even James Thomson, who first isolated human embryonic stem cells, said that if you don't have any moral qualms about destroying embryos then you haven't thought about the issue enough.

"...and if one was to take a look at this minority, they would find religious motivation behind it."

You must be pretty daft. I've already explained to you, several times, that the reason to oppose destroying human beings for medical research is completely secular, not religious.

Face it, Dude: your OWN religious/superstitious beliefs hold that a human embryo isn't a human being. You're more than welcome to them, but they don't trump actual scientific fact.

"What my wife and I do with her eggs and my skin cells is none of you business."

Working on somatic cell nuclear transfer in the bedroom, I see...

ksskidude

Bmmg

You are being dishonest and you know it!
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/23/60minutes/main1341635.shtml

Hans Kiersted has done fantastic work with mice embryonic stem cells. He has actually been able to get the paralyzed legs of mice to function again with ESC's.

So don't lie to people and say there have been no advances, when there has. Secondly, ten yrs is hardly enough time to say this research will not work, and besides the overwhelming majority of scientist's and doctor's and organizations would disagree with you. You are in the very small minded minority, and if one was to take a look at this minority, they would find religious motivation behind it.

What my wife and I do with her eggs and my skin cells is none of you business.

bmmg39

"I will make all opponents a solemn promise: I will never make them receive stem-cell treatment if they will promise me that they will not interfere with my right to have stem-cell treatment if and when the need arises."

Lynnette, is this the same compromise you'd make for other things? "I won't make you receive a treatment derived from a killed homeless person if you won't interfere with my right to receive such a treatment." See the fallacy there?

"What makes them embryonic is the very fact that they are 'pluripotent,' meaning they have the ability to turn into any other cell within the body."

-- which, of course, we now know that we don't need. Look. It isn't as though there were only one TYPE of adult stem cell; there are, in fact, several types. If one type of adult stem cell is good at becoming insulin, and another can help treat neurological disorders, and another can assist people with blood disorders, and so on, then we obviously don't NEED a one-size-fits-all cell that can become any cell in the human body. We already can get what we need from the myriad of adult stem cells, as each type can be coaxed to perform a different task.

"Adult stem cell research has been going on for 5 decades, where as embryonic has been around for 1 decade."

First off, only HUMAN ESC has been going on for only one decade; they've been working with non-human ESCs for almost three decades and are still nowhere near where they are with adult stem cells.

Secondly, that they succeeded in isolating ESCs in humans "only" in 1998 demonstrates just how more difficult ESCs are to work with.

ksskidude

Engineer

So according to your logic we should give up on adult stem cell research. Last I checked, cancer, parkinson's, diabities, spinal cord injuries, heart disease, als, ms, md, have yet to be cured.

Adult stem cell research has been going on for 5 decades, where as embryonic has been around for 1 decade. See James Thompson University at Madison Wisconsin 1998. He was the first to isolate embryonic stem cells.
We should continue all form of stem cell research, until these cures are actually found. The next time anyone of you talk about the great things adult stem cell therapies have done, go speak to someone who is dying of a disease and ask them how they feel.

ksskidude

Zenozac
Your a moron and freaking idiot!!

Did you not pay attention to the near 2million voters who voted against Amendment 2 last Nov 06'? Ever heard of CWC Cures Without Cloning?

Secondly nimwit, this new research uses adult stem cells to create embryonic. If new anything about this research you would know the pluripotent stem cells are just that, EMBRYONIC. Because only embryonic cells have the ability to turn into any other cell. Read once in awhile something other than your bible. If you would actually read, you would know these little tidbits of information.

Engineer

jack
The aquestion could be put as "How long do you persist in a line of research that produces no results"? Especially if there are other lines of research in the same area that are producing and have produced results? IMO, the answer is clear. Not very long if it is being paid for by private funds, forever if it is being paid for by public funds.

zenozac

So because that is possible, are you going to try to prevent THIS research also, because they might be able to clone?

Posted by: ksskidude | Dec 1, 2007 2:43:34 PM

Who is trying to stop this research? Last time I looked the only thing trying to be
topped is the public funding of this research.
Do you ever get anything right? He said the breakthrough in adult stem cell research shows ONCE AGAIN that embryonic cells are not as usful anyway. They can creat the cells needed with adult cells.

As Gary said an outdated set of talking points. Quick! To another website to find out what your opinion is!! LOL!

jack

So, Gary, are you suggesting that anyone who disagrees with you has no principals?

Every research project ever undertaken has produced no results right up until the instant it does produce results. The "no results yet" arguement against any type of research is maybe the silliest arguement ever.

At least the "destroying life" arguement can be debated. "Is a seed a tree?" But "No results yet?" Ah, come on. If this was applied to all research, humans would still be unable to create fire.

ksskidude

Gary,

While the break through is a good thing, all it merely has done is create another avenue for the research. Until cures and therpies are indeed actually discovered scientist's are going to continue to research using all forms of stem research, which includes, left over frozen embryo's which would otherwise be disreagrded, SCNT, adult, gene therapy just discovered.

Just so you know, the new therapy uses adult stems cells, then turns them into pluripotent stem cells, aka embryonic stem cells. What makes them embryonic is the very fact that they are "pluripotent," meaning they have the ability to turn into any other cell within the body. Which if you know the research, a scientist can take that pluripotent cell, turn it into a sperm cell, inject that into an egg. If they then try to take that egg which has been fertilized, and implant that into a woman's uterus, they are then trying to clone a human being.
So because that is possible, are you going to try to prevent THIS research also, because they might be able to clone?

Gary

Lynnette, nobody opposes all forms of stem cell research. Many principled people oppose using embryonic stem cells in research. Recent breakthroughs using adult stem cells have pretty much settled this debate. I fear you picked up an outdated set of talking points.

 
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