Maybe someone can explain the big deal about stem cell research to me. I just don't..

  1. understand why the problem doesn't have a simple solution. Specifically WHY can't researchers use the "cord blood" from newborns to obtain stem cells for research? Is there a qualitative difference between the cells obtained from this media, as opposed to those which come from aborted fetuses? I know that we donated the cord blood from my sons birth to the IU medical center for research (and to have part of it maintained for free in the event he needed it later in life due to a disease such a leukemia). If cord blood will do the job doesn't that make the debate irrelevent?
    •  
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   mattsmom81
    I am not up on the latest objections to stem cell/cord research to be honest, I would imagine the objections have to do with such issues as :

    ---man playing God with the origins of life.
    ---potential for cloning 'experiments' and THAT Pandora's box.

    The ethics of these situations can be questionable in my mind. Your intentions were honorable, Roland, but what of the researchers?? Does it bother you..wondering what they are possibly doing with your baby's tissues??

    I recall the woman who had another child specifically to save the life of her firstborn...the second child became a tissue 'donor' for the first....without informed consent. This troubled me...what value do we truly place on individuality and human rights if this is what we are reduced to??

    I remember being troubled by TPTB in their quest for organ and tissue donors after brain and actual death as well....such propietary entitled behaviors by the Lifecare type organizations...all the paperwork and questions surrounding a person's death if family chose to NOT donate to their organization. It bothered me on a deeply personal level.

    Just some random thoughts this morning....not meant to be argumentative at all. I admit I am one who believes we too often go too far in 'playing God' with today's 'modern medical techniques'. But where and how do we draw a line?

    A related thread asks what we are doing to our prodigy..with all our engineering...what will we reproduce? Are civilized countries effectively doing away with our health...and mankind's future ... with all our 'experimenting'?

    This is a deeply personal issue for many I know....and I certainly have no answers, just a lot of questions.

    Good thoughtful thread Roland.
  4. by   fergus51
    According to researchers the cord blood is not as useful as that from aborted fetuses, so the debate will rage on. I personally don't have a problem with researchers using something that will be thrown in the trash if they don't, but I understand the pov that others have. As long as there is debate about abortion and when a person becomes a person there will be debate about this.

    I found it interesting to see that Reagan's family is in support of stem cell research.
  5. by   Q.
    Originally posted by fergus51
    I found it interesting to see that Reagan's family is in support of stem cell research.
    Stem cells have been found to greatly help with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's; it's no wonder the Reagan's support it.
  6. by   fergus51
    I get that, it just seems like their view had always been so pro-life. I was a little surprised about the change when it hit their loved one. Maybe I am way off base.
  7. by   Q.
    I think they have been pro-life, but maybe they don't view the stem cell thing as equivalent to the abortion debate. Or maybe they are in support of cord blood/placental cells but not from fetal tissue of aborted fetuses. It would be hypocritical to be against something, but then reap the benefits of it. Like the Pope, who has Parkinson's and could benefit from stem cells, maintains his position against it. He's consistent.

    Personally, as long as abortion is legal, I am in favor of fetal cell/stem cell research. Right now, stem cells are trying to save the life of my FIL with lymphoma.
  8. by   Neon8
    I see nothing wrong with doing anything possible to save a child's life - even having another to get donor tissue from. Anyone who has experienced having children and the unfathomable love you feel for them should understand this. I am so tired of hearing about "playing God" as a reaon for not continuing on in stem cell research. When things go wrong with a child's (or anyone's) health, I doubt if "God" has had anything to do with it. If there is something we can do, we should do it.
  9. by   WashYaHands
    Stem cells from cord blood can differentiate into other blood cells (red, white, plateletts). Cord blood stem cells have been used successfully and proven beneficial for cancer patients who have lymphomas and leukemias specifically. Basically, cord blood stem cells are used to stimulate blood cells.

    Conversely, embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated with the ability to grow into different types of body cells to reginerate cells or tissues. One new study, only done on mice so far, is to stimulate embryonic stem cells into insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. This hasn't been tested on humans that I know of, but if it were successful, it would be a viable treatment for insulin dependent diabetics. Other examples of the use of embryonic stem cells are mentioned in above posts.

    Personally, I think developing embryos for the sake of procuring stem cells is unethical. But, I'm not opposed to using aborted embryos for research since they destroy them anyway as long as the donor is informed and consents to the donation.
  10. by   Roland
    you are saying that the "stem cells" found in cord blood are MORE differentiated than those obtained from fetal tissue and are therefore less capable of "totipotentiation". Is this correct, and if so what are the scientific terms used to describe the relative "stages" of stem cells found in cord blood as opposed to those found in fetal tissue.

    The point of all this is that IF these type of cells can be used (those found in cord blood) there is a virtually limitless supply for use in stem cell research. Maybe we can step around the ethical issues altogether.
  11. by   WashYaHands
    you are saying that the "stem cells" found in cord blood are MORE differentiated than those obtained from fetal tissue and are therefore less capable of "totipotentiation". Is this correct, and if so what are the scientific terms used to describe the relative "stages" of stem cells found in cord blood as opposed to those found in fetal tissue.
    That is correct. My understanding is that cord blood stem cells are not totipotent, embryonic stem cells are, so cord blood stem cells are more differentiated to produce blood cells as opposed to organ tissue cells. As far as your question regarding stages, I do not know the answer to that question, sorry.

    Also, cord blood stem cell research has been proven effective and used in humans, which is why they are procured and banked for use. Embryonic stem cells are still being researched for various disease processes (mostly in mice at this point) but also in limited human studies. In other words, we are not yet there with embryonic stem cells, but research is progressing.

close