Kudos for this Kind of Stem Cell Research

Kudos for This Kind of Stem Cell Research
eNotes from Larry Page, Executive Director
February 20, 2012

That’s right. This is about successful adult stem cell research – not embryonic stem cell research in which a human being is destroyed on the altar of science. Recently, the medical journal Lancet published an article detailing the results of clinical trials involving heart disease.

In the trials, stem cells grown from patients’ own cardiac tissue proved able to heal damage once thought to be permanent after a heart attack. The findings offer the likelihood that the discovery may one day help stave off heart failure.

The trial was conducted on twenty-five heart attack patients. The seventeen who got the stem cell treatment showed a fifty percent reduction in cardiac scar tissue compared with zero improvement for the remaining patients who received standard care.

Deepak Srivastava, the director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, said that the findings were encouraging. “There’s a dire need for new therapies for people with heart failure; it’s still the number one cause of death in men and women.”

The study by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore tested the approach in patients who had suffered heart attacks recently. The goal was to determine whether repairing the damage to the heart might help prevent future heart failure. The theory behind the research is that new tissue regenerated by the stem cells can strengthen the heart.

While the main goal of the trial was to examine the safety of the procedure, the decrease in scar tissue in those treated with stem cells taken from their own hearts calls for a larger study that focuses on broader clinical outcomes, the report quoted the researchers as saying.

Eduardo Marban, the study’s lead author underscored the great potential that further research along these lines holds. “If we can regenerate the whole heart, then the patient would be completely normal. We haven’t fulfilled that yet, but we’ve gotten rid of half of the injury, and that’s a good start.”

The results of this study are consistent with all the other stem cell research. The beneficial and promising research has been the result of work done with adult stem cells. The end product of embryonic stem cell research has largely been failure, deformity, and death. We need to encourage researchers to continue their studies in the kind of stem cell research that has yielded good results and holds the prospect for achieving great things in the area of disease cures and prevention – and that kind is adult stem cell research. We need not sacrifice human lives for the advances in medical science that embryonic stem cell research promises but doesn’t deliver on. A life for such an elusive prize seems a terrible and regrettable bargain indeed.

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