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another medical breakthr.... oh wait

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 21, 2008

For the first time, stem cells taken from human embryos have produced gains in treatment of diabetes-- in mice.

(Now stop and think about that for a moment before we continue. We're delighted that the mice are feeling better. But at the cost of a few human lives?)

Proponents of embryonic stem-cell research are touting this new study as confirmation of their promises.

“For those who say there is not much evidence that embryonic stem cells can cure diabetes, there you go,” said Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami...

But although it's noteworthy that embryonic stem-cell research has not produced the spectacular gains that we were told to expect, that's not the fundamental point here. Even if there were great medical advances, they would still be coming at the cost of human lives.

And yet... Let's not get too excited about those medical advances, either.

Still, a small number of the mice developed tumors,....
[chop]
...7 of the 105 mice with the implants developed a sort of tumor called teratomas. Dr. Baetge said Novocell could probably have reduced or eliminated the teratomas if it had purified the cells before implanting them.

If you're diabetic, how enthusiastic would you be about a treatment that might work, and caused only a "small number" of tumors, which could "probably" be avoided with greater care?

Nope. Don't chalk this one up in the "win" column just yet.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Feb. 25, 2008 3:57 AM ET USA

    Thanks, guys, but I'll continue to take my two insulin shots, each day. They do the job and no abortions are involved! Couldn't live with that thought.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 23, 2008 5:14 PM ET USA

    And don't forget, even researchers are saying the cells may not be well characterized enough for treatment in humans. What I love is the way they put that qualifier "a small number" of tumors when talking about tumors resulting from embryonic stem cells, and they just talk about tumors (no modifier) when talking about tumors resulting from nonembryonic stem cells. The politics of this "science" is really something to behold.

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