Opponents of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) have long pointed out that adult stem cell research (ASCR) is far more advanced than embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem cells are being used in hundreds of human clinical trials, and are currently responsible for 72 treatments. How does ESCR measure up? Currently there are no human ESCR clinical trials, and no ESC treatments. Generally speaking the mainstream media is mum on the existence of ASCR, yet alone the advances of ASCR. Once in a while, however, you will get a mainstream news organization to do some honest reporting on the status of the research. On August 9, 2006 CNN Money did just that.

 

As the financial wing of CNN, the online article focused on investments. If one wants to invest in stem cell research, where should they put their money? In no uncertain terms CNN staff writer, Aaron Smith, suggests betting on ASCR. Here are some important excerpts of the article:

 

Embryonic stem cells might hold the secrets to curing paralysis and brain damage, but they’ve also garnered plenty of controversy with the anti-abortion lobby because they’re harvested from embryos. However, work using adult stem cells – which are donated by grown men and women – is not only free of such controversy, it’s actually much closer to getting effective products on the market.

The adult stem cell research at several biotech outfits in particular – Osiris, Cytori, Aastrom – is worth keeping an eye on according to analysts. “From a Wall Street perspective, adult stem cells are a much better investment,” said Stephen Dunn of Dawson James Securities. “These are the guys who are going to be in the news in 2007 and 2008.”

“Embryonic stem cell research hasn’t kept up pace with adult stem cell research,” said Dunn. “Adult stem cell research is advancing so far you might not need embryonic stem cells. If the federal government is reluctant to put their money into it, then Wall Street is as well.”

So while embryonic stem cell researchers are experimenting with rats, adult stem cell researchers have moved on to more advanced tests with humans. The embryonic-based stem cell treatments are probably a decade away, but the U.S. market could see its first adult-based stem cell treatments within the next couple of years.

Did you hear that? Treatments using ESCs are a decade away (and this is a conservative number), but not so with ASCs. ESCR is being left in the dust. Remind me again why it is that biotech industries, state governments, our federal government, and the media are pushing for a form of research that is morally problematic, likely unnecessary, and not fruitful when we have a form of research that is morally acceptable and fruitful?