Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

You won’t hear about this in the American mainstream media, so I’m bringing it to you live from my room in my pajamas!


While many scientists and the mainstream media are hyping embryonic stem cell research (ESCR), the fact of the matter is that embryonic stem cell research is entirely unproductive at this point. There are no human trials using ESCs, and no treatments/cures coming from ESCR. The same cannot be said of adult stem cell research (ASCR). There are hundreds of human trials, and approximately 75 treatments/cures.


In the past few weeks several new breakthroughs using ASCs have been announced:


  1. Australian researchers used patients’ own stem cells to treat heart failure.
  2. Researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans injected human ASCs into mice suffering from Type II Diabetes. The ASCs increased their insulin production and even repaired their damaged pancreas. The next step is human trials.
  3. Other researchers have turned umbilical cord stem cells into lung cells.
  4. Nature published research involving adult dog stem cells used to treat the dog version of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that affects human children. After a couple of treatments these severely disabled dogs were able to run faster and even jump. The researchers plan to use this technology to begin treating human children in the next year or two.
  5. Swiss scientists have grown heart valves using stem cells from amniotic fluid. The hope is to be able to use these to repair damaged hearts in newborn babies.
  6. University of London researchers restored vision in mice.


None of this progress can be credited to ESCR. Scientists who are making breakthroughs are using ASCs. Dr. Robert MacLaren of the University of London, who restored vision in mice using differentiated stem cells, went so far as to say, “We do not want embryonic stem cells because they are too undifferentiated.”<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–> So much for all the hype about the promise of ESCR. The real promise lies in ASCs, and they’ve proven it. The score is about 75-0.

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<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>E.J. Mundell, “Cell Transplants Restore Vision in Mice”; available from http://health.msn.com/healthnews/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100148369&GT1=8717#; Internet; accessed 09 November 2006.

I was listening to a lecture delivered by Michael Novak in April of this year on the topic of the universal hunger for liberty. He began by offering a basic, and yet perceptive explanation for why it was that a robust version of religious liberty first flourished in a society of people who held a Judeo-Christian worldview. According to the Judeo-Christian worldview God wants the friendship of man, but He gives us the liberty to choose whether we will accept His friendship. He does not coerce us into a relationship with Him. Each man bears the responsibility of making that choice. This duty is personal in nature. Neither family nor the state can bear this responsibility for the individual. Given the personal nature of this responsibility, the government’s responsibility is to allow each man to perform his duty toward God. This translates into religious freedom.

ABC’s Jan Crawford Greenburg recently interviewed Chief Justice John Roberts on a range of issues. Regarding the role of courts in our government Robert said:


Think back to the framers who drafted the Constitution. These were people who literally risked everything to gain the right to govern themselves, certainly risked all their material well-being and risked their lives in the struggle for independence. And the thought that the first thing they would do when they got around to drafting a Constitution would be to say, ‘Let’s take all the hard issues in our society and let’s turn them over to nine unelected people who aren’t politically accountable and let them decide,’ that would have been the farthest thing from their mind.I have enormous respect for the authority carried by the people across the street in Congress. Hundreds of thousands of people, millions of people have voted for them and put their confidence in their judgment.Not a single person has voted for me and if we don’t like what the people in Congress do, we can get rid of them, and if you don’t like what I do, it’s kind of too bad. And that is, to me, an important constraint. It means that I’m not there to make a judgment based on my personal policy preferences or my political preferences.The only reason I’m protected from those political pressures is because I’m supposed to make a decision based on the law. And so I don’t think it would be a good idea to turn all the hard issues over to the courts. Those hard issues belong in Congress, they belong in the Executive Branch.The courts have the responsibility to make sure both of those branches abide by the legal limits in the Constitution, but that’s it.


I couldn’t agree more. Thank goodness Bush appointed a chief justice with a conservative judicial philosophy.