The use of embryonic stem cells is the greatest medical breakthrough in our, or any other, lifetime.
At least that is what Ronald Reagan Jr. and others like him would have you believe.
Embryonic stem cells are held up as the golden solution to everything from diabetes to Alzheimer’s.
What isn’t mentioned is the real reason political interest groups are clamoring for the government to invest in embryonic stem cell research. It is because most private organizations are not. And it’s not just because of the moral implications of using aborted fetuses in research either.
Currently adult stem cells are being used to treat more than 75 different diseases.
In contrast, embryonic stem cells have never been tested on a human.
Adult stem cells have other properties that make them more attractive to private firms than their embryonic counterparts. When taken from a patient’s own body, adult stem cells are not rejected.
In contrast, embryonic stem cell lines can have surface proteins, which cause rejection.
Embryonic stem cells also differ from the adult version in that they have been known to cause cancer.
There is another reason why private investors are wary of placing their money where embryonic stem cell advocates would have the government pour millions of taxpayer dollars. The main claim of embryonic stem cell supporters is that embryonic stem cells can be grown into any of the different types of cells that make up the human body. This claim has yet to be proven. On the other hand, only three labs have shown that adult stem cells can indeed be transformed into other cells that make up a human body.
The way supporters of embryonic stem cell research use the pain of the thousands of Americans whose lives have been devastated by Alzheimer’s to increase support for funding is obscene.
Out of all the diseases that may one day be cured by stem cells the nature of Alzheimer’s makes it one of those least likely diseases to be affected by stem cell research, adult or embryonic.
Don’t be swayed by those who would try to use your emotions to convince you that moral puritans blocking governmental embryonic stem cell funding are preventing miracle cures from being invented. “Miracle cures” are being developed and funded everyday by private investors. These are people whose livelihoods depend upon them looking past the hype and seeing the truth of emotional claims and wild speculation.
And their investigations have overwhelmingly led them to the same conclusion, the true hope for cures of the future lie in adult stem cell research.
Daniel Watkins is a senior computer information systems student from Hephzibah, Ga. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.