Adult Stem Cell Awareness

November 27, 2007

Dr. Dan: Steady as We Go and Stay the Course



This just in from Dr. Dan Pepin:

Just a little over a week ago, I could not foresee the need to write this article, but here I am. Due to the multitudes of correspondences I have received and the abundance of recent pro embryonic news articles, I feel strongly compelled to wave a flag of caution. An astounding number of e-mails in my box are confidently proclaiming that the scientific technique of cell reprogramming has all but put an end to embryonic stem cell research and cloning, thereby suggesting there is no longer a need for educating the public on the issues surrounding stem cell research. Trust me when I say that nothing would delight me and many of my colleagues more; if only this was true! I’m afraid we are being a bit premature in declaring victory. I don’t mean to rain on the parade but we must resist the temptation to become complacent. Yes, we have won a major battle with the discovery that ordinary body cells can be reprogrammed to become embryonic-like stem cells that possess many of the same properties lauded by embryonic stem cell researchers.

If we recall, the announcement of the discovery that cells found in amniotic fluid also showed pleuri-potency did not deter our opponents in the least. I am convinced that the stem cell war still rages on and many battles are yet to be fought. We must remain mindful that many of those very same researchers and politicians who have aggressively promoted experimentation of human embryos still view them as simple scientific commodities, not as new life with inherent value. These scientists and politicians remain committed and expect that no doors be closed. They continue to demand absolute freedom to pursue all avenues of research; i.e. embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. All we have to do is take note of the many disturbing comments which are appearing daily ever since the initial announcement of cell reprogramming. The following represent only a sampling:

Advance Cell Technology’s Dr Lanza said he was alarmed at Dr. Wilmut, the creator of Dolly the sheep, that he would discontinue his attempt to clone a human being and that he [Lanza] worried that the new studies would drown out ‘other’ stem cell research. Lanza went on to assure the scientific community that he would continue his efforts to extract stem cells from embryos.

Dr. Caplan, when interviewed by MSNBC, said, “It is a bit early to stop working on cloning as a technique to obtain stem cells.” Dr. James Thomson, one of the two scientists responsible for the discovery of cellular reprogramming, agrees with Caplan in that it is too early to give up on the study of embryonic stem cells. Thomson says, “What I hope won’t happen is that everyone says, ‘See! We don’t have to study embryonic stem cells now.'” He goes on to say that the scientific breakthrough of cell reprogramming is a direct result of information obtained through the experimentation on embryonic stem cells.

Dr. George Daley of Harvard Institute states that it is not clear how long it will take to get around some of the concerns surrounding reprogramming and therefore he plans to pursue both reprogramming and cloning strategies. Daley, with a flavor of arrogance that seems to be boasting, said, “We’ll see, ultimately, which one works and which one is most practical.”

Congressional lawmakers have made it perfectly clear that they are not about to give up their fight to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research and cloning. Representative Diana DeGette, a key sponsor of legislation to expand embryonic stem cell research and cloning, recently told Associated Press “That issue [embryonic stem cell research and cloning] is not going away.” Senator Tom Harkin, also a leading promoter of unethical research, agrees with DeGette. “Scientists may yet find that embryonic stem cells are more powerful,” he said. “We have to continue to pursue all alternatives as we search for treatments.”

Rather than shake our heads in disbelief of this unwavering support for embryo-killing science, we must realize that embryonic stem cells and cloning still represent the potential of a tremendous financial windfall. Consequently, biotechnology and that select group of disingenuous politicians are not about to surrender. It is critical that we remain diligent in our aggressive pursuit of finding cures using non-embryonic stem cells and our opposition to embryonic stem cell research and cloning. Time will reveal just how big a battle was won with cell reprogramming. In the meantime “Steady as we go and stay the course.”



  1. […] Read Dr. Dan’s latest, “Steady as We Go and Stay the Course, “, Fr. Berg’s, “IPSC: What the Scientists are Saying“. and Wesley Smith, […]

    Pingback by A little stem cell leadership would be nice « Adult Stem Cell Awareness — November 27, 2007 @ 6:31 pm | Reply

  2. Dr. Dan, there’s also the important point that not all embryonic stem cell research is really even aimed at providing therapeutic cures. Some have been open about the fact that their research is just for the sake of learning about the development of human embryos. They will want their access to human embryos no matter what.

    Comment by benotafraid — November 28, 2007 @ 3:38 am | Reply

  3. What I believe to play a major role in this obsession with embryonic stem cell research is an abundance of prideful scientists and politicians who are hell bent on proving they were right all along. I also believe there’s a profound distain for anything pro-life, particularly the people who are involved in the movement. The sinister nature of the culture of death would rather have no cures at all, than to concede to what they abhor. Just my opinion.

    Comment by shelray — November 28, 2007 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

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