Adult Stem Cell Awareness

January 9, 2009

Does advancement in pharmacology really require embryonic stem cell research?

Filed under: adult stem cell awareness,alternative sources,Uncategorized — benotafraid @ 10:19 pm

CNN recently spoke with Leiden University Professor of Developmental Biology, Christine Mummery, who is excited about the anticipated Obama effect on science and research, particularly in the area of pharmacology and drug development. Present U.S. policy, which prohibits the use of human embryos in any lab that receives federal funding, is burdonsome, she opines:

“What’s happened in the U.S. is that people have become very frustrated and a lot of private initiatives — like the Harvard Stem Cell Institute — were started up to circumvent the lack of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. NIH researchers are either left behind or have a huge administrative burden,” Mummery said.

“You go into a lab in the States and they say; ‘this is our NIH lab, and this is our other lab’. They have to buy one microscope to look at NIH lines and another to look at other lines. They have to administer all the stem cells separately. There are even dotted lines in a lab which you can and cannot cross. It’s completely ridiculous,” she said.

Mummery  hopes the process of drug development will be dramatically expedited once testing on cells from human embryos can replace testing on animals. Some animal welfare advocates are excited about the anticipated promising shift away from research on  live animals. (Never mind the “vivisection” of live human embryos).

Yet, even as Mummery concedes, all these anticipated benefits don’t necessarily require the destruction of human embryos. Progress with IPSC’s should offer human cells and tissue for testing and while this won’t completely eliminate the need for live animal testing, it could minimize it.  Interestingly, back home in the Netherlands at Mummery’s own lab, it is research  with adult stem cells which have made an impact – Stem Cells Train Heart Following Heart Attack, Do we really need tiny, pulsing masses.

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