Adult Stem Cell Awareness

Dr. Dan Pepin’s Page

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Dr. Dan Pepin will be dropping in to help us understand some of the more technical issues and approaches to stem cell research and therapy. He will also field questions for a monthly Q & A.  Already stretched between two dioceses as a bioethics consult, we really do appreciate his assistance. If you have a stem cell question, email it in at any time or simply post a comment.

 

Dr. Pepin is currently a professor of Anatomy & Physiology at Edison College in Naples, FL. In addition, he is an instructor of Human Biology at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, MI. He is the bioethics consult for the dioces of Venice (FL) and Gaylord (MI). He speaks throughout the Midwest, Canada,  and the state of Florida on bioethics issues – especially abortion and stem cell research. He has given testimony about stem cell research in Washington D.C., as well as in MI and FL.

 

Two recent posts written by Dr. Dan discuss the induced pluripotent stem cell breakthrough. Read here and here.

 

Below is an article Dr. Dan wrote to help us, as Catholics, grasp the importance of stem cell research. It was written in response to a news article promoting embryonic stem cell research in the state of Michigan.

Stem cell Research: Fact or Fiction?

The knowledge that stem cells can be obtained from multiple sources other than by the destruction of human embryos remains largely unknown.  Educating the public that stem cell research can be pursued without destroying life at its earliest stage is of the utmost importance.  It seems that every new study on embryonic stem cells generates an abundance of optimistic news stories confidently proclaiming that with just a little more time and a lot more money, (taxpayers money) embryonic stem cells are going to cure dozens of diseases and cure millions of sick and disabled people.  Meanwhile, stories highlighting non-embryonic, or adult stem cells, are not only less prominent but often portrayed as less promising.  The casual observer might reasonably assume that embryonic stem cells are the option of choice and adult stem cells are of secondary interest.  I assure you, this is dead wrong.

Embryonic stem cells are being touted as the gold standard of stem cell research, the “holy grail of medicine”, because they are essentially a blank slate.  They are capable, in theory, of differentiating (changing and specializing) into any cell of the 210+ tissues in the human body.  Less well know is that adult stem cells are also very plastic.  That is, they too have the ability to differentiate into nearly every cell of our body.  They are easily obtained, are stable in lab, and readily proliferate (divide).  Adult stem cells can be obtained from hair follicles, nasal mucosa, dental pulp, skin, muscle, peripheral blood and and even adipose (fat) tissue.  They can be obtained from afterbirth tissues such as umbilical cord blood, placentas, and amniotic fluid.  Stem cells can be harvested from cadavers up to 20 hours after death.  In addition, there are many exciting sources on the horizon for obtaining non-embryonic stem cells such as “reprogramming” adult body cells to a less differentiated state, similar to embryonic stem cells.

Mr. Shaberman speaks of curing Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and spinal cord injury patients if only Michigan were to expand embryonic stem cell research and cloning.  What he does not tell us is that Michigan does not prohibit research an embryos obtained from sources outside of the state.  What Michigan prohibits is the creation and destruction of living embryos in an attempt to harvest their stem cells.  Shaberman refers to the donation of eggs from fertility clinics for research.  It appears he needs a refresher in simple, basic biology.  An embryo is not an egg but rather a human being at his or her earliest stage of development, a stage we all went through.  He is accurate in that stem cells obtained from the disaggregation, (ripping apart) of 7 day old embryos can never be used directly to treat anyone, but merely be used for basic research because of the problem of rejection.  Do we believe that biotech companies, who readily admit this major obstacle of rejection, will stop here?  Absolutely not!  In an attempt to obtain stem cells that will not be rejected, human cloning will become commonplace.  Due to the magnitude of eggs required for somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning), women will be exploited.  Cloning of embryos will not only turn a woman’s eggs into a commodity and endanger her reproductive autonomy, it will subject her to many potential health risks associated with Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome such as irregular menstrual cycles, vital organ damage, blood clots, and even death.  Additionally, it is estimated that 50-70% of stem cells obtained from egg harvesting have some degree of genetic mutation due to the powerful chemicals injected into a woman in order to accelerate egg maturation.

In nearly thirty years of embryonic stem cell research, not one single patient has ever been successfully treated but, in many cases, has caused more harm then good.  The only things that embryonic stem cells have delivered to date are rejections, production of wrong cell types, genetic mutations, tumors, and a lot of false hope.  Meanwhile, adult stem cells have already successfully treated 73 different diseases and disorders, representing real, not mythological, help today for tens of thousands of sick and disabled persons.  Currently, there are nearly 1300 FDA-approved clinical trials taking place with adult stem cells but not one with embryonic stem cells due to lack of success.  Patients with breast cancer, testicular cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, leukemias, cardiac damage, spinal cord injuries, corneal damage, and bladder incontinence, to mention only a few, have already been helped with adult stem cells.

Biotech companies are closely watching “research friendly” states, while many states, including Michigan, are attempting to cash in on the multi-billion dollar biotechnology boom.  Scientists are no longer pure scientists, but rather entrepreneurs.  We should all be greatly disturbed with the idea of riding the backs of millions of innocent human embryos in an attempt to bolster our state’s economy.  Our governor, the liberal media, and a select group of politicians and scientists are peddling empty promises that exploit desperately ill people.  The rhetoric may be therapy but the reality is the potential of a tremendous financial windfall.  Embryonic stem cells help patents not patients.  Human life is not a commodity that can be created and destroyed in an effort to generate profits and patents.

           

Today, advances streaming from research laboratories are coming at us much faster than our moral attitudes can adjust.  Its not so much what science is able to do, but rather what we, as a civilized and ethical society, should allow science to do.  There is no need to choose between ethics and science.  That is, we do not have to sell our souls in our quest to heal our bodies.  Science is invaluable in our quest to heal, but science without ethics destroys the very humanity that we seek to protect.  It is time for the complacency ignorance and apathy to step aside to the responsibility of knowledge and action.  We must become proactive and have a voice in this stem cell debate.  .   To quote C.S. Lewis….”If we choose to treat ourselves as raw materials, raw materials we shall become.”  Let’s direct our resources, both financial and scientific, to finding cures that we can all live with., namely adult stem cell research

Dr. Dan Pepin, Consultant on Bioethics

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8 Comments »

  1. Dear Dr. Pepin,

    I am the Director of Patient Services for Regenocyte Therapeutic, a Bonita Springs medical company that treats patients with Adult Stem Cell Therapy. I quite accidently came across a flyer that is advertising the talk you are offering on January 8th and plan on attending. For obvious reasons, I am a huge advocate of your work and plan to attend that evening. I believe you would completely approve of the work we are doing and am requesting you take the time to learn about our organization. Our company’s name is Regenocyte Therapeutic and is headed up by Zannos Grekos, MD who has been a practicing cardiologist in the Naples/Bonita area for a number of years. Currently, our therapy is focused on treating patients suffering from heart disease and peripheral artery disease but hope to expand the disease processes very soon.
    I look forward to meeting you and having the opportunity to further discuss the wonderful work we are accomplishing. If you are interested in speaking with me directly, please feel free to call me using 866-216-5710, or my cell number is 215-882-3517. Our Web Site is http://www.regenocyte.com.
    Respectfully,
    Nancy Trombino, Director of Patient Services
    Regenocyte Therapeutic
    9500 Bonita Beach Road
    Suite 310
    Bonita Springs, FL 34135

    Comment by Nancy Trombino — January 3, 2008 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

  2. Dear Dr. Pepin:

    I am just starting my own site on the subject and of course would like to link with yours. (check with Bill S. about me if you wish)

    You are so far the only one who has come and and said what I am saying. Here is the first page of my unfinished book:

    CHAPTER 1
    The truth about American Medical Science
    Part 1–the 22 year-long $25billion AIDS fraud

    The question I get asked virtually every day from Americans, those suffering from a presumed “incurable” disease, but looking for help from stem cells is:
    “How come this treatment is not available in America?”

    The answer is simple: America is a third-world country when it comes to stem cells. I call America “the Bangladesh of stem cell progress.” Why? Because American medical science is not about cures, it is about money. Money which is spent by the billions on research that has little or no prayer of ever helping anyone. It happened two decades ago when the fraudsters of Corrupt American Medical Science (CAMS) promised to cure AIDS. It’s happening again with embryonic stem cells; only they want $50billion of your money to cash in on this latest scam.

    Let us learn the lesson of the fraud of the AIDS “cure” promised by CAMS, and paid for with billions of American tax dollars: As of now, (1/1/2008) 22 years after the spending of those billions started, the number of deaths from AIDS has soared beyond belief. Those wasted dollars led to lots of money-making research institutions, BUT NO ONE CAN TODAY CURE AIDS. The latest chance for just such a cure promoted by these intentionally-blind researchers went up in smoke in the fall of 2007. The fraudsters admit there is nothing remaining on the horizon, but they’ll be happy to keep ripping you off for another 22 years while denying the truth about their fraud. (See next page) CAMS is not about cures, CAMS is about money.

    To learn that one lesson, we must go back to 1985. President Reagan was under intense pressure to fund AIDS research. The AIDS terrorists were predicting millions of American deaths because AIDS was going to “leap” from homosexuals to heterosexuals, much like the nonsensical Bird Flu leap to human transmission of 2006 and 2007. (See how easy it is for your trusted medical advisors to con you into anything?) But AIDS research had other problems in the 1980s: some of the worlds greatest virologists stated out loud that HIV had not been proven to cause AIDS and, more importantly, (and still true to this day) they claimed HIV could NEVER BE DEFEATED since it had characteristics not common to a normal virus.

    So did CAMS look into these claims? Of course not. CAMS is not about helping you, it is about grabbing from you the research billions that its lies enabled. Naturally, CAMS (a) ignored the truth, and (b) excommunicated from the American Church of Corrupt Medical Science anyone who told these truths, meaning (c) no paper by them could be published in the CAMS-controlled medical journals, and (d) no research grants of any kind could be given to any of them, and (e) to this day the honest guys cannot get their names on any published papers. And you thought the Catholic Church was tough on Galileo and Bruno for telling the truth 400 years ago!

    In the 16th century, religious dogma was more important than scientific truth. Today, another “religion” has taken control of America, and it has nothing to do with Christianity. In the Land of the Free, political correctness is more important than scientific correctness. Stated another way, in the world of American science, ONLY MONEY is politically correct and is far more important than YOUR HEALTH! Now take a peek at the results of their greed: (From Wired magazine) Read the first and last paragraphs twice.
    Wired | Oct 25, 2007
    AIDS Vaccine May Increase Risk of HIV
    19 South Africans who received the vaccine during a clinical trial have contracted the virus

    Comment by Don Margolis — January 14, 2008 @ 8:08 pm | Reply

  3. Dr. Dan,

    Please consider moving your blog to our new global catholic community.
    http://www.catholicdestination.com/community/wp-signup.php
    This is a totally catholic social/networking/blogging community and your adultstemcellawareness blog can import seamlessly into our free wordpress community.

    Hope to see you there.
    Andy McNutt

    Comment by Andy McNutt — January 18, 2008 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  4. I met you in Naples after your talk to the Right To Life Group. Please send info on the conference on ethics for physicians in Ft. Meyers in March 2008.
    Thanks,
    Tom Maher

    Comment by Thomas D. Maher, MD — February 1, 2008 @ 7:31 pm | Reply

  5. I got your name from Jim Styer who is the head of the pray walk outside Planned Parenthood in Sarasota. My daughter is pregnant with her 3rd child and I wanted to pay for her to same the umbilical cord blood. Is there any way to get a discount or good price. She will be living in Kinnelon NJ when she gives birth at Chilton Hospitol in the area. I live in North Venice and can be reached at the above e mail.
    Thank you for your prompt answer to my request.
    Terry Lavin

    Comment by Terry Lavin — August 3, 2008 @ 8:12 pm | Reply

  6. I have been informed of a process for treatment of macular degeneration. This process is a stem cell treatment, supposedly offered by Regenocytes of Bonita Springs, FL. I would like to know if this therapy affectively treats Macular and are there clinical studies to substantiate the claims for this form of treatment for MD, Age Related Eye Disease.

    Comment by Robert Burch — April 11, 2010 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

    • Hi Bob, you can reach Dr. Pepin through the diocese of Venice, FL. He may be able to advise you. Unfortunately, we cannot offer treatment advice through this blog – we hope you understand. Best of luck to you – we are wishing you the very the best!

      Comment by benotafraid — April 12, 2010 @ 9:59 am | Reply

  7. Dear Dr.Dan,

    What do you think about the olfactory-tissue transplantation method for SCI patients? I am a nurse working with TBI & SCI patients who are thinking about having this procedure done, and would like your opinion on its safety.

    Comment by Anastasia Render Flores — January 8, 2011 @ 4:34 am | Reply


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