A common whine from those opposed to stem cell research is that no one has ever cured any disease with stem cell therapy. Besides that being a moronic whine since it’s been so terribly hard to do any research because of the interference of religious nut jobs who only seem to give a flying crap about human life up until the moment of birth…
Well, there is no besides. It’s just moronic. It’s like screaming that fusion reactors shouldn’t be built because no one has ever gotten energy from a fusion reactor. Well duh, no one’s ever been able to build one yet. Or an even better analogy might be that we shouldn’t look for signs of life on other planets because no one’s ever proven that there’s life on other planets. It’s the argument of a brain-dead person.
Anyways, that’s one objection that can no longer be used anyway.
“We have been talking about stem cells for a decade and no one had cured anything with stem cells before this,” comments Eva Mezey, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, US, who was not involved in the work.
In the new study, Evan Snyder of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, California, US, and colleagues studied mice with a mutation in a gene called Hex. This mutation leads to a deficiency in an enzyme that breaks down fatty substances called lipids. As a result, these lipid molecules accumulate in the brain and spinal cord, destroying cells and causing the loss control over body movement. Mice with the disorder die prematurely, at around 120 days of age.
In humans, similar mutations in the Hex gene lead to illnesses such as Tay Sachs disease and Sandhoff’s disease, which lead to death within the first few years of life because no treatment exists.
A day after birth, the mice carrying mutant Hex genes received brain injections of human stem cells taken from discarded human embryos. Snyder’s team also injected a separate group of the mutant mice with stem cells taken from the brains of aborted human fetuses, which are sometimes referred to as “adult” stem cells because they can only develop into a limited subset of cells.
The cell transplants seemed to delay onset of disease in the rodents. Both groups of mice that received human cells retained normal control over body movement for about 119 days, three weeks longer than the untreated mice.
More strikingly, the mice with the transplanted human cells lived to about 160 days – 36% longer than their untreated counterparts, who died at 110 days on average. However this is still well short of the average lifespan of a normal, healthy mouse, which is roughly two years.
Examinations of the rodent’s brains revealed that the human cells had developed into signalling nerve cells, offering the first evidence that such cells can integrate into the brain circuitry of diseased animals following transplantation.
Next time someone tells you there’s never been any benefit shown to arise from stem cell therapy, just tell them to eat dirt.
Y’know they’ll continue to claim that anyway. Either that or they’ll just move the goal posts and say there’s never been any benefit proven to humans. It’s the intellectual equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears.
Sorry, it just annoys me when the best argument someone can come up with is “It can’t be done because no one’s ever done it.”
Tell that to Neil Armstrong. Better yet, tell it to Buzz Aldrin. I double dog dare ya’.