James Thomson, who first derived human embryonic stem cells, is a man of integrity. I disagree with him on the ethics of the issue, but he always tells it like it is. For example, where some cloning advocates claim that a cloned human embryo is not really an embryo–a major argument of the pro Amendment 2 crowd–Thomson said otherwise in a 2005 MSNBC interview: “See, you’re trying to define it away, and it doesn’t work. If you create an embryo by nuclear transfer, and you give it to somebody who didn’t know where it came from, there would be no test you could do on that embryo to say where it came from. It is what it is.
It’s true that they have a much lower probability of giving rise to a child. But by any reasonable definition, at least at some frequency, you’re creating an embryo. If you try to define it away, you’re being disingenuous.”
Indeed. And now he is clear that ESCR will likely be a long time coming up with “cures. From the AP story: “University of Wisconsin scientist James Thomson said obstacles include learning how to grow the cells into all types of organs and tissue and then making sure cancer and other defects are not introduced during the transplantation. ‘I don’t want to sound too pessimistic because this is all doable, but it’s going to be very hard,’ Thomson told the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s annual convention at the Kalahari Resort in this Wisconsin Dells town. ‘Ultimately, those transplantation therapies should work but it’s likely to take a long time.'”
And during that long time, I believe that adult/umbilical cord blood advances will transform medicine, making human cloning for therapies superfluous.
And here is an irony in the story. The reporter, Ryan J. Foley, writes:“One day, some believe the [embryonic stem] cells will become sources of brain tissue, muscle and bone marrow to replace diseased or injured body parts.” But why do we need ES cells to get these kinds of cells when we have them either in our own bodies or adult stem cells are already producing them?