Human Exceptionalism

“Stunning” Adult Stem Cell Success

When the MSM declares an adult stem cell success “stunning,” as the Washington Post headline does, you know it is a new day. In mice, scientists were able to transform adult cells into stem cells–from within the body! From the story:

Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a plethora of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires that have plagued embryonic stem cell research.

Through a series of painstaking experiments involving mice, the Harvard biologists pinpointed three crucial molecular switches that, when flipped, completely convert a common cell in the pancreas into the more precious insulin-producing ones that diabetics need to survive.

The feat, published online today by the journal Nature, raises the tantalizing prospect that patients suffering from not only diabetes but also heart disease, strokes and many other ailments could eventually have some of their cells reprogrammed to cure their afflictions without the need for drugs, transplants or other therapies.

There is a long way to go before this can be used in humans, if ever. But my, how the world has changed from less than a year ago. ESCR has lost its political potency as an issue. The newest and most hopeful areas of advancement are coming from morally uncontentious areas of biotechnology. The drive to push human cloning has been staggered by IPSCs.

Perhaps we will be able to have everything that scientists wanted from ESCRs, without the moral baggage. And you know what: I believe that some people would be extremely unhappy about that because they saw this field of scientific inquiry as a way not only to improve health care, but also to change the culture in a less sanctity of life direction. Looks now like that might not happen.

And for our friends in the animal rights movement: One more proof of the efficacy of using animals in research.

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