Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I will start off by saying that I am not a scientist. That being said I just read a frustrating article. Every couple of months Jay gets a magazine from the Canadian Paraplegic Association. There was an article that caught my attention that said they were starting human trials later this year of stem cell transplants for those with spinal cord injuries. I think there could be some great potential with stem cells, however this particular company deals with embryonic stem cells. For me, that is an ethical issue. It is trading one life for the possibility of improving another. One of my main concerns, even with stem cells from other sources, are the long term effects of these therapies. One of the major complications is the development of tumours. According to the article I read it said the company "has shown that rats injected with their stem cells have remained free of tumours or other significant health problems for nine months to a one year." In my opinion nine months to a year is not an adequate long term assessment of risk. The other part of the article that really bothered me was this, "It is fair to say that the scientific community widely considers President Bush to be the most anti-science president ever. Many think his policies have done incredible damage to science and have slowed advancements down by many years. But, his term is finally over soon, and all three presidential candidates, at the time of writing: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain, strongly support lifting his restrictions on government funding of embryonic stem cells." I am not a very political person, but I would say I am not a huge supporter of President Bush. However, I do not think that sticking to your morals makes you 'anti-science'. There are other sources of stem cells. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see a treatment for spinal cord injuries. I would love to see Jason regain some level of function, but at what cost?

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