STEM CELLS EXAMINED IN U.S. SENATE — Sen. Brownback (R-KS) conducted another hearing on stem cells, this time focusing on the embryonic stem cell controversy. The committee heard from ethicists and scientists, including FRC’s Dr. David Prentice. Embryonic stem cells, derived from the destruction of young human embryos, continue to show significant problems with tumor formation and inability to regenerate tissues, while adult stem cells show success after success in repairing damage from disease. Dr. Marc Hedrick of Macropore, a biotech firm, presented compelling testimony on the use of adult stem cells from liposuction fat to treat heart disease!
These proteins are exhibited by nearly all known cells, and allow the immune system to detect them and to launch an attack on foreign cells. They found that human embryonic stem cells, just like the other cells they tested, exhibit MHC proteins. The article says, In conclusion, our results demonstrate that human ES cells can express high levels of MHC-I proteins and thus may be rejected on transplantation.1 This means that scientists hoping to use the cells to treat Parkinsons disease, diabetes, and other maladies will have to worry about transplant rejection.2
It also flies in the face of the belief by many pro-human ES lobbyists and researchers that human embryonic stem cells are some miracle cells which the human immune system will not detect. It is obvious that, just like most any other types of cell, these embryonic stem cells could provoke an immune system reaction if transplanted into a human body.
In addition, the procuring of these cells involves the destruction of human life and reduces human beings to fodder for scientific research. It is sad that this research team performed their experiments with human ES cells, for human beings were killed in the process of obtaining the cells used in their experiments.
It ironically proves, to both scientists that are pro-ESCR and are noncommittal about ESCR, that ESCR is not beneficial. It is certainly not beneficial to the human being that is killed to obtain his/her cells, and it would not be beneficial to a transplant patient either.
Scientists and clinicians are better off studying and using human adult stem cells, which have been shown in many recent studies to have the flexibility to change into many different types of cells, which is useful for transplantation purposes.
Although they also have MHC markers (like most cells), when they are transplanted into the same patient from which they were obtained, immune rejection problems could be avoided. Also, adult stem cells are more controllable than human ES or fetal cells, which have been found to grow tumors, or to develop into undesirable types of cells in transplants.
[(1) Drukker, M. et al, Characterization of the expression of MHC proteins in human embryonic stem cells, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print July 11, 2002 (online # 10.1073/pnas.142298299); print edition: July 23, 2002, Vol. 99, No. 15, pp. 9864-9869 and (2) Vogel, Gretchen, Stem Cells Not So Stealthy After All, Science, July 8, 2002 in ScienceNow section online (http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2002/708/2; need subscription).Culture of Life Foundation and Institute, www.culture-of-life.org]