Gordie Howe and John Brodie Cases Show Stem-Cell Wars Aren’t Over

[Comment: High-profile cases reveal verbal sleight of hand by a biomedical firm.] Gordie Howe, owner of the Vancouver Giants, at Gordie Howe Night at the Pacific Coliseum. It has been several years since the height of the stem-cell controversy, where every day debate raged over the destruction of embryos for embryonic stem cells. These human embryos, conceived in a lab by the hundreds of thousands, are only days old but hold inside a mass of stem cells that scientists told us held the key to regenerative medicine. These little lives, no bigger than the period at the end of a sentence, were deemed disposable, easily sacrificed to advance medical treatments for everything from paralysis to Parkinson’s. In the great stem-cells wars, we learned that embryonic stem cells are immature and unwieldy, causing tumors in animal models. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are more stable — and therefore safer for treating patients. As the years have passed, we have heard more and more about adult stem-cell successes and less and less about the failure of embryonic stem cells to become the cure-all many promised. But the stem-cell wars are far from over. There is a third designation of stem cells that is little known but is gaining momentum: the fetal stem cell. Human beings are called embryos for the first eight weeks after fertilization. After that, we enter the fetal stage, which is from nine weeks post-fertilization until birth. Fetal stem cells are stem cells harvested during the fetal stage of development. Fetal stem cells, often procured from elective abortions, are disingenuously classified as “adult” stem cells simply...