Wednesday, July 27, 2011

STEM CELLS - July 28, 2011

I was recently in contact with a friend about a notion I had had about creating a bank of stem cells harvested from human placentas, a source which had almost invariably been discarded. It seemed to me that the potential supply was endless there and only a brutal indifference to the possible benefits could stand against such a blood bank. It could be sustainably renewed as soon as any degeneration in old stem cells from that showed a sign of decay. What I got in reply from my medical friend was a long list of links to the work of the past decades since the pioneering work of Prof. Thomson and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. It turned out that there has been a flood of results, culminating in some investigations in Australia involving two placentas donated by women who had had well-planned Caesarian deliveries, yielding a total of about 4.5 m cells of extremely high quality and great promise. I was astounded to learn that I had heard nothing of the work, despite my lay interest in scientific advance. However, if the ordinary considerations applied, this should put paid to the controversy and we should all celebrate together, regardless of our religious orientations. Still, I cannot imagine that there could be any objection to applying this nascent technology, at least in the cases of people with no other sources of hope. Yet it would seem that there must be objection somewhere to going further at full speed, at least in the case of special urgency. I hope that someone would fill me in to the information of any objection and why it carries weight in our supposedly advanced society. It is so rare these days that the advance of knowledge seems not to have any down side, even for those who appear congenitally to oppose the advances of knowledge that is not grounded in ancient texts. When

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