On Monday, 09 March 2009, President Barack Obama spoke the words that many had longed to hear: “Today . . . we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers, doctors and innovators, patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years: We will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
At last, those who are totally lost in the haze of Alzheimer’s Disease will be able to think for themselves again. Finally, the victims of spinal cord injuries will once more – in the words of Christopher Reeve – be able “to walk to the door to greet you.” Once and for all, diabetics will no longer have to fear insipient blindness and amputations. In the near future, cancer will be but a footnote in medical textbooks. As President Obama said, there will come “a day when words like ‘terminal’ and ‘incurable’ are potentially retired from our vocabulary.”
We can compare this new-found bliss in the relationship between government and science to a young couple, once head-over-heels in love, unfortunately split apart by forces beyond their control, then after 8 years, finding each other, getting married, and living happily and healthily ever after into their golden years.
What could be better? This is great a great story. In fact, it’s a terrific story! And, it’s all possible because American scientists will finally be able to develop the much-publicized panacea of embryonic stem cell (ESC) treatment.
Sadly, though, it’s not so terrific for you and me. It’s Big Pharma and its collaborators in the super-lucrative medical industries that caught the bride’s bouquet with its fragrant, green-colored blossoms. You and I, on the other hand, we must share the bouquet made of blank paper, shot full of holes.
We are not Cinderella, and ESC is not our Prince Charming, come to awaken us to a sun-drenched world of everlasting health. ESC treatment is an illusion, a myth, a well-crafted Grim Fairy Tale.
There are six reasons why embryonic stem cells will never make it out of the lab and into the bodies of sick Americans.
Reason 1: Quite frankly, there is no need.
What? Is this blasphemy? For years, we have read in newspapers and magazines, or heard about on TV special reports, that embryonic stem cells will allow us to live healthy and potentially endless lives. Are you saying this is not true? That we have been lied to?
You betcha! Science itself will destroy the illusion of embryonic stem cells, while adult stem cells, which we call Repair Stem Cells (RSC), are widely recognized as the most powerful medicine the world has ever seen, capable right now of treating over one hundred so-called “incurable” diseases and improving the quality of life of millions of patients. Anthony Hollander, a professor of rheumatology and tissue engineering at the University of Bristol (U.K.) was clear about this issue: “With the [adult stem] cells we can really make a difference to patients’ lives, and we can do it now, not in ten year’s time as promised for embryonic stem cells.”
Even more to the point is Dr. Bernadine Healy, M.D., in her article in the March 4, 2009 U.S. News & World Reports: “There is a markedly diminished need for expanding these [embryonic stem] cell lines for either patient therapy or basic research. . . . Even as the future of embryonic stem cells has dimmed, adult stem cell research has scored major wins evident just in the past few months. . . . To date, most of the stem cell triumphs that the public hears about involve the infusion of adult stem cells.” [italics added] We wonder why “most” was used instead of “all.” If you disagree, send us an ESC triumph on a human patient and we shall humbly apologize.
Reasons 2 & 3: Embryonic Stem Cells are bad medicine.
Actually, they’re very
badmedicine. Nicholas Wade, the well-respected scientific reporter, editor and author who writes for the Science Times section of The New York Times,
wrote in his article, “Rethink Stem Cells? Science Already Has,” the day after Obama’s announcement:
Embryonic stem cells have their drawbacks. They cause tumors and the adult stem cells derived from them may be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Furthermore, whatever disease process caused the patient’s tissue cells to die is likely to kill induced cells as well.
Causes cancer (reason 2). Starts a war with your immune system (reason 3). That’s really about as bad as it gets! And, to date there are a lot of guesses, but no successes, as to how to combat these inevitable results.
Recent studies at the Stanford University School of Medicine show that embryonic stem cells transplanted into mice were dead within ten days after inducing immune system rejection. That was actually the best news you can find about ESC. The mice didn’t die in that war, the cells did!
Dr. Bernadine Healy of US News and World Report, concluded just ten days ago that “the worst they [RSC] seem to do after infusion is die off without bringing the hoped-for benefit.” Maybe that’s not good medicine, but it certainly isn’t bad – or fatal. Gee—a medicine which can help the majority of those treated and not harm anyone? For sure, we have never heard of such a medicine before---not even aspirin---unless you include “an apple a day!”
Reason 4: Real Scientists really prefer to research Adult Stem Cells.
It’s kind of the “Field of Dreams” branch of science based on the hypothesis that “if you build it, they will come.” How well does that work? Just ask ES Cell International (ESI), a company established in 2000 in Singapore, which was the most embryonic- stem-cell-friendly country in the world. ESI built tremendous facilities and gave jobs to almost any Western ESC researcher who wanted one. But, in 2007, down hundreds of millions of dollars, they did what Wall Street did in 2000 – they chucked embryonics into the trash bin as “unworkable.” Alan Colman, ESI’s chief executive at the time of its demise, reasoned that “the likelihood of having products in the clinic in the short term was vanishingly small” and admitted to “a tinge of disappointment.”
Or, just ask Dr. Colin McGuckin, until recently a professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University (U.K.) and one of Europe’s leading embryonic researchers. He left Newcastle for France where the research atmosphere is much more receptive to adult stem cell research. It was reported by Times Higher Education that when leaving, McGuckin claimed that “A vast amount of money in the UK from the Government has gone into embryonic stem-cell research with not one patient being treated [italics added], to the detriment of (research into) adult stem cells, which has been severely underfunded.”
Take the recent case in California, which had almost $300 million of stem cell funding to distribute, but no researcher worthy of receiving it. Not surprisingly, the money went to powerful and well-connected friends to build new facilities to “attract scientists.” As Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels might have said 75 years ago, “Once you have “them” believing the Big Lie, you can get away with anything.” In this case, sell “them” cures which will never come and give the money to your friends.
Reason 5: induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)
There are many ways of creating embryonic-like stem cells good for lab research by using what our Institute heartily endorses – adult cells. Dr. Bernadine Healy calls iPSC “a blockbuster discovery made in 2007.” iPSC are created by reprogramming DNA from adult skin; therefore, they bypass the need for embryos or eggs. As such, they have the advantages of significantly lower costs, ease of production, genetic identity with the patient, and no ethical dilemmas.
Even the most respected pioneers of embryonic stem cell research, Dr. James Thomson (U.S.) and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka (Japan), both of whom have our highest admiration, independently reached the conclusion in 2006 that it was preferable to re-direct research to development of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC). But despite their heroic efforts, all the ESC profiteers care about is money, and the real money is in government funding, huge grants, and not one cure really expected.
Reason 6: Follow the Money, not the Science
There is just no way that anyone can make money, in the long run, from the disaster known as embryonics. Sure, in the short run there can be some old boy network exchanges of cash between funders and research facility executives, but once the word got out that embryonic stem cells can cause cancer or destroy immune systems, the money train was diverted, as seen by Geron (GERN) stock: $75 in 2000, $1.95 in 2008 until Wall Street, seeing Obama about to win, started its own profiteering, ripping off investors to the tune of $43,000,000. See “Geron Marches On” in our March 5 Special Newsletter:
The dead end research of embryonics protects the huge profit margins of Big Medicine’s profitable drugs, no matter how deadly (Vioxx et al); profitable medical machines, no matter how toxic (drug eluding stents); profitable tests no matter the risk (mammograms); and profitable hospitalizations, no matter how useless (too numerous to mention). Support for the real cure of RSC could ravage those profits. Small wonder that the money and their controlled media have been attacking the only stem cells that actually work, calling RSC “snake oil.”
As Sharon Begley points out in her recent Newsweek article, “Doctors have long resisted having science guide their practice.” Add to that the list of science-resisting profiteers: pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers, health insurance companies and health management organizations, and it becomes much clearer why ESCs, which will never cure anything and affect profits, have been heavily promoted, while RSCs, which can diminish the current outrageous profits, have been heavily disparaged.
If you or a loved one suffers from an “incurable” medical condition, check out our website list of highly-honored doctors and the 100+ diseases they are treating with RSC right now, not ten, twenty, or fifty years from now. Unlike the medical industry profiteers, you cannot wait that long for a cure!