Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Stem Cell Successes That Go Unnoticed

It baffles me why proponents of embryonic stem cell research should try to downplay the successes of adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell research. Are they so married to the idea of going down this one road that they can't possibly conceive of any other roads leading anyplace good? A new article by Wesley J. Smith, at The Weekly Standard, examines the many medical advances coming from adult stem cell research, and the treatments currently being used on actual human beings, as opposed to the theoretical advances promised, but not yet delivered, by embryonic stem cell research advocates. It also looks at the way these successes are going unnoticed by the same people who would be shouting from the rooftops if the progress was made using cells from embryos. I can't help drawing the conclusion that the lack of celebration comes from the basest of motives--competition for money. If the adult cell research succeeds, then more money will head that direction, leaving less for its embryonic competition.

Now, if you read this blog at all, you know I'm not anti-science, quite the opposite in fact, but I am also a Christian, who believes that God always provides ways of doing the things he wants to see accomplished that don't involve sacrificing the good of others for our own benefit. Scoff all you want about "fetal farms" and how ridiculous it is not to use the embryos "left over" after fertility treatments, but from my point of view, these are still human babies-in-the-making, and treating them as lab fodder goes beyond cheapening human life. It destroys it.

Regardless of my opinion on the matter (which is, quite frankly, irrelevant to most people), the point of Smith's article is not to debate the ethics of embryonic stem cell research, but rather to seek a fair hearing for its alternative--some would say its companion. Adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell research may not hold the answers to healing every human ill, but they are already helping treat a lot of them. Let's give credit (and funding) where credit is due.