A critical point that is too often missed in the debate over stem cell therapies is that so-called adult stem cells (ASCs) have shown great success in doing the very things that advocates of embryonic stem cell (ESC) harvesting hope to achieve with ESCs.
As I note in my article in today's issue of The American Spectator, the term adult stem cells is in fact a misnomer because one of the best sources of these cells is umbilical cord blood. Ironically, stem cells from that source have in fact worked an astonishing miracle in curing a South Korean woman who suffered from a spinal problem similar to the type that befell the late Christopher Reeve, former Superman actor and strenuous advocate for research into the use of embryonic stem cells.
As this case vividly illustrates, all the evidence appears to show that there is no need whatever to argue over the morality of using ESCs; we can already do much more with adult stem cells, and all indications are that there are countless possibilities for their use that are still untapped. This should be very good news for everyone, of course, but supporters of ESCs seem not to want to hear it, and the press appear to be taking their orders from them.
Why aren’t the ESC supporters interested in pursuing ASCs? Let’s ask the classic question, qui bono? The only people in the world who benefit from the harvesting of ESCs who would not benefit from ASCs are people who make a living by destroying human embryos. And if we were to find that we simply must harvest ESCs so that we can have all the wonderful benefits they provide, then we would have a real, truly positive good coming from all those abortions the nation’s doctors perform each year, wouldn’t we?
If that sounds cynical, so be it. It is in fact the only plausible explanation for the preference for embryonic stem cells over the adult variety.
For just a hint of the good news on the effectiveness of adult stem cells, see the Yahoo.com story on the South Korean woman here.