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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Friday, March 07, 2003

 

Advance in stem cell research (the good kind)
Via Jason Skie comes this report of stem cells fixing up the heart of a teen who was otherwised faced with a need for a heart transplant. More ammo for those who disapprove of Bush's stem cell policies? Hardly. In fact, this procedure "could turn the stem-cell debate on its head."

This procedure used stem cells from the young man's own blood, completely eliminating the need for morally questionable (or downright despicable, depending on how you look at it) practices such as using embryonic stem cells from the "left-over stores" of in-vitro clinics, or theraputic cloning. There are questions as to whether or not this procedure could be replicated in an older individual, of course, but the use of adult stem cells has not been subject to as much research as embryonic cells. This makes sense, from a completely practical standpoint, because those cells are obviously the easiest to use. But the easy way is often-times not the moral way, and it's worth the extra effort to do things right.

The New York Times article on the subject brings up another research route that involves the hard, but moral path that science could take:
No one knows why such cells require the injection of stem cells to spring into action. "The million dollar question is why doesn't the heart do it spontaneously," he said.

Studying that question could make the need for stem cells themselves obsolete. Also worth doing is research into mimicking the body's chemical markers, fooling it into thinking that inserted stem cells are, in fact, the body's own.

As an aside, I've decided that it's downright annoying that Google News has a combination "Sci/Tech" section. Split 'em up! I don't give a rip about Swiss-Com buying Megabeam! Tell me about science! Join my fight by e-mailing Google and asking them to set things straight.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!
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