You might have heard that scientists in New York have used embryonic stem cells derived from cloned mouse embryos to treat mice with Parkinson’s Disease. Some things should be considered in this supposed “breakthrough” (from Wesley Smith – my commentary added):
– The mice did show improvement. They were only allowed to live 11 weeks after transplant.
– They note that this procedure is “technically complex,”
which is a huge understatement. This still requires a HUGE number of oocytes to get a single cell line! In total, 187 ntESC lines were produced from 5099 oocytes, for cloning, 24 mice total. [oocytes = eggs, now imagine these numbers referring to human eggs which must be surgically removed from a woman in order to be obtained] – Most of the cells produced that they tested showed chromosomal
– 1 out of every 6 mice showed “graft overgrowth.” “Graft overgrowth” is reminiscent of the problems experienced by Parkinson’s patients treated with fetal tissue. 15-25% of the patients had worsened, even uncontrollable symptoms. Characterized by NYTimes as “devastating”; “the patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably”
That list comes from a scientist who studied the original paper regarding this experiment.
Regardless of whatever treatments or cures may be found using this research, the use of human embryos as the object of experimentation is a violation of human dignity and the sanctity of human life, is unethical and always morally objectionable.
When Technical Progress Becomes a Threat
Also read my adult stem cell research archive or check out Adult Stem Cell Awareness and Do No Harm for news about stem cell research that is helping human patients today. ASCs have also treated Parkinson’s Disease.