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[IP] Re: Stem cell breakthrough? Not quite!
An article on msnbc.com with the title "Stem cells treat diabetes in
mice" talks about the success of them coaxing embryonic stem cells in
mice into producing insulin in the mice.
Sounds great, right? But, there are many problems not mentioned in the
article to deal with.
1. The use of embryonic stem cells. Using such cells is
controversial. (I, for one, am against it whole-heartedly.) Anyhow,
there are still other problems even if this one were NOT an issue.
2. Not beta cells. The cells they produced were NOT beta cells, but
cells that produced insulin LIKE beta cells. It did not have the other
functionality of beta cells that would be important...and insuling
production was only 10-15% of normal.
3. Diabetes is an AUTO-IMMUNE disease. Here is a big problem that I
haven't seen anyone address yet. Diabetes is an autoimmune disease
that caused the body to kill of the beta cells in the body. There is
no reason to believe that introducing new beta cells into the body
won't experience the same demise as the "original" cells we were born
with. The antibodies that formed that killed off the beta cells to
begin with are typically still in the body. Even if the beta cells
worked at first, within time, those cells would end up being killed off
again. Of course, if the source of the cells is from ANOTHER person
(embryo, in this case), perhaps the antibodies would treat the cells
differently. Of course, then you are dealing with taking anti-
rejection medication for the rest of your life, which introduces
complications of its own.
I, personally, don't see such techniques as the panacea that we are led
to believe. Even if they work out all of the hurdles, it will take
likely take decades to do so. To me, it would be better to find
preventitive solutions for diabetes so that future generations can live
diabetes free. Sure, our generation will have to continue living (and
eventually die) with the disease...but the end result is much better
than having millions GET the disease only to have to cure them.
Imagine if there were a diabetes vaccine, much as there has been for
smallpox, etc., which is virtually eradicated from the planet today.
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