Filed under: Health Care, Progressivism, Science/Technology | Tags: Culture War, Junk Science, Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, Taxes
Remember all the fuss about stem cells? Candidate Obama was going to restore science to its rightful place in the wake of the dreadful Bush administration which was apparently completely unfamiliar with science or the scientific method. Embryonic stem cells, freed from the religious fundamentalism of the Bushies, would cure diseases, allow the lame to walk and provide scientific honors for those who engaged in federally funded embryonic stem cell research, as well as endless riches for those who developed the wondrous new treatments. President Obama quickly lifted the ban that limited federally funded research to existing lines of cells. (Please note, there was no ban on research).
Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health, was once an embryonic stem cell enthusiast. She now calls such research “obsolete.” Medical-research insiders know that embryonic stem cell technology is proving to be a dead end. Senator Arlen Specter, (D-PA) said the research “has the most remarkable potential of any scientific discovery ever made with respect to human health.” That statement gives an idea of the enthusiasm. Remarkable potential indeed. Real results were another thing.
First of all, there is the rejection problem. Your body naturally fights off foreign cells, even ones that might help. So cell recipients must permanently use imunosuppresive drugs, which are dangerous themselves. Then there is the unpleasant tendency of ES cells to become cancerous or to form teratomas — tumors that can grow larger than a football and contain hair or teeth.
The problem of rejection may someday be solved, but University of Wisconsin scientist James Thomson, who created the first human ES-cell line, says that treatments and cures could be decades away.
Adult stem cells do not have the problem of rejection, for they come from the patient’s own body. They have treated scores of illnesses including many cancers, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, immunodeficiency disorders, neural degenerative diseases, anemia and other blood disorders. They have been used in over 2,000 clinical trials. No uncomfortable moral questions, just cautious, responsible science.
Although it was long thought that only embryonic cells could become pluripotent, researchers in 2006, led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan’s Kyoto University, were able to reprogram human skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells.
Several states now fund embryonic stem cell research. Dead broke California created a $3 billion research effort with their Proposition 7, and other states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut also fund the research, which may be a dead end. Federal funds are flowing.
We’re investing a remarkable amount of money in things that are supported by enthusiasm rather than science. Liberals have always been utopians, attached to a romantic view of policy: ending climate change, stopping the seas from rising, powering the world with the wind and the sun, curing disease and injury with embryonic stem cells. It’s not going to happen. But they always want the rest of us to support their flights of fancy with our taxpayer dollars.
And if their romantic policies don’t work? They cannot fail, it’s just that they did not appropriate enough money.