Quick…..when the mainstream media do a story on stem cells, which ones are they referring to?

Aha, you never hear them specify. But by now, you surely know there
are distinctly different kinds, and the ones the media are nearly
always promoting are embryonic. The unethical, immoral, already proven
to be unsuccessful at any treatment or cures…stem cells.

Time Magazine recently did a cover story
on ‘How the Coming Revolution in Stem Cells Could Save Your Life.’ It
covered the broader story, but leaned toward the ‘promise’ of embryonic
research.

Until recently, the field has revolved around either
embryonic stem cells — a remarkably plastic class of cells extracted
from an embryo that could turn into any of the body’s 200 tissue types
— or their more restricted adult cousins, cells taken from mature
organs or skin that were limited to becoming only specific types of
tissue.

(And yet it’s the non-embryonic stem cells that have produced the successful treatments and cures so far.) 

On Jan. 23, after nearly a decade of preparation, the
Food and Drug Administration approved the first trial of an embryonic-
stem-cell therapy for a handful of patients paralyzed by spinal-cord
injuries.

That was three days after the inauguration. These researchers were
ready and waiting for the okay to open up embryonic experimentation
again, after eight years of restrictions.

The use of discarded embryos made embryonic-stem-cell
research deeply controversial in the U.S. Citing moral concerns, then
President Bush restricted federal funding for the study of human
embryonic stem cells.

But…

Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to lift the
research ban and support “responsible oversight” of the stem-cell
field. For scientists, that means “we can stop the silliness,” says
[Harvard scientist Douglas] Melton.

Silliness? The protection of very vulnerable human beings in early stages of life? Backhanded away with casual ridicule?

Furthermore…

“Doug drew a line in the sand,” says Alan Trounson,
president of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the
organization charged with dispensing state money for
embryonic-stem-cell research. “He turned the tables on an
Administration that was incredibly negative toward stem cells and
showed [it] we are not going to tolerate being put out of this field by
ideological views that we don’t think are correct.”

Define. Because a high US Court (8th Circuit) declared
that the definition of an embryo is a complete, separate, unique,
living human being by biological fact and not ideological viewpoint.
What do these scientists believe is the ‘correct’ view of human life?

This is where the scientific breakthroughs on stem cells are happening.

Brazilian media reported this week that at least five
groups of scientists are developing stem cells without using human
embryos, thanks to a technique that uses human pluripotent stem cells
(iPS) being developed in United States, Germany, Japan and China.

At the end of January, a group of scientists led by Stevens Rehen of
the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Federal University of Rio
de Janeiro, and Martin Bonamino of the Division of Experimental
Medicine of the National Institute of Cancer, were able to cultivate
human pluripotent stem cells, that is, cells capable of developing into
any kind of tissue.

It’s yet another story the big media are not covering. But new media are, so go there to be informed.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....