Science is Scary

I was reading a story on Newsweek today about the possibility of getting stem cells from an embryo without destroying it (article) .

It’s not all peaches and cream though. Because we quickly get back into the DANGER ZONE.

Quoth the article:

But other researchers disagree, saying that the removal of the blastomere poses unknown risks to the embryo and in turn, to the life of the child, should the embryo be implanted and continue developing to birth. “The embryo is constituted so that it heals itself, but all healing has an effect,” says William Hurlbut, a Stanford University professor and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics who has proposed alternative methods for generating stem cells without destroying embryos. “It might be serious effects, it might be minor changes it might be nothing. We just don’t know.”

Then you’ve also got these other dudes saying stuff like this as well:

But others in the field, as well as conservative religious groups, say that the technique, though innovative, might raise “more ethical questions than it answers.” Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, says Lanza’s methods are unacceptable for several reasons, including the fact that the experiments leading to his recent advance—although done to develop a technique that would preserve embryos—actually destroyed embryos in the process.

Now I’m not Mr. Biology, that falls on fulsome’s shoulders. I do know how to lose an argument though. Luckily I’m not going to debate on anything here. I’m just throwing it out there for you guys.

It just seems like we’re totally screwed when it comes to actually doing anything with stem cells. No matter what way you try to avoid some sort of crazy controversy, it always ends up coming back. We might as well give up and all just go back to driving around in our giant Oscar Meyer Weinermobiles. “What does that have to do with stem cells?” you ask. Absolutely nothing and that’s the point.

4 thoughts on “Science is Scary”

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but aren’t stem cells being taken from teh extra embryos from fertility clinics? The leftovers created for implantation in the wannabe mother because she is having trouble with her husband/donor?

    If they are going to be tossed then isn’t the ethical issue negated?

  2. Well, it gets into lots of fun grey areas. If you want to see people in serious pants, go here.

    Chuckles: one aspect of the debate is over what to do with embryos from people who did not “opt-in.” They had a chance to agree to the research and didn’t. That doesn’t mean they oppose it but it makes it slightly harder to argue scientists should get the leftovers.

  3. That doesn’t sound like much of a debate. It is a lot like organ donors. If they aren’t listed as donors then you have to ask the family if you can harvest the needed organs. If they don’t check the opt-in box, then those embryos can not be used.

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