This is a huge story: Scientists in the UK have transformed umbilical cord blood stem cells into a liver. From the story: "As it stands, the mini organ can be used to test new drugs, preventing disasters such as the recent ‘Elephant Man’ drug trial. Using lab-grown liver tissue would also reduce the number of animal experiments." Eventually, scientists hope to generate this technique into liver therapies–and perhaps even transplants. Wow!
Let’s see if the US media ignore or underplay this. After all, it is an experiment that does not undermine the Bush stem cell funding policy, so it really isn’t news.
[Via Wesley J. Smith]
Maybe we ought to start running commercial with a celebrity with some dehibilitating disease complaining about how all the attention on so far unpromising embryonic stem-cell research was diverting funds from worthwhile cord and adult stem-cell treatments. That by concentrating on research that might some years down the line produce results we ignore capabilities that are in some cases only days or months away. That we demonize those who don’t care about the sick by promoting untested and forecasted remedies.
Of course those who promote ESCR wouldn’t like the same approach used on them and of course I wouldn’t really advocate turning the tables thus. For one thing the argument isn’t fully fair because non-embryonic stem-cell research is being funded by companies who see this as fruitful research and don’t have to try to scare up government money. Though I think there is some merit to the argument since when you have a number of scientist working on ESCR they are not working on something that yields results now.
The other thing I find strange about the whole state-funded ESCR push is exactly when in history has a cure for anything been found through this approach. Maybe I am missing out something on science research history, but exactly what cure has ever been funded by a state?