An argument for Stem Cell Research

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_VinylBoy, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Just saw this story off of my Twitter page...
    Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV In 'Berlin Patient'

    Doctors believe an HIV-positive man who underwent a stem cell transplant has been cured as a result of the procedure. Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the "Berlin Patient," received the transplant in 2007 as part of a lengthy treatment course for leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing "strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved." Brown's case paves a path for constructing a permanent cure for HIV through genetically-engineered stem cells.

    Could this be the breakthrough we need to finally bring an end to the HIV virus?
     
  2. Bbucko

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    The good news is that the therapy worked. The bad news is that it's impractical to the point of having no known medical application that can be replicated en masse.

    I've been following this story for quite some time, at first disbelieving, then endowing it with extraordinary hope, then researching enough to understand how true my second sentence in this post actually is.

    Given enough time and research, this could be the story of the (still young) century, but by then there'll still be tens of thousands of needless deaths while waiting, including most probably my own.
     
  3. JustAsking

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    Yes, I think it is pretty clear that that if the last millenium was the information age, this one will be the biology age. There is awesome "magic" in biology that is ready to be discovered and unlocked.

    The miracle that produces an adult from a fertilized egg, will hopefully give up enough secrets to allow us to regenerate organs, and cure diseases. Stem cell research is the first window onto this process that we know of so far.

    Let's hope enough is discovered about its application to HIV before too many more die.
     
  4. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    I am by far too uninformed on the subject to be able to add an opinion, imo. (the countless link clicking from one wiki article to another to try and understand the first article tells me so)
    However, i was intrigued by the history section of HIV-1 which says that the Owl Monkey (night monkey) is immune to the virus. I hope that continues to be researched.
     
  5. Drifterwood

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    Without wishing to be glib, is there a rational argument against this research?
     
  6. haulthat

    haulthat Member

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    The justification of stem cell research is that it has undeniable potential that will never see the light of day without it. Using examples of what can or has been done with it is feeble because research is in order to find that. How stem cells are obtained, another subject entirely. Science is a cheap whore though, and these bans don't exist in all countries. Any type of effective treatment or cures that are found will be expensive, so rich mofos who could afford it can travel to the countries that allow the research and find the cures. The US cant even make up its mind about fags being able to marry or die for their country... shit like this will be on the back burner for some time.
     
  7. Bbucko

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    Fertility clinics dispose of unused fertilized eggs every day. If they were called zygotes or blastocysts, no one would make a fuss, but they're referred to as "embryos", which people conflate with a fetus.

    Aside from vocabulary, there is also a very vocal group that insists that life begins at conception, untroubled by the concept of viability. As these people rely more on faith than reason, rationality never comes into play. For some reason flushing them down the drain is fine, but using them for scientific research becomes inhuman.
     
  8. BJs4You IL

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    No one's ever disputed the use of adult stem cells for research, which is where this particular cure came from.
     
  9. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Opponents to stem cell research in this country, as BBucko implied, never made it an issue regarding unborn cells or adult form. They were all instantly referred to as embryos which pro-lifers associate with a fetus, hence why all of the noise against the procedures voiced from it.
     
  10. D_Myer_Dogasflees

    D_Myer_Dogasflees New Member

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    Happened quit a while ago in a bone marrow transplant too, was from a Norwegian(many of them are actually immune) if i remember.

    I could only hope that if they do find the cure, that they cure everybody world wide, at once, else the virus will mutate as it always does and we may not be able to cure the next strain.

    Extremelyannoying things STD's are!
     
  11. Jonesy98

    Jonesy98 New Member

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    The moral argument against stem cell research has practically been destroyed here in the States, although the issue is certainly out of sight and mind...

    I can't cite the article, but within the past year I clearly remember reading an AP article that claimed belly fat has been found to be nature's own cure-all... it can be reprogrammed in a period of 2 weeks to untapped stem cells... which apparently is a faster harvesting time than using them from embryos, etc.
     
  12. HiddenLacey

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    I agree with the concept of Stem Cell Research. A company called VetStem has a procedure that they are doing on animals to help them recover from tendon injuries and DJD. Of course it's not approved in people yet, but the case studies I have read have been very promising. I am actually struggling with the idea of having the procedure performed on my own monster doggie who suffers from DJD. Many people have total hip or total knee replacements performed. Imagine once the procedure is approved in people and all they will need is to have their cells removed and later injected to possibly stop them from having invasive surgery! Go stem cell research!

    The possibilities that stem cell research can bring for modern medicine out weigh just about any arguement I have ever heard, my opinion. I'm definitely a supporter of finding a cure for everything, because no one deserves to suffer.

    IF the article is true and the gentlemen was cured then I say that's just one more step foward on the road to finding a cure.
     
    #12 HiddenLacey, Dec 16, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2010
  13. benoweed

    benoweed Member

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    I will try to explain in simple terms what this is all about (I am a molecular biologist). The stemcells they are using or not embryonic stem cells as suggested in a few post, but are stem cells isolated from the bone-marrow of a healthy donor. They are different in many ways, but the most important difference is that they can only produce white bloodcells, while the embryonic stem cells can give raise to any type of cell. The T cells which are affected bij the HIV virus are also a type of white bloodcell.

    The patient had leukemia, which is a type of cancer, caused by an uncontrolled division of white bloodcells.

    To cure this leukemias doctors destroy all you white bloodcells, and thus also the cells which devide uncontrolably. But your body needs white bloodcells to fight infections. So they give you the bone-marrow derived stem cells from a compatible donor. If this works, these cells will give raise to new white bloodcells and you will be cured. But the new white bloodcells could also attack your body which could be deadly. The donor cells can also be infected with other diseases.

    In the case of the Berlin patient, the patient got stem cells from a donor which was resistant to HIV. This resistance is due to a mutation in a gene, which is alady well known and well described in scientific literature.

    So the HIV virus could not attack his new white bloodcells anymore and he was cured from both leukemia and HIV.

    However this therapy is very riscy and is usually only considered as a last resort therapy because it could fail with certain death as a consequence.

    Additionally genetic manipulation of these stem cells is very difficult if not impossible with the actual technology.

    So with the current technology, the best option would be to use donor cells, not your own manipulated cells. But finding donors would be very very difficult, as you would need compatible donors (which is already difficult), which are resistant to HIV (which is even more difficult to find).
     
  14. JustAsking

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    benoweed,
    Concise and informative explanation. Thanks.
     
  15. D_Myer_Dogasflees

    D_Myer_Dogasflees New Member

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    All of this is due to religion. The argument that religious people use is usually that these stem-cells are people too, or that people 'should not play god' - i think that most of us internet people would already understand this to be irrational for the least part.

    It is simple, any stem-cell or even an embryo is not something that is sentient neither has it ever been sentient thus it can't be considered as a person.

    Embryos and stem-cells are not people, experiment with them as you want, so long and only so long as you don't grow something both sentient and unnatural, as say a half-lion-person, or children that can climb wallls or with scales or something of that sort.

    Other than those scenarios, I can't think of any reasoned argument (that does not include the supernatural beings called souls), of why stem-cell or embryo research or even human cloning in an ideal environment should be considered as harmful to anybody. And as to actual human cloning, the only concern is that we should be sure that we have perfected the technique in all other primates first before cloning the first human, people(clones are people too) are not to be used as test subjects. However as to stem-cells and embryos, well they are not people, they are not sentient beings nor ever were ones.
     
  16. D_Myer_Dogasflees

    D_Myer_Dogasflees New Member

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    @benoweed: Appreciated the good insight.

    I would like to know if it won't simply be possible to grow the stem-cells, to clone them and allow them to grow new ones, thus eliminating the need for a donor and allowing us to do this on a much larger scale.

    And if it would be possible(likely it would), to simply clone these stem-cells from the embryo's of such a donar, do you really think that the 'embryo-people' would mind if we could cure a disease that plagues tens of millions world wide?' What are your views on embryonic cloning?

    OT(& not intended to being rude): could i actually safely mod my DNA this way, as in get a donar with a large cock to lend me his stem cells, and my cock will actually grow afterwords?
     
    #16 D_Myer_Dogasflees, Dec 17, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  17. haulthat

    haulthat Member

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    Key point : "with the current technology". The incentive for technology to improve is driven by the size of the market that would buy it. If research isn't permitted, funded, and pushed to the limit such technologies will not improve for much longer.
    You speak of it as if the inherent difficulty involved is deterrent enough to shy away from it. Yes, the DNA in your eye, hair, bone, and muscle is all the same. Yes, effectively and consistently pushing a cell from a non-specialized to a specialized state is pretty far from where we are right now. The possibilities that would exist if we even make small steps towards achieving it is worth research. Antimatter is being researched for Cancer therapy, Fusion is being researched for energy production, and quantum computing is almost seeming as if it could one day be a reality.
    We can jump into the air at 13,500 feet and safely land. We can speak and see each other face to face even if we are on opposite sides of the globe. Nanotechnology exists and is used in every day products all the time, its applications are spreading. To deter research based on the fact that with what we know now the risks and costs are easier to see than the value and benefits is just plain wrong. Yes, there is no guarantees, but accepting failures and costs to move towards a goal that is unavoidable to make anything that was once thought impossible. :damnit1:

     
  18. Guardian100

    Guardian100 Member

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    Stem cell transplant 'cures' HIV, MDs say

    Three years after receiving a stem cell transplant, a U.S. patient has been cured of HIV, said a team of German doctors whose research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Blood yesterday.

    The results suggest the first such cure for the virus that causes AIDS, though experts caution that the bone-marrow transplant technique that was used would not be safe or feasible for the wider population.

    "Our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient," said the study in the journal of the American Society of Hematology.

    The subject, a U.S. citizen in his 40s who is often referred to as the "Berlin patient," received a stem cell transplant as treatment for acute myeloid leukemia in 2007.

    The stem cells came from a donor with a rare gene mutation that makes it impossible to contract HIV.

    The study, first released in late 2008, showed no sign that HIV had re-emerged even though the patient had ceased anti-retroviral therapy to suppress HIV.

    The latest findings show that, three years later, the patient continues to have no trace of either the virus or leukemia.

    "I am very excited about it. I have been for a couple of years since it was first reported," said David Baltimore, a corecipient of the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1975.

    "You can't have absolute assurance on the basis of one patient, but the likelihood was from the beginning that this should work if you can do it. The fact that the one patient who was treated then was effectively cured is, I think, a very strong argument that you want to continue this kind of approach to the HIV problem."

    Baltimore founded a biotech company that is working on developing its own stem-cell HIV/AIDS therapy that works functionally the same as the German team's, and is in the process of organizing clinical trials, he said.

    Jay Levy, an AIDS and cancer researcher in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, described the latest research as evidence of a "functional cure."

    As for the study's assertion that a cure has been found, Levy said more time would be needed to say that for sure.
     
  19. JackWyatt76

    JackWyatt76 New Member

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    So now all we got to cure is herpes simplex, and we can all say goodbye to the condom and just have reckless sex like the 1960's and 1970's?

    Awesome
     
  20. D_Evita_Zane

    D_Evita_Zane New Member

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    On one hand it's good news to those living with it. On the other hand it's kinda like saying "screw safe sex and do what you want" to those that don't (at least that's how I think a lot of people will think).
     
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