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Court Rules Against Stem Cell Policy

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the two-steps-forward,-two-steps-back dept.

Biotech 388

An anonymous reader sends this quote from Reuters: "A US district court issued a preliminary injunction Monday stopping federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, in a slap to the Obama administration's new guidelines on the sensitive issue. The court ruled in favor of a suit filed in June by researchers who said human embryonic stem cell research involves the destruction of human embryos. Judge Royce Lamberth granted the injunction after finding that the lawsuit would likely succeed because the guidelines violated law banning the use of federal funds to destroy human embryos. '(Embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed,' Lamberth wrote in a 15-page ruling."

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388 comments

Was this one of Obama's first things to do? (0, Troll)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 2 years ago | (#33349142)

Funny, I'd have thought it was not one of the first post^W things Obama's administration had promised.

Re:Was this one of Obama's first things to do? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349216)

Funny, I'd have thought it was not one of the first post^W things Obama's administration had promised.

I thought is was one of the first things he had done. Did he just say "go ahead" in a speech but not actually get the relevent law changed? That seems like sort of an important detail.

Re:Was this one of Obama's first things to do? (3, Informative)

jfb2252 (1172123) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349388)

Both Bush and Obama differentiated between creation of embryonic stem cells and their use in research. Bush did not allow the use of stem cell lines created after ~2000. Obama allowed the use of stem cell lines created with private funds in federal research. Both administrations viewed this as consistent with the 1996 law which prohibited Federal funds from being used to destroy embryos as the stem cell lines were created with private funds. The judge wrote that one can't make this distinction between funds used to create the lines and funds for research using the lines, that the law prohibits all research using embryonic stem cell lines. I trust that the Department of Justice will appeal.

The judge was a Reagan appointee.

Re:Was this one of Obama's first things to do? (5, Informative)

fusellovirus (1386571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349728)

The absurdity of this "debate" is astounding. Blastocysts, which is the correct, but less headline grabbing, name for the clump of cells the "Embryotic Stems cells" are harvested from are all the result of in-vitro fertilization. The excess eggs that are a invariably a result of this procedure are then left in a freezer until become inviable and are discarded. "Embrytoic" stem cell research puts these cells to a use that benefits mankind rather that throwing them in a trashbin. Anyone who truly has a problem with destroying blastocytes needs to rail against the procedure that causes them, in vitro fertilization. But of course this makes for a far less compelling election speech or political rant.

Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349152)

Federal funds used to conduct research on embryos that would otherwise be destroyed anyway...

Why distinguish?

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349180)

For the research it seems a bit silly. But if the product of the research is a technology that requires the creation of embryos for the purpose of harvesting their cells, that's really creepy at best. Isn't that the deal with actially using an embryonic stem cell treatment - you need to alter some DNA in an embryo to match your own, let it grow then harvest it for your use, per individual?

Some biochem geek explain this to me!

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (5, Informative)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349282)

I'm not exactly a bio chem geek per say, but I have done a fair amount of research, particularly into the embryonic stem cell thing.

The problem is, destroying embryo's purposefully is what people think it always entails, in reality thats just a shortcut. Once they have embryonic stem cells from a source(something like a miscarriage etc, cells that would have been destroyed anyways) they can basically grow them in a petri dish almost indefinitely and multiply them almost infinitely. After they have a line of embryonic stem cells going they add a slurry of your DNA to them and viola, embryonic stem cells tailored to you without all that nasty purposely killing embryo's. The thing is, they need more lines of embryonic stem cells as the closer the original is to your line the easier it is for your own tailored cure, but that goes for both types of embryonic stem cells, however it adds more layers of difficulty to the non embryo destroying method than the embryo destroying one, hence the need for more lines.

There are so many miscarriages and abortions anyways that theres no need to not use the byproduct for something useful. Its either use it or it goes in the garbage anyways.

Any real bio chem geek feel free to correct me if I've jumbled things badly, but from what I understand, the funding was also conditional upon no embryo destruction, but lifted the blanket restriction against research into stem cells originating from embryo's period.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (2, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349558)

Wouldnt the use of aborted fetuses carry just as much baggage (if not more) than embryos? How does that allay any objections?

Further, if stem cell treatments take off in a big way, will miscarriages really be enough, or will be be back in this debate?

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (2, Informative)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349722)

Right, so I really shouldn't answer you, but I'll repeat myself anyways since you didn't read my post.

"they can basically grow them in a petri dish almost indefinitely and multiply them almost infinitely"

This nearly infinite amount from a single line sort of negates your argument in its entirety, and new technology and methods are pushing that nearly infinite line further and further back into effectively infinite territory.

Basically, as there is a finite amount of variation in human genetic code that needs to be accounted for, there is a finite amount of lines that could ever be needed. As research continues it may even cease the need for new lines almost entirely since they will eventually develop a method for creating entirely new lines from existing lines.

Also, IVF is and will continue to be a major source of these stem cells for reasons I mentioned elsewhere in the comments on this story.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (2, Informative)

The Hatchet (1766306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349822)

Actually embryonic stem cells are losing ground to adult stem cells, because adult stem cells have almost no chance at all of rejection, being the persons own genetic material. Also, the aborted fetuses are destroyed anyways, it would simply be putting the literally garbage (it is thrown out otherwise) to good use, and possibly saving lives. But I guess some people don't care about saving lives.

Even though adult stem cells will be more useful, embrionic stem cells are more useful for the beginning stages of research, as we begin to get a clue as to how they work. And hundreds of embryos are made for some proceedures, to make sure at least one will take, many of them end up garbage, and that is simply a ball of cells, barely even at the point of specialization yet. And if that is a full human being, than so is a large percentage of all life on this planet, including monkeys.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (5, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349658)

I'm not a biochem geek either, but it is my understanding that embryonic stem cells are not harvested from fetuses but from blastocysts - a much earlier stage in the human lifecycle which consists of a sphere of undifferentiated cells, not yet even implanted in the uterus wall. They can't be obtained from abortions or miscarriages, which occur later, but rather are typically surplus IVF embryos. They sidestep a lot of ethical objections by not having any sort of nervous system, or indeed any tissue differentiation apart from a separate type of cell on the outside of the sphere that is destined to form a placenta.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (2, Informative)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349744)

Abortions can and do occur at this stage, but you are correct on the miscarriages. Miscarriages mostly provide different types of stem cells, but there have been some research milestones made from research on them, but less in the stem cell area and more in the genetic toolkit areas.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (2, Informative)

fysician (1883118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349684)

One thing you are grossly misunderstanding if where you describe how ESC are tailored for individuals by mixing with "slurry" of one's DNAs. Usually, "customization" of ESC with someone's DNA entails very risky process of nuclear transfer. In essence, you suck out the native nucleus and replace it your own, so ESC becomes your own cell line to transplant to whatever tissue you need to regenerate. Being able to achieve nuclear transfer with acceptable reliability alone would be a Nobel prize worthy accomplishment. Anyway, there is a good reason to avoid embryonic stem cell altogether. The biggest reason is because we have no good ways to control its potential to form teratoma, which is basically cancerous mass of tissues of all types. That's what's happening at those rogue Russian stem cell clinics. Although it is true that ESCs have the biggest potential to regenerate, it's also most potent cancer forming cells. Some theorize that cancer is actually rogue stem cells. Another practical reason why ESCs could be avoided is because adult stem cells have been shown to be able to transform to embryonic counterparts. This is a complex topic of its own. If you are interested look up IPS = induced pluripotent stem cell.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (2, Insightful)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349854)

I apologize for my laymans terms and potentially making it seem more easy than it is, but I use that description frequently because it does, in laymans terms, and somewhat inaccurately, but close enough for general understanding purposes, describe it. It doesn't have anything to do with any gross misunderstanding on my part as you claim. Though your entire post seems to be a thinly veiled attack on hESCs in general. My apologies if I misread you.

IPS's as I understand it are inferior forms of stem cells for a number of reasons, which I won't mention here as there are already several long posts on why with citations in this stories comments.

Adult stem cells don't have anywhere near the potential of embryonic stem cells and the current advantage for some forms of treatment exists in the fact that they are already tailored to the patients DNA/Required Tissue area. As you do mention accurate implantation of embryonic stem cells is one of the major areas that needs a big breakthrough in order for them to reach their full potential, but as such, once a method is obtained to do so with good consistency the cancer problem will dissipate rapidly and the benefits will remain. More accurate implantation = less rogue embryonic stem cells that could end up in someones treatment.

The whole tech is very new and thus there are problems. Ignoring any area of research, especially one that shows the huge promise of hESCs would be negligent beyond imagining.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (5, Informative)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349736)

There are so many miscarriages and abortions anyways that theres no need to not use the byproduct for something useful.

Embryonic stem cells [wikipedia.org] are not harvested from miscarriages or abortions. They are harvested from artificially fertilized eggs that grow into embryos and have reached the blastocyst [wikipedia.org] phase and have grown to 50 to 150 cells in size.

The blastocyst that is the source of ebryonic stem cells has never came into contact with a uterus, has never been implanted into the wall of a uterus and absolutely positively never will develop beyond the blastocyst phase since there is no uterus in which to embed itself and start the process of developing the umbilical cord.

There are ethical issues that we need to deal with but it is important to have the facts on which to base conclusions as there are many people who try to confuse the uninformed and have them believe that the evil scientists are ripping babies from the womb and killing them to collect stem cells. This is nowhere near reality.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349870)

This is the exact imagery I have seen many people use in an attempt to jerk the "save the children" chain to get what they want.

I find it disgusting and immoral, and its largely coming from those claiming to be the most moral.

Thanks for the blastocyst clarification, though someone else beat you to it by a little bit :D haha.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349798)

I am sorry but you are incorrect on nearly all counts. Stem cell research needs theses early stage stem cells from "embryos", at the ball of cell stage, not aborted fetuses. At this stage every cell form the embryo if grown separately could become a baby. Make truly embryonic like stem cells from an adult and the same will be true, every one if implanted in a woman could become a younger twin of the person they came from. Artificial cell culture systems invariably select for cancerous mutations in the surviving human cells, it is safe for a certain level of multiplication but can not be used like you suggest. Dumping DNA on another persons stem cells will just get it eaten at best, retro-viruses or other methods can get small pieces of DNA into a cell, although this is risky.

The main thrust of this sort of research is often not to use the cells directly at all, but to to find out what makes a normal healthy embryonic stem cell, once you have this data you can try to make adult cells behave like embryonic ones. Obviously we will need the real thing to test, until we can work this out. Theoretically you will then be able to take adult cells make them into embryonic like cells safely, and use them. As I said above these cells would each, if implanted correctly in a woman, make a younger twin sibling of the original person, just like with the real thing. this is why the researchers express frustration at the division between the two.

If the research is ethically wrong then so are all treatments, just because the lives would be similar to you does not make them less valuable than any other human. However if you are following any line of reason *except* religious ones they are not human or even alive beyond the life of a bacteria, just small blobs of flesh. They are not even at the stage where reflex is possible let alone simple reactions, and for them to posses a concept such as self, or even the most basal emotions would require a complete rewriting of biology and physics both. They are not alive have never been alive (as humans) and certainly are not human yet.

Stop aborting grammar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349818)

Stop aborting grammar and using apostrophes for plural words. Just stop.

Re:Stop aborting grammar... (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349892)

Whoops, old habits die hard. I thought I'd killed that one awhile back. Apologies to anyone whose brains I may have broken a little bit while reading my post. :P

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349286)

Sounds like a sci-fi movie where we grow clones for replacement parts. And then the clones escape and swap places with the primary who in-turn gets harvested because no one can tell the difference. Ya, I know we're only talking about embryos at the moment, but that's what sci-fi is for: messing with your head and making you think.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349546)

Sounds like a sci-fi movie where we grow clones for replacement parts. And then the clones escape and swap places with the primary who in-turn gets harvested because no one can tell the difference. Ya, I know we're only talking about embryos at the moment, but that's what sci-fi is for: messing with your head and making you think.

Actually, in practice that would probably be unworkable: it's not easy to keep an entire human body in an induced coma indefinitely without problems. My guess is that individual parts would be grown to order as needed. Unless, of course, we perfect brain transplants, with the idea being to grown an entire new body for ourselves.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349810)

Why bother with brain transplants? Let's develop a biological equivalent to a "floppy drive"

Something that lets the entire contents of your brain be dumped to a piece of a physical media, and then loaded into the brain of your clone.

Then once the clone is verified to be fully operational, the original HDD will be wiped

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349868)

Then once the clone is verified to be fully operational, the original HDD will be wiped

Why wipe it? It might be nice to have a couple extra yous around for those really busy days at work.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (1)

kharchenko (303729) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349648)

I don't think anyone envisions that the ultimate applications will require this kind of creepy on-demand harvesting. The rational is that once the factors involved in establishment and maintenance of the embryonic stem cells are understood at a sufficient level, the therapies will be based on cells derived from culture or from patient's own somatic cells. But, as you point out, the fight is over ability to obtain these unique cells for research purposes.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349234)

Because the researchers who work with adult lines don't want any competition. I find that really odd though, because any molecular biologist would much prefer embryonic lines to adult lines. Unless of course they have some moral/religious objection to it, but that wasn't their argument in this case.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349306)

eekjactly!!!

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (4, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349382)

Federal funds used to conduct research on embryos that would otherwise be destroyed anyway...
Why distinguish?

Because it was the manifest and obvious intent of Congress to forbid the Federal funding of such research. See, e.g. the dickey amendment [wikipedia.org] which provides in no uncertain terms that no funds are to be expended on research in which embryos are destroyed irrespective of the origin or fate of those embryos.

SEC. 509. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for--
(1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or
(2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death greater than that allowed for research on fetuses in utero under 45 CFR 46.208(a)(2) and Section 498(b) of the Public Health Service Act [1](42 U.S.C. 289g(b)) (Title 42, Section 289g(b), United States Code).
(b) For purposes of this section, the term "human embryo or embryos" includes any organism, not protected as a human subject under 45 CFR 46 (the Human Subject Protection regulations) . . . that is derived by fertilization, parthenogenesis, cloning, or any other means from one or more human gametes (sperm or egg) or human diploid cells (cells that have two sets of chromosomes, such as somatic cells).

It is absolutely galling that Obama (& his subordinates at HHS/NIH, for whom he is responsible) would just ignore the clear language of the statute and decide to fund this research. There is just no way to square it with the statute.

[ As an aside, as a personal political matter, I would vote against such an amendment and for unrestricted funding for stem cell research. As a legal matter before the court here, the question is whether the NIH policy comports with the law not whether the law is a good, or even coherent, one. ]

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (5, Interesting)

GreenTom (1352587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349594)

Hold on, selectively quoting 509(2)(b):

For purposes of this section, the term "human embryo or embryos" includes any organism...that is derived by...any other means from...human diploid cells.

(I know I left I lot out, but I don't think I'm distorting the meaning). As far as I can tell, liver cells in a petri dish would count as human embryos under that definition.

Place the blame where the blame belongs (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349922)

(I know I left I lot out, but I don't think I'm distorting the meaning). As far as I can tell, liver cells in a petri dish would count as human embryos under that definition.

Then if President Obama wants the funding, he needs to convince Congress (which his party controls) to tighten the wording of the law, or repeal it altogether.

The judge pretty much had to block this. The President can't simply wave his hand and declare a law passed by Congress (and sighed by the previous President) to be null and void. There's still that whole separation of powers thing to consider. If the wording of the Dickey Amendment is too vague, then it's the responsibility of Congress to fix it.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (0, Flamebait)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349832)

Well, Obama is president. As head of the executive branch, he can always choose to not enforce a certain law, it is well within the perogative of the executive to ignore a law, and say something will be done "this way" instead. Or this law X will not be enforced.

That is an intentional consequence of separation of powers, and the way the US government is structured.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (0, Offtopic)

Jherico (39763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349602)

Some would say because its a fine line from there to 'buying child porn isn't illegal because the act itself can't be undone'.

Others would say because having federal funds used to do a thing becomes in and of itself a political statement. i.e. its one thing to destroy cells, but another thing to be paid by the government to do it.

Personally I think the whole issue is retarded. I don't care that they're human embryos, they're never going to be people.

Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349656)

Using the same logic, organ harvesting should be compulsory, including and especially death-row inmates.

I appreciate the moral implications for some (5, Insightful)

agiduda (861184) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349156)

But my mother is vegged out in a home with Alzheimer's. I may look forward to the same.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349352)

Indeed...

Both my grandmothers have suffered from it.. When my father's mother died it was a relief to the whole family (sad as that sounds..).

On my mother's side it is just as bad :(

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (4, Insightful)

JimWise (1804930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349398)

And why does that override moral concerns? Since you may face the same, why now allow doctors to stick your mother with probes, take core samples of her brain while still alive, test for levels of chemicals, amino acids, level of fat vs protein etc, which would be MUCH more accurate while still alive vs hours/days after death. Surely this would help gain insight and move forward scientific studies on how to detect Alzheimer's in a much earlier stage and more precise treatment for future sufferers. Why not re-open Nazi style medical tests on twins and fetuses, and why not lift all restrictions on live animal testing? How about using those on death row for medical research so they can at least be productive in death or force them to be organ donors? They will be dead anyways, those organs would just go to waste otherwise.

Alzheimer's has occurred on both sides of my family (grandfather on the one side, great-grandfather on the other), my mom's cousin suffered from ALS for over 10 years and even wrote a book by using nothing but moving his eyebrows, and I have already suffered a viral infection that will remain with me the rest of my life. Every time it comes out of remission (I'm currently fighting my fourth bout) it causes the lining of my brain to swell, causing a good chunk of my synapses to get destroyed, and taking years for my brain to recover to about 80-90% of where it had been before. Maybe stem cell research would find a way to fully recover from each bout and keep me from having to drop out of school/work for a handful of years each time, and having to settle for a less effective brain after each occurrence. I still don't see that as a reason to try to lessen the moral implications involved in order to try to tilt the balance in a way that could possibly improve my life of the lives of my loved ones.

I don't mean to say that the morals in stem cell research are clear cut, they definitely are not. I see NO reason though to purposely try to tilt the balance one way or another and fudge the morals and facts due to personal fears of potential illnesses, illnesses of friends and relatives, etc.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (5, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349440)

And why does that override moral concerns?

Because we suffer from some bozo's religion. If for you following it is more important that avoiding getting crippled and dying to a disease that makes the last 15 years of your life a hell for your family, it shouldn't stop me from having a portion of my tax money used in an attempt to keep me from that fate. And yeah, I had Alzheimer's on both sides of my family too.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349474)

Treating human life as something that should be nurtured and not harvested is not something that is exclusive to religion. There are moral implications way beyond any silly mumbo jumbo myths.

For example, I am against abortion as birth control (note the difference; sometimes they are medically necessary and then there are cases of rape, etc.) but that has zero to do with any mythical dude in a beard sitting up in the clouds. It's because I think life is precious and if someone without any special circumstances winds up pregnant then that fetus should be allowed the chance to grow to term.

I'm not necessarily against embryonic stem cell research, but to dismiss the moral arguments as only those of people who cite their religion as the reason is misguided. My main concern with it is that we avoid any slippery slopes that lead to the production of embryos specifically for research. Then we are talking about the farming and harvesting of humans for our own gain.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349564)

Spoken like a true Male. Why should any women care what you think on this topic? Its their bodies not yours.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349712)

Because it's a man's seed, their potential child. I'm pro-choice, but ignoring the male's opinion on the matter and deciding for yourself is a dick move, aside from instances where personal health or rape are involved.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349800)

I never heard the argument about being pro-birth control but anti-abortion until I dated a couple women who'd had abortions.

With the various morning after pills, norplant, birth control pills, Mifepristone and now a drug that works for up to 7 days, the surgical abortion procedures seem very archaic and dark age.

When a very liberal and very feminist women who has had an abortion tells you its the worst thing that could be done to a human and should be outlawed, it made me think really hard about abortions.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (-1, Troll)

winwar (114053) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349676)

"For example, I am against abortion as birth control (note the difference; sometimes they are medically necessary and then there are cases of rape, etc.) but that has zero to do with any mythical dude in a beard sitting up in the clouds."

Your objection may not be religious but you can rationalize with the best of them. If you support abortion in the cases of rape then you support the use of abortion as birth control. If you support abortions that are medically necessary then you place a higher value on the mother than the fetus. Therefore, you should have no issue with abortion in all cases. Unless of course you are not being rational.

"It's because I think life is precious and if someone without any special circumstances winds up pregnant then that fetus should be allowed the chance to grow to term."

So you think that a woman should be forced to serve as an incubator? Very interesting view considering your next statements. And very contradictory. Not to mention repugnant.

"I'm not necessarily against embryonic stem cell research, but to dismiss the moral arguments as only those of people who cite their religion as the reason is misguided. My main concern with it is that we avoid any slippery slopes that lead to the production of embryos specifically for research. Then we are talking about the farming and harvesting of humans for our own gain."

This is full of fail. There are no good moral arguments against the embryonic stem cell research. There are certainly religious arguments. But appealing to the manufactured wishes of an imaginary deity are by definition poor. There are no slippery slopes except for the surfaces of the strawmen that you create. We already create embryos and discard them for our own gain, we already grow them (IVF, etc). That's the whole point of their creation. But I don't hear anyone complaining about that. But yet you don't have any problem with forcing women who don't want to be pregnant to remain so. You have a very interesting definition of slippery slope.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (3, Insightful)

severoon (536737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349738)

I am against abortion as birth control (note the difference; sometimes they are medically necessary and then there are cases of rape, etc.) but that has zero to do with any mythical dude in a beard sitting up in the clouds.

And someone else might be against the destruction of any form of human life, including human tissue comprising a mole or a tumor.

So what? Why should anyone regard that person's opinion as more or less than relevant than yours or mine?

Hospitals have ethics boards of experts tasked with making these kinds of medical decisions. Abortion is a personal medical procedure, not a political issue, not unlike embryonic stem cell research.

Consider my hypothetical person that is against destruction of any form of human life. Clearly, that is not reasonable. So, based on the state of latest medical knowledge, which forms of human life are ok to destroy and which are not? I think it has to be based on some best (conservative) guess of when sentience is present. (If you think a good argument can be made around the idea of mere "potential for life," please rethink it. Before fertilization an egg & sperm have "potential for life," and conversely, a fetus removed from the womb does not have "potential for life" until fairly late in development—so late, in fact, that it may have already developed sentience, whatever that means. To be completely consistent, you would have to accept that every egg that is allowed to go unfertilized is equivalent to murder.)

In any case, there is no one I've yet encountered that has made an argument consistent with their own views that would also prohibit embryonic stem cell research.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349758)

It's because I think life is precious and if someone without any special circumstances winds up pregnant then that fetus should be allowed the chance to grow to term.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that, when you get right down to it, life isn't all that precious. For most of the world, it's dirt cheap in fact. Let's drop the pretense that we care about a clump of tissue that has no possibility of ever being born, or that we really give a flying fuck about the unborn foetus of someone we've never met and couldn't care less about. You may think those are very important to you, but I guarantee that neither of those is as important to you as you yourself, or someone who is close to you. They shouldn't be, if you have your priorities straight.

The reason that it's important to consider life at all stages is far more pragmatic, and you alluded to that. If we, as a society, begin to accept that life is cheap, that life isn't worth as much as we've convinced ourselves that it is, well, it may not be an embryo or a foetus. It may very well be us, and I prefer to err on the side of caution. So, a respect for human life is important, even if only from a purely selfish perspective.

Now, having said that, I will say that your example of requiring pregnancies to continue to term regardless of whether the parents want the child is too simplistic as well. It's easy to say, "life is precious, preserve it at all costs" but one should also take into account what the child's life is going to be like, whether in fact a given society can even afford it. These are legitimately complex issues, involving a large measure of cost-benefit analysis, as cold-blooded as that can be sometimes. If you truly wish to do the most good for the most people, you have to do what is right, not just what feels right. That's very difficult to achieve for many people, because two are often diametrically opposed. As the Bishop said, "Man is a rationalizing animal, and requires training to become a rational one." Most of us never truly learn to think, because that might require painful re-evaluation of our most cherished attitudes.

If we decide that stem-cell research is too morally repugnant to be allowed, well, we have to accept a couple of things. One: other countries point-blank will not see it the same way, and two: even if they did, there will be a cost in human life if we do not realize any potential treatments. That's why you have to be able to make reasonably dispassionate judgments based upon some actual facts, or at least logical extrapolation based on fact, rather than simply offering an unthinking Yes or No. Furthermore, you have to be prepared to change your thinking if the facts warrant it.

And in the U.S. at least, I can say with some certainty that we're really not very good at that. Thinking with our heads, I mean ... we're damn good at knee-jerk reactions.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349634)

You are making the assertion that the "its murder" claim can be easily disproven, which seems rather difficult given that there isnt a solid definition that everyone can agree upon for "when does humanity begin".

And, of course, if THAT is unimportant, if all that matters is preventing disease at any cost, then we might as well get started with eugenics right now.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349476)

There is no issue of morals. Using biological matter that otherwise would be thrown away or never exist has nothing to do with morality. The only way to involve morality is to pretend that five day old embryos are more than they are, at which point you may as well outlaw masturbation and periods (since they obviously kill potential human beings).

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

JimWise (1804930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349554)

So why not harvest organs from all death row inmates after euthenizing them in a humane manner that does not damage the organs?

Sperm on their own are not potential human beings. A fertilized egg is. When is it an actual person, and does it have to be a full person before it has any rights? A dog is not a person, yet it has rights protecting it from malicious harm. Is there something magical about a fetus coming through the vaginal opening that instantly makes it a human? Is there something magical about making it to the second trimesters? Is it when a sperm and egg merge DNA? Is it when there are two or more cells that will be brain cells that send the first electrical pulse between them?

Yes, it DOES have to do with morality. That does NOT mean "religious morals", but "human morals" and how we as a society currently understand and interpret them. The logistics of the death penalty are based on morals, how we determine what punishment roughly matches a crime is based on society's view of what is morally correct. How we define the point of life and death are also based on morals and not exact scientific fact. Death is no longer when you no longer have a pulse. People have been revived long after being declared dead by medical professionals.

The start of life is just one of the issues involved in this. Another is when is it viable, valuable, when does a new life equal or outweigh the value of an older life. Is life kept in a perpetually frozen, inert state without a reasonable likelihood of existing in any other manner truly life anymore? I don't see how you can answer any of those without involving morals of one form or another.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349668)

Using biological matter that otherwise would be thrown away or never exist has nothing to do with morality

Can you say, with a straight face, that you would apply that same line of reasoning to starving children somewhere that will be dead in 3 weeks? Just harvest their organs now?

If you cannot, then yes, there is indeed an issue of morals: are the embryos human or not? Many people, whose votes are just as valid as yours, seem to think they are.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349542)

I like the idea of not bending morals for expediency. However, if we're not bending morals, then why does the US government spend more money on the DoD than any other department? Why do we spend billions of dollars researching and developing methods to kill people? The bible says "Thou shall not kill". Oh wait, maybe it doesn't [wikipedia.org]. So, which version of the moral do we follow? "Kill", "murder", "manslaughter", which? And if we allow "just killing", then how come we let it slide when soldiers/bombs accidentally kill civilians? Was that just? Do we make criminals out of everyone who unjustly kills a civilian? Where do we draw the line at "fudging morals"?

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349566)

Why not re-open Nazi style medical tests on twins and fetuses

Clearly your "moral concerns" don't preclude you from making inappropriate Nazi comparisons.

None of the research that was funded by the federal gov't since 2008 had anything to do with "creating life in order to destroy it.

Why are the "moral" ones always the quickest to bear false witness?

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

JimWise (1804930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349664)

None of the Nazi experiments involved creating life in order to destroy it either. Those lives were already there, and would have just been tossed away in the gas chambers anyways. I used a range of examples over a range of what people may view as "morally" appropriate, but trying to say that even at the most benign level there IS morality involved, not necessarily religious morality, but HUMAN morality. It is NOT appropriate to say that any of these decisions can be made free of ALL moral thinking.

Actually I see a LOT of truth behind both sides of whether or not already existing embryos that will otherwise be destroyed should be made available for testing, so I am staying out of that. All I am trying to say is that it is FAR too simplistic to just state that the ONLY statements against it are based on religious morality and that therefor the scientific community has no real restrictions aside from the current legal ones not to go ahead.

Why not re-open Nazi style medical tests on twins and fetuses

Clearly your "moral concerns" don't preclude you from making inappropriate Nazi comparisons.

None of the research that was funded by the federal gov't since 2008 had anything to do with "creating life in order to destroy it.

Why are the "moral" ones always the quickest to bear false witness?

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

joshier (957448) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349862)

I think it's selfish for parents who will know for certain their children will have the same disease/problems as them. Perhaps if people were more open to adoption we might see less intense willingness to 'have your own', the end of the day it's a blank human and it's not hard to make a child, it's hard to raise one to the best of your abilities.

I'm ill informed in the subject but I hope there are rules in place to stop say, two people genetically very, very poor (e.g. their children guaranteed to have extreme issues). Down syndrome and so on...

Also it's a bit of a gamble isn't it at the end of the day? For me I'd quite like the idea of knowing that the child I will adopt will be quite healthy ... I don't have the risk of having a child myself and have it turn out with severe mental issues. I realise people with severe mental issues are still able to fully enjoy life but if you don't have the time/resources money then I feel it's quite selfish.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349900)

And why does that override moral concerns?

Because your moral concerns are your moral concerns and not mine?

Maybe I have moral concerns about people whose name starts with the letter J posting to slashdot? Posting to an internet forum with a username that starts with the letter J is immoral. We need to pass a law to stop this at once.

And why does your thinking you should be able to post override moral concerns?

Perhaps we should just let JavedIqbal post here on slashdot bragging about 100 babies killed by him

Because you know... allowing research on embryos SO Implies that a living person's body will be intentionally damaged for the benefit of research, and is equivalent in every way to Nazi-style medical tests and experiments involving live animal mutilation and subjecting of animals to needless and extreme pain/discomfort. Yeah right.....

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (0)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349508)

Me, I plan on eating a shotgun if I ever get diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I've seen what it did to my grandfather, and a quick death is preferable to slowly fading away, utterly dependent on other people even to wipe my butt.

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (0, Flamebait)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349618)

While I am sorry to hear about your mother, and sincerely hope that you do not get alzheimers either, the fact is that there ARE moral implications, and you cannot get around them by looking at the benefits. The ends do not always justify the means, and bringing up what is indeed an unfortunate situation is not sufficient to get rid of the objections. Keep in mind, the moral objections basically amount to "we think this is murder".

Additionally, I have heard talk that embryonic cells are not necessarily superior to other forms of stem cell; any bio buffs want to clarify whether this is true, and if so why the push to use something so laden with moral qualms?

Re:I appreciate the moral implications for some (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349730)

First, let me state that, in my opinion, I have no problem using stem cells from abortions or miscarriages. They're only going to be destroyed anyway. You can argue whether we should have abortions, but if we're going to have them, we might as well have some good come out of them. About the only thing I would do is require that the stem cells be donated free of charge in order to remove the belief that someone is making money off of this.

Second, my father passed away about 10 months ago after a couple of years of problems with Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a frightening disease to watch and, after seeing what it did to my father, I'm more convinced than ever that, when I reach a certain age, I want to move someplace with poor medical conditions so that I will likely die before I have to suffer such problems.

That said, I'm not sure I like your dismissal of the moral implications because it may happen to you someday. As long as it doesn't happen to you or your loved ones, it's okay to protect the unborn? But if it might affect you personally, "I don't care how many dead babies it takes to find me a cure!" The implication is that others don't matter as long as it helps you. And that leads to lots of dark thoughts...

Again, in this instance, I have no problem with the moral implications of stem cells any more than I have with the use of cadavers for medical training or people donating their organs after they're dead. But don't dismiss the moral implications just because the resolution may have an impact on you.

Before we get into it: (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349178)

Adult stem cells are sub-par replacements for embryonic stem cells.

Re:Before we get into it: (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349226)

How about stemcells from infants Embillical fluid?
There are a lot of sources for stem cells. Also this is only about Federal Funding, there are other sources as well.

Re:Before we get into it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349266)

It would look more like you knew what you're talking about if you could spell "umbilical".

Re:Before we get into it: (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349270)

Those aren't pluripotent cells. What they get from umbilical cord fluid is actually blood stem cells, which can become any type of blood cell. Embryonic stem cells can distinguish into any type of cells. Adult stem cells are limited to certain tissues. They have developed induced pluripotent cells, but they don't believe they have the same potency as true embryonic cells.

Re:Before we get into it: (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349298)

Source? Proof? Is there anything showing embryonic stem cells that are not genetically identical to the recipient being used successfully in humans? We are not talking about umbilical cord stem cells here. These are embryonic stem cells that are not from the recipient, if you want to compare those then I admit you are right, but the generic statement is flawed.

Re:Before we get into it: (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349470)

http://www.cell.com/retrieve/pii/S0092867404002089 [cell.com] Wagers, A.G., and Weissman, I.L. 2004. Plasticity of Adult Stem Cells. Cell 116(5):639-648.

Now, iPS cells are a promise, but they are a lot more difficult to induce and work with compared to natural pluripotent cells (aka embryonic).
Nishikawa, S., Goldstein, R.A., Nierras, C.R. 2008. The promise of human induced pluripotent stem cells for research and therapy. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 9:725-729.

Re:Before we get into it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349426)

How did you come to this conclusion? Multiple adult stem cell therapies exist. They seem to differentiate just fine, and less risk for uncontrolled growth, also known as Cancer.

Re:Before we get into it: (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349516)

That explains why there are multiple therapies being used today that utilize adult stem cells, yet not one that uses embryonic ones.

Thank you for enlightening us with your (lack of) wisdom and knowledge.

Personally I think this is ridiculous. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349182)

Embryos created for IVF clinics that are unused are destroyed by the clinic anyway unless the "owners" want to donate them to other patients. I think it should be up to the people who the embryos are created for to begin with as to what happens to them after the IVF process is completed. Embryos aren't people, they're collections of cells. Apparently it's ok to dispose of them but not ok to use them for research that could eventually save lives or at least have positive benefits for humanity.

Re:Personally I think this is ridiculous. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349268)

Sometimes it is a good idea to avoid the gray line then to cross it. It is a case where if they did research on private legal abortions with federal funding then you are going into a gray area where you could be considered encouraging people to make a decision.

Re:Personally I think this is ridiculous. (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349604)

Why should someone else be able to tell you what to do with your body? This goes back to abortion and the religous right trying to abolish it. You can't crowdsource morality. It should always be a personal decision. Beware he who would tell you what you can and can't do with your body for in his heart he thinks himself your master. Yeah I had to steal and modify someone elses sig but it rings true. Now go put your tin foil hat back on.

It's just the US (5, Insightful)

nicoleb_x (1571029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349218)

Not to worry, the reset of the world can still do embryonic research.

Re:It's just the US (3, Informative)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349244)

It's just federal funding. Private funding and state funding are both pushing forward.

Re:It's just the US (4, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349372)

Right, it's just NSF and DOH funding. Cutting it off will do absolutely nothing to prevent researchers from working on the subject. The expensive equipment will somehow turn up for free, the facilities bill will pay itself, and graduate students looking for a RA position won't mind that they can't get funding to pay for their tuition and room and board and medical and so forth if they work in such a lab - which won't do anything to curtail the production of future researchers in the general topic area.

It's just federal funding. Right?

Re:It's just the US (1)

LordGibson (104709) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349518)

So no research ever happens without federal funding? No research project has any chance of producing useful results without federal funding? It's a pretty sad state of affairs if the federal government has somehow become the driving force behind all scientific research in the US.

There's a fairly significant distinction between not having federal backing and not being able (or allowed) to conduct the research. Pointing that out is perfectly legitimate. Brushing it off as pedantic is absurd.

Re:It's just the US (1)

kharchenko (303729) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349784)

Unfortunately the impact can be quite profound. Labs typically have a number of funding sources, but the restriction imposed on using federal money for stem cell research meant that people that wanted to work on that had to build a second, separate lab to do it in. In a way that matched only by religious orthodoxies, that meant buying copies of the all same equipment (some of which run close to a million bucks) with the private money and keeping them in a separate location just to satisfy legal requirements.

Re:It's just the US (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349276)

Ya, so many great medical advancements coming out of other countries these days...

Re:It's just the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349536)

Thanks for showing advancements in ignorance are still going strong.

Reset of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349308)

I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.

An (im)Modest Proposal (1, Insightful)

Ultimate Heretic (1058480) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349260)

I suggest all those Republican women who feel that the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research is a greater outrage then their eventual destruction each volunteer their uterus to bring them to term and raise as their own. Or shut the f*ck up and let science advance.

Re:An (im)Modest Proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349284)

Hear hear!

(btw, the captcha is "Confine" :) )

Re:An (im)Modest Proposal (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349290)

About just not creating more embryos for IVF than is actually needed (or, ya know, adopt one of the millions of orphaned kids in the US and abroad)?

Re:An (im)Modest Proposal (3, Interesting)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349434)

Congrats, you know nothing at all about how IVF works.

One of the major expenses in IVF is creating the embryos to begin with, however the cost is relatively the same thing whether they create 1 or 100(to a point anyways, its not limitless where the cost is the same but I believe it is in the hundreds somewhere before the cost increases by a significant amount). Theres a decent chance that the first lot won't take, so they always do two batches to get the success rates up to 75-80% or so. In addition they may implant up to 8 embryos in one shot to get just one to latch on. The womans natural systems will flush the remaining 7 out the door, going by a lot of the idiotic pro-life spiel, that woman just killed 7 kids.

As an aside, a woman who tries to/gets pregnant naturally will likely flush several full fledged embryos out due to misfortune and natural occurrences. The extras from IVF can basically be considered the same thing we just can't use the natural ones because we don't catch them. Saying that killing an embryo is murder is calling almost every woman thats been pregnant a murderer. I say almost because there is that 0.00001% that may have had a pregnancy without discharging a viable embryo either at the same time or at another time while trying due to it not landing in the right place and various other misfortunes.

Re:An (im)Modest Proposal (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349310)

... because science without morality helps us how? This slippery slope merges very quickly with Hitler's research projects. Seriously, this is no less about creating a super race than Hitler wanted. We'll use stem cells to cure all sorts of genetic flaws, like Alzheimers, etc. Where do you think it will stop?

Re:An (im)Modest Proposal (5, Insightful)

offrdbandit (1331649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349504)

Unfortunately your opinion does not qualify you to dictate what is and is not morally or ethically acceptable behavior (neither does your political affiliation, nor having or not having a uterus, but then again, with simplistic reasoning such as yours, I'm not surprised you've resorted to chauvinism). Saying "it's science" or "it's progress" doesn't answer the question of whether it *SHOULD* be done... Throughout history there have been countless examples of clearly ethically dubious behavior and even blatant atrocities in an attempt to illicit some scientific "advancement" of one form or another. You don't want to debate the morality of the destruction of embryos. You want to castigate anyone who disagrees with you and frame them as somehow anti-Science. It's asinine and you (should) know it.

Re:An (im)Modest Proposal (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349706)

If we agree that this is about the use of tax money; and if we agree that republicans' votes are just as valid as everyone elses; and that republicans therefore have just as much say about how THEIR tax dollars are used as everyone else (and if you cannot, then you do not understand what "democratic" means).... how can you then say that they should not voice their concerns, especially when said concerns deal with laws that have already been passed?

Playing devils advocate here (0)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349264)

Aren't there already existing medical treatments based on somatic stem cell research, whereas embryonic stem cell research hasn't yielded anything useful yet? Keep in mind this is the whole world were talking about here, not just in the US, so the "because there is no federal funding" argument doesn't apply.

And since somatic stem cells have no issues with donor-host rejection, I'd figure them to be more promising anyways. It may be for the best that taxpayer money goes towards research that is providing actual results, rather than research that isn't.

Re:Playing devils advocate here (5, Informative)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349358)

Yes, but they accomplish different things. Somatic (adult) stem cells are pretty much isolated to tissues/organs. They might work well at that, but getting them to do anything else that pluripotent (embryonic) stem cells can is out of reach.

About this claim that embryonic stem cell research hasn't yielded anything useful yet...
  1. January 20th, 2009: Researchers produced massive volumes of “universal donor” type O-negative blood from human embryonic stem cells, potentially making blood donation a thing of the past.
  2. December 5th, 2008: Harvard scientists created spinal motor neurons from hESCs, and were able to replicate the ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, process in a Petri dish.
  3. September 8th, 2008: Neural cells derived from hESCs showed effectiveness at reducing the clinical systems of multiple sclerosis in animals.
  4. March 15th, 2008: Scientists developed a way to convert human embryonic stem cells into dopamine-producing nerve cells, holding great promise for therapy for Parkinson’s disease.
  5. February 21st, 2008: Scientists at Novocell, Inc. created insulin-producing islet cells from human embryonic stem cells that effectively controlled insulin levels in diabetic mice.
  6. January 31st, 2008: Scientists coaxed hESCs into functional hepatocytes (liver cells) that may be used for treatment of liver diseases.
  7. September 21st, 2006: Vision was improved in rats suffering from a disease similar to age-related macular degeneration with the injection of human embryonic stem cells into the retina.
  8. July 14th, 2006: UCLA Aids Institute researchers used hESCs to create lines of mature T-cells that could fight viruses like HIV, which destroys certain types of T-cells.
  9. October 12th, 2005: Scientists used hESCs to create cancer-killing cells.
  10. September 24th, 2004: Scientists in Israel derived fully functional cardiomyocytes (heart cells) from human embryonic stem cells, paving the way for hESC-derived pacemakers and heart tissue repair.

Fund away (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349288)

The only people who care about federal funding of embryonic stem cells are private corporations who don't want to have to pay their own R&D costs. This is only corrupt, politically controlled, federal funding. Conduct all the stem cell research you want you losers.

Don't bitch next time Exxon wants billions in tax incentives to drill regionally. You support federal funding for businesses to make a profit right?

Re:Fund away (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349632)

I agree with the sentiment, but look at it this way: if a project is going to be funded with federal money, it's far more likely to be greenlit than something that might cost the company millions without the possibility of making them rich.

I don't usually trust corporations (big pharm especially) to do anything other than protect their bottom line, but stem cell research is vital and without that money it's going to take that much longer for potential miracle cures to start happening.

Peter Griffin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349316)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6C6IKBezjA

Time to record Votes (0, Troll)

X_DARK_X (1881648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349350)

I think it's time we start recording public policy votes and prohibit use of technology by individuals who opposed it! I'm tired of these hypocrites.

Re:Time to record Votes (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349652)

Wow, flamebait?

Honestly, if I had mod points, this would get a +1 insightful. If you oppose something and then use it to benefit yourself you should damn well be held accountable for your actions.

Wow, weak cause for harm by the plantiffs (1, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349414)

Doctors James Sherely of Watertown, Massachusetts, and Theresa Diesher of Seattle, identified by Lamberth as adult stem cell researchers, sued in August 2009, arguing that NIH guidelines breach the Dickey-Wicker strictures. They also argued that they were being irreparably harmed by having to compete for NIH funding with researchers using embryonic cells.

Wait, what? They're being done harm by competing with this research? So... embryonic cells are that much superior? (Sounds like we should make sure this is as legal as can be pronto!) But they can't evidently use them themselves?

Man, if I could sue every time I found someone else who had an edge on me in research, I'd be the only person active in my field right now. Sign me up!

Fucking luddites (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349422)

Hope the religious fucktards all die of cancer.

Clearly science is being overcome by religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349460)

Science says that the moment sperm and egg meet, you have a living genetically unique individual human being. 50 years ago, premature babies born more than a month early were unlikely to survive. Today, premature babies born a few months early can be saved. Science is definitely heading in the direction of being able to gestate a human outside of the womb from conception to "birth" - whatever that would mean and however creepy that would be.

There is a group arguing from a religious, blind faith point of view - but it isn't those who claim that you have a real, living, unique individual human at the moment of conception.

Science vs. blind faith... on this topic, the facts are clear.

Grandstanding. (1)

Hasai (131313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349642)

Can someone explain to me why the mushrooms inhabiting Foggy Bottom continue to do things that they *know* are in direct contravention to existing law before addressing those conflicting laws *first?*

It is because they are utter idiots, or is it because they really didn't mean it to succeed in the first place? :\

Let's Hope So (-1, Troll)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349678)

The more embryos destroyed the better. We have far too many people wandering about. Some of them grow up to be idiotic judges.

Re: Let's Hope So (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349850)

Keep in mind that this is just a preliminary injunction. The case itself still has to be tried, but the injunction prevents funding for embryonic stem cell research so that the trial can be completed. I'm not a lawyer, but I think that issuing a preliminary injunction requires a finding that the moving party would suffer irreparable harm and that there's a likelihood of success at trial. There may be other factors involved, so if there's a Slashlawyer around here, feel free to fill in the blanks.

It's nice to see churches are Python fans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33349716)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk

More complicated than you think (5, Insightful)

fysician (1883118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349726)

There is a good reason to avoid embryonic stem cell altogether. The biggest reason is because we have no good ways to control its potential to form teratoma, which is basically cancerous mass of tissues of all types. That's what's happening at those rogue Russian stem cell clinics. Although it is true that ESCs have the biggest potential to regenerate, it's also most potent cancer forming cells. Some theorize that cancer is actually rogue stem cells. Another practical reason why ESCs could be avoided is because adult stem cells have been shown to be able to transform to embryonic counterparts. This is a complex topic of its own. If you are interested look up IPS = induced pluripotent stem cell.

Give me a fucking break (0, Flamebait)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33349740)

"Destroying embryos?" First of all these aren't "embryos" -- that is a weasel word often used by fundies and Republicans to conflate an undifferentiated blastocyst [wikipedia.org] with a viable fetus as probably both parties believe that the blastocyst, ney, the zygote [wikipedia.org], has a "soul." "Embryo" implies more advanced development which is what a blastocyst becomes when its development differentiates it as a human being [wikipedia.org] . A blastocyst is a sphere of about 100 cells filled with fluid, the blastocoele [wikipedia.org], which contains a clump of pluripotent [wikipedia.org] stem cells attached to its inner wall called the ebryoblast [wikipedia.org]. This is what they're talking about when they say "embryo" : a blob of stem cells. And when they talk about "destroying" the "embryo" what really happens is that the blastocyst is punctured ( Oh no! It's destroyed! ) and the embryoblast stem cells are extracted and allowed to multiply a petri dish. These cells ARE NOT VIABLE -- that is babies won't sprout up like fucking mushrooms from the petri dish. And the blastocysts, they aren't viable unless implanted into a working uterus. Furthermore, what's going to happen to the "embryos" ( blastocysts ) that aren't needed? Can you say medical waste and a furnace? If "destroying embryos" is the equivalent of killing a person, then you commit mass murder every time you take a shit because there are more bacterial cells in your intestines than in your body. Going further with that thought, don't you also commit mass murder when you ejaculate? You know those sperm could have been babies! For fucks sake I'm damn sick of this bullshit.

jdb2
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