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Team Use Stem Cells to Restore Mobility in Paralyzed Monkey

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-can-rebuild-him dept.

Medicine 196

interval1066 writes "From the article: 'Japanese researchers said Wednesday they had used stem cells to restore partial mobility in a small monkey that had been paralysed from the neck down by a spinal injury.' This is huge news in the world of stem cell research; restoring some muscular control to a simian is a huge step. This means that stem cell therapy is a demonstrably viable path to restoring motility for millions of accident victims, palsy and ms sufferers, the list just goes on."

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196 comments

I for one... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494042)

... welcome our regenerated monkey overlords.

Re:I for one... (0)

stoanhart (876182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494926)

There should be a "Delete Account" mod option, which kicks in if every moderator selects it. It would be great for tired old jokes that just won't die!.

Re:I for one... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495276)

Brilliant idea considering that he posted without logging in.

Induced pluripotent stem (5, Informative)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494076)

So not embryonic stem cells. Everybody wins.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494902)

Exactly. I was just going to point out that the article trolls about embryonic stem cell usage in the final two paragraphs:

"Scientists say the use of human embryonic stem cells as a treatment for cancer and other diseases holds great promise, but the process has drawn fire from religious conservatives and others who oppose it.

Embryonic stem cell research is controversial because human embryos are destroyed in order to obtain the cells capable of developing into almost every tissue of the body."

The cells used in this treatment were derived from adult skin cells. No controversy here. Everyone wins. The article barely alludes to the fact that adult skin cells were used (not even a complete sentence is devoted to this critical fact), and they devote their closing 2 paragraphs to trying to gin up controversy over the embryonic stem cell issue without pointing out how this treatment bypasses that issue. I find it very disingenuous, and the Slashdot editors should have caught it and addressed it in the summary.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495130)

The cells used in this treatment were derived from adult skin cells. No controversy here. Everyone wins.

The fact that adult stem cells are useful should lead us to believe that embryonic stem cells are useful too. In this way any work on adult stem cells is linked to (the lack of) work on embryonic stem cells. If we can save lives with adult stem cells, what if we could save even more lives with embryonic stem cells? Shouldn't we at least do the research to find out?

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495336)

I made no claim one way or the other regarding the ethics of embryonic stem cell usage. My only claim was that the reporting was intentionally deceptive.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495398)

These actually are "induced pluripotent stem cells" not "adult stem cells." The difference being that these are adult skin cells (fibroblasts technically) that have been manipulated, likely by viral transfection of 3 or 4 genes (genes which have been linked to cancer) to become -like- embryonic stem cells.

Adult stem cells which would regenerate your spinal cord without manipulation have not really been done much. There is a population of stem cells found in mouse whisker roots that seem to do the job, and I'm not sure why that hasn't gotten more press. There might be some in the center of your brain, but I don't think harvesting those have been considered as treatment for CNS injuries for obvious reasons.

Embryonic stem cells and IPsC both appear to have the same broad range of potential fates, wheras most people don't think adult stem cell populations would.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495148)

The /. editors can hardly spell or even read over the summaries for blatant redundancy or shitty sentence structures; I don't expect them to read the article at this point.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495298)

What controversy is there for anyone in the least bit educated?

Who opposes fertility treatments? If you do not oppose those why would you oppose the methods used to dispose of the left over embryos?

They were going in the garbage anyway.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495608)

They were going in the garbage anyway.

Indeed. Organ and limb harvesting of death row inmates should be required too. And harvesting from the general population should be compulsory as well. And don't get me started on the cigarette smokers. They're as good as dead anyway.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (3, Insightful)

transami (202700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495020)

Not really. An embryo doesn't get to save a life before it's flushed down the drain.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495768)

Not even its own.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495838)

chill dude. it's not even got a head yet. it's a ball of near identical cells that has the potential to become something greater. or has the potential to miscarry. or grow ectopically and kill it's host. or grow up into the next Hitler (yay! Godwin!).

do you pray for all the unfertilized eggs? or all the sperm that end up wrapped in a tissue and flushed?

* disclaimer - my wife is pregnant, due next june. yay!

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495444)

So not embryonic stem cells. Everybody wins.

Not quite, ESC are mostly used right now for basic research into cell biology. One fairly small down side to results like these, where adult stem cells or IPsC get results for treatment, is that people forget the fact that there's more to learn here than how to repair a spinal cord. We haven't figured out how a fertilized egg becomes a full human, ESC are a valuable tool to that end. If people get the idea that there's nothing more to do with ESC since we can fix monkey spinal cords, ESC research is going to become illegal.

Re:Induced pluripotent stem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495676)

We haven't figured out how a fertilized egg becomes a full human

So you have no objection to being forced under the dissection knife right or forced to be experimented on in order to help figure out how adults age? It's the same argument.

If people get the idea that there's nothing more to do with ESC since we can fix monkey spinal cords, ESC research is going to become illegal.

  • You seem to be arguing that we should cover up the fact that iPSCs so that they don't think ESCs are useless and therefore allow them to be banned. Is this correct?
  • There are a great number of things that would advance science that are illegal. Why is experimenting on embryonic humans without their consent any different?

Embryonic or adult? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494088)

Embryonic adult stem cells are a grenade topic under much political (moral, ethical, religious) fire; adult stem cell research is universally free game. Which is this?

Re:Embryonic or adult? (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494176)

The article mentions embryonic stem cells at the end, so it's probably a fair guess that's what they are using.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494730)

The article mentions embryonic stem cells at the end, so it's probably a fair guess that's what they are using.

Not that it matters...

Re:Embryonic or adult? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495342)

The article also mentions that Induced Pluripotent stem cell were what were actually used in the procedure, so they most likely used cells from the same monkey that received the treatment, therefor adult stem cells.

The mention of embryonic is a absolutely moronic the controversy is about embryonic not adult stem cells. Stem Cell articles really make me hate the media, every article says that stem cells are the greatest thing since germ theory and they could very well be right. If journalist want to help they could maybe just maybe try to help the pubic understand the difference. I guarantee that 99% of the controversy would disappear, and 2/3 of the remain controversy would be from instances where a minor storm would pop up because someone misreported and said that embryonic and not adult cells were used.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (2)

bknabe (1910854) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494204)

iPS cells are usually adult stem cells. So it's probably adult, although there's a slight chance they're embryonic. I suspect they were adult because of the way the article was written. They never mention type until they start talking about embryonic stem cells at the end of the article. That way they didn't lie, they just forgot to mention that little detail.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495492)

To clarify, the blurb from "inquirer.net" was light on that detail but was not written by the scientists involved in the research. They undoubtedly wrote it up and submitted it for peer-review, and will include the experimental details.

It may also be that they did a control of the same things with embryonic stem cells. It would make sense: if the iPS monkeys didn't recover the same mobility the ESC monkeys did, that would be important to know.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494210)

These are adult stem cells, harvested from perfectly healthy adults, whom I killed for their stems cells.

Also, Linux makes you gay.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (3, Insightful)

CrustyMustard (1001996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494356)

Yeah, what bknabe said: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics10.asp [nih.gov]. Score another one for adult stem cells.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (1, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495312)

Why do you care?
Do you oppose fertility treatments? If not, why do you care how they dispose of the left over material?

Re:Embryonic or adult? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495550)

Yeah, what bknabe said: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics10.asp [nih.gov] [nih.gov]. Score another one for adult stem cells.

Sorry to be a stickler over terms, but "adult stem cell" and "induced pluripotent stem cells" are two different things. An adult stem cell is a stem cell from the adult (or child) body which can effectively be used as is. These generally have a narrower range of fates. You can take a blood stem cell and it will produce blood cells. It will not produce neurons, but you don't have to change it's epigenetics to get it to produce blood.

iPS on the other hand are cells which don't need to be stem cells initially, but have to be epigenetically "reset" to produce anything. To do this, you need to manipulate it a bit to make it more like an embryonic stem cell. The upside is that it can produce, say, spinal cord neurons, and you avoid host rejection since you can use a patient's own cells. The downside is that the manipulations are very low efficiency and the risk of producing cancer is likely increased.

Two different things. This is a "score" for iPS, not adult stem cells. I guess it's not too important if you're more concerned with "They're not harvested from embryos" than accuracy, but there is a real difference.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494702)

I thought we had already gotten past the "embryonic" part of the debate. I know there were a lot of people who SCREAMED about it based on moral and religious grounds. Those same people did not bat the slightest eye when embryos used for invetro (religious types who couldn't get preggers), saw unused 'seed and eggs' destroyed by labs in the name of reproduction. They chose to debate research on Parkinsons, but stop mama from getting knocked up by a test tube and you have a war on your hands.

Re:Embryonic or adult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495050)

This is why it's called research. You can't really use your own embryonic stem cells because there ain't any. But by understanding how embryonic cells differentiate you can huge insight into adult stem cells that are readily available. Clinical stuff will ALWAYS end up using your adult stem cells, but that will not happen unless we understand how these cells work....

There are tons of embryonic stem cells being flushed down the toilet every day, yet no one can study these cells for "ethical" reasons. Sometimes people have fucked up "ethics".

Re:Embryonic or adult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495212)

Rule of thumb on stem cells, if they are mentioned in an actual procedure then they are adult stem cells; if they are mentioned in regards to policy they are talking about embryonic stem cells.

Peer-Review v. Newspaper (3, Informative)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494092)

There's only a handful of reasons why you'd hear about this first from a newspaper called "The Inquirer" as opposed to Nature Neuroscience ... I'll leave it to you to figure out what those reasons are.

Re:Peer-Review v. Newspaper (3, Interesting)

allanmackenzie (1254530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495636)

Hideyuki Okano has almost 300 papers and some of them in very reputable journals. This is most likely the real deal.

strange brew that's also good for you (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494142)

That would be home made Kombucha.

Salute. (5, Interesting)

sbenson (153852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494156)

"that had been paralysed from the neck down by a spinal injury" -- Bet it wasn't an accident.
I for one wish to honor our little buddy that took one for the team, Not his team, our team, the team two branches over on the evolutionary tree.

Re:Salute. (3, Funny)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494190)

I was thinking that as well. How often do Japanese people run across paralyzed monkeys and then think, "I bet this monkey would be good for stem cell research"

Re:Salute. (5, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494422)

I was thinking that as well. How often do Japanese people run across paralyzed monkeys and then think, "I bet this monkey would be good for stem cell research"

Yes thats correct. They run accross the monkey first, then think, "Yep he is a good candidate for stem cell research!"

Re:Salute. (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494868)

They run accross the monkey first...

With what? A Honda?

Re:Salute. (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495128)

They run accross the monkey first...

With what? A Honda?

Well, if it was with a Toyota, then it very well could have been an (accelerator pedal related) accident...

Re:Salute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495216)

I dunno, I think the monkey would win in that collision...

Re:Salute. (1)

errxn (108621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494228)

I hope that you're completely wrong, but I sadly suspect that you are completely correct.

Re:Salute. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34495368)

It's okay. They only do it to the bad monkeys. The Hitler monkeys, Mussolini monkeys, and occasionally the "give me your lunch money or you get another swirlie" monkeys.

All the good monkeys are treated with utmost respect, given massages every day, and an up-to-date subscription to HBO.

Re:Salute. (2)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494354)

Honestly, I don't care if some intern in a lab halfway across the world has to snap the spine of 100 monkeys by hand. If the research pays off and eventually does lead a treatment that can restore full mobility to MS, palsy, ALS, and other paralysis victims, I say go ahead and break as many monkey spines as you need.

Re:Salute. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495360)

You had better hope we never have monkey overlords.

So long as the monkeys were properly anesthetized and they only did the 100 monkeys they needed not a couple more just for jollies then I say go for it.

No need to torture the little bastards.

Re:Salute. (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494400)

But it *was* an accident. A simulated accident, in which monkeys were strapped into the driver's seat of a large van full of Maybelline products, which was then crashed into a stack of Jersey barriers at 60 mph, to test the durability of an iPhone in the glove box. After that the monkeys were used for stem cell experiments.

Re:Salute. (3, Interesting)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494688)

It's a sticky wicket to say the least. It bothers me terribly for cosmetics to be tested on animals, and don't think it should be done. It bothers me somewhat less so to know animals are being used for medical testing. But it still bothers me. I still think it is a good idea to have animal testing for medical research, as yes, there are some amazing discoveries made because of it, which is admittedly hypocritical. And yes, it also bothers me that I am willing to be hypocritical to save humans lives, but I'm not willing to give up the science, even for the poor critters.

For it is worth, at least I am honest about my own hypocracy. Sometimes life just gives you shitty options to choose from, and I gotta choose the shitty option that saves more human lives.

Re:Salute. (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495792)

It seems similar to me as the quandary with eating meat. A lot of people have to eat meat to stay healthy, yet it still requires sacrificing something else. All you can do is pick the lesser of evils, and try to point yourself in the right direction. Personally I'm against a lot of the medical testing they do, but its a judgment call, and reasonable people can arrive at different conclusions.

One reason I'm against some of it, is I see that the medical industry has a lot of power lust and greed in it, and in a lot of ways doesn't really care about health. The way many hospitals treat both their own patients and their own employees is really brutal. So I say, try treating people right, and focusing more on caring for the body doing the obvious things like exercising and not eating junk food. That right there would do as much or more for health than a whole lot of grisly animal experiments. Do the right things first, and see how much of the wrong things remain necessary.

Re:Salute. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494616)

I know this is going to be tasteless, but you just know it's true:

Hey, why're you complaining? The alternative would've been throwing the monkey away, that way it was at least good for another test. And it even worked!

Re:Salute. (1)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495046)

"That poor sweet monkey. Oh well , lets gather him up , theres no sense in letting him go to waste" *licks lips*

Non-Obligatory Futurama reference ;)

Re:Salute. (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495118)

As I see it, a defining characteristic of our world is that some live by sacrificing others. Obviously it doesn't start with man, it goes all the way down the evolutionary chain. Seeing that the whole natural order is like that, and that its often unavoidable given what came before, people justify it. But there's a price we pay. And as we become increasingly powerful, the price can get higher. Europe's 20th century wars would be one example of how behavior that sort of worked before becomes more problematic with advances in technology.

Personally I think we'll pay eventually for every bit of our lack of humility and love for others, be they other people or other animals.

Small detail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494196)

"Japanese researchers said Wednesday they had used stem cells to restore partial mobility in a small monkey that had been paralysed from the neck down by a spinal injury (inflicted by one of the researcher)."

This is awesome for all primates! (-1, Offtopic)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494198)

This is JUST what those asshole xtians were screaming about on the TV evangelism shows to have happen (as if miracles are real). Yet they will neglect the true heroes of Japanese medical science and go right on to thanking "god" when their quadriplegic grandmother gets the "cure" for falling down the stairs. Hypocrites should all remain paralyzed. It just makes sense.

Science +1
Religion -5

See you in hell, Pat Roberson!

Re:This is awesome for all primates! (1)

jnaujok (804613) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494466)

Uh, these are adult (induced pluripotent) stem cells -- the ones that xtian evangelists have no problem with, as no embryos were destroyed to create them. In fact, they come from skin scrapings.

But it's good to see that you're living up to the ideal image of the "tolerant left" as opposed to the "bigoted right". It's not like you were calling for people to die and burn in hell or suffer a lifetime of paralysis for holding a belief.

Oh, wait...

But at least you didn't say anything about hypocrites...

Re:This is awesome for all primates! (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494554)

If he doesn't believe in Hell and condemns you to it, is it really an insult? Its like saying "I condemn you to pink fluffy elephant land....for ETERNITY!" or "I'll see you in non-existence!". Does it really matter?

Re:This is awesome for all primates! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495372)

Do those same folks oppose fertility treatments?

If they do not, then they have no room to complain about how the left over waste is disposed of. It was going to be burned anyway.

Embryonic stem cells (0)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494360)

I find the statement

Embryonic stem cell research is controversial because human embryos are destroyed in order to obtain the cells capable of developing into almost every tissue of the body.

rather interesting. I suspect if it is explained to most people adequately you find that there are two things people really have a problem with:

  1. People being encouraged to produce embryos for use as a source for stem cells, either for research or treatments. Encouraged as in getting paid for it. If there is a market, there will be payments.
  2. What is required for human embryonic stem cell treatment is either there are no treatments unless stem cells are somehow saved as in cord blood cells or you have human cloning. This is because embryonic stem cells are genotype specific - in order to treat you they need your DNA in the stem cells. If you can produce an embryo on demand with any required DNA in it, then you can clone people.

The problem with human cloning is that no matter what it takes, once it is possible and proven who will be the first? Does the world need another Kim Jong Il? How about Bill Gates or Larry Ellison? Do you think George H. W. Bush has enough money for the process? I don't see any way to sever the connection between embryonic stem cells and human cloning - once you can produce an embryo on demand, you can produce a baby from that embryo on demand with whatever DNA you would like.

Didn't some folks go to incredible lengths to preserve Lenin's DNA? Is there anything left of Hitler? How about Eva Peron? I am sure there is a group of people that would be able to gather enough money, however much it took, to "resurrect" one of these figures if it were possible.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (2)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494430)

Clones that are born with the same DNA would not be the same person at the very least because they are born into a different context (i.e. hitler born today would unlikely be able to lead germany into genocide and world war). Also their life experiences will be completely different no matter what you do (GW Bush did not grow up with the internet, his clone would have to.....unless he lives in a jungle which would also alter the adult version of GW #2).

The issue is really whether one should be able to pre-select the DNA of their children.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494468)

Uhm....

There are "clones" out there already.

They're called Identical Twins.

I'm sure you can agree with me that one twin is not the same person as the other.

--
BMO

Re:Embryonic stem cells (2)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494558)

I've never understood the unease that people show about human cloning. My reaction is usually "so what"? Who gets the first clone? Hell, I don't know, or really care. Why SHOULD I care about that any more than I do about those people reproducing the old fashioned way? All of the people you listed already have offspring, what would change if they were clones (essentially infant identical twins), or regular kids?

This all reminds me of Louise Brown, the first "test tube baby". When she was born there was a fantastic amount of outrage about "playing god" and I even remember some evangelist saying she wouldn't have a soul. Now, nobody give a fig about in vitro fertilization. Cloning will be the same in a very short amount of time after it's perfected.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494586)

I don't really understand the social stigma against cloning. Is it some genetic diversity argument?

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494712)

It's mainly what Dthief said. Should people really be able to choose the DNA of their children? It's tied to the genetic engineering debate. If you think there is disparity between rich and poor now.... imagine when all the rich people can have their kids genetically altered to be smarter, more athletic, more mentally stable, better looking, ect. Not only would these children start off with the benefit of being rich and having connections, they would also be physically and mentally superior humans to the poor people. It's already near impossible for a poor person to become a rich person in a single lifetime, I can imagine it would be completely impossible once this has been going on for awhile.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495280)

But again, that's just a facet of ever advancing medical technology. In some ways, rich children that benefit from the best medicine and education are already mentally and physically superior because of that. But cloning by itself doesn't affect the situation, as you'd need modifications to the genes to get to a situation where you have perfect people you'd want to clone anyways.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495432)

How is this any different than the current system?
My mother did not smoke crack this gave me an advantage over the children of crackheads. My parents could also afford to spend lots of time with me and teach me to read before I ever stepped foot in a class room, again a huge advantage over the children of crackheads and many others.

At which point is the help a parent gives immoral.

It is nearly impossible for a poor person to become rich, it has always been that way what would be changed?

The current batch have no need to be physically or mentally superior humans, look at some of the presidents we have had, why would the future rich be any different?

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494828)

One stigma is about people growing clones for spare parts, a la Dr. Venture.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495440)

What if we grow just the parts?
Or a clone that lacks anything but a brainstem?

Where do you want to draw the line?

Should we kill all the identical twins now, just to be safe?

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494860)

Well, there are a few concerns. A few moral ones, and a few genetic ones.

Let's get the genetic ones first, since they're more tangible. Cloning is an imperfect way of reproduction, at least in organisms that are not "supposed" to propagate through cloning. We "fade" as we clone. Cloning introduces errors. Errors multiply. Unless that theory is wrong (admittedly, I don't know of a proof yet, so far I only know of the theory, and I kinda hope nobody put it to the test yet), creating a copy from a copy from a copy increases errors and hence sooner or later the result is ... well, let's not be ugly and tasteless here. Unfortunately we're not digital, else we could create lossless copies. But we're analogous critters.

And then there's that moral problem. Let's assume for a moment cloning is possible, simple, cheap and reliable. And that genetic problem is solved. Now let's look at social dynamics. Insurances are already eagerly eying genetic tests so they can determine the premium depending on the diseases you might get, or the genetic defects you might have. Now let's assume we can genetically alter our offspring or replace them with clones. How long until the pressure arises that parents who have genetic diseases in the family can't have kids but have to get an "approved" clone? Either that or there's no way to get an insurance, so propagate if you can afford it or take a "fully functional" clone. How about government offering a financial benefit for people with "desirable" traits to allow copies of them? Or how about governments (or NGOs) offering financial incentives to have "more desirable" children, clones of someone with interesting traits? How about discovering a rare genetic "defect" that works as a cure for a disease (IIRC some time ago they found out that certain people are immune to AIDS due to their T-cells), would it be ok to create thousands of clones who are little more than bone marrow factories? What about rare blood types, same question?

Another interesting question: Who owns the clone? Is my clone mine? Does it belong to itself? Does it belong to the company that made it? Or the one that paid for the procedure? The immediate answer is of course "it belongs to itself". Sure. A human being owns itself, by default, everything else is slavery and that's something we don't want. Case closed? Well, why should I create a clone of myself if I don't benefit from it? Why should anyone else create one? Returning to the "clone with the cure" from above, how long until the discussion about the "good of the many outweighing the good of the few" starts?

Enough or should I ponder the problem for more than 5 minutes?

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495260)

Yeah, I get the technical issues, but I think the moral arguments are mostly assuming that cloning is perfect and we can do whatever we need to do.

But in terms of the other stuff, if you did a thought experiment where one child was a clone and one wasn't, if they were both via IVF what's the difference, really? Its ridiculous to even suggest that you'd somehow "own" the resulting person as it is to suggest parents "own" a test tube baby. The only real parallel I can see is a lesbian couple that has a child fertilized by donor sperm and one member's egg. The child's guardian is whomever adopts it legally, genetics don't count.

The gene altering stuff is interesting, and I can see the point, but that doesn't have much to do with cloning but more manipulating genes of embryos. Once you get to the point where you're manipulating perfect people, does it matter that you clone them? Perfect people seems like the real issue.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494676)

Are you trying to make a joke or do you really think your DNA stores all the information you have in your brain?

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494998)

1. So what? Good way for poor people to get some money on their hands, good way for researchers to get cheap embryonic stem cells. Win-win. Your problem being? That "people" (I use the term loosely) die? Oh please, happens across the globe, thousands of times per hour, and here it's at least for something good.

2. What's your problem with cloning me, butchering whatever gets created that way and saving my life with it? Might surprise you, but I kinda like living!

The problem I have with cloning stems (pardon the pun) from the problems arising when that clone becomes an actual human being and when the question arises whether and what human rights he might have. As long as you kill that clone before this problem occurs... no, cancel that. ... as long as you kill that clone, there is no real problem with cloning.

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495394)

1. Nope, we trow out more due to fertility treatments than we will ever need. No need to pay anyone.
2. Why is cloning people such a big deal? What if I split an embryo inside a lady just as it happens in nature when identical twins are created? Does that make me an evil madman?

Re:Embryonic stem cells (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495482)

You know what the best part is this treatment used, as stated in the article, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Which are most like harvested from the monkey what received the treatment. You know Adult Stem Cell, in otherwords not Embryonic which means no babies were kill in this procedure.

It truly pisses me off to no end that the media doesn't add the word adult in every article where adult stem cells are used. I sometimes think there's a conspiracy they don't want to inform people so the contraversy will stay alive so they can keeps up traffic, and/or they get to throw in a bit of "religious conservatives" bashing at the same time.
But then I remember Hanlon's razor and shake my head and die a little inside.
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

iPS cells - a pound of stomach flesh basically (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494444)

While iPS, or pluripotent stem cells, are better in some ways, in that they are basically your same DNA bombarded into acting like stem cells (e.g. high plasticity), it still basically takes a pound (or 500g) of flesh to get enough. Kind of a Merchant of Venice approach.

Since many of us never had our spinal cells stored, it is better than nothing, but does NOT obviate the scientific research need for actual stem cells.

No matter how much you outlaw it in one country, the research will exist somewhere. When we cracked down on stem cell lines, lots of scientists I know went to Canada, China, Vietnam, Scotland, and other countries that were not filled with religious freaks.

fufck.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494460)

that sOrded,

Well... (2)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34494478)


All you naysayers can fuck off. I've just told my paralyzed monkey about this new and he's most excited.

Go rain on some other parade!

modG down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494552)

supplies to private chosen, 3hatever common kn_owledge anyone that thinks

Firstly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34494696)

This is old news, secondly - its not that big because even when it was old news it was old news (mice, rats, monkies, etc) Human trials might be nice to see at some point, its been over a decade with this treatment...

How does help MS patients? (2)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495048)

Is the poster just ignorant, or is there something really here for Multiply Sclerosis sufferers? That would imply stroke victims as well. But I don't think this applies to brain damage, does it?

confusing article... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34495614)

First there's this:

The team planted four types of genes into human skin cells to create the iPS cells, according to Kyodo News.

...which is then followed by this:

Scientists say the use of human embryonic stem cells as a treatment for cancer and other diseases holds great promise...

Here's what confuses me: the first bit seems to suggest the stem cells used to "make the monkey jump" were adult, not embryonic. So why include the last little bit about embryonic stem cell research? Am I incorrect about the first quote, and in fact the cells they used were embryonic in origin?

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