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'Plentiful' Non-Embryonic Stem Cells Found

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the bumper-crop dept.

Biotech 489

An anonymous reader writes "CNN reports that scientists at Harvard and Wake Forest have discovered a 'plentiful' non-embryonic source for stem cells, as well brain, liver, and bone cell types as well. The cells, found in amniotic fluid, can be harvested without harm to the donor or the donor's unborn child. While there's no proof that amniotic stem cells are as potent as embryonic stem cells, scientists are hopeful that this will be a huge step forward for the field of stem-cell research."

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489 comments

amazing (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17505892)

amazing the hurdles we have to jump to please the followers of a 2000 year old heretic.

Re:amazing (3, Insightful)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17505952)

amazing the hurdles science can leap when they put their minds to it

Re:amazing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506054)

More evidence that God loves scientists: each time a religious nut tries to stop progress, He finds a way around it.

Now they can do all the stem cell research they want with no ethical problems. Can't wait 'till the religious wackos try to stop space exploration. The moment they do, God will drop inertialess drives and FTL engines right onto the physicists' laps.

Re:amazing (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506158)

As an agnostic and former embryo, I'm very pleased with this news. It's a human rights issue for many - not just Christians.

Re:amazing (1, Flamebait)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506250)

We that really depends upon what makes you human. I wouldn't say that an embryo is human in any sense that it's worth caring about.

Re:amazing (-1, Flamebait)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506276)

I wouldn't say that an embryo is human in any sense that it's worth caring about.

Some of us wish your mother had felt that way...

Re:amazing (0, Troll)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506374)

a banana is partly human, do you have any problem with people eating bananas?

Re:amazing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506582)

a banana is partly human, do you have any problem with people eating bananas?

You, sir, are an idiot.

Re:amazing (0, Flamebait)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506516)

Funny I fail to see how its a human rights issue to harvest stem cells from an aborted and dead fetus that the scientists had no part in creating in the first place and no choice in whether or not the mother aborted it.

Can you find someone who was a former aborted embryo to speak on the subject? You're perspective seems somewhat muddy.

Re:amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506664)

The ethics issue is similar to that of organ donors. Organ donors have a slightly higher mortality rate because there are doctors who behave unethically and do not work as hard when they realize a seriously injured patient is an organ donor. The same issue applies to abortions in that doctors who harvest stem cells have extra motivation to persuade patients to have abortions and they may lower their prices for abortions.

Re:amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506668)

We're not just talking about abortion. There are embryos sitting in suspended animation at fertility clinics - no longer needed by their biological parents, but valuable to scientists wishing to do stem cell research. These embryos obviously can't speak for themselves, but they are alive.

Re:amazing (5, Insightful)

lbbros (900904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506342)

Why the attack on religion? Some ethic considerations may be not only religious in nature, but also philosophical. This involves the beginning of life itself, so I wouldn't classify the matter in such simply (and I dare say "propagandistic") terms. (A religious scientist who used to work in the stem cell research)

Re:amazing (1, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506412)

"Why the attack on religion?"

Haven't you noticed that about 95% (I didn't make that number up) of the war in the world currently is caused because of religion? I'm all for Faith, but there's way too much religiopathy today. Time to dial it back a bit.

Re:amazing (4, Insightful)

Gryle (933382) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506538)

With respect, I'd data to verify that number please. I'd argue that much of the world's war is caused by human greed, with religion being the pretext and/or justification for the war. That doesn't make religion responsible, it makes it an excuse for war.

Re:amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506626)

I just had an epiphany of sorts...
Nerds and geeks don't have power so nerds and geeks don't understand power.
Look at the moderation system.

Re:amazing (4, Insightful)

saboola (655522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506792)

Faith is a scapegoat. Man has a natural propensity to want to destroy each other, if it was not for faith then it would be for something else.

The idea that human life begins at conception (0)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506502)

is as secular as any other opinion on the matter. Your childish cry of "Your argument is religion, so I don't have to refute it" simply betrays your ignorance and unwillingness (or inability) to defend your position.

It is scientific fact that embryos, from conception onward, are living human organisms. One could say this alone gives them at least some basic rights. This is not a religious argument in any way.

Your argument is rather ironic, anyway. The Bible does not say anything particularly relevant to abortion or stem-cells in the first place.

Re:The idea that human life begins at conception (2)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506746)

No. Just no.

There is no scientific definition of when human life starts. Such an idea will always be religious or philosophical.

In that sense the "secular" definition of when human life starts, are the limits we make for legal abortion. Something like 20 weeks.

Re:The idea that human life begins at conception (0, Flamebait)

Elrac (314784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506778)

I had a discussion about this "living organisms"/"basic rights" thing with a religious nutjob.

I asked her if she didn't have a problem with eating beef, or eggs. No, she didn't. "So what makes an embryo different?" I asked.

*Drum roll* "But a human embryo has a soul!"

The same whackos who are in favor of sending more thinking, living soldiers to bomb, shoot and be shot at by thinking, living Iraquis and who kill living, (somewhat) thinking animals (literally) for breakfast have qualms about terminating insentient, barely living clumps of cells.

Me, I'm in favor of killing all religious fundamentalists and harvesting their organs to help people who aren't demonstrably insane hipocrytes.

Liar (0, Flamebait)

Blappo (976408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506824)

"It is scientific fact that embryos, from conception onward, are living human organisms."

Why lie? That is by no measure a "scientific fact" and you destroy any credibility you may have had by lying in such an obvious fashion.

More to the point, YOU betray your religious leanings by lying like that.

Re:amazing (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506722)

I agree. We should use the elderly and convicted felons as guinea pigs too.

Re:amazing (1)

louzerr (97449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506762)

Just think how many cures we could discover if we started experimenting on illegal aliens ... oh wait, that 2000 year-old heretic (and the 3000 year-old prophets he followed) had something against that, too.

It's amazing how people will believe in Miracles if there's a billion-dollar company behind it ... but not some poor Palestinian carpenter.

Overlord (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17505902)

I for one, welcome our new embiotic fetus overlords!

Still human ... ? (3, Insightful)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17505954)

From what I can gather, the basic issue that most religious folk have to do with stem cell research is that we're mucking around with human lives. Unless you can make this process look as simple as a cheek scraping for human cells (allergy research, for instance) the objections will not abate.

The argument that this cell couldn't have become a baby doesn't quite hold good and has been answered before [slashdot.org] about harvesting eggs from fertility clinics.

So are these cells are still human, but without a potential human, doomed to die when the aminotic fluid drains. Some facts which might not matter to those who have decided all of this to be Playing God.

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

pdbaby (609052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17505984)

It's a good point -- to the public it's all about the perception of the science, not the actual science. I suspect lots of people will see "stem cell" and react immediately. Hopefully lots of other people will be more reasonable.

I don't think there's any way to make it look as harmless as a cheek scraping, though -- from my meagre understanding, there's still a risk involved with going into the amniotic sack - any medics able to comment further?

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

picob (1025968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506090)

I suspect lots of people will see "stem cell" and react immediately.

Maybe they could be called 'branch cells' instead

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

TheSeer2 (949925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506076)

I applaud you. The beginning of your post seems like you're trying to assert neutrality and look at the facts without a POV so that any point you make would be based on logic, unfortunately the vision of neutrality isn't going to stick around long for most people. [That is, people won't continue to think you're neutral even as they read the end].

Re:Still human ... ? (5, Insightful)

khanyisa (595216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506230)

The objection is not that embryos are potentially people, is that they are people. This is not true about some cells harvested in such a way that it does not destroy a person (whether embryonic or adult).

Whether you agree with the classification of embryos as people is what the debate should be about. See http://www.gerv.net/writings/foetal-personhood/ [gerv.net] for some pointers

Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506268)

Our objection is that harvesting stem cells the way done before kills the donor (the unborn human). Even if you planned to murder the donor anyway, it is morally wrong to have benefit from the murder, just like the research the Nazis did on the Jews in the concentration camps was morally wrong. If the stem cells can be harvested in a non violent way I (and I would guess most others) see nothing wrong in it.



There are a few exceptions: The same people that protest organ donations today could perhaps object using cells from other people. Those refusing medical treatment today would obviously object to this like all other treatment. But for the majority, the issue is solved if you can harvest the stem cells peacefully.

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

caenorhabditas (914198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506350)

I'm sorry, but the idea that embryonic stem cells could have become a baby is precisely the objection that most of the people who object to ESC research have. That someone figured out that embryos aren't humans on a Slashdot discussion is of no concern to faith-based folks like George W. Amniotic stem cells can't become a baby, so no one cares. Amniocentecis isn't quite as easy as scraping a cheek, but it's probably as close as we're likely to get with stem cells.

"Clearly human" cells die every single day, from skin cells that die to become the epidermis to brain cells killed by collegiate drunks. Experimenting on human cells is objectionable to nearly no one, at least not enough people to make a difference.

Re:Still human ... ? (2, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506358)

From what I can gather, the basic issue that most religious folk have to do with stem cell research is that we're mucking around with human lives.

You're wrong on two counts. 1) The primary concern was that extracting the stem cells would destroy the embryo, not "Playing God". 2) You're also wrong to use the "religious folk" label. People who are non-religious also found that destroying human embryo's for research purposes was a concern. People who were religious argued for the research. Using statements like "religious folk" is indicates you're relying on a stereotype and in this case in particular oversimplifies the entire debate to the point of error.

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

Mark Maughan (763986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506360)

The argument to preserve "potential persons" is completely bogus as it enforces an entirely arbitrary dividing line. I can prove this as follows.

Seeing that I am fertile, when I walk into a room with a fertile woman there in lies the potential for a human being.
Just as easily as you can argue that the embryo should be preserved, I can argue that you must let me mate with the woman.

There is no end to this. The argument can be moved further and further from actual human life.

Pointing to the embryo and saying "don't kill this" is a priori no more reasonable not allowing people to use contraceptives (something which many Catholics still believe).

There must be a reason to place the dividing line in a certain spot, and that reason must be based on knowledge and not belief. Enforcing beliefs over people's welfare is just as evil as anything else, and stupid too.

Re:Still human ... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506794)

By your absurd logic, why not kill 4 year olds? I mean, how human can they be when their bodies haven't developed fully (they've got extra freakin' bones!), their brains haven't clicked into the next gear, etc., etc. Of course, we could extrapolate from here. Since 4 year olds are still potential human beings, really aren't all individuals who don't meet the ideal of humanity just potential human beings? Thanks for the proof.

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

Down_in_the_Park (721993) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506800)

The argument to preserve "potential persons" is completely bogus as it enforces an entirely arbitrary dividing line. I can prove this as follows.

Seeing that I am fertile, when I walk into a room with a fertile woman there in lies the potential for a human being.
Just as easily as you can argue that the embryo should be preserved, I can argue that you must let me mate with the woman.

There is no end to this. The argument can be moved further and further from actual human life.

Pointing to the embryo and saying "don't kill this" is a priori no more reasonable not allowing people to use contraceptives (something which many Catholics still believe).

There must be a reason to place the dividing line in a certain spot, and that reason must be based on knowledge and not belief. Enforcing beliefs over people's welfare is just as evil as anything else, and stupid too.
Good, there should be a border, but were should be this border? If you say, that it can potentially become a person, than you have to define a "person". Now, it is well known, that even a 1 year old child doesn't have that much personality, but if you want you can go back to weeks after birth. Would you define a 3 month old baby as a person or a potential person? Would you define a severly mentally disabled human as a person even if he/she can not express their own will?

These are just examples, to show you the difficulties if you apply a definition based on "person" or personality. You have to be aware of the ethical consequences, if you put up a definition of human life that is worth to be protected, because it implies that there exist human life which is not worth it.

Now if you rely on knowledge and knowledge tells you that human life is a pure vegatative act, until lets say there is a certain complexity in brain activity reached, what are you doing? If you asume that self awareness is the first sign of a concious mind, should we treat all babys as potential persons until they reach this point?

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

KKlaus (1012919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506596)

This is actually a pretty interesting point. In my mind its similar to the "pro-life" antiabortion stance. Its not so much that they really identifies with and cares about the fetuses, but that they despise young women who can have sex with no consequences.

I think its a similar idea here. A group of people finds one thing morally abhorent (quote unqoute "playing god"), but tries to win over more people to their cause with the sanctity of life argument. Because if it were anything else, they would be gung ho on _saving life_ with the cells fertility clinics throw out.

Re:Still human ... ? (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506608)

I recently sat in on a discussion with a bio-ethicist professor on the issue of embryonic stem cells. His thesis was that, since we have a legally defined point at which we declare somebody dead, that we must also have a point where we declare a person alive. His conclusion was that before 'x' number of days (I forget the exact number, but it is around 14 so I will use that throughout my post), that we should not consider the embryo alive. From this conclusion, he asserted that the bests interests of society support allowing harvesting embryos prior to that period.

I pointed out a couple of things to this professor that left him without response. First, as the point which one is considered dead is arbitrary, isn't "life at 14 days" also arbitrary? He said yes. Then, why not say life begins at conception? His response was that society could not benefit from that determination.

My answer was simple. American law (I can't speak for others as I am trained in American law) favors the "best interests of the child," even over that of society. It is decidedly not in a child's interest to be harvested before it can draw breath---the harvesting rather impedes one's chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Second, if harvesting before 14 days is good for society, then all embryos should be harvested. I know this is an ad infinitum argument, but stopping introduction of new life to society is decidedly against the interests of society.

Finally, the whole discussion of research on embryonic stem cells being a panacea seems a little much. Sure, government won't fund it, but I'm sure the Gates-Buffet funding would be more than ample. That is, private funding should be adequate without coercing public funding. Second, we have sources of stem cells apart from embryonic that are worth investigation fully before we take so drastic a measure as to go after the children.

Is there controversy over adult stem cells? Is there controversy over amniotic stem cells? Is there controversy over embryonic stem cells? Where there is no controversy is where science should focus as the depths of research in the non-controversial has yet to be plumbed.

Ethic issues (-1, Troll)

JHWH (1046444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17505958)

The ethic issues remain: can a foetus be taken in consideration separately from his/her amiotic fluid and umbilical cord?
In other words, we are trying to play with the exact human-driven definition of life and person.
None the less this seems to be a great advance in science.

Re:Ethic issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506012)

Who's playing with definitions? If sampling amniotic fluid is unethical, what about sampling blood? Semen? Urine?

Last time I checked, a human being was the sum of their parts, not the other way around.

If there's a ethics problem with sampling amniotic fluid, then there's an ethics problem with me flushing my piss down the toilet.

So who modded the parent informative?

Re:Ethic issues (-1, Flamebait)

JHWH (1046444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506114)

The required action is not sampling (also known as amniocentesis), but rather draining the whole amount of fluid out of the uterus.

Re:Ethic issues (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506484)

> The required action is not sampling (also known as amniocentesis), but rather draining the whole amount of fluid out of the uterus.

That is simply not the case. From TFA which you clearly didn't read:
They reported they were able to extract the stem cells without harm to mother or fetus...

Nice troll, though. I'll expect to be hearing this kind of ignorant FUD from Pat Robertson Real Soon Now(tm).

Re:Ethic issues (0, Flamebait)

JHWH (1046444) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506510)

It's quite hard to extract relevant amounts of stem cells from few drops of fluid.
Unless you just need a cell or two, I would say you need to drain much more that few drops.

Re:Ethic issues (2, Insightful)

HaggiZ (68526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506440)

Amniotic fluid is already sampled in those that are high risk of havign a child born with down's syndrome, so this is a non-issue.

Re:Ethic issues (1)

$pearhead (1021201) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506042)

The ethic issues will always remain as long as there is religion.

Re:Ethic issues (3, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506086)

No. Religion has no bearing on ethics. It would be relevant to questions of religious morals, but ethical questions shouldn't have anything to do with religion.

Re:Ethic issues (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506216)

your right, please don't use any form of the bible as a moral compass, it advocates hate and intolerance.

Re:Ethic issues (0, Troll)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506400)

any form of the bible as a moral compass, it advocates hate and intolerance.

So all religious books of any kind advocate hate and intolerance? READ the Bible sometime. It does not advocate hate or intolerance. People are evil and make mistakes, people will co-opt religion to push their own agendas forward, but claims that "any form of bible" advocates "hate and intolerance" is obviously ignorant.

Re:Ethic issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506704)

This is modded Informative? Way to misread/mod sarcasm...

Re:Ethic issues (2, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506356)

While ethical questions should not be based or caused by religion, there is no reason why they must not concur every once and then.

I can be an atheist and still think abortion is fundamentally wrong (albeit very convenient for the greater good)

Re:Ethic issues (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506544)

I can be an atheist and still think abortion is fundamentally wrong

For what reason?

Also, just being an atheist doesn't make you an ethicist. Atheists can have wacky beliefs too, I'll grant you that.

Re:Ethic issues (3, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506372)

No. Religion has no bearing on ethics. It would be relevant to questions of religious morals, but ethical questions shouldn't have anything to do with religion.

You are wrong. Ethical systems are individualized first and shared second. One's world view, whether it incorporates a religious viewpoint or not, determines one's ethics. Religion has a huge bearing on individual ethics. The challenge is to communicate and discuss those ethical values across groups of people that may have different world views.

Re:Ethic issues (3, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506154)

The ethic issues remain: can a foetus be taken in consideration separately from his/her amiotic fluid and umbilical cord?
Well, once one is born and the other is on the delivery room floor I'd say that they can be taken separately...

Re:Ethic issues (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506444)

The ethic issues remain: can a foetus be taken in consideration separately from his/her amiotic fluid and umbilical cord?
If someone from the hospital where you were born arrived at your doorstep tomorrow and handed you your aminotic fluid, umbiical cord and placenta, would you

a) Thank them for their considerable trouble
b) Have them arrested
c) Bin the items as quickly as possible

Or any combination of the above?

There are people who eat placentas. They mince it and cook it in a lasange. Should we convict them of cannibalism?

Think of the children!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506010)

... seriously, what if those stem cells are going to be needed later when forming the skin or other parts of the body of that tiny thing?

Kinda scary harvesting anything out from there... :S

The spin (1, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506074)

The cells, found in amniotic fluid, can be harvested without harm to the donor or the donor's unborn child.

The donor's unborn child? An embryo is not a child. Why do we need an "alternative" to embryonic stem cells anyway? Embryonic stem cells work perfectly well, and are usually considered more effective than non-embryonic cells.

Funny how you don't see the anti-stem-cell people protesting IVF and other fertility programmes, even though they "kill" embryos too.

Re:The spin (1)

Dave114 (168228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506168)

Funny how you don't see the anti-stem-cell people protesting IVF and other fertility programmes, even though they "kill" embryos too.

You mean like this [albertmohler.com] ?

Re:The spin (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506234)

The donor's unborn child? An embryo is not a child.

Inputting your own perception and beliefs. But ask the average street person, they'll say it is. Or the average pregnant woman.

Sorry - I'm liberal when it comes to stem cells, too - but such questions as to the start of life and when something becomes a child are answered by individuals, not groups.

Re:The spin (0, Troll)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506512)

Inputting your own perception and beliefs.

No, it's not a belief, it's a fact. An embryo needs to be fertilised before it even has the chance of becoming a child. But even a fertilised embryo is not a child.

But ask the average street person, they'll say it is.

Frankly, I call BS. Have you done a poll to determine this? Does the average person also believe that a woman is "killing babies" when she menstruates? I don't think so.

Re:The spin (1)

mathi (539622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506628)

An embryo needs to be fertilised before it even has the chance of becoming a child.

Please don't talk about things you don't know anything about.

Re:The spin (1)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506732)

Frankly, I call BS. Have you done a poll to determine this?

Yeah. It's called "opening my fucking eyes." You should look it up. Get outside of your basement and go speak with people who don't hang out in Starbucks. You don't have to like it, but the reality is that if embryotic stem cells weren't considered a child, it would be widespread and paid for already, with Congress easily overridding Bush.

Again, I am for doing this. But I also don't sit around and wonder why it isn't happening. It's not that hard to figure out, and has nothing to do with a few politicians.

Re:The spin (1)

JesseJackson (309813) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506272)

Science or not there is nothing to support the effectiveness of embryonic stem cell treatment. Embryonic stems cells don't work perfectly well. Maybe it's due to limited research potential because nobody wants to fund it but embryonic stem cells have shown little more than "promise" and "hope".

Re:The spin (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506528)

They do work perfectly well - for research. I never said they worked perfectly well as a treatment for anything. But they do work fine for the purposes they are being used for.

Re:The spin (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506490)

Yeah... and why don't we harvest organs and perform tests from bodies in persistent vegetative states? They're not really people anymore.

Re:The spin (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506546)

If by persistent vegetative state you mean brain dead whose body would cease to function without life support, thankyou. I agree wholeheartedly with that stance.

Re:The spin (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506564)

Also... we test on pigs, they have lower brain functions then humans and can't really ever hope to be humans... maybe we should consider testing on SOME, just SOME, humans with lower brain functions. We'd give them sedatives of course... try to limit the pain and all... but is it right that healthy human beings who can go on to create a cure for cancer or write the next great novel don't have a chance because someone with lower brain functions holds the key to the life of thousands of people?

Re:The spin (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506590)

I'm sorry now you're moving from unborn fetuses to dead humans to sentient beings. I was with you with the first two, but the last I must disagree on. I also object to tests done on apes as I do believe most, if not all of the great apes, are sentient.

Re:The spin (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506710)

So, what if we made them unsentient first. You know drug them up or make them brain dead?

Why are you placing a higher value on beings with lower capabilities and prospects then other beings? It seems like you have some sort of personal norm that is keeping you from accepting the fact that we should use the weak to make the strong stronger? Right? I mean... fetuses can't feel anything and it doesn't really matter that they're life and will soon be sentient, if we take that away from them then it's ok... and is there really anything wrong with determining a point when someone should be dead, but keep their body alive for tests and stuff? Even so, even if something is sentient, isn't the potential good of many people worth more than the individual value of a single thing?

Re:The spin (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506782)

So, what if we made them unsentient first. You know drug them up or make them brain dead?
For almost all brain dead people on life support, no one set out to "make them brain dead". Something happended, wither an accident or other event, the result of which is that person is now a vegetable on life support.

The only reason this person is alive is that in this case modern medicine is too efficient and in addition to being able to keep a person alive, it is now able to keep a dead persons body animated. Truely brain dead people are not alive anymore. They are little above an animated corpse, with breathing machines instead of puppet strings. I for one wouldn't want my corpse to be treated in this way.

Re:The spin (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506838)

I agree. We shouldn't be testing on any form of human life without their willing consent. I was stretching out a facicious argument far too long...

It would however make for great science fiction if in the future when AI and robotics were more advanced if we kept our celebrities alive using organ transplants, and a robotic shell. That way future generations could enjoy Paris Hilton as much as we do today :)

Re:The spin (1)

WoLpH (699064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506578)

The problem with embryonic stem cells is there exponential growth, without doing any effort the cells quicky duplicate so fast that it just becomes a cancer, the non-embryonic stem cells shouldn't have that problem and it should be easyer to control there growth.

Re:The spin (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506672)

"An embryo is not a child."

You're being conclusory. Left to its own devices it its natural environment, a child usually results. Or, at least it has done so billions of times before. Show me another way a child results---a diamond left behind a head of cabbage? You assert an embryo is not a child because it supports your own moral preference. I assert an embryo is a child because it supports life and the bests interests of the child. Even if an embryo is not a child (yet), then protecting its interests until it is a child is preferable to subverting its interests for somebody else's selfish indulgence (whether it be the extension of that else's life or lifestyle).

If we were talking slavery, I think you would be opposed to subjugating an entire class of people for the selfish indulgence of another. Why is harvesting embryos any different?

Re:The spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506708)

From http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/faith/living/inferti lity.htm [catholic-ew.org.uk] :
Sadly, the technique of IVF also has its darker side. Procreation does not come about as a result of the physical union of the couple in sexual intercourse, but reproduction occurs in the laboratory. The use of fertility drugs and collection of eggs from the woman can have complications. There are often multiple pregnancies, which carry health risks. While healthy and happy children are born, other human embryos are deliberately discarded because they have been judged 'unfit' or 'surplus to requirements'. The ability to screen embryos for genetic characteristics before transferring the ones who are thought desirable has far-reaching consequences. In the future it may be possible for embryos to be selected for sex, physical appearance and other characteristics. Instead of being regarded as a gift, a child would then be treated as a commodity, the product of parental choice. When children are conceived by a process of production, however sincere the motivation, some form of quality control is very likely to result.
The Catholic Church has a consistent ethical stance on life issues. One can disagree with their views, but we must consider ethics in scientific research.

Viability? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506204)

Are these new stems cells viable and useful now?
After I RTFA, the answer is no.

"However, the scientists noted they still don't know exactly how many different cell types can be made from the stem cells found in amniotic fluid. They also said that even preliminary tests in patients are years away."

Or we can keep putting money into embryonic stem cells which have already resulted in _proven therapies that work_

Re:Viability? (2, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506476)

embryonic stem cells which have already resulted in _proven therapies that work_
And thoses would be???? Please name two, here I will make it easy name one.

Since the original poster will never be back the list of proven embryonic stem cell therapies is none. The truth about embryonic stem cell was that since it contained a large amount of possibilities venture capitalists invest huge amounts of money and have shown no possible pay back any time soon, so they started pushing to have the government put more money after it. When that failed they started doing a bunch of press releases about the potential capability and got some state governments and other individual to buy in. You are starting to see less about embryonic stem cells because the major venture capitalists have sold out after they did thier pump and have no need to spend the money on PR any more.

the more important question is.... (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506206)

..why must people who don't believe in their shit, have to tippy toe around these nutcases beliefs? if i had a spinal injury and some religous whacko told me i couldn't have research into a cure done becuase it offended his primative bliefs, i'd smash him right in the face and roll my fucking wheel chair over his balls.

Re:the more important question is.... (1)

sam_champion (1046498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506236)

Because, unfortunately, a lot of those "nutcases" still hold a great deal of sway - if by sheer number alone. Politicians must play to the masses, and if the politicians are coerced or pressured into passing a ban because of the opinion of the masses, the scientists that did not tippy-toe around the issue to begin with are screwed. Progress has always been hindered by the masses if they feel it is unethical or sacreligious - regardless of the religion or ethics involved.

Re:the more important question is.... (4, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506456)

Progress has always been hindered by the masses if they feel it is unethical or sacreligious - regardless of the religion or ethics involved.

And so you would advocate giving power to a limited few to make decisions for us all?

Re:the more important question is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506842)

"And so you would advocate giving power to a limited few to make decisions for us all?"

Maybe in certain situations that's not such a bad idea. Discussions in the "media" about stem cell research have been distilled to the point of inaccuracy, and the result is people trying to form an opinion on something they have absolutely no clue about, except what they've been told (be it by the Pope, the President, or some "expert" on TV). And to top it off, most people don't have the capacity or the desire to understand it fully.

But hey, it makes for a great wedge issue come election time.

Re:the more important question is.... (1)

rufu (790152) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506326)

Unfortunately we are dealing with well organized, well funded, politically active nutcases

Re:the more important question is.... (0, Troll)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506424)

To quote you... "i... primative bliefs... smash... fucking... balls."

Yeah, you're the model of a modern sensible individual who understands how to respect others.

Questions to both sides of the argument (3, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506222)

To the pro-stem cell researchers:

Would you allow your pregnant daughter to go through this procedure of donating amniotic fluid?

To the anti-stem cell people:

Would you allow your daughter, who suffers from a debilitating, ultimately fatal disease, to undergo curative treatment derived from stem cell research?

Sorry, people, but I'm in the 99.9% of people who DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE ON THIS SUBJECT to be able to make an informed judgment yet on what is right and what is wrong here who is also prepared to ADMIT IT.

Nothing to see here...

Re:Questions to both sides of the argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506322)

No objections from me. The research should continue.

Re:Questions to both sides of the argument (1)

warm sushi (168223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506324)

"Would you allow your pregnant daughter to go through this procedure of donating amniotic fluid?"

Yes. Get over it. A bunch of total strangers are already staring at her distended vagina.

"Would you allow your daughter, who suffers from a debilitating, ultimately fatal disease, to undergo curative treatment derived from stem cell research?"

Yes. I'm not a self centred insecure inhuman religious fuckwit.

Re:Questions to both sides of the argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506376)

>>"Would you allow your pregnant daughter to go through this procedure of donating amniotic fluid?"

>Yes. Get over it. A bunch of total strangers are already staring at her distended vagina.

Taking amniotic fluid has a 2-3% risk of causing a miscarriage.

Re:Questions to both sides of the argument (1)

caenorhabditas (914198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506384)

Would you allow your pregnant daughter to go through this procedure of donating amniotic fluid? Absolutely, if she wants to (because she's the person who should be doing the deciding, anyway). Amniocentecis is a routine procedure, a friend of mine had one done just the other week. The OB/GYN department likely performs several every day. Besides, it's unlikely that it'll do her any good after she gives birth anyway, it'll probably just be soaked up and tossed in the medical waste bin.

Re:Questions to both sides of the argument (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506442)

Would you allow your daughter, who suffers from a debilitating, ultimately fatal disease, to undergo curative treatment derived from stem cell research?

Treatment derived from stem cells isn't the issue... that's why the debate has been about using different types of stem cells and whether or not they could be used as successfully in research.

Here's a question...

Would you allow your daughter, who suffers from a debilitating, and hideously painful, ultimately fatal disease, to undergo curative treatment derived from the extraction of organs from a living person in a permanently vegetative state?

What if your daughter was in a permanently vegetative state?

Re:Questions to both sides of the argument (3, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506570)

Would you allow your pregnant daughter to go through this procedure of donating amniotic fluid?
Sure but then I'd be having a serious talk with this daughter and find out why and how she got pregnant at 7 years of age, the oldest possible age she could be, and then I'd talk with the mother to find out why I was never told I had a daughter.

Re:Questions to both sides of the argument (1)

RancidMilk (872628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506670)

Well, while I am not an expert on stem cells, I do know that women have a limited number of eggs. You make emryotic stemcells legal, and you will have a massive number of girls in college giving up their future babies for a few bucks. Which if you have ever met a girl that has had an abortion, you know that it messes them up mentally and sometimes physically. Take my Aunt, she died during an abortion. So, while I can't answer the question of whether the stem cells can fix people beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know that it can kill people. So sticking to these safer alternatives to get stem cells is a great idea.

Without harm... (2, Insightful)

mikehunt (225807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506386)

Current statistics give a 1% risk of miscarriage
after amniocentesis. Also, the amount of cells in
the volume of fluid that would normally be collected
is likely to be small.

Sounds like no news to me.

Abortions (1)

246o1 (914193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506448)

Taking some amniotic fluid will probably cause a slight increase of the risk to the mother or the fetus. There's a very, very easy way around this: harvest stem cells only in the case of abortions. Whether from the fetus or the amniotic fluid, it's just going to be biowaste anyway.

Regardless of your feelings on abortion, why should it bother anyone for stem cells to be retrieved from aborted fetuses? They are already going to be aborted, we just ought to get stem cells out of it so that we can help more people who are alive.

Would this not solve the problem immediately? If not, why the hell not? Perhaps the stem cells available at the stage in pregnancy when it can be detected (and thus, aborted) are of a lower quality than those from frozen embryos of only a cell or three?

Re:Abortions (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506728)

harvest stem cells only in the case of abortions. Whether from the fetus or the amniotic fluid, it's just going to be biowaste anyway.

Hell and considering how rare viable stem cells are I can see a great business opportunity hear... start baby farming. Get pregnant, abort the little bastard, and get paid for the stem cells. Hells yes... where's my ho.

You USians (-1, Flamebait) (0, Flamebait)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506470)

You USians with your outdated debates on death penalty, stem cells, abortion or the reality of global warming would amuse us if you were not the sad bible thumping, violent, polluting people you are.

Backward and Forward (1)

Hic sunt leones (1048372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506498)

In a society that *does* permit pregnancy termination of up to 3 months, it is completely demented that it *won't* permit abortions which would result in somebody else's life being improved or even saved!

I am not very well informed on this matter, but it just seems so backward to me...

A great advancement in science, nonetheless. At least we go forward in some way.

Re:Backward and Forward (2, Insightful)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506548)

I would expect that the rational individuals who are arguing against stem cell research would also argue against abortion based on the value of human life. National abortion laws are established through court cases based on the limitations on the reach of government, not because everyone thinks it's acceptable and voted for it.

Re:Backward and Forward (1)

SPBesui (687868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506680)

That's a common misconception. Roe v. Wade did not, in fact, limit abortion to the first trimester. It put absolutely no limits on it whatsoever.

Frost p1St?! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17506666)

more stabl3 United States.

Harvested without harm??? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17506810)

woah boys and girls and other non-determined gender orientations... I'm afraid there is a small but significant risk of harm to the mother and/or the unborn child when you take samples of amniotic fluid... too risky? not my call... but there is a risk.
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