Memo to Governor Doyle

More stem-cell advances, and they’re not embryonic:

Research reported this week by three different groups shows that normal skin cells can be reprogrammed to an embryonic state in mice. The race is now on to apply the surprisingly straightforward procedure to human cells.-If researchers succeed, it will make it relatively easy to produce cells that seem indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells, and that are genetically matched to individual patients. There are limits to how useful and safe these would be for therapeutic use in the near term, but they should quickly prove a boon in the lab.


But the iPS cells aren’t perfect, and could not be used safely to make genetically matched cells for transplant in, for example, spinal-cord injuries. Yamanaka found that one of the factors seems to contribute to cancer in 20% of his chimaeric mice. He thinks this can be fixed, but the retroviruses used may themselves also cause mutations and cancer. “This is really dangerous. We would never transplant these into a patient,” says Jaenisch. In his view, research into embryonic stem cells made by cloning remains “absolutely essential”.

Do we still have a way to go? Of course. I’m not going to take the Doyle route and pretend my favored research is a bed of roses completely devoid of thorns, but the potential of not just this development, but past advances such as umbilical cord blood, is undeniable. Given that we know the embryo to be a living human, and that embryonic-stem-cell research would be years off anyway, what possible rationale is there to justify killing in science’s name?

4 thoughts on “Memo to Governor Doyle

  1. In your “Memo to Governor Doyle” which was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on June 10th, did you forget to put in the second part that sstarted, “But the iPSD cells aren’t perfect, etc.” or did the Journal leave it out? If you did, your bias shows as the 2nd part ended by saying” In his view, research into embryonic stem cells made by cloning remains “absolutely essential”.


  2. I realize that you had the second part on your website. What I am saying is that the Milwaukee Journal did not put the second part in their paper so people would not know about it unless they visited your site.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s