Sunday, June 12, 2005

More on Reality: Summoning Up the Troops

The blog.bioethics.net is warning of the peril posed by "over-eager salesmen" of stem cell cures, citing an article by a California researcher as opening the door for critics.

Written by the editors of the American Journal of Bioethics, the blog said:

"Today, dozens of children and others who argue - like us - for stem cell research are held up as potential recipients of embryonic stem cell-derived therapy, as though the big worry is that they will not receive their embryo pills next year and will suffer as a result. You don't have to have a long memory to see how dangerous these views can be. Just think back to gene therapy, and the clamor of folks to enroll in early, non-therapeutic trials because of the perceived magic of anything genetic. The very idea of 'gene therapy research' is an oxymoron, if you think about it, as was argued by Nancy King and others.

"Well, in California the arguments in favor of stem cell research are often a big more, um, dramatic than other places, and as a consequence the infractions of the 'do not promise therapies to subjects who will not be getting them yet' rule are more problematic. And it doesn't get worse than this one, by A Scientist In Irvine (Peter J. Bryant), who writes the San Francisco Chronicle to let us know that among the victims of unenlightened stem cell research are the soldiers in Iraq, who won't get their stem cell therapies and will die as a result. It isn't that the argument is wrong, and it certainly isn't that the argument isn't creative, it's that the argument is premature - and in some ways the point to make about stem cell research is that it will transform medicine entirely, including producing therapies that one day will not require the use of embryos, therapies that could never have been produced without the use of this research. Yes that will one day help soldiers. But the promulgation of this 'get it now or else' thing just makes it easier for the opponents of stem cell research to paint stem cell researchers as over-eager salesmen of therapeutic misconception."

For more on this subject, see the "reality check" item below. Sphere: Related Content

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