Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

A few years ago this would have been a huge story. No more. The wind is slackening behind the embryonic stem cell research sails.

Still, it is worth pointing out what the Times reported, and then, what they—so unsurprisingly—left out of the story:

The scientists, at the biotechnology company Novocell, turned the stem cells into cells that produced insulin in the mice. Those cells kept blood sugar in check after the mice’s own insulin-producing cells were destroyed...Still, a small number of the mice developed tumors, and some experts said the cells might not be well-characterized enough for use in people. In any event, Novocell said it would be several years before any human tests could begin.
The story proceeds to discuss some alternatives, such as islet cell transplantation.

But completely missing in the story are the far more advanced methods of treating diabetes with adult stem cells and other substances. Fourteen human patients were able to go off insulin with a combinatin of blood stem cell therapy and a one-time immune suppression. As I recall, the NYT didn’t think that story worthy of being reported even though it was published in a peer reviewed medical journal. Yet, a mouse study makes the paper. How telling.

Last year adult stem cells showed great promise in treating Type 2 diabetes in mice.

A Harvard study showing that Freund’s Complete Adjuvant, a mixture of water, oil and parts of dead bacteriam over stimulates the immune system cells that are attacking the pancreas, cured Type 1 diabetes in mice, has been confirmed in follow up reports. In an earlier study, adding adult stem cells from the spleen provided increased efficacy rates.

Perhaps the reason the story was not the subject of a banner headline is that the adult/umbilical cord blod stem cell and the recent IPSC breakthroughs have penetrated into the public consciousness at last. Or to put it another way, there is little use in beating a dying horse.

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles