Monday, February 01, 2010

What about Stem Cells??

In 1630 Galileo Galilei, the famous Italian philosopher, mathematician and scientist finished writing  Dialogue Concerning Two Chief World Systems. It was published 2 years later  but Pope Urban VIII suspended the distribution of the book and ordered Galileo to report to Rome to appear before an Inquisition. Galileo's treatise exposed major differences between what the church believed of the heavens. He went on to support,  to vigorously according to the church,  the Copernican theory which contended that the earth revolved around the sun. He was convicted of heresy and sentenced to life in prison. While his sentence was reduced, after he agreed to change his book, he lived the rest of his life under house arrest.

So what about Stem Cell research ?? Is this the dark science of today?

Harvard's  Stem Cell Institute,  strives to learn from stem cell biology, ways to treat Blood Diseases, Pancreatic Cancer, Nervous Disorders and more. The controversy surrounding Stem Cell research is that human embryos are being harvested for their stem cells and that women who live in depressed economies around the world,  are donating their eggs while undergoing hormone injections and surgeries which ultimately put them at risk for all sorts of problems.

 While it is my belief that this science should not be allowed to go without regulation, advances in the science have already allowed researchers ways to harvest stem cells without harming a fetus. The iPS stem cells or Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells are adult stem cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to behave like embryonic cells and are aiding researchers quest to find treatments for ALS,  Parkinson's Disease and Cardiovascular Disease.

With science there is always a chance that we will discover new things that can affect one's world view. To react like Pope Urban VIII and his imprisonment of Galileo in 1633 seems silly today. We should promote and support the research done at Havard's Stem Cell Institute.  Their research and others like it may one day give hope to those, crippled by ALS or Parkinson's Disease, a chance to live a normal life.

And That's My Opinion !