Embryonic Stem Cell Research Racks Up Another Failure, Immune System Issues

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Racks Up Another Failure, Immune System Issues

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 28
, 2008

Palo Alto, CA (LifeNews.com) — Embryonic stem cell research presents a host of moral and ethical concerns for pro-life advocates because it involves the destruction of human life. However, the science has never advanced to the point it can be used in humans because it has a myriad of efficacy issues.

Now, new reports are coming in showing embryonic stem cell research still has the same old problems when it comes to the immune systems of recipients of the cells rejecting the injections.

Stanford researchers have verified that embryonic stem cells transplanted into mice are resoundingly rejected by the immune system and destroyed.

That stands in contrast to a new success with adult stem cells that have no moral or efficacy issues.

Dr. David Prentice, a former biology professor at Indiana State University who is now a Family Research Council staff member, discussed the news with LifeNews.com.

"Stanford researchers have published results that verify, yes, human embryonic stem cells are rapidly rejected by the immune system, considered foreign enemies when injected into the body," he said.

"When transplanted into mice with normal immune systems, the cells were dead within a week. In subsequent transplant attempts the embryonic stem cells were eliminated even faster, showing that the immune system had been primed to reject the cells, similar to a vaccination," he explained.

Prentice says the current paper is no surprise given earlier studies showing the same problems.

"Earlier reports showed the same rejection using mouse embryonic stem cells injected into the heart, with increasing rejection potential as the cells differentiated. With other differentiated embryonic stem cells similar rejection has been observed," he said.

Because of the problems with immune system rejection and numerous other issues associated with using the cells in therapies, he says the FDA should continue holding off on approving treatment experiments in humans.

"Of course, the FDA has yet to approve any clinical trial with embryonic stem cells because these cells (whether growing or even pre-differentiated) have a nasty tendency to form cancerous tumors," he said.

"But the current findings show there are multiple problems with potential application of embryonic stem cells for humans."


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