Doctor Mehmet Oz Tells Oprah’s Audience Embryonic Stem Cell Research Dead

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 7, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Doctor Mehmet Oz Tells Oprah’s Audience Embryonic Stem Cell Research Debate is Dead

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 7
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A recent appearance by Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiovascular surgeon at Columbia University and a regular on Oprah Winfrey’s popular eponymous television program, is generating buzz within pro-life circles. During the program, Oz told Americans the truth about embryonic stem cell research.

Oz made it clear that the "stem cell debate is dead" mostly in part because embryonic stem cells have yet to catch up to their adult stem cell and iPS cell counterparts.

The comments are drawing interest because Oz made them in front of the iconic television personality and embryonic stem cell research advocate Michael J. Fox who has warped and twisted the positions of pro-life advocates during previous elections.

"The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us were made from embryos, and those cells can become any cell in the body," Oz explained.

"But it’s very hard to control them and so they can become cancer," Oz added, pointing to the efficacy problems of the cells causing tumors after injection into animals during experiments.

Oz went on to talk about the new science of induced stem cells made by reverting skin and other adult stem cells into an embryonic-like state without the destruction of human life.

He said he believes researchers are within ten years of making major breakthroughs using adult stem cells, which have already helped patients with more than 100 diseases and conditions.

"I think we are single digit years away from making a big impact in the lives of Parkinson’s disease (victims) but also diabetics, heart attack victims, people who have had a lot of problems," he said of the potential success of adult stem cells.

Those successes could be even sooner than Oz thinks.

In what is believed to be the nation’s first such procedure, doctors in Texas were recently able to successfully use adult stem cells from a patient to treat the effects of his stroke.

Doctors removed the stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow in the leg, then separated or purified the stem cells and intravenously returned them to the patient within a few hours.

Because they are the patient’s own stem cells, rejection was not an issue as is the case with embryonic stem cells.

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