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Scotsman.com
 
Saturday, 3rd February 2007

Health

The Scotsman Tue 31 Oct 2006

First liver grown from stem cells offers hope for transplant patients

SHÂN ROSS

AN ARTIFICIAL liver has been grown for the first time from stem cells, it emerged last night.

The breakthrough by British scientists is considered the vital first step towards creating a fully artificial liver that could be used to tackle ever-growing waiting lists for transplants within as little as ten years.

A team based at Newcastle University grew the miniature liver, using stem cells taken from umbilical cords. Dr Nico Forraz and Professor Colin McGuckin worked with scientists from NASA in Houston, Texas.

Using some of the skills they obtained at NASA they were able to produce the miniature livers. These can now be used for drug and pharmaceutical testing, eradicating the need to test on animals and humans.

Professor McGuckin said the transplant of a section of liver - grown from cord blood - could be possible within the next ten to 15 years.

However, he said a full transplant using a liver grown in a laboratory is decades away.

Professor McGuckin said the use of mini-livers could prevent another Northwick Park Hospital disaster, where six human guinea pigs almost died after taking an experimental drug.

"We take the stem cells from the umbilical cord blood and make small mini-livers. We then give them to pharmaceutical companies and they can use them to test new drugs on", he said.

"It could prevent the situation that happened earlier this year when those six patients had a massive reaction to the drugs they were testing."

Professor McGuckin said this development could also mean the end of animal testing.

"When a drug company is developing a new drug it first tests it on human cells and then tests it on animals before beginning trials on humans," he said.

"Moving from testing on animals to humans is a massive leap and there is still a risk, as was shown earlier this year. But by using the mini-livers we have developed there is no need to test on animals or humans."

Dr Forraz, a researcher at the university, and Professor McGuckin have now co-founded a company called ConoStem and have teamed up with the Tyneside-based Centre of Excellence for Life Sciences (CELS) to look at marketing their work.

Last year, Prof McGuckin, while working at London's Kingston University, announced he had obtained stem cells from babies' umbilical cord blood, which appeared to be very similar to human embryonic stem cells, and used them to grow liver tissue.

In the year to April this year, 13 patients died waiting for a liver transplant in Scotland and four were removed from the list because they were too ill.

There have been 178 liver transplants in Scotland over the past five years.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Scotland will become the first place in Europe to sell useable human stem cells. A £2 million centre will market the cells to researchers attempting to find cures and treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's, diabetes and leukaemia.

The Roslin Cells Centre in Midlothian will produce human stem-cell "lines" from donated eggs and embryos to be sold worldwide on a non-profit basis. They will go to universities, the NHS and commercial concerns for testing and developing new drugs.

The joint project is a partnership between the Roslin Institute - which created Dolly the sheep - Edinburgh University and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

Next line of attack

TREATMENTS using stem cells have been hailed by some experts as the next line of attack in the battle against many life-threatening diseases.

Stem cells taken from the first stages of human embryo development can be made to replicate specific tissues - offering a possible renewable source of replacement cells and tissue to treat a myriad of diseases.

Scientists are examining potential treatments for such conditions as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and motor neurone disease.

However, such use of stem cells has led to a great deal of debate - typically on religious and moral issues.

Related topic

This article: http://news.scotsman.com/health.cfm?id=1608072006

Last updated: 31-Oct-06 00:20 GMT

Comments

1. UBSotOS, USA / 6:56am 31 Oct 2006

Once again after describing a great success with adult cord stem cells, they throw in something irrelevant to the story near the end about embryonic stem cell research (not about any success though - There aren't any.) in order to confuse the public.

People reading this are intended to remember that a liver was grown and it had something to do with embryonic stem cells when it was really two unrelated stories deliberately pasted together to be conflated.

Another lie (half truth = lie) is at the end where it says religious people have an ethical problem with stem cells. We do not. It is with

EMBRYONIC stem cells
EMBRYONIC stem cells
EMBRYONIC stem cells
EMBRYONIC stem cells
EMBRYONIC stem cells
EMBRYONIC stem cells

that we have a problem.

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2. Pete McClelland, Kirkcudbright / 8:02am 31 Oct 2006

Link this story with the one about buckfast and hey presto! A cure! Kids can drink themselves stupid and claim a new liver under their 'Human rights' laws. So what if the taxpayer has to stump up?

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3. Tony, Glasgow / 8:08am 31 Oct 2006

Total agreement with you #1. The ESC propaganda machine is very powerful...the author of this article is the perfect example. She probably doesn't realise that scientists working with ESC have yet to show any success...but regardless of success it remains highly unethical. Some guy called Austin Smith at Edinburgh University is an example of one of the scientists who thinks he knows more than anyone and who is very critical of anyone (particularly those from religious groups) calling his work unethical.

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4. Hanabal / 8:28am 31 Oct 2006

can I have mine with onions and a bottle of Chianti

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5. Keith, Moral low ground / 9:13am 31 Oct 2006

How appropriate that we have such comments from #1 &#3 on Halloween! We must not let minority bigots stop legitimate scientific research in the name of religions that most of us have no interest of belief in. Disguising a luddite as a religious zealot does not make them any less of a luddite. We dealt with the "flat earthers" and the Spanish Inquisition,lets kick this lot into the long grass too.

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6. Johnny / 9:31am 31 Oct 2006

See these pious American moralists! Huge problems about taking bits of babies for research, but no compunction about bombing babies outside their borders! Hippo-critters, the lot of them.

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7. Gordon, East Lothian / 10:17am 31 Oct 2006

I appluad these scientists well done!
Keep up the goos work. hopefully funding will be increased to allow quicker deployment of this life saving technology.
Absolutely great news!!!!!!!!

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8. Johnny / 10:20am 31 Oct 2006

Oh but Gordon! What about the baaybeees?

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9. Paul / 10:34am 31 Oct 2006

This work is very interesting but I think the claims that it can replace all animal and human testing must have been taken out of context.

This breakthrough will probably lead to a far better in vitro liver toxicity test for novel drugs, replacing some current cell culture techniques, and will no doubt help screen out more toxic drugs before they get to the animal testing and pre-clinical human trial stages. It may even eventually, when combined with other technologies such as the microflow "lab on a chip", replace animal testing for liver toxicity. But clinical trials in humans will still be necessary.

But the idea that this could soon replace all animal tests or human trials is nonsense, even in the case of the Northwick Park debacle it was the immune system that was the cause of the problem, not the liver. Liver toxicity is only one of many potential problems that is evaluated before a drug goes into use in humans.

In the next few years and decades stem cell technologies will probably tackle these other areas of toxicity testing, but for now lets not get ahead of ourselves.

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10. Dave, Aberdeenshire / 10:37am 31 Oct 2006

Ah yes, good (or in this case bad) to see the old traditions being kept up, with #5 dismissing scientific fact (that embryonic stemcell research has so far produced NO clinical successes, while non-embryonic stem cell research has resulted in many clinical successes) from #1 and #3 as from “minority bigots” “in the name of religions that most of us have no interest or belief in”.

We in religious traditions could of course point out that Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot were actively anti-religious, killing millions as a result of their beliefs. However, we try to stick to the point, without “dragging red herrings across the trail.”
In the article that we are supposed to be commenting on
SHÂN ROSS says. “Scientists are examining potential treatments for such conditions as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and motor neurone disease. However, such use of stem cells has led to a great deal of debate - typically on religious and moral issues.”

Note the use of the phrase “potential treatments”, BOTH admitting that they are so far as useless as were earlier attempts to explain chemistry in terms of phlogiston AND a give-away to those who are accustomed to see “more work on this subject is clearly needed” in the last paragraph of scientific articles as a plea “extend my grant for work on this.”

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11. Always, Right / 11:01am 31 Oct 2006

I really like how the irrelevant reference to embryonic stem cell research was shoehorned in there at the end of the article in a weak ploy to steal the thunder from yet another success using stem cells whose source was not a murdered human being. Stolen thunder is all that’s available I suppose since current successes for embryonic cell use are exactly zero. (Except for the exhaustive list of ECS breakthroughs meticulously cited by my good pal Dave. People who claim the work has merit sure seem to have a chronic dearth of examples.)

Hey, I've got a medical problem. If I don't consume food I will die from a condition known as starvation. But in order to stave off my untimely demise, I could just bump off old Keith there and then slice him up into chops, steaks, burgers and sausage and then eat him. Its not murder if old Keith's lifeless carcass is necessary for my continued survival right? And I don't want to here anything about "less objectionable sources of food" or "easier and more effective methods to obtain nourishment." That kind of moralistic harping is such a broken record. Those who don't want me to end other's lives and then cannibalize their corpses for my own ends despite a myriad of other options being available are probably just clueless zealots and Luddite fanatics standing in the way of progress. Well they can just keep wandering around lost on their Flat Earth and keep their backwards outmoded opinions to themselves. Meanwhile I'll be over here in the tall grass having a barbecue. You're sure welcome to join me. Keithburger?

P.S. Johnny, neither the article or the discussion has anything to do with America AND Great Britain's war in Iraq, so lets try a little harder to not be a useless twit and stay on topic. OK?

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12. Keith, Moral low ground / 11:07am 31 Oct 2006

Dave#10

I chose not to dignify the religious zealots "argument" with "scientific fact" however I am pleased to help you with your lack of understanding. The "fact" that embryonic stem cell research has "so far produced No clinical sucesses" (your words, not mine) does not mean that progress has not been made. If every scientist, be they medical researchers, engineers, physicists etc gave up at the first failure we would still be living in the dark ages.

I would defend to the death the right of any religious minority-surely a tautology?-to express their views but would argue that once heard they should be weighed carefully and given no extra credence because of thier supposed divine influence. What is required is objective research, carried out by carefully supervised scientists working within an ethical framework. That framework must dictated by society as a whole, not narrow minorities with, what most of us would think to be conservative and excessivly narrow perspectives.

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13. Keith, Moral low ground / 11:13am 31 Oct 2006

#11 Always

How dare you? "Old Keith", that assumption is most offensive, and if correct would possibly male me rather too tough for your purposes! Add the undoubted BSE that is displayed in my rantings and I suggest you look elsewhere for your next sqaure meal. Perhaps one or two of the zealots, surely such piety must have a tenderising effect?

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14. Derek, Edinburgh / 11:26am 31 Oct 2006

Keith:
Absolutely right. Research has to start somewhere.
How can it be right for atheists to be denied potential treatments because of the religious beliefs of others?

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15. Johnny / 12:01pm 31 Oct 2006

Always, Right 11- it has a lot to do with the sensibilities of hypocrites who agonise about bits of dead babies being used to research treatments for dread diseases while other babies are being slaughtered by the state. The US government typifies this hypocrisy.

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16. Always, Right / 12:28pm 31 Oct 2006

Keith. Referring to somebody as “old so-and-so” isn’t ageism or presumptuous, it is however a pretty common English language colloquialism. Even with the level of sarcasm I was using it would still only render my reference to you as merely a mild diminution. So get over it.

Why should you be offended that your life would come to a brutal and needless close because of my obdurate refusal to try other avenues of hunger management? I mean, you are just an embryo at a later state of development right?

And Derek, research does indeed need to start somewhere. Might I opine that it doesn’t need to start with the killing of innocent and defenseless human beings?

Johnny, what did I tell you? Everyone's precious UN reported that 10, 000 kids a month were starving to death in Saddam's Iraq. His removal by the Coalition has turned that situation around. 30,000,000 children have perished from malaria in Africa since the banning of DDT took effect, supported only by the worst sort of junk science. The WHO is finally lifting that ban thirty years too late. But that has nothing to do with this article, so it needs to be discussed elsewhere. Not being a twit=staying on topic. I’m not always going to be here to hold your hand when you post comments so you have got to learn to pay better attention.

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17. Pete McClelland / 1:24pm 31 Oct 2006

Derek #14
Hear hear! Why should I be denied technology (which is real) because some poor brainwashed religious fool says so?

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18. Marilyn, Pennsylvania, USA / 1:43pm 31 Oct 2006

You liberals who claim to be so well-informed and open-minded are actually extremely ignorant of the TRUTH! #1 and others are right on. Read the peer reviewed references:
http://stemcellresearch.org/facts/treatments.htm
You might actually learn something....try to keep an open-mind, if it's within your reach.

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19. Marilyn, Pennsylvania, USA / 1:45pm 31 Oct 2006

By the way, I was just in your wonderful country at the end of August. You have so much there in history and beauty.

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20. Dave, Western Isles / 2:09pm 31 Oct 2006

That would be Fava beens and chianti.

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21. Randal, USA / 2:14pm 31 Oct 2006

Seems like Keith, the moral low ground, is one of the medical Nazi's who got away. What a dolt. ESC's have not shown any positive effectiveness, rather in some cases have grown tumors from the lines. In any case, proponents of ESC give a minimum of 15 years before the science is on track. Cultivating umbilical cord and adult stem cell lines have proven successful - article, case in point.

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22. Gordon, Bennet / 2:21pm 31 Oct 2006

Marylin#18&19

What a well balanced list you give us, if only you had learned more on your trip over here-like how not to appear to be patronising us!!!!!!!

#16 Always

Seems to me that sarcasm is a two way street and you fail to recognise just how firmly Keith's tonuge was in his cheek-about as far as your head appears to be up your fundement in my view!

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23. Paul, Mauricetown, NJ USA / 3:08pm 31 Oct 2006

Dear Marilyn (18) and others,

Please don't try to say that your website citation is unbiased. It concludes with the following:

"Prentice, D. "Adult Stem Cells" Appendix K in Monitoring Stem Cell Research: A Report of the President's Council on Bioethics (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2004), 309-346."

President Bush's Council on Bioethics?? What a joke this source makes of objectivity! The current administration is made up of rightwing so-called Christians who, having outright lied for their own second-coming ends to start the war, are currently engaged in a Crusade war in which thousands of non-combatants have died for US/UK oil interests! And they want to talk about ethics?

The use of discarded embryos from fertility clinics in an effort to do good is so harmless when compared to the death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, that it highlights in strikingly bleak perspective the moral bankruptcy of those who are against the former and for the latter.

As for claiming that Hitler was anti-religion, the facts are that he took care to keep a religion in place, even using those pastors and priests who were willing to be co-opted. But he made sure that the religion became a very Nazi version, emphasizing the importance of Jesus' sacrifice as a model for the sacrifice needed to support Nazism, and creating Hitler himself as a pope-like leader. But make no mistake, it was religion and designed to be. Not all religion is beneficent.

The twisted uses of religion are many, so don't try to hide this for your own convenience. I spent half a year of my life cataloging Nazi propaganda at Cornell University (those of you not from the US should know that it is a very prestigeous "Ivy League" school) and I've seen first hand how religion was twisted and used for nefarious ends.

Of course, we also know how science was just as twisted by the Nazis through their living adult "experiments" with prisoners.

And that is just what the US has done in its middle-East wars. The first Iraq war and now this one are not only to protect oil interests, but are used as advertising for our export arms industry. US arms sales rose to their highest levels after Bush I's war.

Behind Bush II's obliviousness in facing the facts of failure (why is Bush smiling so often?) is the desperate demeanor of a salesman whose armament product is getting bad press and whose justification for it is seen to be cynical at best, and utterly unethical at worst.

Bioethics is not something which is black and white. It is a complicated issue to be debated without ceasing by people who can articulate with sympathy both sides of an issue. Having such issues presented from a right-wing biased source such as the one Marilyn cites under the guise of objectivity is flat-out dishonest.

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24. Steve / 3:22pm 31 Oct 2006

Sorry folkes, this is good news. This type of research can benefit us all. If the USA has moral problems with fetal stem cell, too bad for them. This looks very promising for UK scientists to lead the way forward. And relax, this is just a start, more funding please. Oh, and Dave#20 fava beans with chianti is a much better dish for this vegetarian, no petri dish liver for me. ;)

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25. Dave, Western Isles / 3:33pm 31 Oct 2006

Steve

He he he ;-)

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26. Tony, Glasgow / 3:44pm 31 Oct 2006

Keith, Pete McLelland et al, how about human beings speaking up for other human beings being threatened with exploitation and death?

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27. Derek, Edinburgh / 3:54pm 31 Oct 2006

Always@16:
Using aborted foetuses for the purpose of research does not mean they died to facilitate the research. Medical research is using aborted foetuses which were to be aborted anyway.
Compare the use of organs for donation (the ethics of which I am frequently involved in): here you have a human being who's heart is beating (indeed who may be deemed to be physiologically alive, but brain dead). The act of organ harvest will 'kill' the 'brain dead' person in order that organs are harvested in an optimum and useable condition. Yes, certain organs are amenable to cadaveric donation, but this falls largely outwith the scope of this ethical arguement.

Marylin (18): Just because I and the others disagree with you does not render us blinkered. Surely those standing in the way of research which could benefit humanity to best fit with their personal morals (and the are personal) are the ones who need to open their mind?

In a way, this arguement stems from our definition of life. At which point does someone become alive? Under UK law, the neonate is not considered a separate legal entity until the cord is cut. this has relevance when it comes to medical treatment of mother and baby and very occasional 'either or' choices.
In certain parts of the states, the beginning of a life for the purposes of abortion legislation is taken to be the acquisition of an EEG trace, or the presence of neuronal or measurable electrical activity in the brain. This is where the '24 weeks' threshold originally came from - now known to be incorrect!
Your own opinion regarding the start of a life has a large bearing on your arguement, as does your support of or opposition to non-medical abortion.

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28. Paul, Mauricetown, NJ USA / 4:26pm 31 Oct 2006

Derek (27),

As I said above, "Bioethics is not something which is black and white. It is a complicated issue to be debated without ceasing by people who can articulate with sympathy both sides of an issue."

You have just given a grand example of that, speaking both sides with grace and dignity.

Thanks.

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29. zigzag, Ontario, CANADA / 5:00pm 31 Oct 2006

#19 MARILYN

Oh please come to my country as well; please,please,please. It is really beautiful as well.

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30. Martha, Miami / 5:56pm 31 Oct 2006

Johnny, you're hopeless. First of all, deliberately killing an embryo to get stem cells has got to be wrong if you believe that human lives are unique and worth protecting, including before birth.

I would like to point out that spontaneous abortions ( that is, miscarriages) occur every single day, and surely there is a way to retrieve stem cells from these embryos/fetuses without resorting to creating life in order to "harvest" cells from it that will result in the death of that early form of life.

You don't have to be a religious person to believe this. There is such a thing as Ethical Humanism. If you believe that one group of people in any stage of life exists only to be exploited at whim by another group, then you're no better than Hitler and his stooges.

And don't knock religion, or at least Judeo-Christianity. It is the bedrock upon which western civilization is built, and whence comes our respect for ALL individuals, male, female, or undecided; and for life in general. If you'd rather live in some muslim hellhole, or some African basket-case nation like Mali, then leave your comfortable, protected western life and have at it.

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31. Prinzowhales, North Carolina / 6:18pm 31 Oct 2006

Sounds great! Now if they can get the stems to grow some onions and gravy, we'll have cured world hunger.

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32. Rita Campbell, Barrie, Ontario, Canada / 6:26pm 31 Oct 2006

The stem cells were taken from the UMBILICAL CORD of babies, not from a baby embryo. There's nothing unethical about this, the cord and placenta are normally discarded after a baby is born. Cord blood is often used to do diagnostic tests that will benefit the baby. Some of your readers have missed this point.

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33. Robert, USA / 6:30pm 31 Oct 2006

I think it is funny... all of the comments on the "Religious minority". That is wrong. Godless athiests are the minority. Look at the statistics. Worldwide the VAST majority of people consider themselves religious. Another example of a minority of Bigoted Godless people twisting the truth to make their position look good and even wanted, and make the majority of (religious) people look stupid. BTW: not all people against ESC research are religious.

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34. gyllian, Spain / 6:52pm 31 Oct 2006

I think its fantastic news ,anybody who has gone through the agony of a grandson waiting for a liver transplant will understand my feelings.

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35. Estelle, Canada / 7:20pm 31 Oct 2006

I think it is wonderful news. For those with religious objections. God has given man the abilities to do the research. This is not Satanic work. It is for the good of mankind. The embryos being used are going to be discarded anyway. Does that mean that the donors or the researchers are guitly of murder? These embryos, instead of being trashed can have some useful purpose, thus the donors will have contributed to society.

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36. Annie / 7:45pm 31 Oct 2006

Rita@32 I agree with you this is wonderful news. What right have these religious people to poke there nose in where it's not wanted or needed.

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37. Johnny / 7:56pm 31 Oct 2006

Martha fae Miami, you're talkin mince. And you're particularly wrong about Mali - great country with great people and more history than your country or mine.

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38. Johnny / 7:58pm 31 Oct 2006

Robert fae the USA- you really want to say "godless communists", don't you!

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39. lawrence p, usa / 8:38pm 31 Oct 2006

Pete #2 has it exactly right. When medical science makes the procedure safe & affordable President G W Bush will no longer oppose the use of fetal tissue since he, his wife & children will benefit from liver transplants. Since a number of the clergy will benefit from safe & affordable liver transplants- religious objections to use of fetal stems cells will be nill.
I'll drink to that.

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40. Darrell / 9:06pm 31 Oct 2006

hey losers, your boss called, he wants you to get back to work.

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41. Gizella, Toronto Ontario Canada / 9:18pm 31 Oct 2006

I am to recall embryonic stem cells are the ansestors of these new methods of tissue regeneration. I to believe in God , and I don't believe we are as a human race here without the blessings of DR> GOD lol. stem cells embryonic or other wise is not a specialized zygoat rather I believe resembles an empty placenta. And what do they do with that LOL that to is a living organism. So who is the one who can dictate which one is alive and which one is dead. Everyone wants to improve life but no one is willing to sacrifice for it. Out side of lip service , and using God as an excuss instead of a blessing is in itself extreme. None of what humanity has done is right since the beginning of recorded history. That is the truth we can all confess, so now what?

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42. Chigbo, Lowell, MA / 9:47pm 31 Oct 2006

#18 thanks for the link. In my own view, if you can't stop abortion then make good use of its product. Kudos to those scientists.

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43. Derek / 11:50pm 31 Oct 2006

Rita Campbell:
Your comments may be relevant in Ontario, but only 18 per cent of Scots are regular church-goers. Before attempting to indoctrinate your north american principles on us, please do your research.

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44. Derek, Edinburgh. / 11:52pm 31 Oct 2006

This also applies to Robert. (33)

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45. Derek, Edinburgh. / 11:55pm 31 Oct 2006

Bringing religion into the arguement lessens the impact of what you want to say.

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46. Karen, USA / 12:48am 1 Nov 2006

Easy there, people! There are as many differing opinions in North America as on your side of the puddle so please don't [eek!] lump us all together.

Personally, I watched a dear friend suffer for years while waiting, on the list, for a liver transplant. She finally got it and got few good years of life but would have had many more had it come sooner. It is good to continue to work toward medical advancement. If life can continue and bodies heal thanks to tissue which would otherwise be discarded, it is certainly good. For those like the grandmother waiting, hoping, praying for a liver for her grandson, it must certainly seem a godsend.

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47. Clara, Canada / 5:19am 1 Nov 2006

I agree with 32, Rita. Cord blood stemcells usage does not involve killing a baby. My grandson is storing his babies cordblood stemcells for possible use later. He is diabetic, his sons have a strong possibility of MODY diabetes. Lets not stop research on misguided beliefs. I am sure God (deities) will find acceptable ways through this so-called dilemma. Until you yourself are faced with an ethical decision you should not prejudge, nor rant and rave about moral issues. Abortion is not the issue, however I would consider it much more humane if every dissenter were to adopt a child from the foster care system, providing it with a loving family. I am certain God would approve!

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48. David, Fife / 10:29am 1 Nov 2006

WHY DO THESE DEBATES ALWAYS END UP AS SLAGGING MATCHES?!

If you ask me, its because they do that there is so little respect for the prolife viewpoint among the opposing camp, and vice-versa.

I advocate increased CO2 emissions in the hope of wiping out human beings asap...

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49. Gary / 1:51pm 1 Nov 2006

The article does say cord blood stem cells if you have a problem using embryonic cells then you should read carefully before you rant on about it. As for the non religious people starting your post with "religious bigots" will only get a equally stupid response
Laws should not be made by religious people but they should consider all religions before making a law

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50. lynn, New York / 2:14pm 1 Nov 2006

This is not to support or condone either form of stem cell research -- it's just to make a point of fact.

Adult umbilical cord cells have more limited uses than embryonic stem cells. They are just not as versatile. They cannot yet be made to take as many paths of growth as the embryonic cells, or fill in for as many regenerative purposes. Yet, or maybe ever.

So it doesn't make any scientific sense to conflate the two into one discussion of the relative ethics of use. When it ocmes to making political hay, of course, it's what it's all about.

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51. Religous / 2:48pm 1 Nov 2006

So they say that God so created the world. Religion has everything to do with research scientifically. Ponder this. God gave us all the right to discover ourselves in many ways. Even if you don't believe in God or higher power than ourselves. We are on the threshhold as sons and daughters of the almighty and to learn from the elements that God has given us also gives us a better understanding how we as humans were created by him. I believe, I believe that we will some day need to learn how this process is done for creation to continue after the earth is long gone. Learn now or later. It is your choice. Ignorance is for those who choice not to be enlightened. I don't speak of butchering of humans to make a point but to research with proper medical means that would help us through some tough times.
God bless.

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52. Pat, Oregon / 3:24pm 1 Nov 2006

Derek, thank God GOd doesn't care if you go to church or not. You can be religious and not go to church. You certainly are not the judge.

I am not sure when cord blood has been considered a baby. If it is good enough to grow roses. Why not a liver?

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53. Owen, Cambridge / 3:57pm 1 Nov 2006

Oh for Gods sakes, there's been 52 posts about this alleged breakthrough and only 1 has addressed the actual scientific merits (or rather demerits) of what has been announced. Instead you've all been arguing about other, admittedly related, ethical matters.

As far as I can see this Prof. McGuckin's claims are mostly hype intended to increase investment in his new biotech venture. His claims about mini-livers making all animal testing obsolete are a gross over-statement, and the notion that they will soon replace human pre-clinical trials is fantasy. I also suspect that artificial livers will not be ready for transplant into humans for at least a decade.

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