Which is a question Grandmother must address quickly in this year of our Lord, Kaitlyn Mae, as by the time you get a chance to read this missive you might well be able to obtain a trendy facelift from your choice of designer stem cell lines.
Thus Grandmother must document the current brouhaha over stem cells as occurring via the media, election and Blogosphere. Grandmother must tell Kaitlyn that before Granddaughter has her nose updated from a stem cell line dating back to Melanie Griffith Granddaughter should at lease peruse this missive for all the grief and anguish and plain political tawdriness at its lowest the infancy of this research is causing.
The subject might seem perfect for a tome of this sort yet Grandmother hesitated because I simply don’t understand stem cell research. Finally I did a small amount of reading on the subject and feel I have a very basic layman’s grasp of the concept. I have a large amount of socio-political understanding of the subject, more on this later.
I visited the National Institutes of Health web site, no less than the official federally supported health agency of the United States of America. I read the “FAQ’s” that we must all have, about stem cell and from this a rudimentary understanding emerged.
One has to comprehend a basic notion that there is a great reservoir of cells somewhere in the body that is called upon for creation of new cells that will then create organs, skin, blood, that sort of thing. How the body knows how to “knit” the generic cell called from the cell reservoir to fit the organ, fluid or tissue required is still unknown. Thus should we need new skin to replace that lost by a nasty fall while roller-blading, the cell reservoir at the base of the brain (the brain’s ‘stem’) is called upon for replacement cells which are promptly sent. Somewhere along the line from the transmission of the fresh cells the body manages to take the cells and create the replacement tissue, in the case of the roller blade mishap, it would be new skin.
Which is pretty simplistic, even a bit silly, way of explaining it but hey, I’ll invite comments and clean it up if required.
At any rate, these stem cells evidently have the ability to be manipulated in any manner required it would seem what with the ability to end up as skin, blood, even part of a liver if needed.
With science’s rate of DNA identification, it isn’t beyond the pale to consider that the specific DNA combination that comprises our teeth would be easily documented in the Library of Congress’ Great Book of DNA Combinations-‘R-W’, which would include the volume with the ‘tooth’ combination. Eventually the DNA combination of every type of bodily tissue and fluid could be mapped and documented, one might even be able to find it through a quick ‘Google’ search.
Two plus Two equals Four as Grandmother figures, because the stem cells are the raw material and the reference book is the Cook Book.
Embryonic stem cells are especially coveted in that they are assumed to be more malleable than adult stem cells. Young human babies do have to do a whole lot more developing in their first year of life than for the rest of it. Infant heads wobble, standing upright is a big damn deal, even managing to work that opposable thumb takes some work. Muscles have to strengthen, even be generated for the first time. Bone still is in the act of creation in young babies in that their skulls must close after birth. Young stem cells, embryonic stem cells, the most active and most pliable, are potential genetic gold mines.
I read on a little bit into the stem cell line thing because we must phase into the socio-political as promised. President Bush maintained that there were already 12 stem cell lines and at the time this statement meant nothing to me. Except it did sound like a good thing.
My simple research reveals that a stem cell line can create new stem cells indefinitely. Which is a long time.
The NIH web site also had a specific list of procedures on how to apply for stem cells from these established lines, arrange payment, and boom, they will be delivered right to your door.
I don’t know how many rational human beings can think that Bush’s position on stem cell research isn’t a symphony of common sense with crescendo to potential mighty heights in science.
The stem cell lines will make new stem cells indefinitely. How hard is that to understand? Indefinitely.
And there’s a simple form to order some.
Now how is this STOPPING stem cell research as the endless Bush critics assert?
Bush has withheld federal funding on further stem cell harvesting in that the existing twelve lines are sufficient to maintain scientific research. Embryonic stem cells do come from an unborn fetus and it’s just not known how that fetus volunteer came about and at this point, it’s irrelevant. Twelve stem cell lines have been harvested and they will produce stem cells “indefinitely”.
Is there any reason why our federal tax dollars should be spent obtaining new stem cells from unborn fetus’ and all the questionable baggage associated with that? When there are twelve stem cell lines in existence and they will produce stem cells “indefinitely”? There’s a little form to order some.
Anybody who wants to can study stem cells, all day and all night and 24/7. The federal government will no longer pay for it is all.
This country is full of great entrepreneurs and mighty pharmaceutical corporations. They should get their scientists and buyers on it straight-away.
Now there is, in this year of our Lord, sweet Granddaughter, the slight argument that federal funding of stem cell research is to a greater public good but for now, Grandmother ain’t buying it. Surely if there were a mighty biological epidemic about and killing citizens in great numbers Americans would be better served for having a handy vaccine for the killing virus developed as a result of federally funded stem cell research.
It’s a stretch as any fool can see. At least at this stage of the research in this year of our Lord.
But to squander federal funds for a science admitted by anyone as too early to predict any sort of success at all much less growing livers and spines on demand. Still, we must keep our options open and be amenable to soaring to the great heights our human minds may take us.
There are plenty of scientific types out there who will not be able to quell their curiosity. Perhaps they are studying seriously at a University this very day. One day a group of them will get together, buy some of those stem cells, and start experimenting. Sharp brains and dedicated minds will hone in on an answer, overcome a major hurdle, hit the right combination after thousands of tries. They will contact one of the pharmaceutical firms which will then invest capitalistic money for more research. The pharmaceutical firms like to make money, and the ability to grow new lungs on demand is a sure money-maker.
Does anyone really think that throwing federal dollars at a bunch of bureaucratic doctors in some government health think tank and commanding them to grow new tissue and organs is going to work?
Christopher Reeve, sheesh the first thought Grandmother had when hearing about his death was Gee I’m glad that man is dead.
I have never liked him for how he played this great big soap opera in front of the national audience until boohoo, the man made me want to puke. Christopher Reeve was paralyzed by falling off a damn horse. There’s thousands, hundreds of thousands, of Americans in wheel chairs that had never walked a day in their life. They manage to get by without parading themselves around like a , well, a crippled celebrity.
His wife, the “loyal” lady always by his side, was separated from him at the time of his accident. I don’t know what deal they made to create this loving family type of thing for the public stage but I bet it involved money.
Here, even from the dead, the man comes back to haunt me. For don’t the Kerry/Edwards campaign jump all over his death, spreading some sort of story all about that Reeve wrote Kerry a heart-breaking letter just before his death begging JFK to allow stem cell research which denied him a new spine during his lifetime.
In summation, sweet Granddaughter, should you indeed be able to purchase Cheekbones by Cher at a fashionable stem cell boutique in your neighborhood, it isn’t because George Dubya FORBADE stem cell research.
It was his Republican inclination to leave the ingenuity to the private sector that no doubt will lead to any success in stem cell research that will affect Kaitlyn Mae’s future.
“… future, scientists may be able to modify human stem cell lines in the laboratory by using gene therapy or other techniques to overcome this immune rejection. Scientists might also be able to replace damaged genes or add new genes to stem cells in order to give them characteristics that can ultimately treat diseases.”