Thursday, July 10, 2014

Stem Cell Research Papers Retracted

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/business/stem-cell-research-papers-are-retracted.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/world/asia/academic-scandal-shakes-japan.html?_r=0

There were two papers written about a new method of producing pluripotent stem cells from ordinary cells from the body.  There had been earlier research that had established that skin cells could be used to make stem cells.  But I have not heard anything about what kind of cells were used to supposedly produce stem cells in this new research, other than that they were from mice.  They put various stresses on "regular cells taken from the body" such as chemical treatments and temperature changes to induce them to become pluripotent.  But now these papers have been retracted because some of the data and figures (pictures) were have reportedly been found to be false or falsely labeled. Being a scientist myself, I know that there is a lot bad science published in cheap open access journals, but this stuff was published in the journal Nature, which is a really big deal.  Integrity seems to waning in all areas of life, including in the scientific arena.

And all this makes me wonder.  Should we be fooling around with this stuff?  I mean, if you create a pluripotent stem cell and use it in either experiments or as treatment, is this really any better than sacrificing a human embryo?  I mean, if these cells are really just the same as embryonic stem cells, only they were produced in a different way, then isn't it just as bad to use them for the same purpose?  Killing an innocent human being is wrong.  It doesn't matter how that life came into being.  If the cells that are made by these processes have the potential to grow into a fetus, then isn't it just as wrong to dismember them as if they were just a mass of cells.  Having said this, I realize that not all pluripotent stem cells have the ability to become any type of cell in the body.  But I am just saying that just because embryonic stem cells are replaced by some other type of stem cell, that doesn't necessary mean that it is morally acceptable.

"And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore:  merchandise of ... bodies and souls of men."

Rev 18:11-13 (NKJV)

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