As a stem cell researcher and blogger, I hear an earful from ultra-conservatives and GOPers all the time about how immoral or unethical embryonic stem cell research is. Some even haphazardly like to call anyone who works on stem cells names.
I also see articles in conservative media outlets like the National Review attacking embryonic stem cell research and saying it is the equivalent to abortion. Others want to give fertilized eggs the same rights as actual living breathing human beings.
But why are these folks completely 100% silent on the issue of stem cell tourism where pseudo-doctors give vulnerable patients unapproved treatments of adult stem cells, which has led to the deaths of some people? Yes, actual, real people have died (see here, here, and here) from non-scientifically vetted stem cell treatments involving adult stem cells.
The FDA and the FBI have taken notice, making a slew of indictments and arrests in the last 6 months.
Conservatives make a big deal out of how they are the “law and order” kind of political/social party, but why then are they ignoring how some folks trying to make a buck by exploiting vulnerable people with supposed stem cell treatments are putting real people’s lives at stake? This is an especially good question since the FBI is taking serious action on this…why don’t Republicans and anti-embryonic stem cell extremists care about this and about real people?
The only possible answer is that at least to date the stem cell tourism and the deaths all involved adult stem cells. The Republican leadership and the anti-embryonic stem cell extremists only believe in good news about adult stem cells. In other words, they sure seem like hypocrites and the stuff they write is propaganda.
They claim concern about the use of a few day old embryo to make embryonic stem cells because they say that embryo or even a 1 cell embryo after fertilization is a person, but then when real people are put at risk or harmed by adult stem cells, they turn a blind eye.
I’m pitching an article to the National Review about stem cell tourism and the FBI…let’s see if they bite or if they won’t go for it because it is not all propaganda about adult stem cells.
Adult stem cells are incredibly important and I believe will continue to expand their reach in terms of the types of diseases that they can be used to treat, but they are not a panacea and they must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for efficacy and safety.