Ben Buchwalter

Stem Cell Research Tests Postive – Guest Post
January 26, 2009, 6:48 pm
Filed under: 2008 Election, Barack Obama

By Akshay Krishnamurty

Medical research jumped to a new level last Friday when the FDA announced that it had approved the first ever human embryonic stem cell therapy trial. This marks a historical day in terms of how far we have come in our efforts to gain answers to pressing medical needs. As someone who has a passion for medicine and research, I found this to be a huge step in the right direction to getting answers to some of the most harmful medical diseases people face today.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can be grown and transformed into more specific cells. In the trial, participants have all had serious spinal cord injury resulting in complete paralysis. The goal is to insert the stem cells, which have been developed into oligodendrocytes, precursors of nerve cells, into the spinal cord at the site of injury and monitor cell growth in that area.

While the FDA claims that this essential approval does not have political motivations, one cannot shy away from the fact that the announcement came three days after President Obama was sworn in.

Embryonic stem cell research is a delicate subject because many claim that the cells are taken at the expense of life. Yes, the isolation of these cells causes the destruction of an embryo. But this oversimplifies this very complicated procedure. Many of the embryos obtained are from in vitro fertilizations that produce a large number of unused embryos which otherwise would be destroyed. Thus, by using them in scientific research, they are not wasted.

I find it hard to argue against the potential to save a paraplegic’s life, a person whose brain cells are dying due to Alzheimer’s, or one day find a treatment for those inflicted with Parkinson’s disease. Under proper approval, guidelines, and oversight, safety to those involved should not be an issue.

We all knew that with the inauguration of Barack Obama, many of these delicate issues would come to light. I could not be more ecstatic that we have seen changes already. Science should not be restricted by ideals. It is natural to explore all possibilities, and stem cell research can provide answers to a vast number of medical issues still awaiting answers.


2 Comments so far
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Was that Akshay Krishnamurty…or Sanjay Gupta in disguise?

Comment by ericnus

Akshay Krishnamurty…next Surgeon General, in the upcoming Buchwalter administration.

Comment by lisabu

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