Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Controversial Research

"For only the second time in history, the Food and Drug Administration has approved human trial of a therapy developed from embryonic stem cells. The FDA granted approval to start a clinical trial using cells grown from human embryonic stem cells.  The treatment will be for an inherited degenerative eye disease. The company is hoping to find a cure for, Stargardt Macular Dystrophy, the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration, for which there is currently no cure.  It affects about 1 in 10,000 children. People with this disease usually start losing their sight between the ages of 8 to 10 years and can be legally blind by the time they reach their 30s says Caldwell. ACT developed a method in which only one stem cell is removed from an embryo, similar to a method used in some fertility clinics to test an embryo for genetic abnormalities.  That stem cell is then used to grow many more stem cells.  By removing only one stem cell, the embryo is not destroyed. (Embryonic Stem Cells)"

While stem cell research has been in the news for a few years now, it seems that scientists are finally becoming able to use what they have learned to start testing new ways for treatment. Also the fact that they now understand how to take just one cell out of the embryo and culture it so that it produces more stem cells, instead of having to destroy the embryo, should make people of the  "Pro-Life" side a little more supportive of the research. Using stem cells to try to find a cure for Stargardt Macular Dystrophy is just the start of the research. Now that the FDA has approved this clinical trial, I'm sure there will be more on the way.

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