Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: When Leaders are Badly Misled

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Granbury, Texas, USA
    Posts
    266

    When Leaders are Badly Misled

    when leaders are badly misled...

    As a paraplegic due to SCI, I cannot fail to appreciate and deeply admire actor Christopher Reeve for his tireless efforts to battle SCI. His condition is much worse than mine, as I have the use of my hands and arms. However, to some degree I can imagine his Hell. Therefore, although in my opinion Mr. Reeve's enthusiastic support of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research is far more likely to delay the advent of the cures we both need, rather than hasten their arrival, I thank him for honestly trying.

    I sincerely believe Mr. Reeve wants cured as badly as I do. But I also believe he is being badly misled regarding the true state of Regenerative Science. Please understand that the following analysis is not an attack against Mr. Reeve, but rather it's an attempt to reveal the degree to which America's sick and disabled, including myself and Mr. Reeve, are being duped into cutting our own throats by supporting research that, in my opinion, has the least potential among available options for curing our conditions.

    The following italicized statements were made by Mr. Reeve either in testimony to the American Senate or before the Press at the New York Academy of Sciences. While taking part in the May 20th NYAS panel debate along with Mr. Reeve, I stated that Mr. Reeve had made seven false or misleading statements to the U.S. Senate in support of therapeutic cloning. Mr. Reeve denied that such was the case and suggested I should apologize accordingly. However, as much as I respect Mr. Reeve, I cannot apologize for knowing the truth of matters that stand not only mean so much to my life, his life, and the lives of 300,000 other Americans with SCI, but also to the tens of millions with other conditions who dream of cures in a foreseeable future.



    "Why do we need therapeutic cloning? As a layman, several important reasons come to mind: one, implantation of human ES cells is not safe unless they contain the patient's own DNA... So without the ability to use my own DNA, without that somatic cell transfer, I'm out of luck" (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    Unless complex issues involving tumor formation, inappropriate cell growth, and genetic mutation aren't overcome, human ES cells (embryonic stem cells, also called ESCs) that do have the patient's DNA won't be safe to use either. However, repeated studies have clearly shown our bodies contain easily accessible adult stem cells capable of maturing into virtually every crucial cell type, including all the cells Mr. Reeve's spinal cord can possibly need (astrocytes, spinal cord sensory and motor neurons, and oligodendrocytes, the primary myelinating cell in the CNS). When taken from the patient, these cells all contain the patient's DNA.

    Also, inducing broken axons to cross the inhibitory injury site is widely accepted in Neuroscience as being the primary obstacle to reversing paralysis due to chronic SCI...not replacing damaged cells. Remyelination is an issue that certainly needs addressed, as is neuron replacement. But nothing in the available literature suggests that replacing cells without remaking broken connections has the potential to cure SCI. In fact, no animal study has ever reported functional improvements through remyelination alone in chronic contusion SCI, to my knowledge no one has ever published a report that such an approach was even tried. Whereas non-ESC treatments that allow axons to cross the injury site have led to substancial functional gains in both animals and humans.



    "In my own case, I require remyelination of nerves. That means replacing the conductive coat of fat, myelin, that allows electricity to come down currents from the brain to the central nervous system for function. At the moment, only embryonic stem cells have the potential to do that, and experiments are being done now in larger animals demonstrating that." (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    Mr. Reeve's spinal axons may need remyelination, but ESCs certainly are not the only (or best) means of doing it:

    At the time of the above statement Japanese researchers had remyelinated rats' spinal cords using adult bone marrow stem cells. The authors concluded:

    "These result indicate that bone marrow cells can differentiate in vivo into myelin-forming cells and repair the demyelinated central nervous system."

    Adult neural stem cells have been successfully used to remyelinate tissue in the central nervous system (CNS) in animal models in France, England, Japan, and at the University of Wisconsin. Concerning treatments involving demyelination, researchers at Harvard Medical School point out:

    "Multipotent neural stem cells may be most ideally suited for both gene transfer and cell replacement upon transplantation into multiple regions of the central nervous system under a wide range of pathological conditions."

    Adult cells found in the nose, called Olfactory Ensheathing Glial cells (OEGs), have been widely reported to cause CNS remyelination upon transplantation. Researchers at Yale's School of Medicine report:

    "In animal models of SCI, transplantation of ensheathing cells supports axonal remyelination and extensive migration throughout the length of the spinal cord."

    Researchers and doctors at Yale have treated two multiple sclerosis patients with myelinating cells from their own peripheral nerves, called schwann cells; a third patient is scheduled to receive this treatment in April. A biopsy will determine its success in six months. This study follows years of successful animal tests.

    (Please note, the following report was just released.)

    Stem cell technique shows promise as MS treatment

    By Ann Lukits

    Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 7:00:00 AM

    Local News - A leading Canadian neurologist who is experimenting with stem cell transplants to cure multiple sclerosis says the technique appears to be halting - and possibly reversing - the disease.

    Dr. Mark Freedman said there is no sign of multiple sclerosis in the first six patients enrolled in a $4-million multi-centre study investigating the effectiveness of bone marrow transplants in stopping the disease.

    There is also early evidence that the transplants are contributing to a "regeneration" of myelin, the substance that surrounds and protects the central nervous system but can be damaged permanently in people with MS.

    "We're very hopeful that if that continues we're seeing something we've never seen before with MS," Freedman told The Whig-Standard.

    Freedman is one of three principal investigators in a groundbreaking six-year research study to determine whether transplanting bone marrow stem cells in people with MS can stop the disease...

    http://www.kingstonwhigstandard.com/...contentid=3579



    "Therapeutic cloning is done without fertilizing an egg. It can be strictly regulated." (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    In written testimony presented to the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, the U.S. Department of Justice outlined serious difficulties in trying to enforce a cloning ban that would cover only "reproductive" cloning:

    "The prohibited activity 'transfer of a human embryo to a uterus' is an activity that is otherwise permitted now in all states and is performed thousands of times a year in fertility clinics... the transfer of an embryo to initiate a clinical pregnancy is presumably the same regardless of whether the embryo involved was originally produced by cloning or fertilization. Hence there is no visible difference between the prohibited activity and the permitted activity...Entrusted with enforcing such a limited ban, law enforcement would be in the unenviable position of having to impose new and unprecedented scrutiny over doctors in fertility clinics and/or research facilities to ensure that only fertilized embryos were being transferred to would-be mothers...this would be a formidable task..."



    "Efforts to repair central nervous system disorders may need to recapitulate the process of fetal development and that can only be accomplished by human ES cells." (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    The first of the above statements is not correct. Studies using adult stem cells, or no stem cells at all, have led to functional improvements after SCI in both animals and humans. In Portugal, seven human patients with chronic SCI have partially regained lost functions through Olfactory Mucosa transplantation from an inner lining of their nasal cavities to their spinal cord lesions. Olfactory Mucosa is rich in OEGs, stem cells, and CNS progenitor cells, plus the tissue itself is highly supportive of axon regrowth. Also, Chinese doctors used adult bone marrow stem cells to cure the cause of disease in a patient with primary progressive MS. They found that once the cause of disease was removed, the patient's existing cells repaired the previous CNS damage. (note: Canadian researchers have just reported the same results in the previously quoted release.)

    The second statement is also false. Dr. Maureen Condic's peer-reviewed work at the University of Utah has shown that adult neurons can be induced into an embryonic regenerative state without the use of embryonic or fetal tissue. Dr. Anton Usala, a noted Diabetes researcher, has shown in a human pilot study that adult tissues derived from mesenchymal origins regenerate with an embryonic process when exposed to an artificial embryonic-like extracellular scaffolding. As in Dr. Condic's work, this process, called embryogenesis, is induced without the use of any tissues taken from embryonic, fetal, or cloned sources.



    "If the government forces scientists to attempt to make adult stem cells [behave] like embryonic stem cells, they might waste five years or more and fail," (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    The reverse of this statement is the truth. Adult stem cells are designed to play an active part in the body's cell replacement and maintenance. In cases of where this process is impaired or damaged through disease or injury, adult stem cells are too few to cope with the problem. Through research, clinicians are already how learning to remove, multiply, and reimplant adult stem cells in numbers able to make the needed repairs. Whereas embryonic stem cells are foreign to adult bodies. Therefore unnatural attempts to use embryonic stem cells in adult tissues leads to mutation, tumor formation, and tissue rejection. Each of these critical safety issues is expected to take years, if not decades, to overcome. And without overcoming them all, ESCs or cells derived from ESCs can't be clinically used. Of the two avenues, which involves making cells do what they're not designed to do? And which is more likely to "waste five years or more and fail?"



    "I think you could bring in any responsible scientist from any respectable institution to say that there is no hope at the present or projected for people with ALS, other than human embryonic stem cells... and I think if you don't have the combination of therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cells, you're going to be condemning a lot of people to unnecessary suffering, and to death." (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    Adult bone marrow stem cell clinical trials are being conducted in Turin, Italy, and Dr. Michel Levesque (of recent Parkinson's fame) plans to soon submit an FDA application for approval to conduct an adult neural stem cell trial in ALS patients. These developments are both due to animal studies demonstrating motor neuron regeneration from adult stem cell sources. When informed (at the New York Academy of Science) that not only did "responsible scientists" believe there is hope for ALS patients outside ESCs, but that humans are already being treated with this "hope," Mr. Reeve made the following comment:

    "He (James Kelly) claims that there are trials going on using adult stem cells for spinal cord research. I highly doubt that. I would love to know where he thinks that's happening." (Statement made by Mr. Reeve at the May 20th, 2002 "Cloning Debate" at the New York Academy of Sciences)

    Mr. Reeve made this statement in denial of my claim that adult bone marrow stem cells are being tested in clinical trials for both ALS and SCI. I knew of these trials because I had written to the clinicians involved. The SCI trial is being conducted in conjunction with the ALS study, which was recently reported by Italian researcher Letizia Mazzini at the 13th International Symposium on Motor Neuron Disease in Melbourne. At the time of the debate, I was unaware that other adult regenerative tissues were also being successfully used to reverse paralysis caused by chronic SCI in a Portuguese clinical trial.

    However, much more disturbing to me than someone in Mr. Reeve's position (as head of the world's largest non-profit SCI research-funding foundation) not knowing the true state of regenerative science, or even its potentials, was the fact that when I tried to answer Mr. Reeve's direct question by saying:

    "Can I answer Mr. Reeves?"

    I was told by Dr. Craig Venter, the debate's moderator (who recently announced plans to genetically engineer new forms of life for commercial uses):

    "Why don't we come back to that."

    Then, at the debate's close when I tried to tell Mr. Reeve (a man who regardless of our differences is a fellow human being disabled by a catastrophic condition that we unfortunately share) that the adult stem cell clinical trial for SCI that he had asked about is being conducted in Italy, I was physically muzzled by Dr. Venter in front of a room full of witnesses and a Japanese television crew.



    "...therapeutic cloning, first of all, it is probably going to be, according to many scientists, the best possible treatment for patients suffering from a very wide range of diseases. Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, stroke, brain injury, MS, ALS, spinal cord injuries, heart disease, the list goes on and on." (Statement made by Mr. Reeve at the May 20th, 2002 "Cloning Debate" at the New York Academy of Sciences)

    If it's ever successful, therapeutic cloning is expected to be vastly expensive, still require immune suppression, and involve dangerous risks, including tumor formation and genetic mutation. How can Mr. Reeve possibly think such treatments will be the "best possible," since for many applications adult stem cells don't require immune suppression, don't carry the risks, and have proven to offer the regenerative benefits that ESCs derived from cloning are only hoped to someday offer?



    "I work with Dr. John McDonald at Washington University, in Saint Louis, and he is a very knowledgeable researcher on embryonic stem cells, and a few years ago he said to me that in order to cure my particular condition, which is demyelination of nerves in a very small area of the spinal cord..." (Statement made by Mr. Reeve at the May 20th, 2002 "Cloning Debate" at the New York Academy of Sciences)

    Does Mr. Reeve truly believe he only needs remyelination to cure his overall condition (paralysis due to SCI), or that remyelination may be needed to address just one of its aspects (the actual truth)? Because if the former meaning is the case, not only is he been flagrantly misled regarding remyelination options, but for him to have been given so false an impression in such a grave personal matter is more than a shame. It's a travesty.



    "So my future, and others would agree, many scientists would agree, my future, in terms of being able to recover will depend on some way of delivering stem cells without compromising my immune system and therapeutic cloning, which would use my DNA is the best hope." (Statement made by Mr. Reeve at the May 20th, 2002 "Cloning Debate" at the New York Academy of Sciences)

    According to Drs. John Gearhart and Irv Weissman, therapeutic cloning will not avoid the rejection response. Says Dr. Gearhart:

    "I should say that when you put the nucleus in from a somatic cell, the mitochondria still come from the host (the egg). And in mouse studies it is clear that those genetic differences can lead to a mild but certainly effective transplant rejection and so immunosuppression, mild though it is, will be required for that."

    Meanwhile, adult stem cell avenues in clinical trial that Mr. Reeve apparently is not being told of are providing replacement or reparative cells that completely match the patient. (adult neural stem cells, adult bone marrow stem cells, OEGs, Schwann Cells, and Olfactory Mucosa)


    "...therapeutic cloning is a very nascent technology that's not ready for use in humans. But knowing that it will not . . . provided our scientists are allowed to go ahead with the research, it really shouldn't take that long before they're ready for humans."

    and...

    "Doctor Oswald Stewart, of the Reeve Research Center, UC Irvine has said that you could probably get to the use of therapeutic cloning in humans within about three to five years. So I absolutely dispute the time line that's been put up before." (Statements made by Mr. Reeve at the May 20th, 2002 "Cloning Debate" at the New York Academy of Sciences)

    Even without adding cloning's widespread genetic defects, the mutations that typically result from its usage, and it's prohibitive research costs, which stem cell pioneer James Thomson calls "astronomical," leading international experts say that ESCs might begin tapping their potentials in ten years. So how can Dr. Steward seriously suggest that humans could be treated with cloning in "three to five years," or how could Mr. Reeve believe it...especially since pro-cloning scientist Jane Rowley compares the technical hurdles before cloning with curing cancer, which she admits that after thirty years we're still not even close? Perhaps the answer to the latter question has something to do with desperate hope?

    In conclusion:

    In my opinion the above statements indicate that actor Christopher Reeve is being badly misinformed by those he trusts. When I tried to share with him (at his request) a simple, uncontestable fact regarding research potentials and where he could find safe, ongoing clinical trials for his condition, I was physically restrained by a pro-cloning member of bio-tech. Therefore, based on handpicked information that is often misleading, incomplete, or outright false, Mr. Reeve is promoting the diversion of crucial resources away from proven research avenues that not only stands to vastly improve his condition, but that might also save millions of lives.

    I respect Mr. Reeve for his fund-raising efforts. But in my opinion his blind trust of those who clearly don't deserve it may doom his future hopes, while sinking mine and those of millions in the bargain.

    James Kelly
    Granbury, TX

    James Kelly

    [This message was edited by James Kelly on Nov 25, 2002 at 11:41 PM.]

  2. #2
    Senior Member cpaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    boulder co. usa
    Posts
    171
    Thanks for the info James. I know I'm probably like many who visit this forum in that we all want a cure ASAP. I'm glad to read your remarks on Adult Stem cells because (as you point out) the DNA compatability issues are not present for the recipient. I wish somehow everyone who is working on the SCI cure could put aside their personal agendas and join forces to save suffering lives. I think with all the brilliant minds working on this issue, that surely comparing notes and focusing on the best position (to reach a cure) would channel funds in the right direction and bring this to fruition. As it appears, there are always positions to defend as we continue to suffer!

    CM

  3. #3
    After the testimony to the New Jersey Senate (see http://carecure.rutgers.edu/spinewir...m25Nov02.htm), I met with several people in the hallway from the right-to-life group who was opposing S1909 bill. Let me summarize my best understanding of their position and comment on some other aspects of the S1909 bill that did not get discussed.

    The right-to-life groups oppose three types of stem cells: embyronic stem cells from in vitro fertilized eggs, embryonic stem cells from cloned eggs, and fetal stem cells. They believe that human life begins from the moment of fertilization and therefore the destruction of any fertilized egg is tantamount to killing an individual. They particularly oppose the use of cloned eggs because this is creating a human being and then destroying it for its stem cells. They oppose stem cells that come from fetal cadavers (aborted fetuses) because this involves abortion, a procedure that they believe to be immoral.

    In discussions with people who believe that embryonic stem cells should not be used for therapy, I have come to realize that it does not matter whether that the fertilized frozen eggs would be destroyed anyway. As one person said to me recently, one frozen fertilized egg being destroyed is one too many. They are not concerned that their position may be causing more and unnecessary destruction of embryos and fetuses, perhaps because they do not believe that this is true and perhaps because they think that principle is more important than consequence. Since cloned eggs have been shown (in the case of animals) to produce an adult sheep, they consider a cloned egg to have the same rights as a fertilized egg. Again, it does not matter to them that there is currently no method of growing a cloned human egg into a baby. They are particularly worried that if they give in at this point, this will lead to wholesale utilization of fertilized and cloned eggs for therapies. The right-to-life groups are intransigent on these issues. To them, there is no compromise on these issues. On the other hand, the right-to-life groups support the use of umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells from bone marrow and other tissues because it would not lead to the killing of any embyros or fetuses. In fact, they are angry that there is an emphasis on using embryonic stem cells when adult or umbilical cord blood stem cells represent not only a viable but even better alternative.

    I respect these views and have been struggling to reconcile these views with my own. I believe strongly that we do not know enough to close the door on embryonic stem cell research and to cloned stem cell research. If bone marrow or umbilical cord blood stem cells worked as well as embryonic stem cells, they would of course be far preferable. I hasten to point out that embryonic stem cells are important for other reasons besides therapy. For example, we need to understand how these cells work. They can be used to test drugs and toxins. So, there should not be a complete ban of human embryonic stem cell study.

    The current situation is untenable. There is currently a virtual ban of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (limited only to embryonic stem cells derived before August 9, 2001) but no regulation of private or commercial production of the cells. There is no readily available source of stem cells from any source. If a clinician wanted to use embryonic stem cells, they must create those stem cells from private and unregulated sources. These sources may come from fetuses or embryos created for purposes of stem cell production. Cells may come from overseas. This is unsatisfactory from every point of view. It is slowing down research and at the same time is allowing unrestricted use of embryos for stem cells by private and commercial organizations.

    Please note that the New Jersey bill S1909 proposes punitive damages associated with the sale or the promotion of sale of embryonic cells. It prohibits commercialization of such cells. People should remember that over half of the pharmaceutical industry of the United States is situated in New Jersey. This law, if it passes, will have an enormous effect on commercialization of embryonic stem cells.

    Wise.

  4. #4
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    6,717
    The Jewish religion believes differently re when life begins. Why should Jews (or atheists, or members of other religions who believe differently) in a secular country be denied the possible benefits of ESC because Christians have a different belief? Is someone going to force Christians to use ESC-derived cures against their will, should such cures be developed?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Duran's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Maximum security prison, Death row
    Posts
    441
    I can add that the bone marrow stromal stem cell transplants are also being tested on SCI patients in China and Brasil. It's not a brand-new procedure.

    "The SCI trial is being conducted in conjunction with the ALS study, which was recently reported by Italian researcher Letizia Mazzini at the 13th International Symposium on Motor Neuron Disease in Melbourne."
    Jim, are you really sure that the above-mentioned Italian group has yet started to do clinical trial with ASC on SCI patients? I live in Europe and haven't heard from them yet...

    Joe

  6. #6
    James,
    You made too many good points. I want to keep this thread going. I have great respect for CR, but i don't understand his reasons behind his words or actions. It seems like he has his own motives or something has altered his perspectives. Maybe he knows something we don't.
    I hoped Dr.Young might have some insight to this issue.

  7. #7
    Carl C,

    I don't think that Christopher Reeve is "badly misled". As I understand it, the main arguments that Jim seems to be making against embryonic stem cell research and therapy are that it is costly, potentially dangerous, and insufficiently developed to know whether it will be useful. He is arguing that we should focus our limited resources on other types of therapies. [Jim, please chip in if you disagree]. Let me address each of these in turn.

    1. Costly. At the present, cloning is indeed an expensive procedure. This is in part because there is a relatively high failure rate in the cloning process. On the other hand, I think that a majority of scientists would agree that it will become more efficient and cost-effective over time, as people gain more experience with the technique. Someday, it will be done by machines and possibly with non-human eggs. I can think of many dozens of therapies that were very expensive in the beginning but have become less costly and more widely used over the years: blood transfusions, organ transplants, antibody therapies, interferon, etc.

    2. Dangerous. The risk of uncontrolled growth depends on both the propensity of the cells to grow out of control and the ability of the body to eliminate those cells. In animal studies where embryonic stem cells have grown out of control, immunosuppression was frequently used, disabling the body's mechanisms of recognizing cancerous growth. The ability of embryonic stem cells to proliferate is one of their attractions. At the present, there is simply not enough known about embryonic stem cells to know the risk of overgrowth. There has, however, been substantial experience with transplantation of fetal cells, which should contain stem cells or progenitor cells. Of the many hundreds of fetal tissue grafts that have been done in Sweden, Russia, and the United States (for Parkinson's disease), I don't think that a single case of tumor has been reported.

    3. Usefulness. Embryonic stem cells have not yet been proven to be efficacious therapeutically. This is a Catch-22 situation. If scientists are not allowed to study cloned stem cells, we will never know whether it will be useful therapeutically. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Furthermore, knowledge about human embryonic stem cells will give us critical information on how embryonic cells in the body grow and differentiate. This knowledge will help us understand and treat many developmental disorders. In some ways, a ban on human embryonic stem cell research and use is akin to what happened in the Dark and Middle Ages, when church and social opposition to use of cadaveric material led to almost complete freezing of European medical research while Arabic, Persian, and Chinese medicine flowered.

    4. Utilizing resources. Arguing for a reordering of research priorities and lobbying for a bill that ban a legitimate scientific procedure are two different things altogether. Jim apparently favors the latter because he has appeared publicly on several occasions to testify on the side of those who want to criminalize cloning and embryonic stem cell research. As I have pointed out before, human embryonic stem cell research has not, is not, and probably will not take any money away from spinal cord injury research.

    Finally, I also want to point out that while Christopher Reeve is an advocate of stem cell research, he has also spoken out extensively in favor of IN-1, olfactory ensheathing glia, C3, and many of the other therapies that are being developed to regenerate and remyelinate the spinal cord. He recently, as everybody knows, strong supported intensive exercise to facilitate recovery.

    Wise.

  8. #8

    James,

    Is this an editorial you submitted somewhere? If so, could you tell us [or email me: sconfusion1@comcast.net] where it was submitted to?

    I will be back later to post a thorough reply. I would do it now, but I have a math final in a few minutes.

    Thanks,

    -Steven

  9. #9
    James,

    I want to start off with a disclaimer. The following comments, like yours, are not personal attacks.

    Originally posted by James Kelly:

    Please understand that the following analysis is not an attack against Mr. Reeve, but rather it's an attempt to reveal the degree to which America's sick and disabled, including myself and Mr. Reeve, are being duped into cutting our own throats by supporting research that, in my opinion, has the least potential among available options for curing our conditions.
    Notice the italicized portion.

    While taking part in the May 20th NYAS panel debate along with Mr. Reeve, I stated that Mr. Reeve had made seven false or misleading statements to the U.S. Senate in support of therapeutic cloning. Mr. Reeve denied that such was the case and suggested I should apologize accordingly. However, as much as I respect Mr. Reeve, I cannot apologize for knowing the truth of matters that stand not only mean so much to my life, his life, and the lives of 300,000 other Americans with SCI, but also to the tens of millions with other conditions who dream of cures in a foreseeable future.
    Again, notice the italicized portion. I will comment on them later on.

    Concerning treatments involving demyelination, researchers at Harvard Medical School point out:

    Multipotent neural stem cells may be most ideally suited for both gene transfer and cell replacement upon transplantation into multiple regions of the central nervous system under a wide range of pathological conditions.
    Multipotent neural stem cells may be the most ideally suited. Then again, they may not be. The above is the researcher's opinion. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    (Please note, the following report was just released.)

    Stem cell technique shows promise as MS treatment

    By Ann Lukits

    Saturday, November 23, 2002 - 7:00:00 AM
    As you prefaced the article, the report was just released. There is no way that anyone can know precisely what is happening during an experiment before analysis of the results is completed. The point: This cannot be used as part of your Mr. Reeve being misled theory, as he did not have the information at the time to incorporate into what he said.

    In written testimony presented to the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, the U.S. Department of Justice outlined serious difficulties in trying to enforce a cloning ban that would cover only "reproductive" cloning:
    Who was the president who decided to put us on the moon? JFK? I'm sure there were serious difficulties there. Aboloshing slavery? Difficulties there, too. Equal rights? You bet.

    What do those have to do with cloning? There were serious difficulties and controversy with those issues, but someone decided it was time for them and that humanity would be better off with the decisions that were made. Guess what? They worked. Things were difficult, new laws had to be enforced -- laws that were and are difficult to enforce -- but they work.

    "_Efforts to repair central nervous system disorders may need to recapitulate the process of fetal development and that can only be accomplished by human ES cells_." (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    The first of the above statements is _not_ correct.
    I assume the first statement is what I italicized? The statement is neither correct nor incorrect. May is a conditional statement; a statement whose certainty is unknown at the time. No evidence exists that part of the fetal development process is not temporarily reactivated in experiments that restore function.

    The second statement is _also_ false. Dr. Maureen Condic's peer-reviewed work at the University of Utah has shown that adult neurons can be induced into an embryonic regenerative state without the use of embryonic or fetal tissue. Dr. Anton Usala, a noted Diabetes researcher, has shown in a human pilot study that adult tissues derived from mesenchymal origins regenerate with an embryonic process when exposed to an artificial embryonic-like extracellular scaffolding. As in Dr. Condic's work, this process, called embryogenesis, is induced without the use of any tissues taken from embryonic, fetal, or cloned sources.
    Nice explanation, but this contradicts your previous statement -- I'm not disputing the validity of Mr. Reeve's second statement. You said Reeve was _not_ correct in saying that the fetal process may need to be recapitulated, but then you go on to show how other work induces embryogenesis. If it is not needed, why bother to go on about it? But again, the answer to the big question of the necessity of fetal recapitulation is uncertain. You may be right, but then again, so may he.


    "_If the government forces scientists to attempt to make adult stem cells [behave] like embryonic stem cells, they might waste five years or more and fail_," (statement by C. Reeve, March 5th, 2002 to U.S. Senate)

    The reverse of this statement is the truth. Adult stem cells are designed to play an active part in the body's cell replacement and maintenance. In cases of where this process is impaired or damaged through disease or injury, adult stem cells are too few to cope with the problem. Through research, clinicians are already how learning to remove, multiply, and reimplant adult stem cells in numbers able to make the needed repairs. Whereas embryonic stem cells are foreign to adult bodies. Therefore unnatural attempts to use embryonic stem cells in adult tissues leads to mutation, tumor formation, and tissue rejection. Each of these critical safety issues is expected to take years, if not decades, to overcome. And without overcoming them all, ESCs or cells derived from ESCs can't be clinically used. Of the two avenues, which involves making cells do what they're not designed to do? And which is more likely to "waste five years or more and fail?"
    Again, you are arguing a point that is uncertain. We are unsure if what you are saying is true, but you are stating it as fact, which may mislead some people.

    Then, at the debate's close when I tried to tell Mr. Reeve (a man who regardless of our differences is a fellow human being disabled by a catastrophic condition that we unfortunately share) that the adult stem cell clinical trial for SCI that he had asked about is being conducted in Italy, I was _physically muzzled_ by Dr. Venter in front of a room full of witnesses and a Japanese television crew.
    Would you define "physically muzzled"? I get the image of someone stuffing something in your mouth, but I don't think that happened.

    "_I work with Dr. John McDonald at Washington University, in Saint Louis, and he is a very knowledgeable researcher on embryonic stem cells, and a few years ago he said to me that in order to cure my particular condition, which is demyelination of nerves in a very small area of the spinal cord_..." (Statement made by Mr. Reeve at the May 20th, 2002 "Cloning Debate" at the New York Academy of Sciences)

    Does Mr. Reeve _truly_ believe he only needs remyelination to cure his overall condition (paralysis due to SCI), or that remyelination may be needed to address just one of its aspects (the actual truth)? Because if the former meaning is the case, not only is he been flagrantly misled regarding remyelination options, but for him to have been given so false an impression in such a grave personal matter is more than a shame. It's a travesty.
    I doubt he truly believes that remyelination is all he needs. I think he meant that "my particular condition" was a subset of what needs to be fixed. Having been on a vent for a few years, I understand the difficulty of having to get out what you can while you have air to say it. It can be a hassle to go into detail to explain nuances while trying to make a point.

    So how can Dr. Steward seriously suggest that humans could be treated with cloning in "three to five years," or how could Mr. Reeve believe it...especially since pro-cloning scientist Jane Rowley compares the technical hurdles before cloning with curing cancer, which she admits that after thirty years we're still not even close? Perhaps the answer to the latter question has something to do with desperate hope?
    How can you seriously suggest the opposite? Nothing can truly be known until research is allowed. Until then, every statement is opinion and conjecture.

    In conclusion:

    In my opinion the above statements indicate that actor Christopher Reeve is being badly misinformed by those he trusts. When I tried to share with him (at his request) a simple, uncontestable fact regarding research potentials and where he could find safe, ongoing clinical trials for his condition, I was physically restrained by a pro-cloning member of bio-tech. Therefore, based on handpicked information that is often misleading, incomplete, or outright false, Mr. Reeve is promoting the diversion of crucial resources _away_ from proven research avenues that not only stands to vastly improve his condition, but that might also save millions of lives.

    I respect Mr. Reeve for his fund-raising efforts. But in my opinion his blind trust of those who clearly don't deserve it may doom his future hopes, while sinking mine and those of millions in the bargain.

    James Kelly
    Granbury, TX
    Going full-circle, let's bring back the quotes from the beginning.

    Originally posted by James Kelly:
    Please understand that the following analysis is not an attack against Mr. Reeve, but rather it's an attempt to reveal the degree to which America's sick and disabled, including myself and Mr. Reeve, are being duped into cutting our own throats by supporting research that, in my opinion, has the least potential among available options for curing our conditions.
    All of what you say is your opinion. Why do you oppose Mr. Reeve's ability to state his opinion? You have talked to researchers, gathered information, and drawn your own conclusions and assumptions. Mr. Reeve has most certainly done the same. He states what he believes, and you accuse him of believing that because of desperate hope. Maybe that is why you believe what you believe: desperate hope.

    While taking part in the May 20th NYAS panel debate along with Mr. Reeve, I stated that Mr. Reeve had made seven false or misleading statements to the U.S. Senate in support of therapeutic cloning. Mr. Reeve denied that such was the case and suggested I should apologize accordingly. However, as much as I respect Mr. Reeve, I cannot apologize for knowing the truth of matters that stand not only mean so much to my life, his life, and the lives of 300,000 other Americans with SCI, but also to the tens of millions with other conditions who dream of cures in a foreseeable future.
    In closure, you most assuredly do not know the truth of all matters regarding spinal cord injury. If you did, you would get together with a scientist -- there are plenty of them out there -- and file an application with the NIH for "the cure," and I would name my first born after you.

    Again, none of this is meant as a personal attack -- nor am I trying to silence you or tell you that you are wrong. It is just an analysis of what I read.

    -Steven

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •