# Thread: Embryonic versus Adult Stem Cells and other spinal cord injury therapies

1. Originally Posted by Jim
Hi eli,

Dr. Young is traveling and prob didn't see this.
It is a good idea to store umbilical cord blood. I believe there is only a 1 in 4 chance that siblings will match.

If you donate your UCB to this company, they will provide you with a match in return for your cord blood. http://www.stemcyteinc.com/

We have an Open House next Friday 11/5 if you can make the trip- http://keck.rutgers.edu/contact/contact.html
Hi jim , thank you for the information. The timing of the open houses doesnt work for me this time of the year.

2. Originally Posted by eli
Hi jim , thank you for the information. The timing of the open houses doesnt work for me this time of the year.
eli,

Sibling cord blood is more likely to match than any other source. Let me show you mathematically why the chances of a perfect match is 1 out of 4. People have 6 HLA genes, 3 HLA genes from the mother and 3 from the father.

So, if your husband has genes H1, H2, H3; H4, H5, H6 while you have H7, H8, H9; H10, H11, H12, the number of possible combinations that a child from the two of you will have are:

H1, H2, H3; H7, H8, H9
H1, H2, H3; H10, H11, H12
H4, H5, H6; H7, H8, H9
H4, H5, H6; H10, H11, H12

Therefore, each child of yours will have at least a 1 out of 4 chance to have a 6:6 HLA match with another child and a 3 of 4 chance to be at 3:6 match.

The above assumes that you and your husband have completely different HLA genes from each other. If you and your husband have one HLA gene that is the same, i.e. H1 = H7, then any children of the two of you may have the following combination:

H1, H2, H3; H1, H8, H9
H1, H2, H3; H10, H11, H12
H4, H5, H6; H1, H8, H9
H4, H5, H6; H10, H11, H12

In such a case, 1 of 4 chances to have a 6:6 match, 1 chance in 4 to have a 5:6 match, and 2 chances in 4 to have a 3:3 match, etc. Note that one of the HLA antigens, i.e. HLA-DR1, is more important than any of the others. The sibling child has 1 of 2 chances of getting that gene. So, the chances are really closer to 1:2 of having a match that could be used. Because of this, most genetic counselors recommend collecting the umbilical cord blood of a sibling if there is a possibility that the blood may be useful to a child.

Many people have asked me what the likelihood of a parent matching a child is. If we do the same analysis as the above, it is clear that because a parent has contributed 3 of the 6 genes to a child, either of the parents will have a 100% chance of getting at least a 3:6 match. However, if the mother has at least one HLA gene that is the same as the father, there is a 100% chance of getting at least a 4:6 match and 50% chance of the cord blood sharing the same HLA-DR1.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (Source) recommends against private storing of umbilical cord blood for autologous use (i.e. use of the cord blood for the donor) because the chances that the child will need the blood to treat itself is less than 1%. Note that if the child has a genetic disease, the cord blood contains the same disease and therefore will not be useful. The cord blood would be useful if the child gets an acquired disease that cord blood could be used to treat the child, e.g. leukemia and other cancers.

I recently attended a cord blood banking symposium and listened to the number of units they have "released" to the parents who have stored cord blood with various companies. One company which has been collecting for 8 years and has 35,000 stored units released only 4 units for use by the families and all four were for sibling use. It is interesting that several cord blood banks indicated that they have released units for treatment of cerebral palsy. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke has transfused autologous cord blood into over 150 kids with cerebral palsy and these include families that have banked their blood privately with various companies around the world. Several clinical trials are starting around the world, to confirm whether autologous cord blood is beneficial for cerebral palsy.

Wise.

3. Dr young, thank you for the in - depth explanation and for the time you give to answer the numerous posts on these forums.

4. http://www.christianpost.com/article...cell-research/ this article might be the future. The end doesn't justufy the means. With the Republican HOUSE AND THE BUDGET BEING THE MOST IMPORTANT TOPIC OF THE LAME DUCK CONGRESS, doesn't look good. Hope I'm wrong.

keeping on

5. Originally Posted by znop
Thank you kind sir!!!

Most Christian and other religious groups condemn ESC as being unethical and destroys human life. Of course you and I know that is NOT true!
Maybe an explanation by you and others here can help me explain to many people that they are misinformed on this matter. There are so many educated and excellent writers here that I would greatly appreciate everyone's input.

"Either get busy living or get busy dying"

Shawshank Redemption

Znop
Hi znop, I know that the overall reaction of Christians is one of ethical concern.

The official view of the Roman Catholic Church is divided as to ESC v. ASC. A crucial part of their thinking hinges on "respect for life" - when does an embryo become a living soul. A bit academic, as it is impossible to prove or disprove.

Anglicans generally object to ECS research, while the Church of England "reserves concerns". I quote from The Church Times:

The ethical dilemmas that the group faced included “the status and ensoulment of the embryo, the respect for human life, and the possible abuse of the cloning technique should it be perfected for research purposes, which is not illegal in the UK.

The reaction of the Free Churches is similar, but not quite so rigid. The consensus, including the RCs, is that ASC therapies do not pose ethical issues and then idea of placental "cell banks" is acceptable. The cell bank raises questions that are logistical rather than ethical - eventually we are looking at tens of millions of samples!

There is one school of thought, that Republican opinion in USA muddies the distinction between types of cell used, quite deliberately to save money.

My own feelings are, and I accept membership of the Church, that hellfire does not ensue for such researches, and the appalling actions of Joseph Stalin (25,000,000 Soviet Citizens murdered), Hitler and other political tyrants are as deserving as any for such a destination, if such a place exists.

If anything, "convenience abortion" is far worse.

6. Chris, the Catholic popualtion is significantly in favor of stem cell reseqrch, including embryonic. The hierarchy is opposed. I'm Catholic and the population of the chruch is in favor of embryonic research. this is good, and those that believe in God know that God is in favor also. careful yes, but going forward.

keeping on

7. Originally Posted by chris arnold
Hi znop, I know that the overall reaction of Christians is one of ethical concern.

The official view of the Roman Catholic Church is divided as to ESC v. ASC. A crucial part of their thinking hinges on "respect for life" - when does an embryo become a living soul. A bit academic, as it is impossible to prove or disprove.

Anglicans generally object to ECS research, while the Church of England "reserves concerns". I quote from The Church Times:

The ethical dilemmas that the group faced included “the status and ensoulment of the embryo, the respect for human life, and the possible abuse of the cloning technique should it be perfected for research purposes, which is not illegal in the UK.

The reaction of the Free Churches is similar, but not quite so rigid. The consensus, including the RCs, is that ASC therapies do not pose ethical issues and then idea of placental "cell banks" is acceptable. The cell bank raises questions that are logistical rather than ethical - eventually we are looking at tens of millions of samples!

There is one school of thought, that Republican opinion in USA muddies the distinction between types of cell used, quite deliberately to save money.

My own feelings are, and I accept membership of the Church, that hellfire does not ensue for such researches, and the appalling actions of Joseph Stalin (25,000,000 Soviet Citizens murdered), Hitler and other political tyrants are as deserving as any for such a destination, if such a place exists.

If anything, "convenience abortion" is far worse.
Chris,

Thank you very much for your cogent comments. The views of ESC research by different religions vary from encouragement (Jewish) to damnation (Catholic). The answers also vary depending that how the question is phrased. Not all uses of embryonic stem cells would be considered ethical. For example, most Americans would not approve of somebody creating a clone of oneself and using organs from that clone for life extension or to treat his or her own spinal cord injury. On the other hand, most people would not object to scientists studying stem cells that have been derived from excess blastocysts that were created in the course of in vitro fertilization and would be discarded anyway.

The blanket prohibition of NIH funding of all embryonic stem cell research by Judge Royce C. Lamberth because he considered doing such research is equivalent to killing embryos has no support in accepted law or ethics. If the same logic were applied to a county coroner doing an autopsy of a murdered person, one would conclude that the coroner is guilty of murder and therefore there should be no government funding of autopsies of murdered people.

It is true that religious ethics tend towards damnation of not just acts but intentions. For example, it is a sin to covet your neighbor's wife even though you have and will never touch her. One you start down the slippery slope, you have sinned. Likewise, there is also the argument of complicity and economic encouragement, i.e. the fact that NIH funds research on cells that derived from discarded blastocysts may result in demonstration of therapeutic effects that would provide incentive for unethical derivation and trafficking in embryonic stem cells.

The discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, however, has removed the slippery slope argument. The future will be iPS cells that completely avoids the issue of embryos and are superior in many respects to use of unmatched embryonic stem cell lines. Therefore, research on embryonic stem cells will not lead to widespread harvesting of embryos for their cells. In fact, research should reduce such practices.

Is it truly more ethical to throw away the blastocysts (and they are indeed being thrown away by the hundreds of thousands every year) or to use them to derive cells that would save lives? Every year, hundreds of thousands of in vitro fertilization procedures are carried out in the United States. Each procedure results in multiple embryos that are not used or stored and must be discarded.

Some in the anti-ESC community have argued that all the unused IVF embryos should be kept and put up for adoption. Even if the parents were willing to put their embryos up for adoption (by the way, i don't think that there will be much support for a law saying that parent must put their excess embryos up for adoption by any family), many of the embryos that are being discarded cannot and should not implanted.

In any in vitro fertilization procedure, the fertilized embryos are graded by their appearance. Many do not develop normally in the dish. Only the healthiest, plumpest, and most viable-looking blastocysts are selected for implantation. The abnormal looking ones are the ones that are discarded. So, there may be a strong ethical argument against using abnormal blastocyts.

To be fair, the Catholic Church forsaw this ethical connundrum in the early 1980's and consistently opposed in vitro fertilization from the beginning. So, they have been consistent but many consequences of their stances on embryonic stem cell research, abortion, and birth control are simply unacceptable to the American people. In the end, the country is a democracy and should follow the rule of the majority.

The Catholic Church can get itself out of this dilemma by encouraging what they consider ethical research. For example, the Catholic Church can and should be funding umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, and induced pluripotent stem cell research. All of these would supplant and relieve the pressure for harvesting embryonic stem cells from blastocysts.

The worst thing is to freeze research progress. For example, if we froze polio research in 1960, we will have millions of people lying in iron lungs in hospitals today. For a decade now, we have frozen federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. That simply delayed the discovery of iPS cells that many scientists, including me, predicted at the beginning of the decade. We do have millions of people dying and suffering from conditions that could and should have been cured. That is a moral tragedy.

Wise.

8. Originally Posted by keeping on
Chris, the Catholic popualtion is significantly in favor of stem cell reseqrch, including embryonic. The hierarchy is opposed. I'm Catholic and the population of the chruch is in favor of embryonic research. this is good, and those that believe in God know that God is in favor also. careful yes, but going forward.

keeping on
Thanks for these thoughts. Many RCs practice contraception. Not sure of any predilection for pork chops from the Jewish community. Enough said!

9. Thanks to Wise. Yes, the points you raise are very interesting, and could keep theologians and philosophers going for generations.

I try to be (not very successfully) Christian. This reminds me of assertions that Christ was Mary Magdelene's lover, that he may have been homosexual, could have suffered from HIV and goodness knows what else. These views are purely subjective. What is reported, in the Bible is that he healed the sick. It is possible that some may have had some kind of STD. The idea of sins as precursors, lends something to this; but Christ was never judgmental. On the one hand you could say that such things are irrelevant, and the other, that they are inaccurate. HIV is a condition that was unknown until the late 1970s.

Any how those who hold the view that moral questions should asked, are right. I do not believe that the answer should be rubber stamped as "NO!!".
On this tack, I always remember some of the points raised in Koestler's Sleep Walkers where comments about for example about Galileo were somewhat biased. The Pope actually demanded a proof, for what at the time was a hypothesis, proof being available later. In this context it needs to be remembered that the position of Vatican Astronomer has been around for centuries.

10. Wise, your thought on coveting your neighbor's wife and then not touching her is aview not widely accepted. We are human you know. I can say that Catholics in general accept the evolution of science and in particular stem cell research; including embryonic. As the science is futher exposed and cures commence, the denial and protests will further diminsish and those who opeeose it now will have a need in their lives or those who are close to them in their lives. History repears itself.

keeping on

keeping on

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