Posted by: Christine Johnson | January 26, 2007

"Cancer Stem Cells Might be Abnormal Adult Stem Cells"

And so that’s why The Susan G. Komen Foundation will only support the use of embryos in research.

Seriously. Here’s the section of the article that includes the phrase above:

Adult stem cells (sometimes called somatic stem cells) are different from embryonic stem cells. They are found in all humans at birth and exist throughout life. Adult stem cells are few in number and are hard to isolate. Their role is to maintain and repair the tissues where they are located. For example, liver stem cells might repair damage to the liver.

Cancer Stem Cells Might Be Abnormal Adult Stem Cells

The fact that adult stem cells have the potential to replace and maintain tissues has led to research into other possible roles of adult stem cells. The theory that abnormal adult stem cells may play a role in the development, growth and spread of cancer is an active area of research. Simply put, cancer stem cells might be abnormal adult stem cells.

It is thought that a tumor could start from cancer stem cells (normal adult stem cells that somehow become cancer stem cells). In fact, in early research on acute myeloid leukemia, cancer stem cells were shown to be the only cells that could reproduce the cancer when transferred during laboratory testing. The interest in cancer stem cells has been fueled further by the identification of cancer stem cells in brain and breast cancers. Similar results to those seen in myeloid leukemia have been found in these cancers’ ability to re-grow from stem cells located in the tumor. Other tumor cells that were not cancer stem cells did not demonstrate this ability to re-grow.

We know that sometimes, even when we treat cancer and it can no longer be found, it can come back or spread. One theory is that current therapies that target cancer and cause the tumor to get smaller might only be killing certain tumor cells (the differentiated ones), but leaving the cancer stem cells unharmed and able to produce more cancer cells later. If this proves to be true, it can change the way we understand and treat breast cancer in the future, because we will have the cancer stem cell as a target. It might be possible to recognize these extremely early changes (from normal stem cells to cancer stem cells) and treat them before a tumor or metastatic disease ever exists.

Embryonic stem cells (derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro and then donated for research purposes) have the potential to give rise to many different types of tissue. Because of this, embryonic stem cells are currently considered to have the most potential for use in the regeneration of diseased or injured tissues. One of those potential roles is providing better understanding of cancer development.

See, it doesn’t matter that embryonic stem cells have been causing tumors in nearly all the research they’ve been used in. Instead of looking at moral research (i.e. research that doesn’t take the life of a human being), we’re instead going to lie about the ease of finding adult stem cells (like from amniotic fluid, hair follicles, baby teeth, umbilical cord blood, scalp skin, and bone marrow), the successes linked to adult stem cell therapy, and the problems linked with embryonic stem cell therapy (which has been mostly in animals, to be sure, but the successes with adult stem cells are happening in humans), not to mention the problems that will face women when the IVF embryos run out and they look for eggs to use for cloning.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation might want to take an honest look at stem cell research. Until they do, and until they stop advocating the destruction of human embryos (complete human beings), they will not get a dime from me.

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