CMDA's The Point

Adult Stem Cells Are the Gold Standard

March 28, 2019
New Chinese Study Opens Ethical Can of Worms

by David Prentice, PhD

Adult stem cells are the successful gold standard of stem cells, especially when it comes to patients and therapies. Adult stem cells are in fact the only type of stem cell to have shown validated, published results of therapeutic benefit to patients. A recent published review of stem cell research documents the significant efficacy gap between embryonic and adult stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells require the destruction of a young human being. Despite the claims made for two decades of their almost mythical potential to cure all known maladies, not a single cure has come from embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cell studies have been touted as “important life-saving research” even by the current National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, yet no lives have been saved by embryonic stem cells. Questions remain about their efficacy as well as the ability to measure effects due to embryonic stem cells as opposed to placebo effect or normal tissue regeneration. There are significant concerns for tissue destruction or tumorigenesis due to embryonic stem cells, since their inherent cellular characteristic is rapid proliferation as well as accumulation of mutations.

Embryonic stem cells are more akin to cancerous cells than to regenerative cells. But their most egregious failing comes from the fact that young human lives are sacrificed to derive embryonic stem cells. The research fails due to the moral problem of treating nascent human beings as property, as expendable raw materials. The U.S. government is supposed to conduct responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, but embryonic stem cell research is neither responsible nor scientifically worthy because it demonstrably wastes taxpayer dollars as well as the lives of some of our youngest human beings. The false promises made to patients about potential embryonic stem cell cures only compound the unethical nature of this research. The NIH registry of human embryonic stem cell lines, a listing created by destroying young human beings, has created a government-encouraged cottage industry for further human embryo destruction to qualify for federal taxpayer dollars; the names and numbers in the registry sit as memorial markers of the lives sacrificed for science. The registry should be closed and the funds reallocated to patient-centered adult stem cell research.

Adult stem cell research, in contrast, is life-affirming research. Adult stem cells put the patient first, without requiring the destruction of the stem cell donor (who is often the patient). Besides trumping embryonic stem cells on the ethical front, adult stem cells are vastly superior in their practical advantages. Their actual benefits for patients long ago left embryonic stem cells disappearing in the rearview mirror, with the number of patients treated around the globe now approaching an estimated two million, including children in the womb. Numerous applications are close to or already in the clinic, including many currently in clinical trials as well as some therapies approved through all phases of FDA testing. Peer-reviewed, published, successful results abound, with hundreds of papers now documenting therapeutic benefit of adult stem cells in clinical trials and progress toward fully tested and approved treatments.

But the numbers and scientific papers have a more important, very human side. View this video as a starting point, learn more about the people and the lifesaving science of adult stem cells, and share this information. Patients as well as physicians need to know about these growing opportunities and be steered toward valid, safe treatments and trials. Policymakers need to see the true impact of supporting adult stem cells.

Adult stem cells are demonstrably the gold standard of stem cells. The results highlight how an ethical system that values all human life provides advantages to science and medicine. That’s a winning theme for patients, healthcare professionals and society.

David Prentice, PhD

About David Prentice, PhD

CMDA Member and Vice President & Research Director for Charlotte Lozier Institute

Leave a Comment