By Dave Andrusko
National Right to Life President and Pro-Life Perspective host Carol Tobias uses the Tuesday edition of PLP to applaud the work of Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council. No one has done more to dispel the myths surrounding embryonic stem cells and to share the good news that non-embryonic, ethical stem cells–“adult stem cells”–have successfully been used in a therapeutic setting all over the world.
Mrs. Tobias discusses Dr. Prentice’s account of Christopher Lyles, a 30-year-old Baltimore man who is now back home recuperating from surgery in Sweden that implanted an artificial trachea made with his own bone marrow adult stem cells.
Lyles had been diagnosed with inoperable tracheal cancer. “When conventional therapy failed, he learned that Italian Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, a Visiting Professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, had constructed and transplanted replacement tracheas, using the patient’s own bone marrow adult stem cells to build the new tissue,” Mrs. Tobias explained. Lyles traveled to Sweden in November to have the surgery; he returned home last month with his new implanted trachea.
“What we did is surgically remove his malignant tumor,” Dr. Macchiarini told the New York Times. “Then we replaced the trachea with this tissue-engineered scaffold.” In an arresting turn of phrase, Macchiarini added, “We’re using the human body as a bioreactor to promote regeneration.”
And because his own adult stem cells were used, there was no need for drugs to prevent his body from rejecting the transplanted windpipe. Use of anti-rejection drugs, which have numerous side-effects, is a common problem in transplants using donated organs.
Alas, just days after writing about Christopher Lyles, Dr. Prentice noted that National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins approved four more human embryonic stem cell lines generated at UCLA as eligible for taxpayer funding bringing the total number of these lines to 146. (The number is even greater now.)
“While NIH continues to waste taxpayer funds on destructive embryo research, adult stem cells continue to provide the gold standard for patient treatment,” Dr. Prentice wrote. “Published scientific evidence continues to show the effectiveness of adult stem cells in helping patients with angina pain, aggressive multiple sclerosis, enlarged hearts, systemic sclerosis, and creating new windpipes to name just a few examples…”
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