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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

 
This has been a week of good news from researchers working with stem cells. The following is from "Science Daily." Particularly encouraging is the fact that this advance involved embryonic stem cells, which, according to some opponents of the research, have never been shown to mend or cure anything. Perhaps this breakthrough, and others like it, will begin to prove the true potential of these cells.

MADISON, Wis., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Working with heart attack-stricken mice, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists has shown embryonic stem cells can help heal heart tissue.

A research team led by UW-Madison stem cell researcher Timothy Kamp reports embryonic stem cells transplanted into mouse hearts damaged by experimentally induced heart attacks, morph into functional forms of the major types of cells composing the healthy heart.

The scientists say if perfected, such therapy could provide a practical, less-invasive alternative to current therapies such as surgery and improve the quality of life for many patients.

Read the complete article here.


 
Exciting news from today's issue of "Red Herring."
Texas scientists will conduct the first human trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of using stem cells to treat brain injuries. December 21, 2005

The first clinical trial to investigate the potential of using stem cells to treat children who have suffered traumatic brain injuries will begin in early 2006, University of Texas Medical School researchers announced Tuesday.

“This would be an absolutely novel treatment, the first ever with potential to repair a traumatically damaged brain,” said James Baumgartner, associate professor of pediatric neurosurgery at the University of Texas Medical School.

The trial will not use embryonic stem cells, but stem cells derived from the patients’ own bone marrow.

Unlike injuries to muscles, skin, and bone, brain injuries do not repair themselves. As a result, between 15 and 25 percent of children who receive a traumatic brain injury die. Those who survive are affected for the rest of their lives.

“All we can do now is try to prevent secondary damage by relieving pressure on the brain caused by the initial injury,” said Charles Cox, distinguished professor in pediatric surgery and trauma at the University of Texas Medical School. “There is no reparative treatment for traumatic brain injury.”

Read the complete article here.

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