Sept. 24, 2007
There's so much that needs to be said in response to today's pathetic editorial. The following statements, at least, deserve comment:
There are distressingly few women willing to donate their eggs for experiments at the frontiers of this promising science....Many were likely deterred by the time, effort and pain required - including daily hormone injections and minor surgery - to retrieve the eggs.
Not to mention the possibility of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, cancer, and death, complications which the New York Times editors must regard as inconvenient to their message.
And they were almost certainly discouraged by the meager compensation [...] These restrictions are meant to protect the women against exploitation, but they have created a dearth of egg donors for stem cell research.
In other words, some people are concerned about the exploitation of women but all we know is that there aren't enough women giving up their eggs -- this is offensive.
Scientists need to develop new stem cell lines genetically matched to patients with diseases like diabetes or Parkinson's. They typically take the nucleus of a patient's skin cell and inject it into an egg whose nucleus has been removed.
Obscuring the truth of what this process is might be expected from smaller papers, but the NYT eds ought to have the [wherewithal] to use the word cloning, since that is where so much of the controversy lies.
If all goes well, the desired stem cell can be derived from the result.
An "embryo" is now a "result." Masterful. If the NYT eds had done even a little research before opining on the subject, they'd have learned that all has never gone well: stem cells have never been derived from a cloned human embryo.
With few human eggs available, some privately financed stem cell scientists are studying animal eggs to see if they can work the same magic when injected with a human nucleus.
The magic has yet to be worked. The NYT eds are going out of their way
to look silly.
That may send shivers of apprehension through people who imagine rogue scientists creating grotesque half-human, half-animal creatures in the laboratory. But a thorough examination of the process by British regulators should alleviate such fears...there would be remarkably little animal - only about 0.1percent - in the mix.
Even 0.1 percent merits a shiver or two, no?