Stem Cells Shown to “Cure” Diabetics on Eve of Senate Vote

You’ve no doubt read something about the promise of stem cell research in curing diseases, a promise that George Bush is willing to sacrifice to satisfy his theocratic base.

StemcellsThe latest evidence of the hope that stem cells offer comes in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Stem cells may offer a “cure” for insulin-dependent diabetics:

“In a breakthrough trial, 15 young patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes were given drugs to suppress their immune systems followed by transfusions of stem cells drawn from their own blood.” The results? “All but two of the volunteers in the trial…do not need daily insulin injections up to three years after stopping their treatment regimes.”

A vote tonight in the Senate could overturn the strict limits Bush placed on stem cell funding, but Bush has once again promised to go against the will of the American people and scientific evidence and veto the legislation. Stem cell advocates believe they are close to having the votes to overturn the veto, and John Sununu could be the deciding vote.

UPDATE: Stem Cell bill passes, lacks votes to override veto.

Diabetics cured by stem-cell treatment [times onine]
Will John Sununu Help President Bush Veto Stem Cell Cures? [think progress]

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Bush’s Shameful Stem Cell Veto [tr]


  1. says

    I am a proponent of embryonic stem cell research as this bill (which Bush vetoed) and my own state of California’s funding would allow. I am opposed to embryonic stem cell research.

    But I have to point out that this trial doesn’t support the type of stem cell research that Bush and his fundy base oppose (and I support given the proper and usual safeguards), which is _embryonic_ stem cell research.

    This trial used stem cells from the patient’s blood, not from embryos. In fact, I’ll bet some fundies are using it right to argue that “see, we dont’ need embryonic stem cell research, non-embryonic stem cells work just fine!”

  2. C. Gerard says

    Just to keep things fair, if this study procured stem cells from the patients’ own bodies, then these are different from the stem cells drawn from embryos. Thus, the discourse is different. I think the Bush administration has been very receptive of the use of adult stem cells in medical research and treatment. So to use this article as an attack on Bush’s stance is misleading.

  3. Jeff-Seattle says

    Trey above is correct. Having said that if embryonic stem cells were found to be the only option for such a cure, or a cure for any other disease, I would favor the research. I can’t see how one can say that it is moral to ban research on multicelled blastocysts at the expense of treating a young girl with third degree burns all over her body. With todays techonolgy, any cell in the body has the potential to be a human being. As Sam Harris states, “Every time you scratch your nose you are comitting a holocost”

  4. Jeff-Atlanta says

    One other factor that might be important here is the fact that all of these patients were diagnosed with diabetes just 1-6 weeks before being put in the study. Adult stem cells are often more resistant because of the DNA coding that happens over time. So, adult stem cells might not work as effectively for a person who has been diabetic for an extended amount of time because of the ways in which their body has changed with the disease (which it would not have in a mere 1-6 weeks).

  5. says

    Yeah, I imagine the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the rest will be playing this up as a “win” for their side. I bet by tomorrow they have all issued statements about how adult stem cells are working while embryonic have not shown any promise whatsoever.

    It’s like they did with the Andrew Anthos murder “See there really wasnt a hate crime so we don’t need hate crime legislation” except it will be “see it is adult stem cells that are working so we do not need to use embryonic”

  6. Dr. Pat says

    It really has nothing to do with Bush, he might think so. The science has been going on for years and like cloning like it or not it is happening. Russia, China etc have been using the products for all.

  7. underscore says

    The goal here is not to triumph over the religious right; it’s to triumph over disease. This study shows we’ve made a significant step in learning about Type 1 diabetes. It’s good news. Even better, good news with no moral questions whatsoever. This isn’t a victory for Concerned Women for America. It’s one milestone among no doubt many more for people with Type 1 diabetes.

  8. sean says

    one needs to dig a bit deeper re. this news. first, as someone else here pointed out, these results involved newly diagnosed cases of diabetes and not long-standing cases. unfortunately, this type of stem-cell research would be of little benefit to people that have had insulin-dependent diabetes for many years. second, it’s important to note that the recipients of these stem cells were taking immunosuppressive drugs which would necessitate taking them for as long as these stem cells were viable. anyone who is on these types of drugs or knows of someone who is on these drugs is quite aware of how damaging they can be over the long-term. in fact, being on this type of medication can be devastating to the kidneys in the course of just a decade. this of course begs the question, if you have to take immunosuppressive medication, then why not just get a pancreatic transplant thereby omitting the need for pumps and/or injections of insulin by needle. lastly, there should be made the distinction between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. with the former, there is no need for anti-rejection medication as there is with the latter. it would seem that this in and of itself would necessitate further research into this field which of course the bushies are against. btw, i have lived with diabetes for more than 25 years.

  9. pacificoceanboy says

    Just wait till the religion junkies learn more about the research showing stem cells derived from embryos cures male pattern baldness. The experiments took geneticaly altered to be bald mice and injected them with stem cells from mice embryos. The mice grew hair.

    When the fundies learn more about these studies they will demand women get pregnant on purpose just to harvest the embryos to cure the many bald xtian nazis.

    Mark my words on that one.

  10. Bo Arfai says

    Sean, is there information I’m missing? Nowhere in the linked article does it say that the patient’s were on immunosuppresive drugs. Instead, their immune systems were ‘destroyed’ through a mild form of chemotherapy, following which the immune system was allowed to regenerate. It is my understanding that an immunosuppresive regieme would not be necessary.

  11. joshua says

    This break through was made using *****ADULT STEM CELLS*****…..they are something completely different than Embryonic Stem Cells***
    Bush and the religious right have no objection to Adult stem cell research and the goverment funds it in many Universities.
    Their objection is to funding Embryonic stem cell research because of the way they must be harvested, which is through abortion(basically).

    I have no problem with any of the stem cell research…..but, something that ESC people don’t like to talk about is that Embryonic stem cell research has not produced a cure for or ANY usable drug or help for ANY of the things they claim it will help. But…Adult stem cell and Umbilicle stem cell research HAS made several discoveries, the latest being this Diabetes one.
    So far Bush(hurts to say this) has been right and the ESC people have been wrong.

  12. scientitian says

    Joshua – sign up for Cell Biology and Developmental Biology at the nearest university you can find, and get back to me in a semester when you know what the hell you’re talking about. Embryonic stem cells have far more KNOWN scientific potential, but the research is much newer and takes time to do right (often decades). Cures and usable drugs take thousands and thousands of hours and many years to make it to human patients. I believe what you need is known as “patience.”

  13. sean says

    chemotherapy is just that, chemical therapy. don’t assume those chemicals are not drugs to suppress the immune system because that’s exactly what they are. insulin-dependent diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas thus causing diabetes. if adult stem cells have the same genetic markers as the original beta cells that were attacked, then they too will be attacked thus necessitating immunosuppressive therapy. embryonic stem cells do not have these markers and therefore do not become targets for immune system destruction.

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