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Letters to the editor

February 08, 2007

Adult stem cells are the answer



To the editor:

In January, researchers announced successful results with amniotic fluid stem cells, which come in addition to long-standing, real results on real patients using adult, cord blood and placental stem cells.

So why have Nancy Pelosi and her congressional cohorts passed legislation to spend millions of your tax dollars to fund the killing of millions of unborn children to steal their embryonic stem cells? The research Pelosi seeks to fund has not only proven unsuccessful, but has been actually harmful in the few human trials that have been reported.

Isn't it ironic that this comes in the same month that the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade made it legal to kill children in the womb through all nine months?

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Embryonic stem cells promote the formation of tumors in the patient. British scientists who have done much work in this field say it could be at least 10 years (optimistically) before any success will be seen.

Therefore, private research funds usually go to adult stem cell or umbilical cord blood because of their proven successes. The embryonic researchers want you to pick up the tab to cover their failures, so that "someday" they can come up with a line of cells they can patent. Then they will charge you a fortune for treatment you have already paid for with your tax money. After all, they cannot patent the use of your own stem cells.

The media rarely mention the success achieved using adult stem cells. There is Kathleen, a 6-year-old seriously ill with leukemia. She received a cord blood treatment and is still disease-free five years later.

Another patient, Tom S., used his own stem cells to cure his IgA multiple melanoma. After Erica Nader's spinal cord was injured in a car accident, she traveled to Portugal. There her own stem cells were implanted at the injured site. Three years later, MRI tests showed that her adult stem cells had promoted the development of new blood cells and connections between nerve cells.

Recently, singer Don Ho also used his own adult stem cells to repair his seriously damaged heart. He could barely walk when he had a new treatment (not approved in the U.S.) in Thailand. Surgeons took adult stem cells from his blood, specially processed them, then injected them into his heart in December 2005. His condition improved so much that in less than two months he was performing again.

For certain kinds of leukemia, adult stem cells are taken from the patient and stored, while the patient undergoes aggressive chemo treatments that wipe out the diseased blood-making system. Then the stored cells are returned, to put the new bone marrow back in the business of making good blood. Because patients use their own cells, there is no problem of rejection.

Why are we so eager to allow ourselves to be used to fund the killing of the innocent while proven, ethical treatments are under-reported or dismissed? Follow the money!

Mary Giovanoni
Hagerstown




On cloned meat, FDA not trustworthy



To the editor:

FDA assurances on the safety of cloned, genetically engineered meat ("Anybody want to eat cloned meat?" Jan. 17) as reported by Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the agency's Center for Veterinary Medicine, are contrary to the conclusions of the agency's own scientific review panel. This conclusion is also contrary to reports by farmers of sickness and deformities in cloned cattle.

Sundlof's assurances are more suspect in view of his decade-old insistence of the safety of genetically engineered, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) milk used to increase milk production. This insistence conflicts with well-documented evidence on the sharply increased level of a natural growth factor, known as IGF-1, in rBGH milk. This is of major concern in view of strong evidence, based on over 30 publications in Cancer Research, The Lancet, Science and other leading scientific journals, that increased IGF-1 levels are associated with major risks of breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Furthermore, in the absence of any statutory authority, FDA insists that organic milk be labeled with the statement that "There is no significant difference between milk from cows treated with rBGH and untreated cows," and "that no test can distinguish between" them. In fact, rBGH milk contains elevated levels of a milk fat incriminated in heart disease, an uncommon thyroid hormone, and occasionally pus and antibiotics used to treat mastitis resulting from enforced milk production.

This is not the first time that we've witnessed such highly questionable FDA bias. A January 1986 report, "Human Food Safety and the Regulation of Animal Drugs," unanimously approved by the House Committee on Government Operations, concluded that the "FDA has consistently disregarded its responsibility," and "repeatedly put what it perceives are interests of veterinarians and the livestock industry ahead of its legal obligation to protect consumers - jeopardizing the health and safety of consumers of meat, milk and poultry."

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Professor emeritus
Environmental Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, Ill.

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