Daily Archives: October 26, 2006


Read, bookmark (or better yet print it out so you don't lose it when the story is dropped) and remember what it says.

"Stem Cells Might Cause Brain Tumors"

There are those campaigning to open up federal funding for embryonic stem cell research on new embryonic lines.

There are important realities in the sentence that I just wrote that are often passed by.

  • There is already federal funding for existing embryonic lines
  • There is  private funding for new lines
  • research on new embryonic lines is NOT illegal, it's just that the federal government is not funding it

Something that I did not know (HT parableman) is that

Steven Goldman and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York said human stem cells injected into rat brains turned into cells that looked like early tumors.

From what I understand, the idea is for stem-cells to replicate into brain cells that release dopamine.  And...

Goldman's team apparently succeeded and transplanted them into the rats with an equivalent of Parkinson's damage. The animals did get better.

But the grafted cells started to show areas that no longer consisted of dopamine-releasing neurons, but of dividing cells that had the potential to give rise to tumors.

The article says that

Scientists have long feared that human embryonic stem cells could turn into tumors, because of their pliability.

(but it doesn't give a source)

If this article is accurate and Goldman's team's suspicions bear out, this could have an impact on the was we argue against (or for) stem cell research.