An amazing medical breakthrough reported in the London Times today. In a small trial of patients, 13 of 15 diabetics given injections of stem cells did not need daily insulin injection 3 years after the treatment. Truly remarkable.

Now, there are 2 types of stem cells; adult and embryonic. What kind were these. The articles doesn’t say specifically, but it leaves it to the reader to deduce that.

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.

Unless we’re talking about fetal diabetics, the stem cells must be adult ones. Chalk up another win for stem cells that lack any ethical issues.

But note that the writer is more than happy to bring up the other type of stem cells specifically.

Previous studies have suggested that stem-cell therapies offer huge potential to treat a variety of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neuron disease. A study by British scientists in November also reported that stem-cell injections could repair organ damage in heart attack victims.

But research using the most versatile kind of stem cells — those acquired from human embryos — is currently opposed by powerful critics, including President Bush.

By positioning these two paragraphs this way, the writer begs the reader to make the connection between this breakthrough and Bush’s refusal to have the feds fund embryonic stem cell research. Even the linked article about heart attack victims won’t use the word “adult” when talking about the stem cells.

What’s worse, blatant media bias like this really works. Just read the comment section at the end (which I believe is in reverse chronological order) to find those who are against Bush’s position but fail to realize the distinction.

Interesting that a major medical breakthrough, promising hope to millions of Type 1 diabetics and their families gets overshadowed by a debate on morality….

If you’ve had to stick a needle into your 11 year old twice/thrice daily would you object to stem cell research?
Get real this is the 21C. Blair n’ Bush should spend the war money on this research!

Kids want fun/childhood, not adult ethics.

How sanctimonius some of the opinions on this discussion are. My brother and I have type 1 diabetes. I really don’t care what type of stem cells are used if it finds a cure for this disease. Do you really equate a bunch of cells with an actual child or adult life? Is that serious? You would condemn people like me & my brother and countless others to living with this disease for ever because you believe that embryos are so important. That isn’t moraility, its drivel.

And one fellow seems to think that if the government doesn’t pay for it, it doesn’t get anything.

You use your religious beliefs to prevent my tax dollars from funding embryonic stem cell research. Only adult stem cell research is funded, so only adult stem cell cures are produced. Then, you use the success of some adult stem cell research to deny the value of embryonic stem cells? What kind of twisted circular logic is that? Of course there aren’t embryonic stem cell treatments if the research isn’t funded.

All victims of media reporting.

Finally, one commenter makes a great point. Follow the money.

Let’s not forget one of the biggest reasons that pharmas want to use embryonic stem cells. Money. If they use stem cells that come from a source other than a bonafide “Person”, they can patent it and make lots of money from the treatment. You cannot patent adult stem cells as they come from and belong to a particular individual.

Doug Payton blogs at Considerettes.

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