Press Release: New stem cell method not pro-life

For Immediate Release, Monday December 13, 2010

Pro-Lifers beware: Lead does not turn into gold – Another Stem Cell Deception

(Largo, FL) Children of God for Life Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge is sounding the alarm once more on iPS cell research that reprograms adult cells to become ’embryonic-like.

Dr Derick Rossi of Harvard Stem Cell Institute conducted several experiments, published recently in Cell Stem Cell. (618–630, November 5, 2010) His work using messenger RNA (mRNA) to reprogram adult cells to become pluripotent was touted as a moral alternative to human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research.

“There are many reasons why this is no panacea for pro-lifers,” Vinnedge stated. “But one has to read their study to find the truth.”

Aborted fetal cell lines, MRC-5 and Detroit 551 were two of the eight cell lines used in the experiments. Two other morally obtained cell lines were used from neonatal foreskin and a Cystic Fibrosis patient who donated the sample.

Four hESC lines were also used – and not just as a comparison to prove the reprogrammed cells were indeed pluripotent.

Reprogrammed cells were produced from H1-OGN and BG01, both of which are established hESC lines.  Two others, H1 and H9 hESC lines, used in previous reprogramming experiments were also employed.

Perhaps the biggest farce is that they used cDNA from LIN28 hESC as one of the components in the mRNA “cocktail” to accomplish the reprogramming of all eight cell lines.

“Common sense says if you use embryonic DNA in reprogramming you are probably going to get cells that are embryonic,” quipped Vinnedge. “And you will also get the same results – teratomas and tumors –  which is exactly what happened,” she added.

Dr Theresa Deisher of AVM Biotechnology agreed.  “Too many have given hESC proponents what they want, rather than giving the public what they need.  As a result the latest experiments are moving toward reproductive cloning instead of toward treatments that will actually help patients.”

Nowhere was this more evident than in the recent article published in The Life Scientist, where US researchers produced mice from two male parents using aborted fetal tissue, embryos and iPS reprogramming. (See more here )

“The endless quest by these scientists to create pluripotent cells is merely a distraction from advancing proven adult stem cell therapies,” stated Dr Deisher. The NIH has wasted over a billion dollars of tax payer moneyfunding pluripotent stem cell research, hESC research and reprogrammed adult stem cells”.

Deisher continued, “The NIH have been duped into believing the empty promises of pluripotent stem cells.  In order to get Americans to accept embryonic stem cell research, scientists simply convince the public this is theonly way and in doing so, they have viciously suppressed adult stem cell successes.”

And why would they do that?  Unlike adult stem cells which cannot be patented, embryonic and reprogrammed pluripotent stem hold the potential for millions of dollars to be made by these scientists.  It doesn’t matter if these patents ever help a single human being – the money is made up front.

Notably in the Rossi experiments the H1 and H9 hESC lines are from WiCell (University of Wisconsin, Madison) WiCell is part of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) which holds the patent on these cell lines. WARF gives roughly $45 million annually to the University for hESC Research. All one has to do is follow the money.

“This is both an injustice and ironically, a pro-life defeat for those who have worked so hard to promote moral avenues of research”, stated Vinnedge. Worst of all, it is a devastating blow to patients awaiting cures.”