Despite the claims that stem cell research arguments hold false hope for Americans afflicted with diseases that may ultimately be controlled by those efforts, other countries are pursuing it with steady results. Results of a new British study growing liver cells has been released today. The cells were grown from an umbilical cord taken from a live birth. The liver cells are a small mass, and the technology to create tissue that could be transplanted is still decades away. The benefit that can be utilized the earliest will effect millions, if not billions more.
Drug testing for effects on liver function can become far more reliable. Creating drugs that do not effect liver function can become better and cost less. Research that could help people with liver disease is another potential that effects many people who do not have enough liver failure to require a transplant, but are suffering from inadequate function of a major organ.
Nutrition is another key area of liver function that has been getting a tremendous amount of research in the past 2 + decades. ‘Nutriceuticals’ are food substances that can have a pharmaceutical effect if taken in sufficient quantity. Some can have toxic effects if taken in too large a dose. Health problems related to absorption and liver processing of nutrients could also be studied.
The tissue is grown using a microgravity bioreactor, a piece of equipment derived from Nasa technology, which aids the creation of cells by mimicking weightlessness.
America has developed some of the critical technology that makes this research possible. Yet we are mired by the Bush Anti-Science Administration in pursuing the possibilities of this huge new area of research.
Could we run the Michael Fox ads with a “We interupt this ad to bring you the latest news” update?
Update: NYT looks at the effect of the stem cell issue in Liberal Republican Suburb Turns Furious With G.O.P.