Invisible Hand - Monkey Is as Monkey-Doo
I posted this article because I happen to agree with Sherley's conclusions based upon my own research into actual and on-going Stem Cell research projects.
I am not against all Stem Cell research or attempts to develop medical cures, because those projects showing the most promise involve either mature (adult) cells or stem cells rendered from the host organism.
But the attempt to develop cures from any stem cells, say stem cell lines derived from a creature other than the original host creature is a canard. That is if you were sick, reverse development of your own cells to a more undifferentiated state, or even use of derivatives of your own mature cells show medical promise, but use of cells from another creature to develop a cure for you shows no, extremely limited, or only temporary promise (at best).
I suspect this is for both biological and genetic reasons, humans - indeed all creatures are built with fail-safes which prevent the direct adoption of alien tissue, no matter the state of maturity or immaturity, from being properly assimilated without a host of secondary problems.
Your own tissues however, reconfigured, would simply be out of time phase with the surrounding tissue (meaning would simply be at a different level of maturity if undifferentiated), which would also create a cluster of assimilation problems, but not nearly as many as the legion of problems associated with alien tissue and cellular and genetic structures not native to the original host. By using tissue from the original host there is no danger of typical rejection processes, adoption of the tissue is automatic, and assimilation (excluding possible states of maturity issues) is assured regarding the surrounding tissue.
Obviously, as even common sense would dictate, the very best and most promising cures will be derived from the cellular and genetic structures native to the host organism (assuming there is no congenital defect, then you would simply have to screen the tissue or genetic material used until one finds structures free of defects), and the attempt to graft alien tissue (structures or genetic material derived from a source other than the host) will go nowhere fast, and indeed if the promise(s) of generalized, undifferentiated stem cells were easily resolvable then we would already have derived miracles cures, instead of countless experiments which might someday offer promise if pursued indefinitely.
The truth is the entire problem with the stem cell debate, as well as with the debate on reverse engineering cellular states and structures is not how can it be done, but where should the tissue, cells and genetic material come from? If I were suffering from some disorder then the obvious cellular and genetic answer to my problem lies within my own tissues, my healthy tissues. My healthy tissues, properly rearranged and reformatted would lead to cures in almost every way properly efficacious for me and my particular disorder. If however alien tissue is introduced into my body, no matter the cellular state, the inherent genetic differences will still trigger a host of problems, as regards rejection, immune system functioning, infection, tumor development, improper assimilation, adoption of, replication of, and reproduction of the alien tissue, and so forth, probably for the rest of the life of the hosting organism.
Sherley is exactly correct; the problems inherent in stem cells derived from any source are manifold and likely to create cancers and systemic disorders for years and years to come in any host organism.
The answer however is simple and easy. Use healthy cells from the host organism (the same creature who suffers the disease or disorder), reorganize or rearrange or transform those healthy cells as needed and you avoid a whole legion of medical, genetic, cellular, tissue, and moral problems.
Of course in modern science the moral answer is usually immediately considered as somehow suspect, because ultimately most of the people who engage in the debate are not interested in either evidence or true science, just "really cool ideas," politics, research grants, and program funding. Most casual readers on the subject don't know any more than they have heard in the popular media, and have not done any research on such matters either, other than in popular mass market and trade magazines. They have never done real science, never run an experiment of any kind, have never read a technical paper, or even critiqued a scientific idea. They swallow their "hard science" like a calf at the teat of a Mad Cow, and if you attach the term science to the words you write then you can sell them blood from a gooney bird as if it were Kamchatka mammoth droppings. They derive their science from People magazine and the New York Times and Internet message boards. Sixteen year old kids think they understand science (and somehow they have confused this word in their minds with "life," as if the terms were interchangeable except for the variation in spelling) and are the most brilliant generation ever because they grow up on the Internet (they don't even know of the day when the Internet was an actual and real academic and governmental research and exchange network) and read articles posted from another friend who got the article from another friend who got it from a "social network" (in which you never actually meet the people you socialize with, just exchange safe-data) where it was posted from an original article on CNN. Imaginary networks of supposedly like-minded people, endlessly recycling the same erroneous data - the entire sum total of their research and base of personal experience and knowledge on any given issue. So it must be true no matter what the actual evidence. I net therefore I know.
But, c'est la vie. That's life in modern times.
Monkey is as monkey do.