Will Adult Stem Cells Cure Sickle Cell Anemia?
It’s been just weeks since two labs announced success harvesting pluripotent stem cells from skin cells (11/20/2007), and already beneficial applications are in sight. Science Daily and Live Science reported on initial tests that show the new “induced pluripotent stem cells” offer hope for millions afflicted with sickle-cell anemia. Though it’s too early to tell if the technique will work on humans, it appears to work in mice. If these ethically-acceptable cells are able to correct this well-characterized genetic mutation, perhaps miracle treatments for other genetic conditions are waiting in the wings.
A panel on Fox News reported Saturday that this new stem-cell methodology renders embryonic stem cells obsolete and thus puts the ethical controversy about stem cells behind us. No one on the panel disagreed.
For an engaging read about the sickle-cell mutation, and how it provides some resistance to malaria, read Michael Behe’s new book, The Edge of Evolution (see description at Access Research Network and Behe’s Amazon blog where he battles his critics.)
Evolutionists have used malarial resistance via sickle-cell trait as one of their leading examples of natural selection in action. Dr. Behe does not disagree that it is a prime example of a Darwinian process, but uses it to show that what can be achieved by it is extremely limited. The evolutionary “arms race” between the malarial parasite and its hosts, he illustrates in detail, does not lead to higher levels of organization. It is more like trench warfare, in which opposing armies will tolerate huge casualties in order to survive.