The Multiple Sclerosis Society’s unscientific support of ESCR

MSlogo2.jpgby intern Anne Marie D.
One of the greatest contradictions in modern healthcare is the willingness of many health organizations to seek greater quality of life for patients with a particular disease, such as multiple sclerosis, at the expense of forfeiting the quality of life of human embryos. One such organization is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. For a list of other organizations supporting embryonic stem cell research, click here….

The NMSS website advocates the use of ESCR, claiming “to find new ways to prevent, slow or repair the devastating effects of MS, the NMSS supports the conduct of scientifically meritorious medical research, including research using human cells, in accordance with federal, state and local laws and with adherence to the strictest ethical and procedural guidelines”.
Unfortunately, the article makes no scientific case whatsoever in support of ESCR, instead attempting to validate their position by saying “research on all types of stem cells is critical because we have no way of knowing at this point which type of stem cell will be of the most value in multiple sclerosis.”
And yet, there is scientific evidence overwhelmingly in favor of a particular kind of stem cell research: adult stem cells. Regrettably, the organization pooh-poohs the newly discovered potential to reverse adult stem cells to their undifferentiated embryonic state.
embryo2.jpgWhile ESCR carries a hefty ethical pricetag, adult stem cell research has enjoyed tremendous successes in the treatment of numerous ailments, including autoimmune diseases, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s, among others. Regrettably, the NMSS downplays such successes in relation to their ability to aid MS patients, stating “… gathering sufficient sources of such (adult stem) cells without harming individuals is not yet feasible.” What a saddening paradox, such arbitrary care for the welfare of individuals. Too bad embryos don’t enjoy such distinction.
The NMSS also downplayed the results of a groundbreaking study performed by Northwestern University, which holds great promise for certain MS patients. According to the university’s website in a statement on January 30, 2009:

Researchers from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine appear to have reversed the neurological dysfunction of early-stage MS patients by transplanting their own immune stem cells into their bodies and thereby “resetting” their immune systems.

Patients experienced improvement and then stabilization over a period of 24 months in the areas of walking, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination), limb strength, vision, and incontinence.
The procedure, termed autologous non-myeloablative haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, involves removing the offending immune portion of the bone marrow, regenerating new, harmless immune cells, and transplanting them back into the patient’s body.
Further research is currently underway. We can only hope in the future the NMSS will promote live-saving scientific inquiry by way of ethical means, rather than by peddling unscientific arguments on the basis of political correctness.
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20 thoughts on “The Multiple Sclerosis Society’s unscientific support of ESCR”

  1. The members of NMSS who DON’T support ESCR are the ones being shortchanged here, as they’re being fed a line of crap of “adult cells just don’t hold the same promise” as ESCs, which is garbage. Remember that not everyone in the NMSS is represented on that issue by the organization’s top brass. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation once made its members sign a “loyalty oath,” in which they promised either to speak out publicly and privately in favor of ESCR or not talk about it at all. Just one more example of people with a legitimate and different point of view being silenced.

  2. No surprise here.
    MS society was never an ethical charity.
    I was an avid cyclist and my friends always would ask if I was riding in the MS 150. I always said I would love to but I wouldn’t want a dime to go to the MS society because they fund the poorest quality research and they don’t help people who have the disease.

  3. My parents used to be very involved with the MS society. I think my dad may have even held some sort of title on a board or something. Anyway, back in 2004 or 2005 back when I believe they were voting on whether or not they as a society were officially going to support h-ESCR, he gave a speech to some group explaining all the ethical issues involved in h-ESCR, how it is the killing of an innocent human being, how the ends can never justify the means, etc. etc. I’m sure it was a wonderful speech. Alas, after wards many people thanked him and told him that they respected his opinion. Not a SINGLE PERSON (except my dad) voted against supporting h-ESCR. My dad was member of the MS Society for 20 some years, yet because of their new-found unethical stance, both my parents had to quit. Very sad.

    Federal Officials Receive Citizen Grand Jury Presentments
    Obama has been officially indicted!

  5. “God bless your parents for their courage to do the right thing. I’m sure you are proud.”
    (Bobby, of course that is directed to you.)

  6. Somewhat related –
    Would anyone know if The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) supports ESCR?

  7. gathering sufficient sources of such (adult stem) cells without harming individuals is not yet feasible.”
    say what? surely they jest.
    There is also new research out that suggests that MS might be related to a Vitamin D deficiency. And in fact, northern countries which receive lower amounts of sunshine tend to have higher incidences of MS.
    I worked with a man who had MS. I remember discussing his illness with him. He got the disease in his 20’s but then it stopped progressing when he took a job working outdoors. He lived a long life – he was 81 when he died about two years ago. I’m betting his outdoor job was what helped him. His extra exposure to sun may have helped.

  8. Janet,
    Didn’t see any mention of h-ESCR support on the LLS website. Did see mention of bone marrow stem cells and cord blood donation, both positive signs!

  9. It used to be that the Church was criticized for allowing faith and dogma to trump scientific inquiry.
    Well, it looks as though the situation has gone topsy-turvy. It is now the scientific community and our so-called intellectual elites and political leadership who are the ones allowing their faith to influence their judgement.
    Their faith is in an unproven technology, a techology which requires the destruction of living human embryos. For them, the promise of this technology even outweighs the counterpart technology that utilizes stem cells harvested from sources that do not destroy living human embryos.
    They further state that the funding for this research should command the greater use of taxpayer monies, even though the counterpart technology has been and continues to be the sole source of successful therapies for dozens of maladies.
    It is also a fact that the prospects for ESTC to ultimately yield any successes is also a huge unknown, and that it will be years before anything is known.
    Nevertheless, they will push forward, no matter the ethical and moral considerations, because their “dogma” is that the end justifies the means.

  10. Funny. How little the pro-abort side thinks. You know sometimes I think they play devil’s advocate, because THEY don’t believe what they’re saying.

  11. Ahhhhhhhhhh finally folks are wakening!! There is so much bs posing as science (even GOOD science) these days. I have a genetic disease that has so many symptoms similar to MS that often we are often mistaken for one another, by neurologists. For the past 3 decades (or more), I have followed research lines. Most modern medical research is filled with fast talking, money-hungry egomaniacs and not geniuses, as we pleebs like to think.
    Most basic research is promising. If it is VERY promising, the ‘researchers’ develop and patent drugs (to pay for more/market research). Only ‘patent’ drugs ‘cure’ diseases, we are told and BELIEVE this hype. It is so bad, that many doctors are considered as legal ‘pushers’.
    For me, the whole stem-cell scene is just-the-latest-scheme to fleece folks …. who do not have medical knowledge (even science knowledge).
    There are so many roads (without drugs) that can be taken, but aren’t because these are inexpensive.
    Vitamin D3 is the natural vitamin called 1,25 dihdroxycholecalciferol and it made via sunbathing. Yep, the old sun’s UV rays turn the cholesterol (an essential part of all cells) to vitamin D3. The best supplemental natural source is good quality cod-liver-oil. This is even available as fermented cod-liver oil.
    too much to say here …. The national umbrella group covering my disorder is MDAC(anada). They support this stupidity because it’s lead researcher approves of ESCR.

  12. John,
    Interesting. Is there a cod liver oil that isn’t nasty to take? Do you know – how much cod does one need to eat, or how much sun, to meet nutritional requirements?
    Have a great holiday weekend.

  13. Hi Janet,
    I’m One of those strange people who do not mind the taste of cod liver oil t all. So taking my advice re. taste is ???????
    In former days, there was a problem with rancidity of oils and the use of synthetic vitamin D2 (toxic ergocalciferol) rather than natural vitamin D3. Most of this has changed by reputable modern manufacturing processing.
    Here’s a link to the stuff I use. For psople that cannot tolerate the taste, it comes in many flavours. Flavoured by the addition of essential oil …

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