A Company in New Zealand finds Promising Results when using Pig Brain Cells to Treat Parkinson’s Disease

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 21st, 2012

Week in Review

During the 2006 midterm election a little dustup occurred between Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh.  Fox has Parkinson’ disease.  He was supporting a Democrat candidate who was in favor of embryonic stem cell research.  According to Fox embryonic stem cells held the greatest hope in finding a cure.  Those on the right oppose this for two reasons.  For one they questioned the ethics of ‘farming’ human embryos for scientific experimentation.  The other being that the track record for adult stem cell research had a better track record then embryonic stem cells.  Fox appeared in a campaign commercial visibly shaking from the affects of Parkinson’s disease.  Limbaugh said that he went off of his meds to make the affects of his disease worse for political purposes.  Even imitating a shaking Michael J. Fox.  Images of Rush Limbaugh’s imitation played across mainstream media.  Which the left also used for political purposes.

The Democrats won both houses of Congress and a majority of governorships in the 2006 midterm elections.  The Democrats then won the white House in 2008.  So like it or not the Democrats had the power.  And if embryonic stem cells held the cure they were in a position to do something about it (see Reuters: New Zealand firm to trial pig cells to treat Parkinson’s by Victoria Thieberger posted 4/17/2012 on Reuters).

A New Zealand company plans to implant pig cells in the human brain in a clinical trial to treat Parkinson’s disease and help improve movement and brain functions in patients.

And here we are in 2012 and what are researches using in the battle of Parkinson’s?  Pig cells.  Why are they experimenting with pig cells?  Well, adult stem cells had shown promise.  They worked a little.  But the improvements were fleeting.  Studies done with embryonic stem cells had shown some promise, too.  But there were side effects.  Including tumors.  And the disease sometimes spread to the newly implanted cells.  Which is why they’re trying pig cells.  So as of yet they haven’t proven embryonic stem cells to be the panacea some people have claimed them to be.

So perhaps the debate over embryonic stem cells has been more political than scientific.  For it would help those on the left in the debate over when human life begins.  If we started ‘farming’ embryonic stem cells for scientific experimentation and, better yet, used them for medical treatment, it could change a lot of minds.  Boiling the debate down to a simple choice.  Save lives?  Or ban abortions?  Some people may go all Mr. Spock in their rationalization.  “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  Or the one.”   Especially if they believe the one isn’t a human yet.

Let’s hope the New Zealanders are on to something.  And can find a cure for this horrible disease.  Let’s also hope that they are basing this research on good science, though.  And not politics.  For there is nothing worse than giving someone false hope just because it’s politically expedient.



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