Monday, April 13, 2009

Oz, Oprah, and Stem Cells

Check out this story from Catholic News Agency:
Chicago, Ill., Apr 8, 2009 / 01:08 pm (CNA).- Yesterday, Dr. Mehment Oz
appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to voice his support for adult stem cell research and to argue that “the stem cell debate is dead,” but instead of giving his statement a fair hearing, Oprah’s website buried and edited Oz’s comments.

Actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was invited on the show to talk about his struggle with Parkinson’s and his foundation’s endorsement of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).

Fox told Oprah that he believes President Obama’s decision lifting President Bush's restrictions on ESCR was a “step in the right direction” and that “we had eight years where there was no forward progress.” The United States has to make up for a lot of lost time, Fox added.

He also empathized with ethical concerns over ESCR, but said, “I just have faith in our scientists and the research community that they’ll do this ethically and to good purpose.”

After a commercial break, Oprah introduced Dr. Oz, who is the vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University, to explain how stem cells could be used to treat or cure the effects of many diseases.

To demonstrate how stem cells could be used, Oz brought out a human brain. Both Oprah and Fox laughed and joked with Oz as he discussed how stem cells would work in the brain. But Dr. Oz became more serious as he spoke about the future of embryonic stem cell research.

“Now, I’m going to say something that’s going to be a bit provocative. I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead, and I’ll tell you why,” said Oz.

“The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us were made from embryos. And those cells can become any cell in the body. But it’s very hard to control them, and so they can become cancer.”

Oprah and Fox then became visibly uncomfortable, shifting around in their chairs, as Oz explained that, contrary to Fox’s earlier testimony, incredible medical advances are being made using adult stem cells and not embryonic stem cells. He claimed that, “in the last year, we’ve made a 10 year advancement.”
Read the entire post HERE.


Noel said...

Oprah...She makes my blood boil. She is a wolf in sheep's clothing and she is leading a generation of ungrounded women astray. I have to restrain myself from saying much more. ahg!

Dan said...

Dr. Oz explained, "The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us were made from embryos, and those cells can become any cell in the body."

"But it's very hard to control them and so they can become cancer," Oz added, pointing to the efficacy problems of the cells causing tumors after injection into animals during experiments.

Oz went on to talk about the new science of induced stem cells made by reverting skin and other adult stem cells into an embryonic-like state without the destruction of human life.

He said he believes researchers are within ten years of making major breakthroughs using adult stem cells, which have already helped patients with more than 100 diseases and conditions.

"I think we are single digit years away from making a big impact in the lives of Parkinson's disease (victims) but also diabetics, heart attack victims, people who have had a lot of problems," he said of the potential success of adult stem cells.

Those successes could be even sooner than Oz thinks.

In what is believed to be the nation's first such procedure, doctors in Texas were recently able to successfully use adult stem cells from a patient to treat the effects of his stroke.

Doctors removed the stem cells from the patient's bone marrow in the leg, then separated or purified the stem cells and intravenously returned them to the patient within a few hours.

Because they are the patient's own stem cells, rejection was not an issue as is the case with embryonic stem cells.

case.jess said...

Juxtaposing MJF's comments about lost time against Dr. Oz's comment about the progress being made echoes with a slightly ironic tone. Something reminiscent of Back to the Future...

Harley A. said...

Oprah is, to me, the American mind personified – that’s why she’s so popular and resonates with such a large audience. Scary, isn’t it?