Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Has Michael J. Fox Seen the Light of Day?

By Heather Mathews for PPSIMMONS                                                                                  May 23, 2012

I never purported to be an expert in the various scientific disciplines, but my interest, nonetheless, was a major motivation to get my practical nursing license a few years ago and at least get part-way through my RN degree.  At one point, I was hoping to use it as a stepping stone to eventually end up in medical research.  Alas, plans change.

Despite the change in plans, I still retain at least a nominal interest, particularly where science and God’s plan intersect.  Coupled with my occasional dabbling in the “news” that is Hollyweird, it’s no wonder I was at least a little surprised and a bit vindicated when I saw that actor Michael J. Fox, famous for “Family Ties” and the “Back to the Future” trilogy, now believes the controversial therapy may not ultimately yield a cure for his disease, he told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.2

There have been “problems along the way,” Fox said of stem cell studies, for which he has long advocated.   Instead, he said, new drug therapies are showing real promise and are “closer today” to providing a cure for Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative illness that over time causes the body to become rigid and the brain to shut down.3

“Stem cells are an avenue of research that we’ve pursued and continue to pursue but it’s part of a broad portfolio of things that we look at. There have been some issues with stem cells, some problems along the way… It’s not so much that [stem cell research has] diminished in its prospects for breakthroughs as much as it’s the other avenues of research have grown and multiplied and become as much or more promising. So, an answer may come from stem cell research but it’s more than likely to come from another area.”4

I feel for Fox.  While I have been blessed to not have been diagnosed with anything near as devastating as he was back in 1991, I do have a very large extended family, many of whom have Huntington’s disease, another terrible neurodegenerative disorder, and I have seen the effect it has on the family.

How do you, however, justify causing death to save a life?  There is no guarantee that experimenting with the death of the pre-born is going to save a life or cure all cases of a particular disease, but could it theoretically cause some kind of mutation by the combination of non-native DNA in a synthetic manner?  This could even be the case with the usage of adult stem cells (which the article fails to differentiate:) we just don’t know the long-term effects of the usage of allogeneic treatments.  But then again, we DO have the simple medical miracle of blood transfusion.  It just reminds me of experimental chimerism (like I said, I’m NOT a scientist.)  I am heartened by Fox’s recognition that stem cells are not likely to be the holy grail of disease management, and that drug therapies, experimental surgeries, and earlier diagnosis are more probable methods in someday eradicating this disease (prior to the days of Revelation 21:4, anyway.)  Now if only we could convince him that embryonic stem-cell experimentation is not an answer at all.

3 Ibid
4 Ibid

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