Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stem Cells in Brazil

Suppose you treat some type-1 diabetics with their own stem cells.

15 people, some of them teens, were subjected to the risky procedure. 13 seem, at least temporarily, to be cured. The other 2 come through okay but still need insulin shots.

This was done in Brazil. Is Brazilian medicine at the forefront of research? Not exactly. The doctor who designed the protocol was from Northwestern Medical School in Chicago. So... why Brazil?

For some reason no one wanted to do it in America. Is it because of the federal shadow over stem cell research? Or is it just very cautious medical ethicists? The story quotes one of them, from another school, criticizing the experiment for including teens.

But the Brazilian ethics board said to go for it.

There is a risk to avoiding risk.
You accidentally whisk away
The benefits of experiment.
You cannot win unless you play.

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