Researchers report embryonic stem cells reversed blindness

Imagine how restoring sight to the blind using embryonic stem cells would put the inane debate over contraception and personhood into stark perspective. That’s exactly what could happen given a report from embryonic stem cells researchers:

( Houston Chronicle) — The study, conducted at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), used retinal cells created from embryonic stem cells supplied by a biotechnology company. The retinal cells were injected into the eyes of two patients suffering from two different forms of progressive blindness and, in time, significantly improved their vision.

The article says one of the patients suffered from macular degeneration, which suggests the material may have induced retinal regeneration.

That’s a Big Fucking Deal. The Big Fucking Question: what’s scary under the shadoow of our latest manufactured wingnut lunacy, proposed state and federal bills would allow employers to deny health insurance coverage for future regenerative treatement if they object to stem cells.

There’s a lot of work to be done. But it’s real good bet that regenerative medicine is coming, and research on embryonic stem cells is leading the way. These cells hold the promise for treating virtually every disease and injury known to medical science. New organs for cancer patients, new limbs for amputees, spinal cords repaired for the paralyzed, perhaps even extending life beyond the current, cruel limits imposed by nature.

All made possible in part by studying cells that social conservatives literally prefer we dispose of under the guise of saving them. I would not want to be on that side of the aisle, fanatically waving around a personhood amendment, when the first photogenic kid gets up out of his or her wheelchair and walks thanks to stem cells.


  1. says

    I can’t see this making any difference. The people who are against stem cell research because of skewed concepts of ‘personhood’ have demonstrated time and time again they are much more interested in forcing women to carry to term than they are in helping people after they are born. People with macular degeneration or other such disease are undoubtedly blinded because of god’s wrath and should only find relief through God’s intervention.

  2. says

    True enough Pierce. What would or at least could be affected would be the political foundation. Politicians would be left with having to rely on a bunch of “stem cells are no good” arguments, and they might get some cover there. But they would be at great risk if they publicly and directly ran against stem cell treatments with more dramatic results than modern antibiotics or surgery.

  3. Trebuchet says

    There are a LOT of retinal problems in my family. That makes this pretty exciting news. Too bad small minded individuals would rather people just go blind.

  4. keith says

    Therapies of this type could help both men and women, where contraception can be viewed as a female only issue. I see a lot of conservatives starting to vote in their own self interest once their vision starts to fade.

  5. says

    That is a big fucking deal.

    Both of my parents have macular degeneration. My mother has “wet” in one eye and “dry” in the other. Dad is already legally blind — he hasn’t been able to drive for a decade or more.

    And since I’m certainly my mother’s son when it comes to eyesight, chances are I’ll be afflicted when I’m in my 80s. One more thing to look forward to.

    Of course, the creeps will probably complain that we’re taking over Jesus’ job of curing the blind. So we should pray instead. Or use spit. Which always bothered me. If Jesus was magic, why did he need to use spit to cure a blind man? Wouldn’t magic words have sufficed?

  6. says

    Science is amazing. You know what is equally amazing? The fact that Christian nutjobs purposefully ignore it. I am all for stem cell research and think its great. However, I have little faith that it will get where it needs to be, when we have states—give it up Virginia, who just sanctioned medical rape. Its so sad. So very very sad. These people could be more assbackward when it comes to science.

  7. Shawn Smith says

    But don’t you get it? Suffering is good for the soul! How do I know? Mother Theresa said so! And so what if you have to spend a few years or a few decades suffering here on Earth, when your Immortal Soul will have an eternity of bliss in Heaven, getting to praise Jesus and God for ever and ever and ever? Isn’t that worth it? How could it not?


  8. Aliasalpha says

    I would not want to be on that side of the aisle, fanatically waving around a personhood amendment, when the first photogenic kid gets up out of his or her wheelchair and walks thanks to stem cells.

    Oh come now, you know that this photogenic “formerly disabled” child would be the manipulative centrepiece of a vast liberal conspiracy trained, literally since birth, in faking a disability to… er… um… make baby jesus cry!


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