Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. was Director of Mental Help Net from 1999 to 2011. Dr. Dombeck received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1995 ...Read More
Researchers have now succeeded in getting paralized mice to walk again with the aide of stem cell therapy and that is a great thing (if it is true – study replication will tell). It would appear we are on the edge of a set of major medical breakthroughs which will surely enrich the lives of many many people.
What is not a great thing is the current administration’s conservative and obstructionist attitudes concerning stem cells and stem cell research. In an ongoing effort to appease their base and stay in power, they have made such research difficult to conduct, and thus have slowed progress in this important area. In so doing, they are standing directly in the way of millions of paralyzed and otherwise chronically ill people having the opportunity to walk again, or otherwise profoundly recover. This is a terrible waste of potential.
It’s not that some scientist out there won’t ultimatly figure out how to replicate this mice research finding in humans, – they eventually will. The real shame of it is that whatever breakthroughs ultimately come our way might have come sooner – much sooner – without the ambivalence of the present government. This should be a time to pour millions and millions of reseach dollars into this extremely promissing research so as to hurry it along – a time to open up the stem cell line federal funding process so as to make more lines available – a time to do everything possible to make this miracle happen faster. I’m afraid instead that the millions of sufferers who might be helped will just have to keep waiting as the funding dribbles down and work progresses at a relative snail’s pace.