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Medicine Science

Finnish Patient Gets New Jaw from His Own Stem Cells 141

An anonymous reader writes with news out of Finland, where a patient's upper jaw was replaced with bone cultivated from stem cells and grown inside the patient himself. We discussed other advances in stem cell research a few months ago. Quoting: "In this case they identified and pulled out cells called mesenchymal stem cells -- immature cells than can give rise to bone, muscle or blood vessels. When they had enough cells to work with, they attached them to a scaffold made out of a calcium phosphate biomaterial and then put it inside the patient's abdomen to grow for nine months. The cells turned into a variety of tissues and even produced blood vessels, the researchers said."
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Finnish Patient Gets New Jaw from His Own Stem Cells

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  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:08AM (#22282094)
    Wow, they didn't even kill an unborn baby

    Cut it out. Please, just stop it.
  • by Watson Ladd ( 955755 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:27AM (#22282206)
    Do you really think the ADA will be against a procedure that requires much oral surgery, and associated fees? They don't make money off people without teeth, so it is their best interest to encourage you to keep them.
  • by fbjon ( 692006 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:41AM (#22282302) Homepage Journal
    It still costs money, regardless of who pays for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:44AM (#22282324)
    It's a relevant comment, Alternative stem cell technology does have the potential to intrude upon embryo stem cell research and usurp its importance in the field of medical care. Why should we stop discussing the potential of one technology to replace another, highly controversial one? And why in God's name do we scream "please, stop" at one controvery while we engage in several other equally hot topics (that are nearer and dearer to geeks than fetuses)? "Kuill an unborn baby"? I've seen equally incindiary comments than that over music copying/piracy (there we go, there's one example), etc.

    You sound like a hypocrite.
  • by nlitement ( 1098451 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @11:49AM (#22282352)
    Actually, it didn't cost him a cent. We have euros, you see.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @12:18PM (#22282558)
    I was not screaming "STOP" at the controversy. I was screaming "STOP" at yet another repeated falsehood. I am perfectly willing to discuss the "controversy" but not with such outrageous emotional overtones.

    I have nothing against working multiple lines of research: one or both will pay off handsomely (or maybe another effort that's not even been thought of yet, but will likely benefit from current progress.) But the "killing babies" argument is getting old and tired, and is not relevant because nobody kills babies for the express purpose of acquiring stem cells. That's just a lie, pure and simple. They're discarded embryos that have no hope of ever being born ... this is just my own opinion, but if I'd had a mother that didn't want me, had aborted me and left me for dead, I'd rather have ended up in a research program than a medical incinerator. Maybe then someone else who might otherwise have died, or suffered horribly, would have some chance at life.

    Nobody wants to deal with the real issue of why there are so many non-viable embryos available for research purposes in the first place. What? That's a complex psycho-socio-economic problem that has no easy answer and can't be solved by blowing up abortion clinics or passing a few laws? Huh. How about that for controversy. Perhaps we need to rethink some basic aspects of our culture and figure out where we went wrong. This so-called "controversy" over stem cell research is a symptom of some deeper issues. Issues that, I might add, aren't going to disappear just because our President doesn't understand that his moral sense is too simplistic to provide effective guidance in this area (among others.)

    I get just as torqued off when people make similar irrational commentary on other equally-hot topics. So calling me a hypocrite is a bit off: I just want people to learn to think. Only then does a reasoned response that might actually improve matters become possible. Otherwise everyone is just stroking their egos and refusing to learn anything.

    Look, this same technique is applied to many different issues. Take illegal immigration. As soon as anyone brings up the idea of enforcing the law as written, some asshole immediately starts crying "racism! racism!". At that point, any rational discussion becomes impossible, because anyone who believes we should enforce our own laws has now been labeled a bigot. Doesn't matter what the facts are any longer.

    So, if you want to have a decent dialog about the use of discarded embryos in stem cell research, keep the "killing babies" commentary to yourself. It serves little purpose other than to polarize the participants and eliminate any possibility of rational discourse. The people who are performing this research (the ones who originally used embryonic cells) are not baby killers, not abortion doctors, they're researchers with a genuine desire to advance our scientific knowledge and help people. Such deliberate and malicious mischaracterization of others generally means that someone has a fatally flawed perspective that cannot be supported by reality ... and knows it.
  • Bad tag (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @12:23PM (#22282598) Journal
    What bonehead tagged this "whatcouldpossiblygowrong"? That tag is for describing situations where some kind of decision could easily have unforeseen consequences affecting numerous people. What could possibly go wrong here is that this guy could, at worst, die. This one guy.

    Stop overusing that tag! </rant>
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @12:30PM (#22282646)
    Well, as an American citizen who is watching his country's slow fall from being the leader in technology and scientific research to a relative backwater, I'd say it's a good thing that other nations are investing more and more in science, so that when the time comes I'll be able to fly somewhere to get state-of-the-art treatment if I should ever need it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 03, 2008 @01:16PM (#22282958)

    The pope just shit a brick

    Why? Didn't you know that the pope endorses stem cell research? []

    "How can I not feel compelled to praise those who dedicate themselves to this research and those who support it and its costs," the pope said Sept. 16
  • Re:So Tell Me (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:08PM (#22283370) Homepage Journal
    The brouhaha over fetal stem cell research was largely amplified by the pro abortion lobby. They fear laws that call an embryo a life form or offer any protection to them. Adult stem cell research has been extremely fruitful, and there really is no reason to be growing and destroying embryos for research that has yet to show much promise.

    I'm sure researchers in the US are looking into similar techniques since so far adult stem cell research has shown real theraputic results whereas fetal stem cell research has not.
  • by AndGodSed ( 968378 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:19PM (#22283444) Homepage Journal
    First off: I am a Christian, and anti abortion.

    Before you cast my comment aside, let me say that in many respects I agree with you.

    Crying "killing babies" is a mantra created for influencing the masses. I realize that there is a huge gray area as far as abortion goes. Sometimes it is necessitated because the mothers life is in danger, other times the fetus is dead.

    Killing the fetus for the simple expedient of harvesting stem-cells makes me uncomfortable, and I would vote against it if ever given the chance. Using unborn (through natural death - rejection in the womb for instance) fetuses for that purpose makes me less uncomfortable.

    I am however all for exploring means that would make it unnecessary to use a fetus for the purpose of harvesting stem-cells, but making blanket uninformed decisions is wrong and trying to get the masses involved by preying on their fears is wrong.
  • by ZombieRoboNinja ( 905329 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:12PM (#22283878)
    >>Take illegal immigration. As soon as anyone brings up the idea of enforcing the law as written, some asshole immediately starts crying "racism! racism!". At that point, any rational discussion becomes impossible, because anyone who believes we should enforce our own laws has now been labeled a bigot. Doesn't matter what the facts are any longer.

    Well, as a parallel example, some states still have anti-sodomy laws on the record. If you were to recommend "enforcing those laws as written," don't you think people would be right to decry you as anti-gay?

    The laws already on the record aren't automatically morally neutral. They may very well be racist laws. You certainly don't have to try too hard to find laws that WERE explicitly racist in our nation's recent history. If you're going to argue in favor of current immigration policy, you're going to have to come up with a better argument for why the current laws are acceptable than merely that they're the current laws.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:33PM (#22284098)
    Well, I'm atheist and I'm anti-abortion, mostly because I see most of them as being the result of irresponsible behavior, and a further unwillingness to take responsibility for one's actions. I would think that most people don't believe abortion is a good idea, it mostly comes down to what criteria get applied for it to be permitted. Some would say when the mother's life is at risk, some would say when a woman is impregnated after a rape, others say it's the mother's choice ... others say never, ever. As usual, there's a middle ground that has to be found and some people will just have to accept that, whether they want to or not.

    Obviously, as someone who doesn't believe in a human soul I'm at best only peripherally concerned with that aspect of the abortion controversy, however I do believe that a society such as ours should maintain some self-respect, some respect for each other. The problem is complex, however, and simply outlawing abortion without honestly and openly discussing the underlying cultural and economic concerns that affect abortion rates is pointless. Failure to address those issues will only make matters worse.

    Regardless, I agree with you that abortion won't be dealt with in a responsible way unless we stop with the fear-mongering and irrational arguments. That applies to a whole host of other problems that are facing our society right now, from foreign policy to illicit drugs to stem-cell research. Unfortunately, many, many people simply cannot see past their own worldview, won't compromise under any conditions, refuse to accept that the other guy might have a point. Other people are just ignorant and believe whatever they're told by the latest talking head. As a consequence, sometimes very little progress gets made.

    And that's too bad.
  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @07:44PM (#22285996) Homepage

    I stopped drinking fluoridated water 8 years ago (and stopped using fluoride-based toothpaste), and my lifetime problem with my teeth has turned around significantly... Sidenote: I also stopped consuming sugar

    Sidenote? You have got to be fucking kidding me.

    I've been drinking fluoride-water and using fluoride-toothpaste my entire life, and I have never had a single cavity. I'm not implying that my anecdote is any less meaningless than yours, but mine doesn't come with any sidenotes that are more significant than the "main" point!
  • by Nullav ( 1053766 ) < .ta. .com.> on Sunday February 03, 2008 @09:14PM (#22286458)
    Why put embryos on a pedestal? No one gets mad when someone has liposuction. Won't somebody please think of the poor fat cells being slaughtered? What makes a cell unique enough to get this kind of attention, is it that the cell's DNA differs from that of the host? Then I suppose it's our duty to inform all those oncologists that what they're doing is wrong.
    (Really, what do you think would happen to most of the embryos being used for stem cell research? At least they're going to something useful.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:17AM (#22303158)

    I'll never understand why people vote with their fingers what they're not willing to vote for with their wallets.
    It's a sad fact of human group psychology- people want things done, they just want someone else to do it (or pay for it.)

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.