February 22, 2010
It sounds like something out of science fiction—or "Ripley's Believe It Or Not"—but it isn't.
Britain's Daily Telegraph reports the story of Russell Turnbull, who tried to break up a fight while riding home on the bus one night. For his pains, Turnbull ended up getting ammonia sprayed into his right eye, which scarred his cornea. Turnbull lost most of his sight in that eye, and suffered pain every time he blinked.
But now Turnbull has had his sight almost completely restored, thanks to a pioneering procedure using stem cells. Adult stem cells.
Dr. Francisco Figueiredo, an eye surgeon at the North East England Stem Cell Institute, performed an operation that involved cutting away a tiny portion of Turnbull's undamaged eye—complete with stem cells. He then grew the section of the eye to 400 times its size, and stitched it "onto the badly-damaged cornea in place of the damaged membrane," the Telegraph reported.
Turnbull is thrilled with the results. "The operation was a complete success, and I now have my sight back," he said. "This really has given me my life back."
The technique has been used on eight other patients; most have had their vision almost completely restored.
Miracles like this have been repeated many times as researchers bend their attention to the uses of adult stem cells. But because much of the mainstream media refuses to report on them, many Americans remain unaware of them. If people knew how good they were, they'd stop demanding embryonic stem-cell research, which kills human beings at the embryonic stage. And the media knows that. Americans also seem unaware that not a single clinical success has ever resulted from treatments using embryonic stem cells. None!
Tragically, in the U.S., multi-million dollar grants are available for embryo-destructive research, but money is scarce for ethically sound and workable adult stem cell research.
Why isn't adult stem-cell research receiving the funding it deserves? Josephine Quintavalle, director of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, explains why. What you get from [the adult stem cell] approach is a patient-specific cure. There's no middleman...and there's no drug company that's going to get rich as a result."
But, she explains, a lot of pressure for stem-cell research is to find products that sell, as opposed to a treatment that can cure you.
This is a moral obscenity—one that not only the drug companies, but medical researchers, are complicit in. They want to experiment with human embryos simply for the sake of science. And the media constantly labels our efforts against embryonic stem-cell research as backwards and unenlightened.
That's why you and I have got to get the word out about the miracle cures of adult stem-cell research. This administration is deeply committed to research involving the destruction of human embryos. In his inaugural address, President Obama took a swipe at those who oppose this research on moral grounds when he said, "We'll restore science to its rightful place."
Well, if you really mean that, Mr. President, stop funding useless embryo-destructive research, and start funding adult stem-cell research. Not only because it is morally unproblematic, but because it's the only thing that works. Just ask Russell Turnbull—the British man who once was blind, but now can see.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.