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Dr. Mehmet Oz Tells Oprah: “The Stem Cell Debate is Dead”

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer During a recent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, the popular cardiovascular surgeon and television personality, Dr. Mehmet Oz, announced to a stunned audience that due to advances in adult stem cell technology, the debate over embryonic stem cells “is dead.” What was even more remarkable is that Dr. Oz made this announcement while sitting next to actor Michael J. Fox, a victim of Parkinson’s diseases who has been a staunch crusader on behalf of research involving embryonic stem cells. While holding up the brain of a 50 year old man to illustrate his point, Dr. Oz explained:  "The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us were made from embryos, and those cells can become any cell in the body, but it's very hard to control them and so they can become cancer." He then adds, “"Now, I'm going to say something that's going to be a bit provocative. I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead, and I'll tell you why." Dr. Oz goes on to explain about advances in the use of iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells which involve the reprogramming of ordinary skin cells into stem cells that behave almost exactly like embryonic stem cells – only without many of the risks.   Taking Fox's hand, Dr. Oz says, "Here's what the deal is. I can take a little bit of your skin, take those cells, get them to go back in time so they are like they were when you were first made, and then they will start to make that dopamine [a substance found lacking in the brains of people suffering from Parkinsons]; and I think those cells, because they won't be as prone to cancer, and because they're your genes, will be the ones that are ultimately used to cure Parkinson's." Dr. Oz goes on to say that there will be "a big impact in the lives of Parkinson's disease, but also diabetics, heart attacks victims, people who have had a lot of problems" and a cure "in our lifetime." He adds, "And that's exciting to all of us in medicine." Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human life, has been plagued with setbacks in the laboratory such as problems with rejection and the propensity of these cells to spawn tumors. As a result, embryonic stem cell research has yet to be used to treat a single human condition. Adult stem cell technology has been experiencing rapid advances in recent years and is being used to treat a host of conditions including cancer, autoimmune diseases, strokes, cartilage and bone damage as well as heart and liver disease. This episode of Oprah Winfrey can be viewed at © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.