The Interim

In yet another macabre example of unborn children being used for medical experiments, researchers at Stanford University in San Francisco plan to transplant fetal pancreas cells into 10 diabetics as a way of eliminating the need for insulin injections.

The experiments, scheduled to start this summer, are said to offer help to more then a million North Americans with juvenile-onset diabetes who must take an average of three insulin shots a day.

Experiments will place fetal tissue into one forearm in each subject creating a row of four implantations.

Similar experiments in the past have failed after the transplanted cells stopped producing insulin. But according to research director Greg Adams, a Stanford team has found a chemical called Growth Factor 1which allows fetal pancreas cells to proliferate and produce insulin.

“If the treatment works, it will not only spare patients the inconvenience of insulin injections, but also, and maybe more importantly, from the harmful effects of sharp up and downs in their blood sugar,” he said.

While expressing caution about the success of the research, Frank Vinicor, president of the American Diabetes Association, otherwise welcomed it, saying the use of growth factors, “appears sound.”

But Bogomir Kuhar, executive director of Pharmacists for Life International in Powell, Ohio, called the current research project “Frankensteinish.”

Source of cells?

“Chances are they are (using aborted fetuses), whether they openly admit it or not,” he said. “Many times, they openly admit it. Sometimes they just let it go, hoping nobody will notice.”

He noted the use of unborn children for medical purposes is nothing new. “The transplant of fetal cells has been going on for awhile with various diseases. The one which probably got the most publicity was Parkinson’s disease patients getting fetal brain cells. Diabetic cell research was going on before too. This is not the first time it’s been reported.”

Mainstream press articles on the current research project gave no indication of the source of the pancreas cells, but Kuhar said the nature of the research makes it almost certain aborted babies are being used.

“Generally, cells from a spontaneous abortion, like a miscarriage or something along those lines, are not usable. They need them fresh and in good shape. In miscarriages, there is usually a physical defect and that’s nature’s way of taking care of it.”

Kuhar said the fetuses also have to be of a relatively late gestation so that the beta cells in their pancreas are developed enough to produce insulin. That would require the researchers to “contract out” to hospitals or abortion clinics for the needed commodities.

“Most people don’t even think about (where fetal cells come from),” he noted. “It’s amazing.”

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is pointing to the technique as the most promising of numerous procedures being investigated for implanting functioning pancreatic cells into diabetics.