March 7 letters to the editor: Stem cell story concerns, municipal golf courses comparedConcerns abound following dental stem-cell claims Consider cost differences between municipal courses
Concerns abound following dental stem-cell claims
As Associate Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota I was pleased to see the article on stem cell efforts being made in Woodbury. Stem cell research and potential stem cell therapies have made tremendous strides in the past decade. However, the article (Woodbury Bulletin, Feb. 29) on the program by StemSave to save dental stem cells needs some significant clarifications.
I am most concerned by the claims in the article that nearly 4,000 clinical studies have been done worldwide using stem cells and most were successful. While certain types of stems cells such as those obtained from the blood or umbilical cord are used routinely for therapies to treat blood cell cancers such as leukemia, there is no evidence that dental stem cells have been used for successful therapies. Moreover the claim that dental stem cells can develop into cells such as insulin-producing cells or beating heart cells is very premature. Studies in this area are conflicting, and there is no current evidence to suggest that these dental cells could be used for therapies anytime in the near future.
If individuals want to pay to store their dental stem cells, that is certainly their choice. However, it should be recognized that StemSave is a commercial business and not a research organization. While new therapies may be developed using dental stem cells, as well as other stem cell populations, routine clinical use of these cells is still a long way off. Hopefully we will get to this point with future research advances. I invite individuals interested to learn more about stem cells to get information from independent organizations such as the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute (www.stemcell.umn.edu) or the International Society for Stem Cell Research (www.isscr.org).
Dan S. Kaufman, MD, PhD - Woodbury
Consider cost differences between municipal courses
I am a Woodbury resident writing to comment further on the Feb. 15 article, “City to lower Eagle Valley fees,” which made no reference to the city including a review of the rates at River Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove, also a municipal facility. Both courses have excellent banquet rooms, pro shops, practice ranges and instruction as well as challenging golf. River Oaks has had a 4 ½ star Golf Digest rating. Eagle Valley has no stated Golf Digest rating.
Over the years, I have played both courses numerous times but more recently as a retired senior, the cost to golf has become more important. Comparing Eagle Valley regular golf with cart rates to River Oaks results in their being comparable for certain time periods to Eagle Valley charging 20 percent more. For senior golfers, Eagle Valley rates are 20 to over 60 percent greater than River Oaks. The junior playing rate is 20 percent higher at Eagle Valley.
The Feb. 15 article stated that city officials are concerned about reduced usage at Eagle Valley over the years yet they continue to not be competitive with River Oaks even with the reduced 2012 rates. A reasonable conclusion is that golfers will, over the span of a season, patronize the course offering the better value.
Finally, the Feb. 22 Bulletin cartoon depicting a portrayal of an onslaught of questionable quality players at Eagle Valley now that rates have been lowered is either at best a sarcastic comment aimed at city officials or at its worst an insult to golfers and a further appearance of the arrogance and attitude Bill Buth experienced in his Feb. 22 letter to the editor.
Jerry Gustafson - Woodbury