Stem Cell Update

Written by Drew on August 27th, 2006

On the heels of President’s Bush’s veto overturning the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a Massachusetts firm says it has developed a way to make human embryonic stem cells without destroying the original embryo.

Reuters reports:

A U.S. company that developed a way to make human embryonic stem cells without harming the original embryo said on Friday it was optimistic the technique would overcome ethical concerns that have held back funding for stem cell research.

California-based Advanced Cell Technology Inc. developed the technology to quell the raging ethical debate in the United States over the harvesting of embryonic stem cells, which under current methods results in destruction of human embryos.

“For most rational people this removes the last rational objection for opposing this research,” Advanced Cell’s chief scientist, Robert Lanza, said in an interview at the company’s Worcester research center.

The White House on Thursday said it was encouraged by a new method and Bush believed it deserved a good look.

The development is a hopeful step in the raging debate over the ethics of stem cell research. Christians do not oppose research that may lead to the therapeutic use of stem cells, versatile cells scientists hope to one day use in treating diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s, ALS and diabetes. They oppose the destruction of human life in order to harvest these cells. Those of us who believe life begins at conception think it’s pointless to destroy one life in order to preserve another.

There are still a number of questions that need to be answered. For example, will these “ethical” embryonic stem cells have to be combined with other stem cells that resulted in the destruction of human life? If so, embryonic stem cell research is still a threat to America’s culture of life. What will become of the embryos from whom stem cells are distracted? Will they remain in science labs? Will they ever be given a chance to develop into adult human beings?

So far, adult stem cells have shown more promise in scientific research than those of the embryonic variety. This despite the fact that many experts believe the most powerful and versatile cells may be those taken from days-old embryos. Do No Harm reports that, while human patients have not yet been aided by embryonic stem cells, adult cells have benefitted patients suffering from 72 different disorders. Could it be that we’re putting our unborn in unnecessary jeapordy, while adult stem cells could better serve our purposes?

Those who respect the sanctity of human life must stay informed on this important issue. Truth and Repose will report when it can on new developments.


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