Using embryonic stem cells for research in an effort to heal is unethical. It amounts to a form of cannibalism. Oh, I can hear the criticism of that statement, but please prove me wrong if you disagree.
From The Washington Post:
- Scientists have invented an efficient way to produce apparently safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos, a long-sought step toward bypassing the moral morass surrounding one of the most promising fields in medicine.
A team of researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston published a series of experiments Thursday showing that synthetic biological signals can quickly reprogram ordinary skin cells into entities that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. Moreover, the same strategy can then turn those cells into ones that could be used for transplants.
“This is going to be very exciting to the research community,” said Derrick J. Rossi of the Children’s Hospital Boston, who led the research published in the journal Cell Stem Cell. “We now have an experimental paradigm for generating patient-specific cells highly efficiently and safely and also taking those cells to clinically useful cell types.”
Scientists hope stem cells will lead to cures for diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries, heart attacks and many other ailments because they can turn into almost any tissue in the body, potentially providing an invaluable source of cells to replace those damaged by disease or injury. But the cells can be obtained only by destroying days-old embryos.
The cells produced by the Harvard team, known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, would avoid that ethical objection and could in some ways be superior to embryonic stem cells. For example, iPS cells could enable scientists to take an easily obtainable skin cell from any patient and use it to create perfectly matched cells, tissue and potentially even entire organs for transplants that would be immune to rejection.
While cautioning that the work needs to be repeated elsewhere and explored further, other researchers said the technique appears to represent a major development in the promising field of “regenerative medicine,” which aims to create treatments tailored to individual patients.
“All I can say is ‘wow’ this is a game changer,” said Robert Lanza, a stem cell researcher at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass. “It would solve some of the most important problems in the field.”
The results were so striking that the Harvard Stem Cell Institute where Rossi works had already ordered every scientist working on iPS cells to switch to the new process.
“This paper is a major paper, in my view, in the field of regenerative medicine,” said Douglas A. Melton, a leading stem cell researcher who co-directs the institute.
The announcement comes as the future of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research hangs in doubt. A federal judge stunned the field Aug. 23 by ruling that the Obama administration’s more permissive policy for funding the research violated a federal law barring taxpayer money from being used for studies that involve destroying human embryos. An appeals court Tuesday let the funding continue until the case is resolved.
Pro Life advocates who oppose embryonic stem cell research have been called everything from cold hearted to ignorant on this issue. I beg to differ. Do we not want the utmost efforts of science to come forth in order to heal the terrible diseases that rage among us? Of course we do, but we are unwilling to kill our offspring in an attempt to cure ourselves!
Over the last decade or more, adult stem cell research has leaped forward while the unethical use of unborn children for stem cell research has failed to improve. Somehow, in my ignorance of faith, I do not think our Maker will allow us to kill our children in order to heal ourselves. It just does not fit the big picture. And that is the bare fact of it in spite of this current administration’s intent to go forward with embryonic stem cell research and using taxpayer’s money to do so.
Why do we not pursue ethical research that gives obvious results instead of being so intent on destroying life? Beats me!