Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Stem in the Right Direction

Finally, a breakthrough that has the proponents of embryonic stem cell research turning on their ear.

A breakthrough that may change the course of cloning and finally, maybe not stop, at least take a major step away from destroying babies (embryo's).

It’s called “reprogramming.”

Another technical term for it is “somatic cell dedifferentiation.” Just get those terms into your vocabulary because they’ll be around for the foreseeable future. As reported in two scientific papers published today, reprogramming is now the future of stem cell research and renders ethically controversial therapeutic cloning obsolete (MORE).

Another article...

Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the new work "a very significant breakthrough in finding morally unproblematic alternatives to cloning. ... I think this is something that would be readily acceptable to Catholics."

Also this from the Catholic World News...

A new technique for obtaining stem cells could eliminate the public pressure for destructive research on human embryos, a Catholic think-tank reports.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) has welcomed the results of research by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Dr. James Thomson, who have found a method of using skin cells to obtain pluripotent stem cells. By "reprogramming" the skin cells, the researchers found that they could reproduce the features that scientists find most desirable in embryonic stem cells.
Research using stem cells obtained from human embryos has met with resistance from Catholic ethicists, since the embryos are destroyed in the process of harvesting the pluripotent stem cells. The Yamanaka-Thomson research promises a means of obtaining stem cells readily without ethical problems.

The new technique "fully conforms to what we have hoped to see for some time," the NCBC announced. "Such strategies should continue to be pursued and strongly promoted, as they should help to steer the entire field of stem cell research in a more explicitly ethical direction by circumventing the moral quagmire associated with destroying human embryos."

Hopefully things are headed in the right direction....

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