Science Serving Life: Vatican Promotes Adult Stem Cell Research and Collaborates in New Book
The destruction of even one human life can never be justified in terms of the benefit that it might conceivably bring to another
How many news reports have insinuated that the Catholic Church is against "stem cell research"? The Catholic Church is not against all stem cell research. The Catholic Church supports ADULT stem cell research. The Catholic Church properly opposes EMBRYONIC stem cell research. Human EMBRYONIC stem cell research is always deadly.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On June 27, 2012, Monsignor Tomasz Trafny of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, Dr. Robin Smith, CEO of NeoStem, Chairman and President of the Stem for Life Foundation and Dr. Max Gomez, trustee of the Stem for Life Foundation presented the first copy of their book, Our Stem Cells: The Mystery of Life and Secrets of Healing, to Pope Benedict XVI. This book is part of ongoing collaboration between the Vatican's Pontifical Council through its charitable foundation STOQ International and the Stem for Life Foundation. The book includes an address by Pope Benedict XVI.
It presents the reader with an engaging, comprehensive overview of adult stem cells and their vital role in a future of regenerative medicine. In powerful, accessible language the book showcases a wide array of emerging adult stem cell breakthroughs, including their ability to repair damaged hearts and organs, restore sight, kill cancer, cure diabetes, heal burns and stop the march of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease.
The Pontifical Council has been involved in a 5-year, $1 million partnership with NeoStem, Inc. to promote research involving adult stem cells and their potential use in medical treatments. Adult Stem Cell research is fully supported by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church unequivocally opposes human embryonic stem cell research. She must! She will not change her position. Why?
The answer is simple, it is always deadly. The human embryo is a living member of the human species who, like every one of us, is always in development. Every human being possesses an equal moral dignity and has a fundamental Right to Life. This is true no matter what age or stage of our development, degree of dependence upon others (we are all dependent upon others) or the opinion of others as to our "worth". We are not products we are persons.
The Vatican expressed it this way in 2008, "the use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person." (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions).
Among the worst examples of using language to deceive and hide the truth is the failure to differentiate between human EMBRYONIC stem cell research and ADULT stem cell research. I have concluded that blurring these two very different areas of medical research may be an intentional act on the part of some who are hell bent on killing human embryonic persons for experimentation.
Oh, I know, some people will gasp when they read such a strong statement. However, given the amazing breakthroughs occurring with adult stem cell research and the lack of coverage such advances are receiving, I am left with no alternative. Let's consider a few examples from the recent past.
Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, Massachusetts announced the results of a study in May of 2011 wherein they used stem cells which they derived from ADULT skin to actually re-grow areas of the retina and improve vision. Chinese researchers announced they have taken stem cells derived from ADULT skin and prompted them to become liver cells, thereby restoring a liver in a laboratory animal.
That same month, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that scientists discovered that ADULTS have stem cells within their lungs which are capable of being used to regenerate damaged lungs. They found "undifferentiated human lung stem cells nested in niches in the distal airways. These cells are self-renewing, clonogenic, and multipotent in vitro."
Have you heard or read about these scientific breakthroughs involving ADULT stem cell research? If not, I suggest it is because the entire "stem cell" discussion is intentionally laden with misinformation and mired in emotional appeals which cloud the scientific facts.
Human embryonic stem cell research has produced no substantial, lasting medically verifiable results. More importantly, it is always deadly for the human embryonic person. To the contrary, adult stem cell research harms no-one and has borne very promising results. Yet, those who support adult Stem Cell research and oppose embryonic stem cell research are accused of trying to impede scientific progress.
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