Monday, April 26, 2010

Vatican Backs Stem Cell Research

I hope that the title of this post caught your attention. It was supposed to.  I thought that employing the same tactics of the main stream media might help spread the message a bit.  That tactic being, of course, to leave ambiguity in regards to what type of stem cells are being used.  In this case, it would be ADULT stem cells.  So here is part of the story:

ROME – The Vatican is pushing for research of adult stem cells as an alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells, which the Catholic Church opposes because it maintains that the destruction of the embryo amounts to the killing of human life.
On Friday, the Catholic Church threw its support and resources behind the study of intestinal adult stem cells by a group of experts led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The group wants to explore the potential use of those cells in the treatment of intestinal and possibly other diseases, and is seeking an initial euro2 million ($2.7 million) to get the project going, officials said.
"This research protects life," Cardinal Renato Martino said during a meeting with Italian and American scientists and health officials to outline the project. "I want to stress that it doesn't involve embryonic stem cells, where one helps oneself and then throws the embryo away and kills a human life.".....

....In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI said the Catholic Church can encourage somatic stem cell research — also known as adult stem cell research — "because of the favorable results obtained through these alternative methods," and more importantly because it respects "the life of the human being at every stage of his or her existence."

"Ethically, the rules the Catholic Church promotes are really very simple: That all research be respectful of human life," said Father Bob Gahl, an American professor of Moral Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. "Nobody should be killed in the process of doing medical research. So this new project falls exactly within the Catholic Church's ethical guidelines."
Dr. George Daley, a stem cell expert at Children's Hospital in Boston and past president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, said both adult and embryonic stem cells may prove useful for treating different diseases.
"I applaud the Vatican for being interested in supporting biomedical research," Daley said Friday, "but I can't help but think there's an agenda."
He called intestinal stem cells "a very exciting area of basic research" but said therapeutic uses are only speculative at this point.
How quaint that this scientist would think there is an agenda behind the Vatican's support of this research.  Perhaps that agenda would be the continuation of ethical stem cell research, which has already shown so much promise and therapeutic application in the treatment of so many diseases?  Regarding his comment about the 'speculative' aspect of this research, it would appear that intestinal stem cells hold as much if not more promise than embryonic stem cells do.  It is unfortunate that a majority of scientists are so ideologically blinded by the desire to master embryonic stem cells (which have ZERO therapeutic application at this point) rather than supporting the continued research into the success of adult stem cells.

This step by the Vatican is wonderful, in regards to the relationship between science and the Church.  The Church has constantly supported the sciences that do not violate human dignity or the Law of God, and this is just another step in the great history of the Church. 

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