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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Science Brings New Stem Cell Progress, But Stem Cell Research Restrictions Remain Impediments to Sav

Scientists are now another important step down the line towards creating useful pluripotent stem cells from skin cells. This research unfortunately is required because of the embryonic stem cell research restrictions imposed by persons who think their religious abstractions are more important than saving lives. (The mind still reels at trying to understand the moral compass of the churches and individuals who insist their abstractions are more important than the lives of other human beings.)

The gist of the research is that Boston scientists found a way to use messenger RNA to transform skin cells into iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells). This method stands in contrast to other, harsher and less efficient methods. The September 30 research was reported here in ScienceDaily. The research is published here in a prestigious journal, Cell Stem Cell, and was published on an expedited basis. The research result is indeed great news.

Unfortunately, great news also makes for great distortion. The conservative Washington Post reported the research here under a headline suggesting that original stem cells are now moot (“Scientists overcome hurdles to stem cell alternatives”). The same article also included a strong quote from an advocate for restricting stem research, Richard M. Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As usual, Mr. Doerflinger’s opinion is a religious view, and not a scientific view. This progress is not THE answer for the future. Indeed, if one goes deeper into the article, it makes fairly plain that this is a positive – but far from final step – in going around the laws imposed by moral dictators who care so little for people who might benefit from stem cell treatments. Thus, the article states:

"Rossi and other researchers, however, said that embryonic stem cells are still crucial because, among other things, they remain irreplaceable for evaluating alternatives.

The new report provides a substantial advance," said National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins. "But this research in no way reduces the importance of comparing the resulting iPS cells to human embryonic stem cells. Previous research has shown that iPS cells retain some memory of their tissue of origin, which may have important implications for their use in therapeutics. To explore these important potential differences, iPS research must continue to be conducted side by side with human embryonic cell research." (emphasis added).

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