Friday, December 7, 2007

Killing Pre-born Babies is Never the Answer

Out-Celling the Competition

Just two weeks ago, scientists in Japan and the U.S. announced that they can produce "induced Pluripotent Stem cells" (iPS cells) directly from skin cells, creating embryonic-type cells without the use of embryos, cloning, or eggs. The significance of this discovery cannot be underestimated. For years, scientists have clamored for human embryos and cloning to pursue the creation of such cells. Yet in the wake of lead researcher Shinya Yamanaka's success, many of these same scientists have discounted the value of iPS cells, claiming that they're a cancer risk and arguing that it could take years to prove that iPS cells are as useful as embryonic stem cells or cloning. In the meantime, these researchers insist that we should continue to pursue the destruction of human embryos and harvest human eggs for cloning. Last week, however, Dr. Yamanaka continued to silence critics, showing that he can produce iPS cells without the cancer gene that was a focus of concern. Yesterday, scientists at MIT added to the growing list of iPS accomplishments by proving that these cells can be used to successfully treat of sickle cell anemia in mice. Researchers had tried the same experiment with cloning and failed. Let's not forget that this newfound success of iPS cells only adds to the long list of accomplishments of adult and cord blood stem cells, which are treating patients as we speak. Yet again, researchers are proving that the compatibility of science and ethics continues to be not only the most principled approach but also the most promising.

From Family Research Council

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