Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Moral or Not?


Where have I been? Obviously not following the controversy of Embryonic Stem-cell Research. I humbly have to admit that I did not know what was involved in this science until I read about President Barack Obama's policy switch on federal funding of this research. I decided that I needed to do a little reading to know what exactly the controversy was about.

Stem cells are seen by many researchers as having virtually unlimited applications in the treatment and cure of many human diseases and disorders including Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, strokes, etc. Stem cells come in three general types:
Embryonic stem cells are a type of cell that can be coaxed into developing into all of the 220 types of cells found in the human body (e.g. blood cells, heart cells, brain cells, nerve cells, etc). In the past, they have always been derived from human embryos in a process that causes the death of the embryos.

New research is developing techniques to convert skin cells into Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS cells) that emulate embryonic stem cells. Fortunately, if iPS cell technology develops as expected, it will eventually replace the need to derive stem cells from embryos

Adult stem cells bear some similarities to embryonic stem cells. Research using adult cells has a two decade head start on embryonic stem cells. Adult cells are limited in flexibility, and are only capable of developing into a few of the cell types.

As a Pro-lifer, I struggle with the concept of using embryos for stem stell research. I am thank-full for the iPS cell technology and hope that it continues to progress to the point that Embryonic Stem-Cell Research is a thing of the past. I have to say that at least with Obama's policy switch some rules were put into place. Creation of embryos is not allowed. The embryos must come from the leftover embyo's that remain in "banks" This research is also not to be used for cloning research.
So, what is your opinion? Moral? or Not?
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