Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stem Cell Breakthrough Without Destroying Embryos

I was pleasantly surprised to see this article getting mainstream press.

NEW YORK - Scientists have made ordinary human skin cells take on the chameleon-like powers of embryonic stem cells, a startling breakthrough that might someday deliver the medical payoffs of embryo cloning without the controversy.


Thos said...

Will you allow some skepticism? I read that article too, but found curiously lacking a good explanation of exactly how this breakthrough worked. All I can tell is a "virus" "ferries" four "genes" to turn other genes "on and off".

I did catch this, "Nor is it clear just how direct reprogramming works, or whether that approach mimics what happens in cloning." If it mimics what happens in cloning, if it creates some cells that by their nature want to grow (further?) into a human being, then I'm still no fan. Worse, it sounds like the pro-life crowd would be ready to pack up and call it a day so long as an ovum wasn't involved in the process. The very appearance of ethicality can be the worst enemy (if the act is not truly moral, that is).

I also caught this at the end, "We'll see, ultimately, which one works and which one is more practical." So the pro-stem-cell crowd will still not prefer what others may consider the ethical high ground if it is less effective or practical (practicality being a very low standard indeed) than their cloning procedures.

I'll be curious to see how First Things responds!

Peace in Christ,

Tim A. Troutman said...

Good observations. I am quite confident this will not be the end of the debate - not by a long shot. I was just very surprised to see it getting any press at all. Last year when they cloned a human organ from stemcells harvested from an umbilical cord, it barely got any attention from the left wing media.

Yea - lets not let our guard down just yet.