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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Something extra to be thankful for this year is yesterday's announcement of a recently discovered way of obtaining stem cells with embryonic properties without destroying any embryos. Father Thomas Berg discusses the significance of this breakthrough and he concludes:
Like the unexpected climax of a romance novel, these historical paradoxes foreshadow a culmination to the ten-year tale of human embryonic-stem-cell research that is remarkably unlike anything we could have imagined. To be sure, a new day has dawned in the world of stem-cell research, thanks to the intellectual honesty and scientific acumen of researchers like Thomson, Wilmut and Yamanaka. The best part, of course, is that, for advocates of embryonic-stem-cell research, as well as for those opposed to embryo-destructive research, and especially for those millions of potential beneficiaries of stem-cell related therapies, the advent of the age of somatic cell reprogramming marks an enormous victory for all of us.

Meanwhile, Wesley Smith points out that W deserves some of the credit for this turn in the whole stem cell issue:
I believe that many of these exciting “alternative” methods would not have been achieved but for President Bush’s stalwart stand promoting ethical stem-cell research. Indeed, had the president followed the crowd instead of leading it, most research efforts would have been devoted to trying to perfect ESCR and human-cloning research — which, despite copious funding, have not worked out yet as scientists originally hoped.

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Comments:
Perhaps scientists can give a better perspective on this research. One of the authors of this article is Dr. Alan Leshner. He is the executive office of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The AAAS publishes the journal Science which published one of the articles about turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/02/AR2007120201636.html
 
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