Thursday, April 11, 2013

Catholic Church is Leading the Way on Ethical Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine

Deacon Keith Fournier discusses adult stem cell research at

"VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Thursday April 11, 2013 an extraordinarily important conference began with the enthusiastic approval of the Vatican. The topic is stem cell research and regenerative medicine. In fact, the conference is entitled Regenerative medicine: A Fundamental Shift in Science and Culture and you can read much more about it here. The conference continues through Saturday, April 13, 2013 and is hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, STOQ International, NeoStem and the Stem for Life Foundation. The conference brings together medical researchers, politicians, Church leaders, scholars, scientists and students to educate the world and promote ongoing work in the use of adult stem cells."

He lists some of the many examples of stem cell breakthroughs, which he correctly points out are often mentioned in the press in a way that does not clarify they are adult stem cells:

"Back in May of 2011 Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, Massachusetts announced the they used stem cells which they derived from ADULT skin to re-grow areas of the retina and improve vision. Chinese researchers announced they have taken stem cells derived from ADULT skin and prompted them to become liver cells, thereby restoring a liver in a laboratory animal. That same month and year, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that scientists discovered that adults have stem cells within their lungs which are capable of being used to regenerate damaged lungs. They found "undifferentiated human lung stem cells nested in niches in the distal airways. These cells are self-renewing, clonogenic, and multipotent in vitro."


"In 2011 the first of these conferences supporting, promoting and endorsing was held in Vatican City. It was entitled  Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture It was sponsored by the same alliance including the Vatican. When it concluded Pope Benedict XVI made this observation: "the potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable, since it opens up possibilities for healing chronic degenerative illnesses by repairing damaged tissue and restoring its capacity for regeneration. The improvement that such therapies promise would constitute a significant step forward in medical science, bringing fresh hope to sufferers and their families alike. For this reason, the Church naturally offers her encouragement to those who are engaged in conducting and supporting research of this kind, always with the proviso that it be carried out with due regard for the integral good of the human person and the common good of society."

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