The era where organs and tissues can be re-grown is a step closer after scientists found treating adult cells with acid takes them back to an embryonic state in under 30 minutes.
Wow. This could be very BIG. Amazing.
If this does work it should mean that there would be even less argument for anyone finding a reason to utilize embryonic stem cells recovered from aborted fetuses.
Of course we can use stem cells from placenta’s and that may be a consistent need, but for those who insist we need more stem cells for such research, from embryos, this mentioned discovery should eliminate that need or thinking. At least you would hope so.
It would be amazing if this became more specific and was shown to be safe, especially for those who may need organ transplants and skin grafts. Science is amazing, we just always have to be sure that it is used in a moral way.
They’ve been creating stem cells from mature human cells for a few years now; in fact the winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize won it for precisely that discovery. It’s good to know that they’ve become a lot better at it though.
As far as medicine is concerned I would say that artificially induced ‘embryonic’ stem cells (they’re still sometimes called embryonic if they’re made to resemble embryonic cells, even though they came from an adult) are the future of stem cell research and especially therapy. The reason is that if you take cells from an embryo and put them in an adult, the donor/embryo’s cells still don’t match the recipient’s DNA, so the recipient’s body may reject them eventually or they will have to take immunosuppressive drugs to mitigate possible rejection, like with an organ transplant. However, if you take the adult’s own cells, turn them into stem cells,then put the back into the recipient, they still have the same DNA as the recipient, so no rejection.
It’s also worth noting that other scientists have discovered stem stem cells in lots of other places in the adult body that can be used. For example, they’ve had some success transplanting stem cells from deep within the skin into other organs to repair damage in mice; a long way from doing it in people, but it’s a start.
Generally, I would say that the use of human embryos for therapy or even research is becoming progressively more obsolete these days. It is possible that it will largely be a moot issue in a matter of years. I’m not exactly an expert, of course, but am at least a graduate student in the biomedical sciences, so I’m around experts a lot, if that counts for anything.
It is reported in the New Scientist that these stem cells might be ‘totipotent’, which is to say able to develop into a foetus (including placenta) in the right environment.
Now, I am not saying that Catholic teaching would require such cells to be placed into such an environment (a.k.a. a womb) but if they are ‘potential human beings’ like fertilized ova, would Catholic teaching have a problem with them being used in research or medicine? That is to say, that while not carrying out a procedure to allow the foetus to develop may be permissible, but would actively carrying out a procedure that rules out that foetus developing (e.g causing it to develop into liver cells rather than a foetus) be considered immoral?
Yes I agree. My first degree was in Genetics. That was 25 years ago, and the new discoveries are something to behold. One thing I maintained then, and still do now, is no matter how good we may become at stem cell research, using stem cells or even genetic engineering we are bound to create more problems than we solve.
I think it is a fascinating field, but I eventually decided not to use my degree as I originally intended for moral reasons. Some of the new discoveries of course lessen the burden I felt then, when talk of using human embryos was so standard. Regardless I think we must be very careful whenever we are messing with the human genome. (Or any other for that matter.) We are bound to get a shocker somewhere, that no one expects.
There seems to be so much potential in this therapy now. And resistance in the traditional medical industry is putting up a lot of resistance to patients being able to procure treatment. I haven’t heard of any way to get it in the U.S. If there is, it’s got be cost-prohibitive. Life Site News carried an [article](“http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/how-a-small-clinic-in-the-dominican-republic-is-using-adu lt-stem-cells-to-o”) this week about stem cell therapy in the Dominican Republic. It’s cheaper there than even other off-shore providers.
So many people get caught up in the “fetal” stem cell quagmire that the doctor who facilitates the treatments put a picture of Pope Francis on their RegenCenter website just to assure beginners not to be confused.
We need to get the word out that adult stem cell treatments are having miraculous results daily. Once the media cover stories of cures, it might undermine the fetal stem cell research. Implosion of that circus can’t come too soon.