Adult Stem Cell Awareness

October 16, 2007

Alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells

Filed under: alternative sources — benotafraid @ 5:37 pm
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grompe2.jpggrompe.jpggrompe.jpgMarcus Grompe of the Oregon Stem Cell Center has provided his own personal and fascinating insight about the state of things, commenting as a stem cell scientist who acknowldeges and respects the dignity of the human embryo.  He endorses a method of producing pluripotent stem cells that appears to be ethically noncontentious -but note, it is cautiously described as potentially licit by some in the Church. Still others are convinced that it cannot be permitted because it may be that a disabled embryo is produced and then killed in the process. Additionally, this method still requires the use of human ova and, therefore, could become implicated in exploitative research. In any event, for the time-being, is it well worth contemplating his proposal: along with promoting research using adult stem cells, why not also consider alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells? There is legislation pending that would federally fund this type of research. Do you know where you stand on ANT/OAR pluripotent stem cells?

Alternative energy for embryonic stem cell research

Markus Grompe1

The ethical concerns regarding the destruction of human life outweigh the potential benefits of producing new embryo-derived cell lines

In the difficult debate over human embryonic stem-cell research, the concept of the soul is sometimes invoked to defend the dignity and inviolability of human life even in its earliest beginnings. Although a complete exploration of this idea is beyond the scope of this essay, some reflection on the classical philosophical meaning of ensoulment may provide the understanding essential to find a solution to our current conflict. Specifically, this consideration may delineate criteria to define a human embryo and to know which methods for generating pluripotent stem cells destroy embryos and which do not.

In literature and the arts, the human soul is often depicted as a translucent copy of a person’s body that floats away towards heaven upon death. This naive image has little to do with the concept of the soul put forward by St Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) in the Christian tradition and by Aristotle (384–322 BCE) before him1, 2. The central meaning of the important philosophical idea of the soul is that the true nature of a thing can be known by what it does and what it can become. Thus, a human embryo does not gradually ‘become’ human — it ‘is’ human, a living organism of the human species, a concrete instance of an actual, individualized human nature. This true nature of a human being embraces two intricately interconnected dimensions: matter and soul. The concept of soul describes the ‘form’ of the body — in the sense of the unifying principle of its formation or organization — and expresses the idea that something more than the material from which it is constructed governs the nature of a being. The soul is intricately dependent on and interwoven with its distinctive physical/material basis. In the case of the human zygote, the soul is the source of the integral ordering of the properly disposed matter that was present in the sperm and the egg, what the tradition would call the materia apta, or appropriate matter1. Without the appropriate matter, there can be no ‘ensoulment’, and no living being. continue


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