Adult Stem Cell Awareness

October 25, 2007

Fr. Thomas Berg appointed to NY Stem Cell Board of Ethics

Just days after his column, It’s Time to Get Real About Stem Cell Research, Westchester Institute Director and founder, Fr. Thomas Berg announced his appointment to the Empire State Stem Cell Board. Fr. Berg is a very strong proponent of alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells, specifically ANT/OAR. We cannot ignore or avoid, he believes, the allure of pluripotency and, therefore, the necessity of proposing non-embryonic sources of pluripotent stem cells.

The timing of his appointment could not be better – perhaps by design? Over the summer, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer allotted a healthy $600 million dollars for stem cell research, to be distributed beginning in April, 2008, over the next 10 years. In addition to that, the federal government will begin to fund research using pluripotent stem cell sources via Executive Order 13435: Expanding Approved Stem Cell Lines in Ethically Responsible WaysOne would have to conclude the NIH will look favorably upon subsidizing New York-based projects endorsed by Fr. Berg.

Overall this is good news, but it leaves us with a few concerns – and probably, Fr. Berg will alleviate these at some point down the line. First, given his recent very strong characterization of some adult stem cell proponents as . . . frankly, niave, will Fr. Berg continue to advocate for adult stem cell research in his new and influential appointment? Second – though similiar, will Fr. Berg take a single-minded approach to alternative pluripotency and advocate for ANT/OAR projects primarily, or will he also be open to advocating for the very promising research with fetal cells found in amniotic fluid? These cells have been known to behave with pluripotent characteristics.

Only time will tell. We have a lot of confidence in Fr. Berg and expect great things from him as he makes his stand for human dignity where, many would argue, there is little patience for such inconvenient ideals. We wish him the best of luck.


1 Comment »

  1. […] was appointed to the ethics committee of the newly formed Empire State Stem Cell board. I wondered (aloud) if he would be able to be a positive influence as a voice not just for alternative sources of stem […]

    Pingback by Fr. Berg fighting for even-handedness at Empire State Stem Cell Board « Adult Stem Cell Awareness — May 13, 2008 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

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