Embryonic Stem Cells Derived Without Damage to Embryos

By | August 26, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cells Derived Without Damage to Embryos

Scientists reported today a way to extract an embryonic stem cell from a human embryo without damaging it, a finding that may ease the rancorous debate over such research.

The procedure uses a single-cell biopsy similar to that used in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, according to Robert Lanza, M.D., of Advanced Cell Technology of Alameda, Calif. The research was carried out at the company laboratory here.

“There is no harm to the embryo that we’re biopsying,” Dr. Lanza said in a statement. Indeed, he noted, more than 1,500 healthy children have been born from embryos that have undergone a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis procedure.

Essentially, Dr. Lanza and colleagues reported in the Aug. 24 issue of Nature, the procedure adds a step to the diagnostic procedure. Instead of being taken directly for genetic analysis, the single cell removed from the eight-cell embryo is cultured overnight.

The resulting cells can be used both for pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and to create stem cell lines, Dr. Lanza said. – medpage

The Vatican is still horrified, saying in effect another potential embryo is killed by the extraction of this one cell. Okay, a few years down the road a scientist says, “What if we just take PART of one cell … not even the whole cell!?”

Vatican, “No, no. That’s still taking something from a potential human.”

Scientist: “Okay, how about if we make an exact COPY of one cell and leave the person 100% untouched?”

Vatican, “No, no. You’d be creating a new life in that case.”

Frustrated Scientist:”Then that makes me god regarding this new life I have created.”

Vatican, “No, no. That is horrifying. There can be only one God.”

Scientist, “Perhaps you are actually horrified that we, like your god, will eventually be able to offer eternal life. Who then will choose your unprovable promise of heaven over the certainty of this life?”

Leave a Reply