Sunday

Pope speaks out in favour of stem cell research




Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday spoke out in favour of adult stem cell research and called for any ensuing treatments to benefit all who need the care regardless of their financial means.
"Illness is no respecter of persons, and justice demands that every effort be made to place the fruits of scientific research at the disposal of all who stand to benefit from them, irrespective of their means," Benedict told some 250 delegates who attended a Vatican conference on the research this week.
The Vatican, which is opposed to embryonic stem cell therapy because it requires the destruction of a human embryo, hosted experts in adult stem cells, seen by the Roman Catholic Church as an alternative since no embryo is involved.
In May 2010, the Holy See signed a deal with US biopharmaceutical company NeoStem that specialises in adult stem cells and the Vatican has already invested one million dollars (730,000 euros) in the company's work.
"The potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable," the pope told the experts Saturday, while also speaking of the ethical concerns.
The fact that human embryonic stem cells (ESC) can potentially become any type of cell in the body has long held out the tantalising promise of diseased organs or tissue being repaired or replaced with healthy, lab-grown cells.
"When the end in view is one so eminently desirable as the discovery of a cure for degenerative illnesses, it is tempting for scientists and policymakers to brush aside ethical objections...," Benedict said of embryonic stem cell research.
But the discovery in 2007 that it is possible to coax certain adult cells back into their immature, pre-specialised state has fuelled renewed efforts to generate brand new muscle, heart or even brain cells, this time from raw material provided by the patient.
And for the Church adult stem cells pose no ethical dilemma.
"No such ethical problems arise when stem cells are taken from the tissues of an adult organism, from the blood of the umbilical cord at the moment of birth, or from fetuses who have died of natural causes," the pope said.
The Vatican hailed its conference on adult stem cells as dispelling the widespread notion that the Catholic Church is at "loggerheads with science", said Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Sources estimate that the global stem cell product market will reach 88 billion dollars by 2014.

Yahoo News blatantly just copied.