Scientists Reprogram Adult Cells’ Function

by Jennifer Lahl, CBC President on August 28, 2008

When something is unethical, and the pressure is put on to find an ethical way it forces us to be innovative and creative in finding solutions to our problems. That is the case in the great stem cell debate. Creating embryos for destruction or destroying “surplus” embryos to treat a sick patient is unethical. And because the pressure and debates have not let up, scientists have been busy looking for alternative solutions. And here’s another example of ethical scientific progress!

“Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a variety of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires associated with embryonic stem cell research.”

Read these quotes on this breakthrough:

“It’s kind of an extreme makeover of a cell,” said Douglas A. Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, who led the research. “The goal is to create cells that are missing or defective in people. It’s very exciting.”

And this:

“I see no moral problem in this basic technique,” said Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, a leading opponent of embryonic stems cell research. “This is a ‘win-win’ situation for medicine and ethics.”

And finally this quote:

“I’m stunned,” said Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass., a developer of stem cell therapies. “It introduces a whole new paradigm for treating disease.”

A very exciting, ‘win-win’, new paradigm for treating disease. All ethical indeed!

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