embryonic stem cells

Adult Stem Cells Used to Create Human Heart

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Earlier this week scientists announced that they had successfully grown a human heart using stem cells. That in itself is a major development. But to the surprise of many these stem cells did not come from embryos, but rather skin cells, making this not only a major development, but an ethical one too. The ability […]

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This Week in Bioethics

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1. The Council of Europe Rejects Surrogacy Earlier this week the Council of Europe rejected a report that called for the regulation of surrogacy, rather than an outright ban on the practice. Intrinsic to the practice of surrogacy is exploitation and coercion—and that’s why we’re grateful that the Council of Europe rejected allowing it in […]

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Human Gene Editing and Eugenics

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A recent essay by Brendan Foht in the Washington Post reveals the backwards logic of scientists who advocate for human gene editing and those who also support the idea that embryos that have been genetically modified must be destroyed. The advent of CRISPR technology allows for the possibility of us forever altering the human genome […]

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Breeding Out Disease (Or Gender)

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Last night 60 Minutes aired an episode highlighting the rise of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), where doctors screen an embryo to test for genetic mutations that may lead to eventual diseases. Advocates of this technology laud that fact that it could be used to test for and prevent muscular dystrophy, breast cancer, and even Alzheimer’s. […]

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This Week in Bioethics

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The Economist Endorses Physician Assisted Suicide The editorial board of The Economist, a well-regarded weekly magazine, endorsed physician assisted suicide this week. In a provocative editorial, they write: “Competent adults are allowed to make other momentous, irrevocable choices: to undergo a sex change or to have an abortion. People deserve the same control over their […]

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2014 Ramsey Award Winner Speaks Out Against Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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A scientist from Harvard, Dr. Doug Melton, has figured out how to use human embryonic stem cells to produce insulin—a potential major breakthrough for those that suffer from diabetes. You can listen to a full NPR broadcast on the discovery here. Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, last year’s winner of CBC’s Ramsey Award, was interviewed by NPR […]

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Get Ready for a Busy 2014 in Bioethics

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My taskmasters at the CBC never allow me to rest on my laurels. Fresh off several years of stellar prognosticating, I am now forced to answer the question: “But what have you predicted, lately?” Okay, let’s take a look. Oh! Oh my. Please remember, the following predictions are what I see happening. They do not […]

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My Predictions in Bioethics Right Again!

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Can you believe a year has come and gone since I last told you what would happen, before it happened, in bioethics? Maybe it’s my increasing age, but time is passing too fast! So, how did I do? Not as well as in years past, but still an A-. Let’s take a look: The Affordable […]

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We Can’t Let CIRM History be Rewritten

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Proposition 71, which brought the misbegotten California Institute for Regenerative Medicine into being, was sold to voters in a blatantly mendacious campaign based on embryonic stem cell hype of CURES! CURES! CURES! and outright lies about the then state of regenerative medical science. Its administration has been marked by arrogance, conflict of interest, cronyism. And […]

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Follow $ to Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research!

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Ten years ago, we were in the midst of a heated national debate over embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). Proponents castigated opponents (like me) as “anti-science,” and theocratic for opposing ESCR federal funding based on ethical concerns. When we claimed that alternatives to embryonic stem cells showed great promise, we were derided as Luddites. Embryonic […]

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Human Cloning Obfuscation 8: A Blastocyst, Not an Embryo

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Embryology text books will tell you that when fertilization is completed, an embryo is formed. That, is, a new individual organism exists — which remains the same organism until death. For scientific purposes, the developmental stages of the embryo are given different names. When it is one-celled, it is a zygote. When it is about […]

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Human Cloning Obfuscation 7: No Spin in Science Journals

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The mainstream media — under the influence of spin from “the scientists” — has been playing a game of hide-the-ball about the recent first human cloning success. For example, the LA Times threw a lot of dirt in the air by calling the success merely an “incremental step” toward human cloning. No. It. Was. Human […]

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Human Cloning Obfuscation 6: German Style

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I just read an article that is a clear call for Germany to get in on the human cloning game. And as so often happens in this issue, it is filled with scientific inaccuracies — whether by intent or ignorance, I don’t know. First, the article in Deutche Welle, claims that the recent human cloning […]

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The Coming Human Cloning Controversies

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I learned about the first successful human cloning last Monday, but couldn’t write about it until Wednesday because of a news embargo. The peer reviewed paper in Cell was rushed to print because is a huge deal. But, much to my surprise, it only made mild news. There were two reasons for that I think. […]

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Human Cloning Obfuscation 4

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The Los Angeles Times has waded in to the junk biology game, assuring us that no embryos are threatened in human cloning — WHEN THE WHOLE POINT OF HUMAN CLONING IS TO CREATE AN EMBRYO! From the editorial, “The Specter of Human Cloning:” The team at OHSU, which disclosed its work in a paper published […]

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Human Cloning Obfuscation 3

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I now see that the old dishonest game is well afoot: Biotech types and media pretending that human cloning isn’t really human cloning unless a baby is born. The cloning breakthrough is instead being spun as skin cells into stem cells! As if it were induced pluripotent stem cells, which really do turn skin into […]

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Cloning Obfuscation 2

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The junk biology is flying in the media’s descriptions of the now accomplished human cloning. This next example comes from the Wall Street Journal’s Gautam Naik. From the ridiculously titled, “Experiment Brings Human Cloning One Step Closer:” Scientists have used cloning technology to transform human skin cells into embryonic stem cells, an experiment that may […]

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Let the Cloning Obfuscation Begin

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Now that human cloning is upon us, look for many scientists and their camp followers (or ignorant reporters) to mislead about what the technology entails. Human SCNT creates human embryos through asexual means. It does not create stem cells. To obtain cloned stem cells, the embryos have to be nurtured and maintained in a dish […]

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