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Scientific experts agree embryonic stem cells are unnecessary for medical progress

.- A new resource, compiled by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Prolife Committee, shows that international scientific experts agree that embryonic stem-cell research is unnecessary for medical progress.

It cites more that 25 research studies reported in the press and medical journals, which indicate that adult stem-cell research is a more favorable alternative to embryonic stem cells.

The use of adult stem cells is just as effective in getting the desired results and is more favorable because it avoids the ethical dilemma involved in embryonic stem-cell research, say the experts.

The use of an embryo for research necessitates the killing of the embryo, that is, the killing of a baby, and is against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Scientists have found that adult stem cells are more readily available than embryonic stem cells and as just as flexible, if not more so. Experts say adult stem cells may be easier to manage, arguing as well that they may require less work to be transformed into specialized cells for transplantation. Adult stem cells, derived directly from the patient, would reduce the likelihood that transplanted cells would be rejected. The findings also contradict the theory that adult stem cells are developmentally restricted.

The advantages of adult stem cells were only discovered due to continuous research in the field for alternatives to embryonic research.

“Until just a few years ago, conventional wisdom held that only embryonic stem cells could turn into any cell in the body. But that thinking began to change as studies showed that stem cells from bone marrow could become heart, muscle, nerve, or liver cells. Now, the results of clinical trials conducted in Britain, Germany and Brazil show that heart patients injected with their own bone marrow cells benefit from the treatment,” read a report from the Genome News Network, May 2, 2003.

“This new technology offers a viable option … The procedure raises no ethical concerns and removes the need to resort to embryos or aborted fetuses,” said a report in the July 2003 issue of Current Medical Research and Opinion. “The technology is also cost-effective, donor-friendly producing relatively large quantities of stem cells within a short time, which could eventually save patient lives and shorten patient waiting lists.”

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