DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     December 4-6, 1998     vol. 9, no. 236

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


          WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - Researchers and scientists told a US Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that a ban on the use of fetal tissue in research is slowing the development of more effective treatments for heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and other disorders.

          But an expert from the US bishops' conference's pro-life office told the Senators that the methods used to collect the cells raise ethical concerns. Richard M. Doerflinger said that researchers isolate the necessary stem cells by either destroying a living unborn child, collecting cells from a newly aborted unborn child, or implanting human genes into a cow's egg.

          "Each system arouses ethical concerns," said Doerflinger. "These are the type of experiments that the federal ban" applies to, he said. "You could rip my heart out of my body and it would not be an organism," he added but the action would still result in the death of a human being. Researchers said cultured stem cells could produce new heart cells, or new insulin-producing cells for the treatment of diabetes, or new neurons for patients with Parkinson's disease or spinal-cord injuries.

          Embryonic stem cells are the basic or primordial cells from which all of a human's bodily tissues and organs develop during pregnancy. Under a federal ban, government-funded researchers must avoid human stem-cell studies and other research that involves the use of human embryos. Part of the federal law states that the ban applies only to what it calls "organisms." Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, minority leader on the subcommittee, said that definition would exclude stem-cell culturing and thus allow it.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 4-6, 1998       volume 9, no. 236


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