Reprogrammed stem cells are no pro-life panacea

For Immediate Release:  Sept 10, 2012

(Clearwater, FL) Children of God for Life is reporting that recent news stories touting the success of turning adult blood into embryonic-like stem cells is once again, off the mark as far as being research done in a fully moral manner.  In various publications, writers noted last week that the advancement is a “a way to obtain stem cells, the basic building blocks of human life, without destroying embryonic life.”

“While the current experiments did not involve the direct destruction of ‘embryonic life’ by the scientists themselves, they most certainly did use the remains of innocent human beings who were deliberately destroyed by someone else,” stated Children of God for Life founder, Debi Vinnedge.

Scientist, Elias Zambidis, from Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and the Kimmel Cancer Center explained that they took cord blood cells, treated them with growth factors, transferred 4 genes into them and voila, they reprogrammed the cells to the stage of a 6 day old embryo.

“What they did not reveal was that they used 20-22 week gestation aborted fetal liver and lung in that reprogramming which were obtained from AllCells and Lonza Biologics,” Vinnedge noted. “And as in all previous experiments we have reported on over the past 4 years on iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells), they also used stem cells from destroyed human embryos in comparative studies to ensure the iPS cells were indeed, embryonic-like.”

Dr Theresa Deisher of Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute (SCPI), a pro-life, non-profit biomedical research organization is also voicing her concern over the recent news.

“The use of electively aborted fetal liver by this group, as by any group is morally problematic,” she noted. “These investigators did not need to use any fetal or embryonic materials; they chose to.”

Dr Deisher points out that the John’s Hopkins scientists reported that using stem cells taken from fetal liver was a more efficient way to generate iPS cells than using morally acceptable stem cells from cord blood.  Knowing that the process may be more economic using aborted fetal cells, scientists and companies may therefore choose to pursue aborted fetal cells if the public is not made aware and does not raise their voices in concern. Without public oversight scientists may very well choose aborted fetal cells for future therapies, despite the fact that patients could be treated using non-problematic stem cells.  .

And that will put thousands of morally minded patients in an unacceptable and unnecessary position of compromising their faith and values in order to obtain potentially life-saving treatments.

“These companies can and should choose cord blood or adult peripheral blood instead and put in the time and resources to make these sources more efficient,” noted Dr Deisher.  “It is deplorable to produce treatments that only those who see nothing wrong with destroying human life for their own benefit would be able to use.”

Currently, SCPI is the only company in the US that is taking the time and expense to do this sort of work in a totally moral fashion.

The studies were published at:

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/johns_hopkins_researchers_return_blood_cells_to_stem_cell_state and in the on-line science publications of PLOS at:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0042838

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