This is the first entirely encouraging report concerning stem cell research I have found. There seems to be no moral question when the end product is from one’s own body.  This may be the beneficial research path for providing what we may need.  I hope to see more reports on this.
Fr. Orthohippo
July 28, 2011

                                                 The quote below is from a CNN news article:

(CNN) — For the first time, a patient has received a synthetic windpipe that was created in a lab with the patient’s own stem cells and without using human donor tissue, researchers said Thursday.

Look carefully at the sentence. The stem cells were the patient’s own stem cells. It looks as though the technology has finally advanced to the point that there are some good prospects for some fantastic advances in science that may allow for treatments that were thought to be impossible even 10 years ago. But, that is not what has me excited. It is the patient’s own stem cells. This is highly important for two reasons, one medical and one religious.

The medical reason is that people do not tend to reject their own tissues. Well, at least most of the time. For those of you medically minded, you already know that there are some autoimmune diseases. What is an autoimmune disease? Well, the short of it is that for some reason, the human body turns against itself and starts fighting itself. In extreme circumstances, it can lead to death, killed by your own body.

The religious reason is what has me happiest. If this technology fulfills the hopes of this first transplant, this would resolve the whole stem cell argument. Everyone agrees that harvesting your own stem cells and giving them back to you in a new shape is fully ethical and moral. In passing, I think everyone agrees that harvesting a consenting adult’s stem cells for transplant to another person is also ethical. In fact, in certain limited cases, even harvesting a child’s stem cells may be considered both ethical and moral, for instance if the stem cells are being harvested from a child for transplant back to that child or to a sibling or near relative.

So, let’s keep praying and hoping for increasing advances in the field of adult (and in certain —–



About Fr. Orthohippo

The blog of a retired Anglican priest (MSJ), his musings, journey, humor, wonderment, and comments on today's scene.
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