New Method Found for Stem Cell Research

By Vanessa Lopez

A new method of researching embryonic stem cells using amniotic
stem cells could resolve controversy surrounding the use of embryos
to produce the cells.

“Stem cell research is an attempt to devise a method to
replace/repair tissues or organs damaged by disease, aging,
physical injury or genetically defective,” said biological sciences
professor Kenneth Gruber. “It is therefore just an extension of
over a century of modern medical research. Without this research,
many of the people who protest against stem cell research would not
be alive.”

Stem cell research has been a controversy since its inception in
1998 by Dr. James A. Thomson. Stem cells are the body’s master
cells found throughout the tissue and blood. There are two types of
stem cells including embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.
Embryonic stem (ES) cells come from an embryo which within the
third to fifth day of life is busy producing stem cells with organs
and tissue for the fetus.

Adults have stem cells located in the heart, lungs, brain and
other organs. They can be compared to repair kits that fix every
day wear and tear of the organs.

Human and non-human ES cells are invaluable resources for
developmental studies. ES Cells are believed to be the strongest in
the potential research for cures for illnesses such as Parkinson’s
and Alzheimer’s.

Pro-life supporters such as the American Life League insist it
is immoral.

“[Stem cell research] is unconscionable destruction of preborn
persons,” said ALL President Judie Brown.

In 2001, the Bush Administration allowed federal funding for
embryonic stem cell lines derived from embryos that were already
destroyed.

Last year, President Bush vetoed the Houses’ stem cell research
enhancement act of 2005, stating “destroying frozen embryos was the
same as destroying life.”

Had the law passed, however, American tax payers would be
funding research for stem cell research upon destruction of
embryos.

The new method of researching ES cells includes the use of
amniotic stem cells as opposed to the cells gathered from embryos.
This could resolve controversy surrounding the use of embryos to
produce the cells. Scientists would obtain the cells without
destroying embryos, which is the main reason why most people,
including the President, oppose ES cell researching in the first
place.

“It doesn’t matter whether they find new and ethical methods of
extracting stem cells from embryos or amniotic fluid,” said Sara
Acuna, fourth-year kinesiology student, “I’ll never support it as a
Catholic and as a person who respects life.”

The new technique used in research would be performed on an
embryo when it is two days old, after the fertilized egg has
divided in two.

“All human life is sacred from the moment of conception until
the moment of death,” said Regina Bosdachin, a fourth-year
electrical engineering student. “The reason for this is that at the
moment of conception, God infuses the then-embryo with a soul. This
soul is created in the image and likeness of God.”

With a new year and a new opportunity to try again, The House of
Representatives has passed the stem cell research enhancement act
of 2007, but failed to overturn the Presidents Veto. The bill would
allow the use of embryos from fertility clinics that would be
destroyed or frozen indefinitely.

Should the President pass the bill, it would expand funding
through human embryonic stem cell.

“I believe in the morality of stem cell research,” said Gruber.
“The President’s position tries to satisfy both sides of a moral
debate [resulting] in both sides [thinking] he is wrong.”

Vanessa Lopez can be reached by e-mail at news@thepolypost.com
or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

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