Just off the AP by way of Yahoo news, a biotech company announced a technique for extracting stem cells from embryos without destroying the embryo. I could have posted this in Religion or Medical News, but I think politics will determine what comes of this development. It's hard to see how even ardent pro-life advocates can object to this technique of harvesting stem cells, but that remains to be seen.
By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer
1 hour, 34 minutes ago
NEW YORK - In an innovative move, a biotech company has found a new way of making stem cells without destroying embryos, touting it as a way to defuse one of the country's fiercest political and ethical debates.
Some opponents of the research said the method still doesn't satisfy their objections and many stem cell scientists and their supporters called it inefficient and politically wrong-headed.
But a spokeswoman for President Bush, who vetoed legislation last month that would have allowed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, called it a step in the right direction.
And Dr. Robert Lanza, an executive with Advanced Cell Technology, which created the new stem cell lines, said: "This will make it far more difficult to oppose this research."
Stem cells have become a Holy Grail for advocates of patients with a wide variety of illnesses because of the cells' potential to transform into any type of human tissue, perhaps leading to new treatments. But the Vatican, President Bush and others have argued that the promise of stem cells should not be realized at the expense of human life, even in its most nascent stages.
The new method works by taking an embryo at a very early stage of development and removing a single cell, which can be coaxed into spawning an embryonic stem cell line. With only one cell removed, the rest of the embryo retains its full potential for development.
The method was described online Wednesday in the British journal Nature. The journal published a similar paper by Advanced Cell Technology last year demonstrating the technique's viability in mice.
Link to the rest of the story