There continue to be reports of new attempts to create life, sometimes labeled “synthetic” or “artificial” because the entity is not created the old-fashioned way, i.e., by fertilization of an egg with a sperm. The most recent report involved combining two different types of stem cells to form an embryo-like structure that was labeled “artificial.” But is the manner in which a life begins the most important factor in how we regard that life? If a life is created using artificial or non-natural means, is that life really synthetic? Or rather, once a life is created, is that life like any other? The labels we put on things not only identify them but also give them value. So if we label a life as “artificial,” is this also a way to devalue that life?
Despite Massive Hype and Billions of Dollars Embryonic Stem Cells Still Haven’t Cured a Single Patient
Stem cells. Those words can conjure up many images for those who hear them: cures, death of young human beings, millions and billions of taxpayer dollars, lab-coated scientists, petri dishes, and patients with serious conditions—waiting, hoping, disappointed, or treated.
We are now just a little more than two weeks away from Christmas when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus and reflected on the wonder of God taking on the form of a human being, especially starting as a newborn baby born under humble circumstances.
Stem cell therapies and their lifesaving results are arguably the best kept medical secret. Stem cells are currently being used in several thousand FDA-approved clinical trials, are treating tens of thousands of patients every year, and cumulatively over 1.5 million people have been treated to date. Yet these numbers, and the lifesaving results from stem cells for dozens of conditions, are unknown to most. Why the information blackout? Perhaps for lack of an adjective.
The U.K. press are reporting heartening results for the use of adult stem cells to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), including descriptions of “remarkable” improvements and “miraculous” results. Yet this is not hype; these are descriptions from some of the doctors themselves, who treated the patients, made detailed examinations of their progress, and scientifically validated the observations.
Genetically-manufactured babies, gene-manipulated human embryos, human-animal chimeras, human clones—all science fiction, right? No, these various types of laboratory-manufactured human embryos are already reality. Last spring, Chinese scientists announced they had experimented with genetic manipulation of human embryos, and scientists in the U.S. want to join in the experiments, also recently approved in law in the U.K.
In the wake of videos exposing its involvement in trading fetal organs, Planned Parenthood has resorted to a “silver lining” defense. The taking of brains, hearts, lungs and livers from the unborn, even the delivery of intact fetal bodies to commercial middlemen, is hailed as a valid scientific procedure. The words “treat and cure” are used.
On May 12, 2015, David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, was invited to speak on the science of fetal pain on Point of View radio talk show. On May 13, 2015 the United States House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Excitement over a newly-released paper on stem cells making insulin is a tribute to the Harvard stem cell Press Office.