by Steven Ertelt
December 6, 2004
London, England (LifeNews.com) — Scientists may have found a process to create embryonic stem cells without creating or destroying human life. While pro-life advocates are cautiously examining the news, researchers say the technique can help avoid the ethical concerns that accompany embryonic stem cell research.
A team of scientists at the University of Wales College of Medicine believe they can create embryonic stem cells without creating a human embryo to be destroyed.
They think they can trick human eggs into creating a "spark of life" by emulating a fertilization process.
According to their research, published in the New Scientist journal, the "embryos" created by the process, called altered nuclear transfer, lack the paternal chromosomes necessary to develop a unique human being normally created at conception.
The tricked eggs divide for four or five days until they reach 50 to 100 cells — the blastocyst stage. In theory, embryonic stem cells should be obtainable at that point.
Karl Swann, head of the research team said, "It’s the spark of life. It tricks the egg into thinking it has been fertilized."
"There are a number of potential benefits, including the possibility of generating embryonic stem cells without the need to use embryos that were originally created for a couple’s IVF treatment," Nazar Amso, a senior lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Wales College of Medicine, said.
Bob Lanza, head of research at the cloning company Advanced Cell Technology in Massachusetts agreed. He told the IC Wales news outlet, "This could eliminate one of the main sources of ethical controversy in this research."
However, pro-life advocates are remaining cautious.
Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, a London-based pro-life group, told IC Wales, "I’d be happier if it was beyond all reasonable doubt that it could not become a human life.