Scientist: Use of Adult Stem Cell Research Better Than Embryonic Cells

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 28, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Scientist: Use of Adult Stem Cell Research Better Than Embryonic Cells Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 28, 2005

New Brunswick, NJ ( — A leading researcher on stem cell research told attendees of a pro-life banquet at Rutgers University that the use of adult stem cell research is significantly more effective than using embryonic stem cells.

Dr. David Prentice, founding member of Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics, told the audience:

"We keep hearing about the promise of embryonic stem cells, but the claims are simply unsubstantiated,” he said.

“At this point in time there is little evidence of the effectiveness of embryonic stem cells. Proponents have yet to take even one dish of embryonic stem cells and have these cells change into one specific cell, i.e., a heart cell or brain cell. Based on experiments to date, it’s not safe to even try and apply them to patients."

“The bottom line,” continued Dr. Prentice, “is that our real promise lies not in the use of embryonic stem cells but with adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are today already at work in patients. I can document, through published scientific papers, with over 65 human diseases, where patients are better already, having been effectively treated through adult stem cells.”

“Some scientists admit there are ethical concerns in the use of embryonic stem cells,” Dr. Prentice said. “But, these same scientists continue to ignore the success in patients and the use of adult stem cells. The debate is ongoing. We face a lot of challenges, but the key question remains, ‘What does it mean to be human, and what kind of values do we give to any human life, whether it be a little embryo, a fetus in the womb, a newborn or someone at the other end of their life with advanced Alzheimer’s?’

“We must value every human life,” he added. “We need to push ethical science. We have an ethical problem in one sense, to make sure that everyone knows the real facts about the stem cell debate. The ethical question is that you have to kill a human embryo, a young human life, in order to obtain an embryonic stem cell. What we are dealing with is a human being at its earliest stage of life. We need to make sure we know the full facts and get out and talk about them with our friends, family and people at work. We have to write letters to the editor and to our legislators.”

The comments originally appeared in the Catholic Spirit newspaper.