Notre Dame Starts Adult Stem Cell Research With $5M Grant

Bioethics   |   Rebecca Taylor   |   Jun 25, 2012   |   9:44AM   |   South Bend, IN

With a $5 million gift from alumni Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher, Notre Dame is ramping up its adult stem cell research. From

Alumnus Michael Gallagher and his wife, Elizabeth, have made a $5 million gift to establish the Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher Family Professorships in Adult Stem Cell Research at the University of Notre Dame.

Their gift, which will fund three new endowed professorships in adult and all forms of non-embryonic stem cell research, will strengthen Notre Dame’s leadership in the field of stem cell research and enhance the University’s effective dialogue between the biomedical research community and the Catholic Church on matters related to the use and application of stem cells and regenerative medicine.

“As a Catholic university, Notre Dame carries a mantle of responsibility to use our scholarship and resources to help alleviate human suffering, and, in this area of research in particular, to do so with deep respect for the sanctity of all human life,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “These new professorships will enable us to effectively build upon an already strong foundation in this critically important field. We are tremendously grateful to the Gallaghers for making this possible with their transformative gift.”

No matter how many times advocates, politicians and the media repeat that the Catholic Church is against stem cell research, it will not make it true. The Catholic Church is, and always has been, for stem cell research; the ethical kind where little human organisms are not ripped apart for their harvestable biological material.

Notre Dame is not the only Catholic institution to increase their support of adult stem cell science. Recently, Universit√† Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, a prominent European Catholic university, announced a collaboration with Cryo-Save, Europe’s largest family adult stem cell bank. The intent of the partnership is to promote and improve knowledge on the cryopreservation of stem cells from umbilical cord tissue.



And last year the Vatican put its money where its mouth is, to the tune of $1 million. In 2011, they announced a collaboration with the New York adult stem cell company NeoStem. The Church did not invest in the company by buying stocks but instead gave the money to start a non-profit organization called Stem for Life Foundation focused on fund raising, education and putting on an adult stem cell conference in Rome that took place in November.

I cannot say it enough. The Church and pro-lifers everywhere are not anti-science. We are anti-unethical science. As Rabbi Marc Gellman wrote in an open letter to Michael J. Fox in Newsweek, “People who oppose embryonic stem-cell research want a cure as much as you want a cure, but they do not believe that you can pick healthy fruit from a poisoned tree.”