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Stem Cells Talking Points:
Shea, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)
are a member of the human race from the time of your
conception (fertilization). This fact has been
established scientifically since the mid eighteen fifties.
use of human stem cells from sources other than the
embryo (somatic stem-cells or adult stem cells) has
proved very successful for over twenty years and should
disease has yet been alleviated or cured by the use of
stem cells can be a bit too flexible, differentiating
into all kinds of tissue, some desirable and some not.
When injected under the skin of certain mice, they grow
into teratomas, tumours consisting of numerous tissue
types, from gut to skin to teeth.
stem cells used in patients with Parkinson’s disease
have produced tardive dyskinesia, uncontrollable movement
of the limbs.
stem cells will be treated by the recipient’s body as
foreign, and the likelihood of tissue rejection is highly
stem-cells derived from a patient are never rejected by
that patient’s body.
sources of somatic stem-cells are bone marrow, umbilical
cord blood and placentas and umbilical cords are
cord blood is virtually free of infection by cytomegalo
is only a one in four hundred chance of a perfect match
from a non-relative bone marrow donor. Even with a
suitable donor, there is an 80% risk of moderate to
severe tissue rejection.
disease successfully treated by marrow transplant or cord
blood are acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myologenous
leukemia, adult chronic myologenous leukemia, juvenile
chronic myologenous leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma and Hodgkin’s disease.
disease, successfully treated: aplastic anemia,
thalassemia, Fanconi’s anemia, sickle-cell anemia etc.
somatic stem-cell research successes: cow skin cells
transformed into beating heart cells in a cow (PPL
Therapeutics, Scotland 2001), human fat cells transformed
into cartilage, muscle and bone (UCLA and University of
Pittsburgh), mouse heart damage repaired by bone marrow
cells (Nature Magazine, New York Medical College, April
2001). Successful stem-cell harvesting from bone,
cartilage, brain and heart, (National Post, April 16,
patient with host-tissue rejection will often have to be
put on anti-rejection drug treatment for the rest of his/her
- A stem
cell once separated from the embryo, which occurs
spontaneously in identical twinning, can follow one of
- It may die
- It may revert
to becoming another embryo
- It may be
- If the
stem-cell reverts to becoming another embryo, it in turn,
will be killed by stem-cell research.
researcher, Dr. Helen Hodges, says adult stem cells may
prove safer and more flexible than fetal cells. Some of
her work shows adult stem cells traveling to the area
needing repair, whereas fetal stem cells remain where
they are injected. And because patients can “donate”
their own adult stem cells for treatment, their immune
systems won’t reject them.
1999, the journal Science reported that adult stem cells
were “much more accessible and can develop into a
surprisingly broad repertoire of cell types.” In the
publication, Professor Prentice says that “in the last
two years, we’ve gone from thinking that we had very
few stem cells in our bodies and recognizing that many (perhaps
most) organs maintain a reservoir of these cells”.
Prentice goes on to say that adult stem cells have shown
themselves to be scientifically more successful than
embryonic stem cells both because of the variety of
different tissues they can become and because they are
more readily available.
P. O’Mathuna, a professor of bioethics and chemistry at
Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio, states
that drugs are being developed to activate adult somatic
idea that an embryo does not come into existence until 14
days after conception (at the time of implantation) is a
fiction - - pretending to be a scientific fact.
‘fourteenth day’ fiction has been promulgated by
obstetricians and pharmaceutical companies since the late
1970’s in an effort to promote the IUD (intra-uterine
device) as a contraceptive and not, as it truly is, an
morning-after pill and the use of embryonic stem-cells
are being promoted by means of the same fiction.
Blackmun (Roe Vs. Wade): “…beginning of life could
not be determined.” He ignored biological science. The
beginning of life can only be determined by biology, not
by philosophy, theology or religion.
73 ‘scientists’ solicited the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) to support stem-cell research – none of
which were human embryologists.
1998, Harold Varmus, director of NIH made this statement:
“…human Totipotent stem cells are not embryos.” He
- (a) stem
cells are obtained by death of embryo,
- (b) that
these cells sometimes revert back to a zygote.
conclusions were derived from the advice of two
Bioethics Advisory Commission (no human
- The Human
Embryo Research Panel, appointed by him (again,
no embryologists on the panel).
has nothing to say about the value of human life.
human being from the moment of conception has inherent
human rights which includes the right not to be unjustly
killed or deliberately harmed.
moral principles should not be re-defined by public
debate, vote or consensus.
proposed legislation by Health Minister Allan Rock, on
the one hand, criticized and condemns certain morally
unacceptable procedures, and on the other hand, allows
them to take place, if permitted by the government.
use of embryonic stem-cells for research kills the embryo.
stem-cell research involves very few moral problems.
Women for America points out that embryonic stem-cell
research, which destroys a human being, violates The
Nuremberg Code, an ethical framework used to govern human
research. The Nuremberg Code was formed in the wake of
the atrocities committed in the name of science in Nazi
Germany. The primary principle in the Nuremberg Code
states, “Voluntary consent is absolutely essential.”
The Code also prohibits experimentation that causes
injury, disability or a person’s death. Both of these
principles are violated in embryonic stem cell research.
must never allow human beings at the embryonic stage, or
at any other stage to be used for experimentation.
parents of an embryo gave their consent to it being used
for research purposes, but were not informed that this
embryo was a member of the human species (race), their
consent would have been misinformed and therefore legally
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Saint Charbel for Life
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