Scientists Make Stem Cells Without Harming Embryos
By using single cells plucked from human embryos, scientists have grown human embryonic stem cells, which can turn into any other kind of cell in the body, while leaving the original embryo intact.
This new technique could potentially allow researchers to generate human embryonic stem cells for therapies and further experiments while avoiding the highly controversial destruction of human embryos required to grow the cells the conventional way.
In addition, the method the scientists used to pluck cells out is already routinely practiced during in vitro fertilization to scan embryos for genetic diseases. This procedure does not harm the embryo's further development.
The researchers at Advanced Cell Technology at Worcester, Mass., coaxed the human embryonic stem cells to become a number of potentially therapeutic cell types. These include blood vessel cells that could help mend hearts after heart attacks, and eye cells "that could help rescue visual function," cell biologist Robert Lanza, Advanced Cell Technology's vice president of research and scientific development, told LiveScience.
More research is needed to determine if these new embryonic stem cells behave the same as other human embryonic stem cells, which conventionally are derived from a slightly later stage in embryonic development.
Lanza and his colleagues reported their findings online Aug. 23 via the journal Nature.
(Charles Choi, Live Science.com, 8/23/06).
[TBC: Abortion Rights activists have vigorously pushed for experimentation on human embryos. While man puursues his agenda of death, the Lord graciously provides a way to benefit humanity without harming human life.]