Scientists find "ultimate stem cell"—in adults, with no cloning necessary
"It might turn out to be the most important cell ever discovered," raves New Scientist magazine. And indeed, it just might be. Catherine Verfaillie of the University of Minnesota has discovered stem cells in adult bone marrow that can become any other bodily tissue. It may put an end to debates over embryonic stem cells and therapeutic cloning; not just because harvesting these cells are ethically problem-free, but also because these cells are reportedly better than those from embryos. "This comes as great news during this sanctity of life week—both for those who mourn the huge loss of unborn human life in recent decades as well as those who have challenging medical conditions," Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity President John Kilner says in a press release. "If confirmed, we no longer need to wait until human cloning becomes reliable—something that may never happen—to pursue therapies and treatments. The genetically appropriate, flexible stem cells patients need are right there in their own bodies." The Christian Medical Association is similarly ecstatic. "If the remarkable results of this study prove consistent with early published reports, then no reasonable person could justify violating ethical barriers to clone and harvest human embryos for their cells," the organization's executive director, David Stevens, says in another press release. "Given this breakthrough news and the consistent performance of adult stem cells, if you were investing in the stock of companies pursuing therapies from adult stem cells or from cloned human embryonic stem cells, where would you put your money?" Expect much more commentary on this in the days ahead.