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The Truth About Stem Cell Research
The Florida Catholic Conference ^ | October 28, 2004 | Fr. Alfred Cioffi

Posted on 05/26/2005 1:15:50 AM PDT by cpforlife.org

                                                                                             > >

October 28, 2004

The Truth About Stem Cell Research
By Fr. Alfred Cioffi, The Florida Catholic


Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk is not your typical priest.  With a doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and having done post-doctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital, connected to Harvard Medical School, Father Tad, as he’s known, is one of the church’s top bioethicists.

In Orlando for the Catholic Medical Association’s national conference, the Fall River priest, who serves as director for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, shared insights into the myths and realities of embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning, and in vitro fertilization and why the church has taken such a strong stand against such practices.

He outlined 10 great media myths in the debate over stem-cell research.

Myth 1—Stem cells come only from embryos

Father Pacholczyk said people must understand what stem cells are—cells that are differentiated based on what human tissue they are taken from.  The body has 220 different stem-cell types that can be extracted from nearly every part of the body, including eyes, spinal cord, blood, brain, skin, and muscle.  In most cases, stem cells can be extracted without harming the individual.

The goal of stem-cell research in general is to generate new cells in the laboratory that can be put back into a person’s body and hopefully take over for dying tissue or cells affected by the disease.  Bone-marrow transplants, for example, utilize stem cells.

Myth 2—The church is against stem-cell research

Father Pacholczyk said the church supports stem-cell research in most cases.  “There are ethical concerns depending on the source of the stem cells,” he explained.  The church has no problems with stem cell research when the stem cells are taken from adults, umbilical cords, or miscarriages.  Stem cells from miscarriages are known as embryonic germ cells.

But the church is against standard embryonic stem-cell research.  Why?

“Embryonic stem cells come from embryos that are about five to seven days old,” he explained.  He added that their use is being pushed among some researchers because the cells are thought to be more flexible and not committed to a particular cell type and hypothetically could be manipulated in the laboratory to become any type of tissue in the body.  The only way to extract the stem cells located in the inner cell mass of the embryo which eventually becomes the baby, is to extract it violently from the embryo, thus killing it.

Myth 3—Embryonic stem-cell research show the most promise

Father Pacholcyzk outlined some 98 different diseases that can be treated using umbilical cord and adult stem cells.  Research using adult stem cells is 20 to 30 years ahead of embryonic stem cell research and actually holds greater promise.  Currently, there is no scientific evidence where embryonic stem cells have been used successfully in animal trials.

“They’ve found that in the research that has been done that embryonic stem cells actually end up generating tumors in the animals and do not assimilate into the body,” the priest said.  “The embryonic stem cells are so energetic that they are hard to control and manipulate.”

Myth 4—Embryonic stem-cell research is against the law

There is currently no law or regulation against destroying human embryos for research purposes, the priest said.  While President George W. Bush banned the use of federal funding to support research on embryonic stem cells created after August 2001, it is not illegal.  Anyone using private funds is free to pursue it.

Myth 5—President Bush created new restrictions to federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research

Father Pacholcyzk said that in 1996, under President Bill Clinton, the Dickey Amendment prohibited the use of federal funds that would involve the destruction of embryos.  “President Bush’s decision actually liberalized the law and permitted (federal) research on embryonic stem cell lines created before a certain date,” he said. 

Myth 6—Therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning are fundamentally different 

Father Pacholczyk said that both cloning practices are basically the same, the difference lies in the purpose for each. 

“One creates an embryo to be used for research purposes, the other creates an embryo for having a baby,” he said.  “You use the same steps for each.” 

Using himself as an example, Father Pacholczyk, 40, outlined the reproductive cloning process.  Using a piece of his hair with the root and cells still attached and a woman’s donated egg with the DHA extracted, scientists could force the DNA nucleus from the hair into the egg using an electrical charge, he said.  An early human embryo begins to develop.  “It doesn’t go any further until it’s put into the woman’s uterus at which point it would create my exact twin, but 40 years younger,” he said.  The science is still unstable, he said, and usually never works.  “It took 230 attempts for us to get Dolly,” he said, referring to the first-ever cloned sheep.  “There is a high rate of abnormalities and most die during gestation and right after birth. Cloning primates is particularly difficult.” 

Therapeutic cloning is cloning for tissue research.  The procedure is the same until after the human embryo begins to develop.  Rather than placing it in the uterus, it is destroyed.  “The tissue wouldn’t come from me but from my twin,” Father Pacholczyk said. 

Neither practice is condoned by the church.  “With therapeutic cloning, it’s creating twins to be streamlined for parts,” he said.  “Reproductive cloning takes something that is a private and natural gift between a husband and wife and makes it a scientific process.” 

Myth 7—Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is different from cloning 

In some news programs, Father Pacholcyzk said scientists have made the claim that somatic cell nuclear transfer isn’t the same as cloning.  “You’re taking the nucleus from the cell and transferring it into the egg,” he said.  “It’s the same thing as cloning.” 

Myth 8—By doing SCNT, we can directly produce tissues or organs without having to clone an embryo 

“In current research, we cannot make tissues and organs directly,” the priest said.  “We must always first clone an embryo and then destroy it for tissue.” 

Myth 9—Every body cell, or somatic cell, is somehow an embryo and thus a human life 

Father Pacholcyzk said some people argue that every cell in the body has the potential to become an embryo so does that mean every time we wash our hands and are shedding thousands of cells we are killing life? 

Father Pacholcyzk said such an argument overlooks the basic difference between a regular body cell and one whose nuclear material has been fused with an unfertilized egg cell resulting in an embryo.  “Skin cells will give rise to more skin cells when it divides, while an embryo will give rise to the entire adult organism,” he said.  “Only embryos are potential adults.” 

Myth 10—Because frozen embryos may one day end up being discarded by somebody that makes it allowable, even laudable, to violate and destroy those embryos 

“Embryonic inviolability doesn’t hinge on whether the embryo is trapped in liquid nitrogen or not,” said Father Pacholcyzk, referring to the process in which embryos are frozen for use in in vitro fertilization. 

 A brochure the priest gave out compared such an action as comparable to “children permanently trapped in a schoolhouse through no fault of their own; that would not make it morally acceptable to send in a remote control robotic device which would harvest organs from those children and cause their demise.”

 

The Florida Catholic Conference
P.O. Box 1677 * Tallahassee, FL * 32302-1677
Phone (850) 222-3803 * Fax (850) 681-9548



TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: cary; frtad; prolife; stemcellresearch; stemcells

1 posted on 05/26/2005 1:15:50 AM PDT by cpforlife.org
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The National Catholic Bioethics Center
http://www.ncbcenter.org/home.html
2 posted on 05/26/2005 1:16:44 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, the father of lies and a MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: MHGinTN; Coleus; nickcarraway; narses; Mr. Silverback; Canticle_of_Deborah; ...
Excellent reference.

Pro-Life PING

Please FreepMail me if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.

3 posted on 05/26/2005 1:20:40 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, the father of lies and a MURDERER from the beginning.)
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"The underlying truth is that each person is meant to exist.
Each person is God's own idea".
--Pope Benedict XVI
4 posted on 05/26/2005 1:24:54 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, the father of lies and a MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: cpforlife.org
Each person is God's own idea...

That very simple sentence is so profound that I can't even comment upon it. The link to this article will go out across the web.

5 posted on 05/26/2005 1:43:13 AM PDT by backhoe (Just Another 'Bot for Terri... for Life...)
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To: cpforlife.org; american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; ...
Bookmarked!. Thanks for this excellent reference.

Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


6 posted on 05/26/2005 2:16:13 AM PDT by NYer ("Love without truth is blind; Truth without love is empty." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: AQGeiger

Ping!


7 posted on 05/26/2005 2:19:32 AM PDT by NYer ("Love without truth is blind; Truth without love is empty." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: cpforlife.org

Bump for additional reading


8 posted on 05/26/2005 2:22:43 AM PDT by mn-bush-man
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To: cpforlife.org

bump for later reading


9 posted on 05/26/2005 2:24:38 AM PDT by WKB (You can half the good and double the bad people say about themselves.)
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To: cajungirl
From the article:

Myth 3—Embryonic stem-cell research show the most promise

Father Pacholcyzk outlined some 98 different diseases that can be treated using umbilical cord and adult stem cells. Research using adult stem cells is 20 to 30 years ahead of embryonic stem cell research and actually holds greater promise. Currently, there is no scientific evidence where embryonic stem cells have been used successfully in animal trials.

As Sargent Joe Friday would say, just the facts, Ma'am.

10 posted on 05/26/2005 4:11:48 AM PDT by topher (John 5:58 + Exodus 21:22 +Jer 1:5 + Gen 9:6 +John 14:6 + Rev 12:1-17)
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To: cpforlife.org
I saw a report on CNN this morning about the House bill and 43's promised veto. The word embryonic was NEVER used by CNN. Not once. And the facts that this would only apply to federal funding and that other reseach was not banned was NEVER mentioned, either.
11 posted on 05/26/2005 4:14:34 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: topher
I did a research paper on the pros and cons of stem cell research last fall. I thought it was pretty good at the time, but I'm more sure of it than ever after reading this article and others. My research came to all the same conclusions. There is no good reason for ESC, other than to fund research grants to scientists so they can play God.

If people knew more about this topic, there would be a lot more opposition to ESC.

12 posted on 05/26/2005 4:19:18 AM PDT by Trust but Verify
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To: topher
Research using adult stem cells is 20 to 30 years ahead of embryonic stem cell research

Especially impressive in view of the fact that they started with embryonic stem cells in 1998 and didn't isolate adult stem cells until 2000.

13 posted on 05/26/2005 4:47:17 AM PDT by maryz
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To: cpforlife.org
Myth 3—Embryonic stem-cell research show the most promise

I know more people in the medical community who REALLY want to believe this one.

14 posted on 05/26/2005 5:06:55 AM PDT by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: backhoe

Saddam was God's own idea? How preposterous!


15 posted on 05/26/2005 5:09:20 AM PDT by verity (A mindset is an antidote to logic.)
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To: cpforlife.org; NYer; Mr. Silverback; redgolum

"The underlying truth is that each person is meant to exist.
Each person is God's own idea".
--Pope Benedict XVI

Thanks for posting that!

16 posted on 05/26/2005 5:17:09 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Desdemona
Of course they do. Scientists and Doctors are the same as any other group of people. They are susceptible to propaganda, and are more inclined to "follow the crowd" than not.

Try being a medical researcher that is against abortion and cloning. You will be bypassed and quietly forced out.
17 posted on 05/26/2005 5:47:11 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: cpforlife.org

Bump


18 posted on 05/26/2005 7:03:28 AM PDT by Gipper08 (MIKE PENCE IN 2008Ron Paul VP)
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To: Gipper08

Gipper!

I'd prefer Ron Paul as President, but you're great tag line looks awesome to me too!


19 posted on 05/26/2005 7:16:18 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, the father of lies and a MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: cpforlife.org

I think Paul has admitted he will never be President! Pence can and will win!


20 posted on 05/26/2005 7:25:09 AM PDT by Gipper08 (MIKE PENCE IN 2008)
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To: verity; backhoe
Saddam was God's own idea? How preposterous!

Certainly. Saddam had a great deal to say in how he turned out, however.

21 posted on 05/26/2005 7:29:14 AM PDT by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: Gipper08
Really!?

I only started reading Ron Paul in earnest a year or two ago. I do suppose he is such a Constitutionalist (as if that was a bad thing) that the moderates that run the GOP would never allow his nomination. I think they'd fight hard against him as VP to boot. I've been told Newt tried to help defeat him way back.
22 posted on 05/26/2005 7:43:29 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, the father of lies and a MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: Fam4Bush

ping


23 posted on 05/26/2005 7:47:49 AM PDT by null and void (Embrace diseased aliens! It's the progressive thing to do...)
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To: eleni121

ping


24 posted on 05/26/2005 7:49:30 AM PDT by null and void (Embrace diseased aliens! It's the progressive thing to do...)
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To: null and void

thanks for the ping, nully...i like the article. it supports what i have to say.


25 posted on 05/26/2005 10:26:33 AM PDT by Fam4Bush (NO ONE BUYS......NEWSWEEK DIES)
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To: Fam4Bush

Yeah. I hate to bring facts to a good argument...


26 posted on 05/26/2005 10:29:39 AM PDT by null and void (Embrace diseased aliens! It's the progressive thing to do...)
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To: null and void

Who's arguing? I'm simply disagreeing. :)


27 posted on 05/26/2005 10:42:38 AM PDT by Fam4Bush (Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.)
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To: cpforlife.org; Kolokotronis

May I add the Orthodox Church's stance on fetal cell exploitation...very similar to the Catholic POV:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/ethics/hodges_stem_cell_research.htm


28 posted on 05/26/2005 1:07:07 PM PDT by eleni121 ('Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!' (Julian the Apostate))
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To: cpforlife.org; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; ...
Cutting Through the Spin on Stem Cells and Cloning,  Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. [RealPlayer video, 1 hr. 20 mins.] 

29 posted on 05/26/2005 1:55:02 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: 2nd amendment mama; A2J; Agitate; Alouette; Annie03; aposiopetic; attagirl; axel f; Balto_Boy; ...
Awesome resource here.

ProLife Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my ProLife Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

30 posted on 05/26/2005 2:04:04 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single cup of coffee.)
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To: cpforlife.org

http://www.cathmed.org/newsroom/currentissues.html

A niece sent me this link last week. The PDF file is really excellent and has the photo listed above in color. It is a 16 page explanation and easy to understand-even for me!

Frank


31 posted on 05/26/2005 2:21:49 PM PDT by Frank Sheed
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To: cpforlife.org
They just don't want reality.

They'd rather kill potential human beings.
32 posted on 05/26/2005 3:58:14 PM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: All

Just one more source about Dr. Lima's great work.

Dr. Carlos Lima at the Egas Moniz Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, who has been treating spinal cord injuries using the patient's own adult stem cells.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/innovation/about_episode6.html


33 posted on 05/26/2005 10:41:18 PM PDT by Sun (Call the U.S. SELL-OUT senators toll-free, 1-877-762-8762 & give 'em "heck.")
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To: Frank Sheed

Thanks Frank!

Just downloaded and will read ASAP. Archived in Pro-Life folder.

Kevin


34 posted on 05/27/2005 12:11:04 AM PDT by cpforlife.org (Abortion is the Choice of Satan, the father of lies and a MURDERER from the beginning.)
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To: cpforlife.org
From an email:

***ACTION ALERT*** Saturday, May 28, 2005



Romney delivers on promise to veto stem cell bill

By Theo Emery, Associated Press Writer | May 27, 2005

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney vetoed a bill Friday that would expand embryonic stem cell research in Massachusetts, but the measure has more than enough support in the Legislature to override the governor's veto.

The House and Senate passed the bill with veto-proof margins, and both chambers were expected to vote next week to override the veto.

Read full article...

You must encourage your fellow parishoners (family, friends) to contact their legislators by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000 or by e-mailing your state senator (click here)and state representative (click here), urging them to support the Governor's final veto before a vote (likely Tuesday, May 31st) and this legislation becomes law!

To find your elected officials:
www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.php

See: Timeline (including Roll Call Votes) -- What's Happened So Far

FORWARD THIS E-MAIL ON TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN MASSACHUSETTS!!!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Additional Resources:


35 posted on 05/28/2005 8:04:48 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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