Tuesday, January 09, 2007
A Different Source of Pluri-Potent Stem Cells
Even though it is immoral to kill tiny human beings in order to obtain their stem cells, scientists still covet embryonic stem cells because such cells are believed to be “pluri-potent.” Pluri-potency is the ability to transform into any type of cell; such as nerves or spleen cells, or heart cells or lung cells or brain cells. While adult stem cells are extremely flexible, researchers claim that they lack the pluri-potency of embryonic stem cells. According to a recent press release by Harvard University however, a new source of pluri-potent cells has been discovered. A group of Harvard University scientists indicate that they have discovered functioning pluri-potent stem cells in amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is the fluid in the womb that supports and protects the developing baby. In theory, this fluid and the cells therein could be harvested when babies are born naturally rather than killing a developing baby in order to get stem cells. This could provide researchers with the pluri-potent cells they claim they want, while avoiding the moral cost of killing or destroying tiny human beings. If this technology proves viable, it will be interesting to see if people continue to press for the collection of embryonic stem cells. It will reveal whether their real motive is a desire to destroy tiny humans or whether they are really interested in research. For more information, there is a BBC news article by Matt McGrath dated Monday, January 8, 2007 on the BBC news and a commentary on Captain’s Quarters dated January 7, 2007.