Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, April 16, 2014
2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Regis School 50th Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Local
2/15/2008
Scientists, doctors work to nix embryos from stem cell research
Ed Langlois


A Stanford physician and bioethicist and two researchers from Oregon Health and Science University have teamed up to take the next step in eliminating the need to kill embryos for stem cells.

Dr. William Hurlbut of Stanford and Oregonians Dr. Markus Grompe and Shoukhrat Mitalipov want to advance science while preserving moral principles. They are putting forward a technique called altered nuclear transfer.

The method could improve a breakthrough announced last fall in which scientists in the U.S. and Japan used viruses to coax adult cells to act like stem cells, taking on the ability to grow into different kinds of tissues. The possibility caused excitement because it promised healing without moral compromise, but viruses were seen as a risky way to spark the process, because of risks of disrupting cell behavior.

Altered nuclear transfer aims to create cells that are pluripotent — can become any tissue —without creating an embryo and without using a virus. The technique entails removing the nucleus of an egg and replacing it with another nucleus. In the new nucleus, an RNA agent has knocked out certain messenger substances, blocking the ability of cells to communicate as they naturally would to create an entire organism. What one gets is a mass of pluripotent cells that can be used, yet are not a constitutive part of any living being.

Dr. Hurlbut describes the result as a model airplane with the parts, but no glue. “You preempt life,” he says. “No living embryo is ever created.”

The work is going forward in monkeys here in Oregon.

While some ethicists say the mass of cells is a disabled embryo, a group of prominent Catholic philosophers disagrees and has signed on to the idea. That includes Bishop John Myers of Newark, N.J.

The debate over embryonic stem cells has been bad both for science and for religion — and damaging to the common good, Dr. Hurlbut said last week in a lecture at the University of Portland.

A member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, Dr. Hurlbut gained advanced degrees in science at Stanford and did work in ethics and theology at Institut Catholique de Paris. He has written on the evolutionary origins of spiritual, moral and religious awareness.

Passions have run high over stem cells. Politicians who have voted against federal funding for research have been targeted in advertising as playing God, deciding who lives and dies.

And the unlocking of the human genome has begun a cascade of discoveries that will only continue to pit materiality against morality. The stem cell debate, Dr. Hurlbut says, is just the beginning. Soon to come are the mixture of human and animal tissues, artificial wombs and laboratory reproduction of spare organs using fetal parts.

“Obviously, these are not just questions for science alone but for the full breadth of human wisdom,” Dr. Hurlbut says.

In an interview with The Sentinel in 2006, Dr. Grompe said that Catholics may have to make a choice because it could well be that adult cells will not be able to be coaxed to be as useful as embryonic cells.

“There is a lot in favor of embryonic stem cells,” explained the member of St. John Fisher Parish in Portland. “But we need to make a choice based on ethics.”

Dr. Hurlbut affirmed that possibility last week.

“Embryonic stem cells may do things that adult ones cannot,” he said at the university, admitting that the truth will cause conflict.

Worldwide, four million embryos are frozen, one million of them in the U.S. They are left over from in vitro fertilization and most are castoffs, results of actions “unconstrained by forethought,” says Dr. Hurlbut.

The leading candidates for president seem prepared to have these frozen embryos used. That includes the Republican, Sen. John McCain.

There is no legal constraint on embryonic stem cell research itself, only on federal money for the research. A 1996 congressional amendment forbad federal funding for any act that would harm or destroy embryos. Hurlbut predicts that forces will soon try to overturn that provision.

“Yet even if use of these embryos becomes accepted policy and practice, we should be aware of something more complicated that is below the surface: there has been a slow but steady shift in our underlying attitude toward human life,” Dr. Hurlbut said.

“As we gain the powers of comprehension and control over our most basic biology, there is a transformation, not just in our physical being, but in our whole sense of who we are, and of our place and purpose within the natural order.”

Taking increased control over natural life processes causes a change in attitude and a loss of reverence and respect, he told listeners at UP.

“With each step, however benevolent the initial intention, there is a moral danger, a fracturing of matter and meaning that breaks the coherence and natural connections of life,” he said.

“With each step, the original radiance and vitality of the cosmos, its order, beauty and coherent moral meaning, are obscured by the conviction that all of living nature is mere matter and information, to be reshuffled and reassigned for the projects of the human will.”

Yet science, Hurlbut says, is meanwhile affirming the idea that life begins at conception. New discoveries show differentiation early on, cells communicating with one another to create a non-repeatable organism with latent potential.

“The act of fertilization is a leap from zero to everything,” Hurlbut says.
New insights, he explains, show the problem with laws like the one in place in Britain, where embryos can be used for research as long as they are 14 days old or younger. Hurlbut argues for a national standard on stem cells.

“Do we really want red state medicine and blue state medicine?” he asked. “Clearly both sides of this debate are defending human goods. On one side medical research. On the other side the fundamental dignity of human life.”
Dr. Hurlbut predicts a time when people will get therapy not by getting stem cells added to their systems, but by receiving some kind of agent that will “rev up” the stem cells already in the body.



Advanced Search






Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2014 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved