Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Amniotic Fluid Source of Helpful Stem Cells -- The Vatican's Response

The Vatican on Tuesday welcomed a new way of extracting stem cells that does not use human embryos, calling it a significant advance that could help medical research without going against Roman Catholic beliefs. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, said the discovery showed medicine can progress without destroying human embryos.

U.S. researchers reported on Sunday that stem cells found in the amniotic fluid protecting babies in the womb were nearly as powerful as embryonic stem cells in producing adaptable cells that scientists hope can someday transform medicine.

The Catholic Church and other religious groups have been staunch critics of the most common method of stem cell research, which involves extracting cells from human embryos, because they believe such organisms are humans from the moment of conception.

"I am very glad to see this progress in the field of science for the good of humankind," Barragan told Vatican Radio on Tuesday, noting it did not violate "the life of the donor."...

The rest of this Reuters article is here.