Where Science and Faith Converge
Staying Connected

Bringing Stem Cell Research Into Focus

By Fazale Rana - November 1, 2005
More

Even though they can't be seen without a microscope, embryonic stem cells are in full view of the public's eye. This interest in stem cell research has generated a number of radio interviews for me over the last year, in many instances on secular radio stations. These interviews present a timely opportunity to offer a Christian perspective on stem cell research. Frequently I am asked if I oppose. My reply: "I am opposed to embryonic stem cell research, since it involves the destruction of human embryos. I do, however, support adult stem cell research."

Biomedical scientists promise that embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) will one day lead to effective treatments for debilitating diseases (such as Parkinson's disease and type I diabetes) and injuries (such as spinal cord damage). I point out that much is made of the potential benefits of ESCs, yet, little is said about the very real problems associated with them.

Researchers have known for some time that when implanted into tissues, ESCs tend to form tumors. Recent research further accentuates this problem. It shows that over time ESCs accumulate mutations commonly observed in human cancers.

Another problem confronts ESC technology—rejection. Most people know that during organ transplant procedures, if the donor and recipient are not compatible the recipient's body rejects the organ. Few people realize, however, that the same incompatibility problems apply to ESCs. It's almost certain that the recipient's body will treat incompatible ESCs as foreign material and reject the cells before they can deliver any benefit. In the face of these serious risks, it makes little sense for the biomedical research community to pursue ESCR, particularly since so many other concerns, especially ethical concerns, surround this technology.

Media exposure allows me to explain to people outside of RTB that circumspection becomes even more compelling in light of recent (unexpected) advances in adult stem cell research (ASCR). Studies have shown that some types of ASCs can be used to treat diseases and injuries that the biomedical research community thought could only be addressed using ESCs. ASCs pose no ethical problems because these cells are isolated harmlessly from adult tissues. ASCs raise no concerns about rejection because the donor and recipient are one and the same. In fact, ASCs are now being evaluated in clinical studies, and some promising preliminary results are already in hand.

These amazing advances have prompted many in the biomedical research community to focus attention on ASC technology. It is ASCR—not ESCR—that offers more promising remedies for many horrific diseases and injuries. Reasons To Believe is playing an important role in communicating how these latest scientific breakthroughs provide the means to uphold the sanctity of human life.


Category
  • Stem Cells/Cloning
Tags
  • Publications

What's Holding You Back?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum magna nulla, egestas sed lectus id, posuere cursus leo. Praesent metus leo, dignissim eget laoreet vitae.

About Reasons to Believe

RTB's mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature. Learn More »

Support Reasons to Believe

Your support helps more people find Christ through sharing how the latest scientific discoveries affirm our faith in the God of the Bible.

Donate Now

U.S. Mailing Address
818 S. Oak Park Rd.
Covina, CA 91724
  • P (855) 732-7667
  • P (626) 335-1480
  • Fax (626) 852-0178
Reasons to Believe logo

Reasons to Believe is a nonprofit organization designated as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)3 by the Internal Revenue Service. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Our tax ID is #33-0168048. All Transactions on our Web site are safe and secure.

Copyright 2020. Reasons to Believe. All rights reserved. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy.