Stem cell research: licit or complicit? Is a medical breakthrough based on embryonic and fetal tissue compatible with Catholic teaching?
Language: 
English
Short Title: 
Stem cell research
Abstract: 

In November 1998 biologists announced that they had discovered a way to isolate and preserve human stem cells. Since stem cells are capable of developing into any kind of human tissue or organ, this was a great scientific coup. Researchers envision using the cells to replace damaged organs and to restore tissue destroyed by, for example, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, or even Alzheimer's. But, since stem cells are taken from aborted embryonic and fetal tissue or "leftover" in vitro embryos, their use raises large ethical issues. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently decided to fund research employing, not stem cells, but "cell lines" derived from them. The NIH has essentially made an ethical determination, finding sufficient "distance" between cell lines and abortion. Can Catholic universities sponsoring biological research agree with this finding? Probably not. In Catholic teaching, the concept of "complicity" would likely preclude such research. However, Catholic teaching would probably allow research done with stem cells obtained from postpartum placental tissue and from adult bone marrow and tissue. These cells, which lack the pluripotency of embryonic and fetal stem cells, are nevertheless scientifically promising and do not involve the destruction of human life.

Author(s): 
Branick, V.
Lysaught, M. T.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Health Progress (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Journal Abbreviation: 
Health Prog
Publication Date: 
1999-10
Publication Year: 
1999
Pages: 
37-42
Volume: 
80
Issue: 
5
ISSN: 
0882-1577
Library Catalog: 
PubMed
Extra: 
PMID: 10623180

Turabian/Chicago Citation

V. Branick and M. T. Lysaught. 1999-10. "Stem cell research: licit or complicit? Is a medical breakthrough based on embryonic and fetal tissue compatible with Catholic teaching?." Health Progress (Saint Louis, Mo.) 80: 5: 37-42.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = | issn = 0882-1577 | volume = 80 | pages = 37-42 | last = Branick | first = V. | coauthors = Lysaught, M. T. | title = Stem cell research: licit or complicit? Is a medical breakthrough based on embryonic and fetal tissue compatible with Catholic teaching? | journal = Health Progress (Saint Louis, Mo.) | date = 1999-10 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>