Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stem Cell cartoon.

An interesting series of cartoons on Slate regarding Stem Cell research and the Bush veto. Although they tend to lean more in the direction for stem-cell research. I found the the following cartoon the most interesting one, showing the dichotomy of thought prevalent in the world about stem-cell research...and also the ethical problems...one that might really hard to resolve...

These are both valid concerns, mind you...but don't ask me to take sides...you may not like what I have to say ! Although if you push me to take a stance, I would say that Stem cell research should be allowed, as long as we do not have to sacrifice embryos for the cause. There is research on using stem cells from placentas that do not harm embryos which apparently obtain similar results. Now, that might be an acceptable compromise...

All this of course, while the House votes for increasing the scope of stem-cell research.

Previous posts on Stem Cell research : 1, 2.

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2 comments:

Radha said...

hmmm...I don't understand the controversy behind using frozen embryos that are going to be discarded. If they are going to be destroyed anyway, why not put them to good use? The argument that this might lead to illegal "farming of embryos" is not a good enough reason against this practice. This is like saying that organ donations should be stopped as it might lead to illegal organ trade( and I am not talking about the voluntary removal of an organ). We have to focus on ensuring and enforcing good ethical practices in these sciences. Also, increasing stem cell extraction from the umbilical cord and the placenta will ensure that there is not overmuch demand for embryonic stem cells and will in turn reduce illegal destruction of embryos.

Sib said...

Radha, the problem is finding which embryos will be destroyed and why ?

If they are to de destroyed anyways, perhaps they could be put to use, but then who will make the following decision -- are we using the embryo because it might have been destroyed anyways, or is the embroyo being catalogued as "destroyable" because someone wants to use it for research ? A chicken and egg problem, basically...

Even if there exist guidlines, etc. what prevents some unethical folks from going ahead anyways ?

Organ donations is slightly different, because we are dealing with live human beings capable of making decisions...if they voluntarily decide to go in for the illegal organ trade, then its their choice...an embryo on the other hand, cannot make that choice yet.

I concur on the idea that the placenta and umbilical cords are good avenues to pursue.

As for ethics, as long as there is need/demand, and someone is willing to pay, ethics never enter the question...which is why we have laws in the first place ! :)