November 10, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The Vatican is holding a three day conference to promote research using adult stem cells. Different scientists, stem cell companies, and health ministers are meeting in Rome to gain support of different policy makers.
The speakers include leading doctors of stem cell research as well as health care professionals. Tommy Thompson is the former secretary of Health for President George W. Bush and is now a leading advocate for adult stem cells. Tommy Thompson
Former U.S. Secretary of Health“Why I'm here is because I feel so strongly in adult stem cells and the therapy, and the research, and the potential for the kind of new therapies and kind of new cures for diseases that's going to be helpful for every country and every person in the world.”
Proponents of adult stem cells are saying that its therapy is not something of the future, but already has numerous success stories.
Sharon Porter was diagnosed with systemic scleroderma, a life threatening autoimmune disorder. Doctors were able to take her own stem cells and transplant them back into her body. She then made a dramatic recovery, improving her heart pressure and breathing.
Success stories like Sharon has put in question the need for embryonic stem cell research. Dr. Robin Smith
CEO, NeoStem “I don't see a need for embryonic stem cell research. You can do all the things that you want to do with an embryonic stem cell with an adult stem cell. So why would you want to do research on a cell that would unlikely be safe to be used in therapies down the road?”
The conference also hosted many leading physicians who felt that the benefits of adult stem cells outweighed those of embryonic. Dr. Max Gomez
Stem for Life Foundation“So it seems to me that the ability to use the adult cells and do the research there because it looks like we can use them in most every way that the embryonic cells can be used without the ethical and moral and cultural downside is really important.”
So far, the Holy See has given one million dollars to NeoStem to advance adult stem cell research. While NeoStem has decided it will not work with embryonic stem cells based on questions of safety.
This conference is not the first time Catholics have gotten involved with adult stem cells. Previously the Archdiocese of Sydney, Australia as well as others in Korea made small contributions to ethical stem cell research. The Vatican is now mirroring them with a larger investment to promote ethics in scientific research.