Thursday, January 10, 2008

NIH to ACT: Nyet!

A California-based firm, Advanced Cell Technology, says it has created human embryonic stem cells without harming the embryos from which they were derived.

The company said the results "have the potential to end the ethical debate surrounding the use of embryos to derive stem cells."

The NIH, however, says that isn't good enough. According to Rick Weiss in the Washington Post, the head of the NIH stem cell task force, Story Landis, said,
"(T)he only way to prove that the technique does not harm embryos would be to transfer many of them to women's wombs and see if the resulting babies were normal. But it would be unethical to do that experiment, she said, so the question cannot be answered."
That doesn't make Robert Lanza(see photo), the chief scientific officer at ACT, happy, Weiss wrote,
"That standard has Lanza fuming. By all scientifically recognized measures, he said, the embryos -- currently frozen in suspended animation because they were donated for research and not to make babies -- are normal, he said.

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