Researchers seeking to use cellular treatments to relieve hemophilia have centered on tissues taken from rudimentary spleens of late stage pig embryos. The experimenters used the spleen cells to treat mice, and it appears to have worked. But note that this is not an embryonic stem cell experiment, but rather, research that used cells taken from gestated embryos: “Tissues taken too early, when they are still fairly undifferentiated, may form tumors, while those taken too late can be identified as foreign, causing the host to reject them. …[T]he scientists fixed the ideal time for spleen transplantation at 42 days. Hemophiliac mice with spleen tissue transplanted from pig embryos at this time experienced completely normal blood clotting within a month or two of implantation.”
While pig tissues into humans are a potential treatment modality from this research, which would present no moral issues, pig embryos may not be the only nascent life forms considered for such usage. “Although a number of problems would need to be surmounted before researchers could begin to think of applying the technique to humans, the Institute team’s experiment is ‘proof of principle’–evidence that transplanted embryonic tissue, whether human or pig, could one day help the body to overcome genetic diseases.”
I am convinced that ESCR is merely the launching pad for a far wider use of human tissues and cells in medical experiments and therapies than scientists are currently letting on. Once (and if) artificial wombs are perfected, the same bioethicists and scientists who now tell us that an embryo in a Petri dish is not human life if it is not intended for implantation and birth, will tell us that an embryo gestated in an artificial environment for 6 weeks that is not intended for birth is also not really human. Or, personhood theory can be used to justify human sowing and reaping. Indeed, it seems to me that in the name of CURES! CURES! CURES! we will ultimately find ways to justify anything.