Human Exceptionalism

Stem Cell Cornucopia in the After Birth

Amniotic fluid continues to show great potential for stem cell research. So do every other by product of live births–placenta, umbilical cord blood, amniotic membrane, even cord tissue. As my good friend Richard Doerflinger put it, “Each new birth not only means a new stage in life for that particular child, but also the arrival of new resources that could save lives (beginning with the life of that child himself or herself, since these cells are first and foremost a genetically ideal ‘repair kit’ for this individual).”

Of course, the AP story quotes Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology, who misled the world by claiming he had created ES cells from 10 cell embryos without destroying the embryos themselves, when he had done no such thing. And the reporter didn’t even mention that these non embryonic stem cell breakthroughs are potential competition for Advanced Cell Technology. No wonder Lanza said that these stem cells “don’t perform as many tricks as embryonic stem cells” when actually, the so-called ESC “tricks” seem more theoretical than actually accomplished.

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