Sunday, 18 May 2008

Bishops Back 'Adult' Stem Cell Research

Catholic leaders back adult stem cell research with grant

The presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ conferences of England & Wales, Scotland and Ireland today announced the award of a £25,000 grant, funded from a special Day for Life collection, to support adult stem cell research in the UK.

The donation has been made to Novussanguis, an international research consortium on cord blood and adult stem cells for therapeutic aims that was launched in Paris on 14 May, 2008.

“We support scientific research that seeks to cure disease and suffering,” said the Cardinals.

“The HFE Bill has focused on embryonic stem cell research. In fact, much greater progress has already been made towards clinical therapies using adult stem cells. Other emerging techniques hold potential for good, without creating and destroying human embryos. We are making this donation as a sign of the Church’s commitment to science and human good.

“We also welcome the positive engagement with scientists and ethicists last Friday, which identified the need for continued dialogue. This meeting re-enforced the fact that there are profound questions both about the scientific efficacy of proposed techniques and their ethical justification.

“In particular, we would ask:
• What ethical considerations should limit bio-medical research?
• Should the government be taking the dramatic step of legalising research on cybrid or hybrid embryos just as new techniques are emerging which would make the use of such hybrids in research redundant?
• To what extent is the UK in danger of neglecting more promising therapies by focusing too much on embryonic stem cell research?

“Not nearly enough time has been given to discussing these issues and these questions require answers before and not after legislation.”

+Sean Cardinal Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Ireland
+Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales
+Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

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