Stem cell research receives Catholic support

Research uses stem cells from adults – not embryos

I was glad that the BBC publicized the recent grant of £25,000 to Professor Neil Scolding to support his research on treatments for Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  His work uses adult stem cells – from bone marrow – and thus does not require the destruction of any embryos.

Professor Scolding described his work:

“We firmly believe that bone marrow cells could have a valuable therapeutic impact on MS.”

“Both our clinical trial work and our laboratory research are geared towards exploring, developing and maximising this effect – which we hope in the future will also apply to other neurodegenerative diseases.”

“Our immediate aims are to plan and carry out a further larger clinical trial in MS, again using patients’ own bone marrow cells.”

The media often report Catholics’ opposition to research that destroys embryos as anti-science, one that holds back important therapeutic advances.  Most of the treatments ready for clinical trial, though, are those that have come from the adult, not the embryonic, stem cell research.

The grant comes from Catholic lay people on the annual Day for Life celebrated in late July across the United Kingdom.  This is an excellent way to express their Pro-Life commitments: both in supporting the life and well-being of the MS patients who will benefit, and in generating some publicity that may inform the public about the large and effective adult stem cell research that is being done.

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  1. This is most important to the progress toward saving lives and improving the quality of life. Thank you for the clarification that stem cell research is not baby killing.


    • Stem cell research is not necessarily baby killing. From the view point of Catholics and many other religions, when the stem cells are collected from embryos in a process that destroys the embryo, it is a baby that is killed. The great variety of other cells, collected from adults or older children, which can be used in stem cell research – and treatment – is the news that rarely gets publicity.

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