First Stem Cells, Now Skin Cells
Swiss doctors have come up with another great way to use aborted human fetuses, reports BBC:
Taking skin cells from a foetus may provide a revolutionary way of treating burns victims, Swiss experts believe.
Doctors at the University Hospital of Lausanne treated eight children with skin grown from foetal skin cells.
The wounds closed after just over two weeks, meaning there was no need for potentially scarring skin grafts.
But the British Association of Plastic Surgeons cast doubt on the findings, saying there was no proof the wounds would not have healed by themselves.
The Swiss doctors developed the skin from cells taken from an aborted foetus, an online Lancet report said.
With fetal stem cells, proponents promise (but have yet to deliver) cures from debilitating illness. Now we're being asked to agree that aborting and harvesting is A-OK, even if it's merely for aesthetic reasons.
This is exactly why uncontained medical research can be so damaging to the moral structure of our culture. Cloning sheep leads to harvesting skin from aborted fetuses of undetermined origin. Stem cells can be harvested from embryos produced and killed for that purpose in many countries -- including America, as long as federal funds aren't used.
Science with moral ambivalence can take society too far down the wrong path.
Update: The NYTimes reports a "vanity breakthrough" for adult stem cells:
By making mice grow furrier coats, researchers have discovered that an enzyme known to serve as a last-ditch defense against cancer also activates adult stem cells, which the body uses to repair its tissues.
The insight could lead to new treatments for certain diseases, possibly even promoting hair growth in animals other than mice.
There's actually some interesting potential medical applications, so if you're interested in cancer research, read the story.