Telling the difference
Stem cells come from different sources
By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor
He didn't say no stem cell research, just no embryo stem cell
Most commentators on Pope John Paul's visit with Pres. Bush about
stem cell research don't seem to know there's a difference
between embryonic and adult stem cells. They conclude the pope
denounces any stem cell research.
But the Vatican, on Nov. 6, 2000, said "adult stem cells
represent a more reasonable and humane method for making correct
and sound progress in this new field of research and in the
therapeutic applications which it promises" (Declaration on the
Production and the Scientific and Therapeutic Use of Human
Embryonic Stem Cells).
Adult stem cells come from live donors -- ideally, the recipient.
Embryonic stem cells come from dead donors -- sometimes created
just for their cells.
That was the pope's concern when he told Pres. Bush, "Experience
is already showing how a tragic coarsening of consciences
accompanies the assault on innocent human life in the womb,
leading to accommodation and acquiescence in the face of ... proposals for the creation for research purposes of human embryos, destined to destruction in the process."