11/11/2011

An Vatican conference on Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture

An interesting article to share. I thought this is worth sharing amongst those who's been reading about adult stem-cell research. "A Vatican conference (http://adultstemcellconference.org) could help influence public figures to get behind adult stem-cell research, much in the way Michael J. Fox is lobbying for embryonic stem-cell research. That’s the hope of Dr. Robin Smith, CEO of NeoStem, an international biopharmaceutical firm based in New York. The Nov. 9-11 conference, “Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture,” will bring Church leaders, policymakers, government health ministers and ambassadors to the Holy See together with scientists, stem-cell companies and patients who have participated in adult stem-cell trials.

The gathering will feature Tommy Thompson, former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services; Jesuit Father Kevin FitzGerald, a bioethicist at Georgetown; TV medical correspondent Max Gomez; Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, and others. It is the first public event sponsored by NeoStem and the Pontifical Council for Culture since the two entered into a formal partnership last year. The conference is part of a larger plan to foster education and networking in support of ethical research.

“The most important thing we can do now is gather people,” said Father Tomasz Trafny, head of the Science and Faith Department of the Pontifical Council for Culture. “We want to invite scientists, Church leaders, organizations that are working in that field of research to come, to approach us.”

Their efforts are being made at a time when there is still much support for embryonic stem-cell research, both in the public funding of it and the fact that it is a cause célèbre with certain public figures.

David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences in the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Life and Bioethics, is also on the program for this week’s conference.

“It is certainly significant that the Vatican is partnering with NeoStem, since the Vatican fully supports ethical stem-cell research and treatments (adult stem cells) but rejects anything that endangers human life or involves unethical aspects, i.e., embryonic stem-cell research,” he said. “It is very encouraging that the Vatican would place resources toward adult stem-cell research. This is not empty rhetoric, but putting the resources to work to advance ethical and successful adult stem-cell therapies, and should hasten the development of real treatments using ethical adult stem cells.” Indeed, as part of the deal, the Vatican contributed $1 million toward NeoStem’s efforts.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article%20/vatican-n.y.-firm-connect-on-bioethics/#ixzz1dQriQPU8
**Permission from NCR, 2011.

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