Tuesday, December 28, 2004
The AMA News reports on a development that may provide a solution to the embroyic stem cell research debate. During the November 2003 meeting of the President's Council on Bioethics, council member William B. Hurlbut, MD, a Stanford University consulting professor in human biology, presented a plan to create a new entity that produced embryonic stem cells but would lack the ability to later develop into an embryo. The report states,
"The proposal involves creating a new type of biological entity that can produce stem cells but would not rise to the moral status of a human embryo. Reaction has been mixed, but with embryonic stem cell research opponents -- including an influential official of the Catholic church -- expressing interest, both sides might be persuaded to give it another look."
Of course, as the report also notes, this does not end the debate. It quotes Dr. Hurlbut acknowledging this fact,
"The chief complaint from one side is that I was proposing to create true embryos with a defect," he said. "The criticism from the other side is, 'Why should science accommodate the private religious views of a small number of people?' "