Science giveth and science taketh away

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The ethical controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells engendered by the scientific use of stem cells may now be at an end. Dr. Maureen Condic and Dr. Markus Grompe write in the Wall Street Journal (11/23/07):

Two major scientific papers published this week in Science and Cell magazines unveil a proven way to generate patient-matche, human pluripotent stem cells without human cloning, and with the use of human embryos or human or animal eggs.

Exciting stuff. And, one hopes, a way past what many considered a slippery slope of giving ethical “easements” on the basis pure hope (and as we are not sure of the potential yet, perhaps even hype).

Science has provided a resolution to the ethical and political debate, and all parties emerge victorious. Scientists have access to an ethically uncompromised source of pluripotent stem cells for research, patients may ultimately benefit from therapies using these cells, and all citizens are spared the corrosive effects of ongoing cultural warfare over embryo-destructive research.

I’d love to hear what this all means for the biotech stimulus package being contemplated? Does the stem cell bank provision still make sense? Should it be revised on the basis of this breakthrough? Is it necessary if stem cells can be so easily replicated?

I don’t know – but would like to!