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2CH news comments

No cures from embryonic stem cells

For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 9 June 2013.

Listeners may remember wheelchair-bound quadriplegic Christopher Reeve coming to Australia in 2003 to promote the legalisation of therapeutic cloning. He said it was absolutely necessary, and patients would die needlessly if humans were not cloned in the lab to extract embryonic stem cells for therapeutic purposes.

Dissenters at the time, including myself, worked hard to counteract the avalanche of misinformed public opinion, arguing that adult stem cells offered ethical avenues to cures and that it was moral madness to treat human life as a research tool.  The pressure was huge, and in 2005 Australia passed laws allowing cloning for research purposes.

But as Michael Cook, editor of MercatorNet, says, “The cures never came …  Not one person has been cured with embryonic stem cells. There is still a long way to go before [Shinya] Yamanaka’s [skin cell breakthrough] can be used to treat patients. But the solution, when comes, will not require the destruction of embryos.”

I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.

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