“Bi-Stem Cell” describes a researcher who goes both ways; delving into the areas of both Adult and Embryonic…or maybe even iPSC if they are really open minded. I did a quick check on the internet and I do believe I’ve coined this term.
- The Vatican is pro-Adult stem cells first for religious reasons (based on the controversy associated with Embryonic stem cells) and secondly because Adult stem cell treatments work and Embryonic do not (see Stem Cells 101).
- The Vatican publicizes a stem cell conference and invites two speakers who happen to research both Adult AND Embryonic stem cells.
- How should the Vatican handle these “bi-stem cell” speakers?
Now that we’re up to speed:
The Vatican asked the two “bi-stem cell” speakers to only speak about Adult stem cells and they agreed.
Imagine, you bring in speakers who ‘go both ways’ and get them to talk only about the benefits of going…one of the ways. Their very silence on the subject of Embryonic stem cells is an indictment of Embryonic and an endorsement of Adult stem cells. Not a bad plan if it works; but then…it all went sideways. Apparently, the prelates raised concerns about how bi-stem cell scientists would confuse the masses, the conference was ultimately cancelled and now the Vatican public relations stem cell endeavor is tripping over its own feet.
Can science and religion peacefully co-exist? I don’t know…
but while this new ‘Black Vatican Eye’ is unfortunate, the real damage is to the millions of people who look to the Vatican for guidance in life and death decisions and will not see these two scientists extolling the proven virtues of the safety and therapeutic benefits of Adult stem cells. The ramification of this fumble effects not only the eternal souls of the churches members but also the extension of their health, longevity and quality of life AND the potential postponement of their deaths.
Canceled Stem Cell Conference is Another Black Eye for the Vatican
I think the ghost of Teilhard de Chardin haunts the Vatican.
Whatever merits Pope Benedict deserves as a theologian, his papacy seems to be marked by one public relations debacle after another.
The latest black eye comes with the report this past Friday that the Pontifical Academy for Life is canceling a much publicized stem cell conference that was to take place next month, featuring (among many others) speakers like Douglas Melton and George Daley, leading researchers from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
The Third International Congress on Responsible Stem Cell Research was going to commence at the Vatican on April 25th, for three days of presentations and discussion and to conclude with an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.
According to David Kerr’s report, one member of the Academy, who did not wish to be identified, had this to say: “I am infinitely relieved that the Church has avoided a major blunder which would have confused the faithful for decades to come.”
He then added, implausibly, “The Holy Spirit has certainly shown to be present through those faithful members who drew attention to the ambiguity of the choice of speakers. I hope and pray that a review will be affected of the basis on which these congresses are planned.”
As is well known, the Catholic Church is opposed to embryonic stem cell research, judging it as unethical because it involves the willful destruction of human embryos.
Melton and Daley conduct research using both embryonic and adult stem cells, but their agreement was to discuss only the latter at the conference…