Daryl Ilbury

Posts Tagged ‘human embryos’

A cure for Parkinson’s Disease one step further away

In Politics, Science on October 20, 2011 at 6:24 am

Is this where a cure could remain forever?

If there’s one thing medical researchers agree on it’s that a cure for some of the world’s most mystifying diseases lies in the exciting advances in stem cell research. Furthermore such research holds keys for the targeted treatment of such debilitating conditions as blindness and crippling spinal injuries.

Unfortunately, if those stem cells are drawn from human embryos, the research attracts the frothy ire of moral conservatives. The key phrase here is ‘human’, because although an embryo may contain the genetic code that makes it ‘human’ as opposed to, say, amphibian; it is not ‘human’ in that it contains any measure whatsoever of resembling a human being. It is, in essence, nothing more a clump of cells.

However self-appointed moral guardians, with little understanding of the intricacies of science, hold true the words of the comedic Monty Python troupe that “every sperm is sacred”. For them, an embryo in a petri-dish has the same rights as a child in a wheelchair.

The European Court of Justice recently ruled that no researcher in the EU may patent any discovery whatsoever from research using stem cells from human embryos. This will naturally have the effect of stifling stem cell research in Europe. It also means that money being used to fund this critical research will now flow to countries elsewhere, and stem cell researchers in Europe will naturally follow the funding.

If they don’t, their discovery that could cure Parkinson’s Disease may remain in a petri dish on a lab bench.

The Independent online has more on this story.