Tag Archives: stem cells

Stem Cells Approved By Vatican May Not Exist

… which would be really funny because … well, you clearly see why this is funny.

Christian groups and sects are often opposed to the use of biological tissue that would otherwise be discarded in research and therapy including “stem cell research.” This is because they think some of that biological tissue could be future parishioners, or because they watched too many Disney movies involving fairies. Or something. Anyway, there is this one kind of stem cell that exists among regular cells that can be extracted from the body of a living, breathing already signed up parishioners and the use of these stem cells to cure horrid diseases and such would not violate anyone’s sensibilities. So The Church has (more or less) said OK to that. The problem is, they, these stem cells, might not actually exist. From a news report in Nature:

Proponents of very small embryonic-like cells (VSELs) extracted from bone marrow say that the cells have the potential to transform regenerative medicine. A trial has begun in Poland, and cell-therapy company Neostem in New York is planning another in Michigan.

But in a major blow to the field, a paper published on 24 July in Stem Cell Reports suggests that the diminutive stem cells are not real1. Led by Irving Weissman, a prominent stem-cell researcher at Stanford University in California, the study is the fourth to refute the cells’ existence — and the most thorough yet.

It will be interesting to see how this works out.