International Congress on Stem Cells in September

Source: FSSPX News

From September 14 to 16, 2006, the Pontifical Academy for Life will organize an international congress at the Vatican on “the future of therapy with stem cells”, taking into account its “scientific aspects” and the “bioethical problems” it poses. 

This congress is being organized by the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), in collaboration with the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation. It will take place at the Augustinianum Institute of Studies, near to Saint Peter’s Square, and will bring together many international experts from Germany, England, Australia, Italy, the United States and Portugal.

After presenting a background history of the development of stem cells, the papers will deal with clinical applications in various medical fields, such as cardiology, neurology, hematology, regenerative medicine and genetic illnesses. The final day will be devoted to the ethical questions which arise from adult and embryo stem cell research, with particular regard to the production and use of the latter. The conclusion will deal with the economic and political issues of this research.

It should be recalled that there is a distinction between human embryo stem cells, which necessitate the destruction of the embryo, and adult stem cells, present in many human tissues. The Church encourages research on adult stem cells.

The Council of European Ministers has recently authorized finance for embryo stem cell research for the next seven years, up to more than 50 billion Euros. In France last July, a report commissioned by the Prime Minister, entitled Stem Cells and Ethical Choice, recommended the legalization of “therapeutic” cloning which it wanted to rename “nuclear transfer”, and the authorization on principle and no longer by special dispensation – of research on embryonic stem cells.