Spinal Confusion

...an attempt to clarify confusing and innacurate information in science articles

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Leon Kass: It's ethically neat

Hat tip to Kristen.

Kass: I would like to talk with you about reprogramming, because I think that’s where the gold is buried. Since the council’s white paper has been issued, we’ve been made aware of three major scientific reports that indicate to me at least that the reprogramming alternative is, A., hotly under investigation, and B., moving much more rapidly than we had any reason to suspect even two months ago when the report was issued.
Here Dr. Kass is referring to dedifferentiation, an ethically and scientifically viable way to obtain cells with embryonic-like properties. The interview focuses on the four options discussed in the May Bioethics Whitepaper. My favorite quote:

Kass: But if I’m a betting man, I’m betting on the thing we talked about at first, which is the reprogramming. It’s ethically neat, it doesn’t require genetic engineering, it doesn’t require eggs, and it can be done with the existing eligible-for-federal-funds cell lines that scientists are now using. And these very promising and exciting results from three independent laboratories over the last few months make me think that we’re going to hear an awful lot about this.
If I'm a betting man, I would say Dr. Kass has nailed the key to ending the stem cell debate.

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At August 16, 2005 3:31 PM, Anonymous Kristen said...

Thanks for the hat tip Steven! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for dedifferentiation news. I agree it seems to be the most straightforward option scientifically and ethically for getting stem cells without destryoying embryos.


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