Gerald D. FISCHBACH and Ruth L. FISCHBACH : Stem cells : science, policy, and ethics

By Gerald D. Fischbach, Faculty of Medicine and Ruth L. Fischbach, Center for Bioethics and Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, 114:1364-1370 (2004). doi:10.1172/JCI200423549

Human embryonic stem cells offer the promise of a new regenerative medicine in which damaged adult cells can be replaced with new cells. Research is needed to determine the most viable stem cell lines and reliable ways to promote the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into specific cell types (neurons, muscle cells, etc.). To create new cell lines, it is necessary to destroy preimplantation blastocysts. This has led to an intense debate that threatens to limit embryonic stem cell research. The profound ethical issues raised call for informed, dispassionate debate.

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