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Defending life from the moment of conception

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6 September 2005

6 September 2005

6 September 2005 Scientists in America have found that embryonic stem cells grown in the laboratory over a long period of time develop cancerous genetic mutations.

This new finding could mean that embryonic stem cells may never be used to treat diseases, as the cells could cause more problems than they would solve.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland published their findings in the journal Nature Genetics. Aravinda Chakravarti, one of the researchers, said: "These mutations we are finding are a much bigger problem. If it turns out these cells really do become unstable over time, then that would put limits on the practical life spans of the cells and their usefulness for therapeutic purposes."

Adult stem cells, the ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells, which come from sources such as umbilical cord blood and bone marrow, have already produced treatments for many diseases and conditions.

[Life News, 5 September ] Researchers at the Institut Pasteur have successfully isolated adult muscle stem cells, which could potentially repair damaged muscles.

Researcher Didier Montarras said: "the cells we have isolated are major contributors to muscle regeneration, and have therapeutic potential."

[Medical News Today, 6 September ] An Irish woman is challenging the law in Ireland that currently prohibits abortion.

The woman, known only as D, claims that her rights were violated when she was unable to have an abortion performed on her disabled unborn child in Ireland.

She was told that her child had a lethal chromosomal abnormality and travelled to England to have an abortion.

She is specifically challenging the 1995 Regulation of Information Act, which places restrictions on what a doctor can tell a pregnant woman who has a disabled unborn child and also prevents referral abroad for abortion.

The case was to be heard this morning in the European Court of Human Rights.

[RTE News, 6 September ] SPUC made a submission to the Court calling on it to respect the rights of the unborn child.

Pro-life groups in America have paid tribute to the former Chief Justice William Rehnquist who died last Friday.

He was known for being staunchly pro-life through a long and distinguished career. Rehnquist was one of only two dissenters in the Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalised abortion in the US.

[Life News, 5 September ] Bradley Mattes, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute, said in a press statement: "Through thick and thin, Chief Justice Rehnquist has stood tall against raw judicial power. He has truly been faithful to the constitution, and has gallantly worked to uphold the rights of all Americans, including millions of unborn children." [Life Issues Institute, 6 September]

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