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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

This has been a good month for major breakthroughs in stem-cell research. According to ScienceDaily , on October 11th, "University of Minnesota scientists, in groundbreaking research, say they have used human embryonic stem cells [ESCs] to kill cancer cells."

This is especially good news since opponents of the research like to argue that ESCs have yet to cure anything. (They ignore the fact that progress has likely been hindered by embroiling researchers in emotionally charged moral debates.)
"This is the first published research to show the ability to make cells from human embryonic stem cells that are able to treat and fight cancer, especially leukemias and lymphomas," said Dr. Dan Kaufman, an assistant professor of medicine in the university's Stem Cell Institute and lead author of the study.
The good news continued on October 20th, when Science Daily reported another breakthrough, this one at Johns Hopkins, where "scientists say they've discovered the presence of functional ion channels in human embryonic stem cells." The discovery offers hope to researchers for blocking "potential tumor development," one of the problems encountered with grafting ESCs in the past.
According to Ronald Li, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and senior author of the study, "Our discovery of functional ion channels ... provides an important link to the differentiation, or maturation, and cell proliferation, or growth of human ESCs."
One can only hope that these advances convince some fence-riders that they can no longer ignore ESC's potential benefits.

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