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Ethics and Stem Cell Research Totipotent Cells Pluripotent/Multipotent Cells Deriving Stem Cells Cloning and Stem Cells Source: ACT website http://www.advancedcell.com/ht-program.html Adult Stem Cells Current ESC policy Set by President Bush in August 2001: Federal funding is allowed for research using stem cells isolated from blastocysts before the date and time of Bush’s announcement. No federal funding may be used to extract new stem cell lines (which would involve destroying an embryo). There are no federal restrictions on privately- funded ESC research (funding brings rules). Current ESC policy Additional policy restrictions on Federal funding for ESC research: The stem cells must have been derived from an embryo that was created for reproductive purposes; The embryo was no longer needed for these purposes; Informed consent must have been obtained for the donation of the embryo; No financial inducements were provided for donation of the embryo. From NIH: http://stemcells.nih.gov/research/registry/eligibilityCriteria.asp Current ESC policy President Bush estimated in August 2001 that “more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist” National Institutes of Health currently lists only fifteen stem cell lines eligible for Federal funding. Moral Status of Embryos Mere tissue? ??? Full persons? Moral Status of Embryos Potential vs. actual persons Does it make a difference (ethically) if the embryos used for research are left over from IVF or created for research? Moral Status of Embryos About 200,000 frozen human embryos already exist in fertility clinics around the country. These will remain frozen indefinitely or be discarded if they are not used for research. Against ESC research: For ESC research: ESC research will help cure serious diseases.
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