Placental Cells Offer Moral Alternative Embryonic Stem Cells

It appears Sen. Bill Frist (R, TN) “took the soup” just a tad too soon. Just after he went against his better judgment and decided to sell out on his opposition to embryonic stem cell experimentation, an announcement is made that University of Pittsburg researchers have discovered that one type of cell in the human placenta has characteristics strikingly similar to embryonic stem cells in their ability to regenerate various tissue.

Placenta Cells Yield Cures

These amniotic epithelial cells can be used to produce new liver cells to treat liver failure, new pancreatic islet cells to cure diabetes, and new neurons to treat Parkinson’s disease. Unlike embryonic stem cells obtained only by destroying human embryos, these cells can be extracted from placentas that are routinely discarded. Also, the use of amniotic epithelial cells is non-controversial.

Stephen Strom, professor of pathology at the Pittsburgh medical school says these are easier to obtain and easier to transfer, and are healthier than embryonic stem cells, not generating tumors as embryonic stem cells do. They can be transferred directly to a patient, rather than having to go through a process of growing specialized cells in the lab, as is the case when using embryonic stem cells.

Strom’s discovery along with Dr. Yoshio Miki had to be delayed while the university got patent protection. A local biotechnology company, Stemnion Inc., has licensed patent rights from Pitt and will begin using these cells to treat cirrhosis and diabetes and also for spur wound healing.

Useful stem cells are also derived from amniotic fluid, bone marrow and mucous membranes without the danger of generating tumors. If poor old senator Bill Frist had only waited a couple of weeks, he could still call himself “pro-life.” You’d think a doctor would have seen this coming down the pike.

Pro-Life Presence at the Procession

Those who attended the Procession in Grant Park on Friday as part of the Knights of Columbus celebration of “The year of the Eucharist,” were edified at the large crowd of worshipers, the imposing march of the K of C and the beautiful Benediction and excellent address given by Francis Cardinal George.

In the Chicago Sun-Times coverage we were attracted to the paragraph reading,” During the hour-long procession, nuns in Reeboks walked alongside mothers pushing strollers and a group of Catholics clad in bright T-shirts that read “Choose Life” to commemorate “The Year of the Eucharist.”

The Archdiocesan officials estimated the crowd at 5,000, though we thought there were many more than that. Incidentally, not all of those in our bright “Choose Life” shirts were Catholics. The Chicago Tribune also featured the celebration. They used a photograph of the Daniel Payne family of Lombard, all pro-life activists.

PETA Borrows Truth Tour Tactic

Also in Saturday’s Chicago Tribune is a story on PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals trying to disgust lunch hour patrons at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. They had bloodied chicken costumes and a flat-screen television showing chopped up chickens. The article indicates that these tactics are working rather successfully for the PETA folks.

Maybe someday the Tribune will check out a Pro-Life Action League Face the Truth Tour. But don’t hold your breath. After all, we’re trying to save people. PETA is trying to make death more pleasant for chickens. You can guess which victims deserve the most compassion in the great society.

At least the chickens are killed under the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. Livestock must be unconscious before the fatal blow is delivered. Oh, that unborn human babies would have such a humane law before they are butchered in the Nation’s abortion mills.

The article does end with this gem by Tony Bair of Lansing: “When they place higher value on a lab rat than a child, I have a problem with that. If killing 1,000 rabbits in a lab gives a cure that saves one child, that’s a good trade to me.” Me, too.

Share Tweet Email