Vatican funding Adult Stem Cell Research

Did you know that 35 craters of the moon have been named for Jesuit scientist-priests?

If you are surprised to learn that, it might be because you have trusted the mainstream press when it has told you -mostly based on their own distorted reporting- that “Christians -especially Catholics- hate science and would send us back to the Bronze Age.” The press -and more than a few politicians- like to pretend that faith and reason cannot co-exist, or that science is anathema to the church.

It takes only a search engine and a few minutes of one’s time to learn that nothing can be further from the truth, or to discover the names of great Christian scientists who go mostly unsung. Why would the mainstream media prefer to generate an ignorant and erroneous conventional wisdom over the simple truth? Aw, you guess.

So effective has been the disinformation campaign pitting science against religion that this is how ABC News chooses to report the news:

The Catholic Church may be the last organization you’d expect to fund stem cell research, but that’s precisely what they’re planning to do.

You would only expect the Catholic Church to be “the last organization” to fund stem cell research if you were getting your news from bigtime-professional-new outfits and Democrat political campaigns.

For the rest of us, this story -which is not exactly burning up the wires– will not be so surprising.

The Baltimore Sun has the best coverage:

With the financial backing of the Vatican, University of Maryland researchers will lead an international group of scientists to study adult stem cells from the intestines with the hope of discovering treatments for diseases while bypassing the ethical debates that have embroiled such research for a decade.

This is not the first time the Roman Catholic Church has funded stem cell research, said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of pro-life activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Catholic dioceses in South Korea and Australia have supported adult stem cell research with grant money, he said.

“The Vatican has been very interested in adult stem cell research for many years,” he said. “I think it’s a logical outgrowth of the church’s interest in this field and of promoting ethically sound and beneficial stem cell research.”

The funding is going to look specifically at what can be done with intestinal stem cells:

“They can become endocrine cells, cells of the nervous system and so on,” said [Dr. Alessio Fasano] . . . “This makes them very attractive.”

Like blood cells, the cells in the lining of the intestine are constantly being shed and rebuilt, making them very active. They also are easily harvested through endoscopy. Fasano envisions that patients could receive treatments using their own cells, which is not only convenient but less likely to spur rejection.

Much is not known about these cells, and the field of study is in its infancy, Fasano said. Clinical trials are years down the road. Ultimately, the Maryland team hopes to purify, study and transplant the cells, use them to treat damage to the intestine caused by diseases and to investigate the effects of drugs to find medications that work best…

There is the usual sniffing that $2.7 million dollars is a “trivial” amount and that the “non-liberal” church is “playing it safe,” but that’s just the predictable posturing. Some people do not know how to receive a good, which is why they get so few of them.

In another report, Fasano relates:

“We started discussing this a few months ago,” Fasano said. “It extended from discussions I had with Cardinal Martino. He liked the idea, and submitted it to the Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI). The Holy Father loved it. This is unprecedented.”

Adult Stem Cell Research is showing a great deal of promise. This is a good thing. More, please.

Priest-Scientist Wins 1.6 Million Dollar Science Prize

As of 2006: Adult Stem Cells 72, Embryonic 0
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