Culture Council Partners With US Stem Cell Company

Considers Changes to Understanding of Man

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for Culture is collaborating with a U.S. company dedicated to research on adult stem cells.

The council's partnership with NeoStem was announced today in the Vatican.

Father Tomasz Trafny, director of that dicastery's Science and Faith department, spoke about the motives for the collaboration.

"The interest we have in this particular investigation is quite circumscribing: it aims to explore the cultural impact of research on adult stem cells and of regenerative medicine in the long and medium terms," he said.

The Vatican representative proposed that regenerative medicine is expected to affect the way the human being is perceived in the cultural context.

He stated: "The unique collaboration with NeoStem must focus on two considerations. The first one relies on the fact that we share the same sensitivity toward those ethical values that are centered on the protection of human life at all stages of its existence. The second concerns interest of investigation on cultural consequences that scientific discoveries in the field of adult stem cells research and their application in regenerative medicine will cause."

The pontifical council and NeoStem will be working together for an international conference on adult stem cell research in November.

Robin Smith, the CEO of NeoStem, spoke of the organization's dedication to adult stem cell research, as investigation that "has the potential to alleviate human suffering by unlocking the healing power of the human body. Most importantly, we are able to do all this without destroying another human life."

She went on to speak of treatments obtained with adult stem cells, calling them "miracles [that] come without the ethical dilemmas posed by the use of embryonic stem cells."

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On ZENIT's Web page:

Full text of Father Trafny's address:www.zenit.org/article-32872?l=english