Vatican funds intestinal cell research

April 27, 2010

Vatican funds intestinal cell research

Celiac disease expert Dr. Alessio Fasano to investigate adult stem cells.

The Catholic Church announced Friday that it will award financial support to Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Disease Research. Fasano will lead an investigative study on adult intestinal stem cells, for the purpose of finding new alternatives to embryonic stem cell research.


“‘We are trying to explore stem cell research aside from embryonic stem cells,’ says Dr. Alessio Fasano, lead researcher on the project and director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School Medicine. ‘Of the adult stem cells out there, intestinal cells are the most active that we know of…’

…While not wholly opposed to using embryonic stem cells himself, Fasano says that taking stem cells from aborted fetuses or leftover embryos from in vitro fertilization ‘would not be my first choice.’

‘If we can help people while respecting the life of the living and the unborn, we’re better off — but if we had no other alternatives, I would not be opposed to using [embryonic cells].’

For those who do find embryonic research unethical, research like Fasano’s offers the only option for capitalizing on the body’s regenerative potential in this way.”

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