9-January-2007 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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STEM-CELL SCIENTIST REPORTS MEETING RESISTANCE

Jan. 9, 2007 (CWNews.com) - One of the scientists responsible for a breakthrough in stem-cell research has reported that he encountered heavy resistance to the publication of his work because it used stem cells obtained from amniotic fluids rather than from embryonic tissues.

Paolo De Coppi told the Italian ANSA news agency that a groundbreaking paper published this week in Nature Biotechnology had previously been rejected by four different journals. “It took seven years to get our paper published,” he said.

De Coppi and his colleague, Anthony Atala, demonstrated that stem cells derived from amniotic fluid could be used to generate many different types of body tissues, which could be used in the treatment of diseases. For the purposes of medical research, their paper argued, the stem cells taken from amniotic fluid show more promise than those obtained from human embryos.

Nevertheless, De Coppi told ANSA, his research was unwelcome in some quarters. He concluded that his paper was met by “a resistance to the idea of finding an alternative to embryonic stem cells,” because many leading researchers-- particularly in the US-- are so heavily invested in embryo research.

Catholic leaders have strongly opposed stem-cell research using embryonic tissues, since the process involves the deliberate destruction of the human embryos. De Coppi told ANSA that he personally had no objection to the embryonic research.



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