June 06, 2007

The Blind May See With the Help of Embryonic Stem Cells

A wealthy US donor has given British scientists $8 million to further research on using embryonic stem cells to treat macular degeneration reports Reuters. The motivation, according to the report, was frustration with the barriers to research in the U.S. This is probably a great strategy. If researchers are successful in helping the blind to see within 5 years (as they predict) and are able to make this a routine therapy within 10 years, it's going to be very difficult for the American public to resist. Having watched my grandfather live blind because of macular degeration for many many years, I wish the British researchers overwhelming success. I'm curious what conservative leaders are going to say to those who are blind about whether or not it's ethical to use the therapy once it's available. It's time to start addressing this question. I'm personally working with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to struggle with these questions. Are you other bioethicists out there doing your part?

-Andrea Kalfoglou

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