LIFEalerts – Medical Ethics

Medical Ethics

USA – New York drops stem cell research

In 2007 New York State created a fund for research on stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells. However, it has been quietly dropped in the State’s current budget. According to Science, “Researchers expect the termination to be especially harmful to the study of human embryonic stem cells.” However, the program has experienced serious problems in recent years and has only distributed $400 million so far. In 2016, its board stopped meeting and reporting expenditures on its website. A government official told Science that stem cell science should “advance within academic and private research communities rather than the Department of Health, which is focused on its core mission of delivering direct services and achieving positive health outcomes for all New Yorkers.” More

China – Joined USA in making human-monkey chimeras

Researchers in China and the United States have injected human stem cells into primate embryos and grown chimeric embryos for up to 20 days. Despite ethical concerns, the scientists says that the procedure has potential for providing insights into developmental biology and evolution, into disease and transplants, and into drug development. In the current study, six days after the monkey embryos had been created, each was injected with 25 human cells. Human-monkey chimeras do raise worries, said the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: “In the specific case of neural transplantation and chimera research, the slippery slope concern is that if small increments in mental capacities develop in transplants or chimeras, there will be no logical point at which the research should be stopped, or it may not be possible later to institute policies to block research that could result in nonhuman animals with unacceptable human capabilities.” More