Stem-Cell Bank in Britain Prompts Warning

LONDON, MAY 20, 2004 ( Noting the opening of the world’s first stem-cell bank in Britain, an archbishop condemned the process whereby human lives are created and then destroyed for their cells.

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Reuters reported Wednesday that the first bank of this type opened its doors in Hertfordshire, in southern England. Funded by the Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the bank will store embryonic, fetal, and adult stem cells.

In a statement sent to ZENIT, Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, Wales, chairman of the Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said that there “is nothing wrong with setting up a bank of stem cells taken from adults or from umbilical cords.”

In fact, “stem cells from these sources are increasingly recognized as providing a basis for research and even treatments into diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” he explained. “What is morally wrong is to create new human lives only then to destroy them by harvesting embryonic stem cells from them.”

The archbishop of Cardiff confirmed that stem cell research and cell banks should be supported “only if they use stem cells obtained without killing human embryos.”

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