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Stem Cell Research
The human body contains a type of cell known as the stem cell which is able to generate many different types of cells that make up the tissues and organs of the body. The stem cell is also able to reproduce itself for indefinite periods of time. These qualities of the stem cell are valuable for the regeneration of healthy cells and tissues in the treatment of diseases. There are two types of human stem cells: embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem cells are extracted from human embryos, which destroy these human individuals in the process. Adult stem cells are found in umbilical cord blood and throughout the body. Retrieving adult stem cells does no harm to the individual. To date there have been no human applications of embryonic stem cell research, but numerous diseases to some degree have been successfully treated with adult stem cells. Researchers have also been able to reprogram specific types of mature cells into stem cells, which is a most promising development and does no harm. The great promise of stem cell research may be successfully pursued without sacrificing the lives of innocent human beings.
The Gospel of Life (ns. 14, 57, 60–61, 63)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (ns. 2274–2275)
Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation
Pope John Paul II; "Address to the Members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences"
USCCB Resources on Stem Cell Research
New Vatican document on bioethics (Instruction Dignitatis Personae on Certain Bioethics Questions)