Human Embryonic stem cells

The 10th April 2014, “One of Us”, the Second European Citizens Initiative (ECI) in the history, but first on signatures (2 millions) and countries reached (20 countries) has finished his institutional path with the presentation of his ideas on a public hearing in the European Parliament.

The main request of this ECI is to stop funds dedicated to research projects that involve or presuppose the destruction of human embryos. Without this public European investments the research on human embryonic stem cells (the obtaining of which involve the destruction of human embryos) will probably be in trouble.  

As researchers working with stem cells, we want to support this petition to the European Commission because it seems to us that it is scientifically grounded and ethically necessary.

Three reasons explain our opposition to the research with human embryonic stem cells:

There are other possibilities:

Every tissue type in the Human body contain some stem cells which function is to fill the gaps of cells that are naturally dying. Research on this type of stem cells, called adult stem cells, have already had a large number of good results.

Otherwise, on 2006, Professor Shinya Yamanaka discover a new method to transform adult stem cells into “Induced pluripotent stem cells” which are equivalents to embryonic stem cells. 

This fabulous discovery has been awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology or Medicine on 2012 because induced pluripotent stem cells has all the potentiality of embryonic stem cells with some key biological, economical or ethical advantages as the possibility to make them in a patient-matched manner.

This two possibilities – adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells – are much more effective:

The national legislation that permit research with embryonic stem cells normally do it under the condition that there is not other “alternative methods with similar efficacy”. We have already shown that other methods exist, what we know about the efficacy of this methods?

After 15 years of research the world register of clinical trials ( have proof of 29 clinical trials concerning drugs or medicals procedures as a consequence of research with embryonic stem cells. On the other side, the same data base show 4.754 clinical trials with adults stem cells and 135 with Induced pluripotent stem cells despite the fact that this technique is quite new. The data seems self-evident.

The reduction of ethic standards is a dangerous movement:

The destruction of human embryos should never become normal (and even less an industrialised procedure), and this is unavoidable if we want to conclude our researches on some large scale medical procedure.

The investment of the European Union on minimum ethical standards research projects, increase the risk to launch a race for profits at the expense of other very important values, as it should be the respect for human life or environmental concerns.

Nowadays, the trend in the European Union is to promote high ethical standards in the research, to cut down risk on patients but also to treat ethically the animals used for clinical trials. In this context it’s strange that the European Union accept to fund some researches that imply the systematic destruction of Human Embryos that are “One of US”.

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