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Vatican newspaper skewers claims of some embryonic stem-cell advocates

Catholic World News - June 14, 2011

Writing in the June 13-14 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Augusto Pessina praised the recent French ban on embryonic stem cell research and criticized the outlandish claims of some embryonic stem-cell advocates.

“The French law represents a courageous choice for the safeguarding of the dignity of the human person,” writes Pessina, a professor and microbiologist at the University of Milan. “Of course, it is a ‘ban with exceptions’ … The norms, however, are important for their effect on custom and education and therefore a ban with exceptions is surely more acceptable than a norm which liberalizes with a few limits on human embryo research, such as in Britain.”

Pessina adds:

“Stem cells” has become a sort of magic word which produces added value (progressive) to everything: from cosmetics to the most absurd therapeutic possibilities. Surfing the Internet with the key word “cellular therapy,” one finds hundreds of sites offering unreal promises if not downright fraud. Yet these sites advertise high-sounding names of scientific institutions with medical staff who are able to cure any kind of pathology (and with the use of human embryonic cells). These institutions are often propped up by economic interest, sometimes with philosophical, pseudo-religious or magical overtones.

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