Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Catholic, and all you other Christians at sea. The Newsreel has been on hiatus for quite awhile, but new developments in the world of science demand we bring you this story. Off to press!
DATELINE: SAN DIEGO – Just in time for the annual March For Life, CNN reports that scientists at the Salk Institute have successfully created, and subsequently destroyed, the first ever hybrid human-pig embryo.
“They began by generating different types of human induced pluripotent stem cells -- when adult cells are turned back into stem cells -- and inserting them into pig embryos. Pigs were used because both the size and the development time for their organs are more similar to our own than, say, rats. Next, the team members implanted these embryos into sows. To test the safety and effectiveness of their work, they stopped the experiment at four weeks. Human cells within some of the embryos had begun to specialize and turn into tissue precursors, they discovered… Though the experiment with human stem cells was interrupted at 28 days, it remains the first reported case in which human stem cells have begun to grow within another species.”
It would appear scientists have finally made the first step in what is sure to be a long, slow journey towards growing viable human organs in animals for transplant. The good news is that this research is based on the use of adult stem cells, which is notable as the Catholic Church is only opposed to those forms of stem cell research that entail the destruction of human embryos. As pointed out in Donum Vitae, the "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation”…
“If the embryos are living, whether viable or not, they must be respected just like any other human person; experimentation on embryos which is not directly therapeutic is illicit. No objective, even though noble in itself, such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living human embryos or fetuses, whether viable or not, either inside or outside the mother’s womb.”
This stand is consistent with the Church’s teachings on the dignity of all human life from birth to death, as well as its warnings regarding the inherent evils in the commoditization of human persons.
So, that’s the good news. The bad news is that we may now be one lab accident away from Wooklars.
And with that sobering thought, we’ll leave you, as always, with the immortal words of the great Les Nessman. Good evening, and may the good news be yours.