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Church opposes stem cell test

Bioethics committee says decision does not violate ethical rules

Church opposes stem cell test
Research for stem cell therapy ( file photo) reporter, Seoul

April 28, 2011

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The Korean bishops' Committee for Bioethics has strongly opposed a decision to approve a clinical test using embryonic stem cells for the first time. The National Bioethics Committee said yesterday that it approved CHA Bio & Diostech’s request to conduct a clinical test using embryonic stem cells to treat macular degeneration which can lead to sight loss. The test will be conducted to prove the stem cells’effect on three patients with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy (SMD). Some doctors are worried about the possibility of stem cells causing side effects such as tumors. Nevertheless, the bioethics committee decided that it does not violate the bio-ethics law which prohibits using embryonic stem cells in the human body for a test. Meanwhile, Father Paul Lee Chang-young, secretary of the Korean bishops' Committee for Bioethics condemned the move. “It is a decision against humanity. The law that should protect an embryo's right to life is violating human dignity and value,” he said. The bishops' committee has conducted a campaign to oppose using embryonic stem cells for treatments because it degrades human life. The approval is the second of its kind in the world following the US’s decision to allow tests to treat spinal cord injury in 2009. Related report Religious Leaders Oppose Research Using Embryonic Stem Cells KO14023
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