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Progress on Stem-Cell Grafts

November 19, 2017

A major breakthrough in the field of stem-cell grafts has just been completed by a team of Italian researchers. The results were published in the British scientific journal Nature.

A seven-year-old child was hospitalized in June 2015 in Germany in the Burn Unit. He suffered from a serious genetic disease that caused the skin to come off most of his body because of a deficiency in the gene that keeps the epidermis attached to the dermis.

The Italian team that took on the child’s case took four square centimeters of undamaged skin and corrected the defective genes in it by introducing a healthy gene using a virus. This sample was then cultivated until 85 square centimeters of healthy skin were obtained and then grafted onto the child. 21 months later, the patient no longer presents any symptoms of skin loss.

Although any risk of a relapse or a rejection of the graft cannot be excluded for several more months, this is a major breakthrough. Adult stem-cells have given proof of their therapeutic efficacy in the field of regenerative medicine, and they present no ethical difficulties.

This method of research should in any case be preferred to experimenting on embryonic stem cells. The Church stands up strongly against this practice that disregards the Creator’s rights and reduces the rational creature made in the image of God to the rank of a simple material object.