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Human embryonic stem cells balancing on the ethical edge


Ian Wilmut created Dolly the ... were firstly isolated from mice in1981. ... Ontological personalism Ontological personalism states that all human beings ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Human embryonic stem cells balancing on the ethical edge

Human embryonic stem cells balancing on the
ethical edge
  • 2008
  • Marek Vácha

Totipotency Frog
Reproductive CloningIan Wilmut created Dolly the
Sheep in 1997
Totipotency Mammals
Reproductive Cloning and Therapeutic Cloning
Reproductive Cloning and Therapeutic Cloning
Reproductive Cloning
  • 1996 sheep
  • 1997 mouse
  • 1998 cow
  • 2000 pig
  • 2002 cat
  • 2005 dog

Embryonic Stem Cells
  • were firstly isolated from mice in1981.
  • Human Embryonic Stem Cells from Embryonální
    kmenové bunky were firstly isolated in 1998 by
    James Thomson (J.Thomson, Wisconsin university
    funded by Geron corporation).

James A. Thomson says he thought long and hard
before doing stem cell research.
James A. Thomson (2007)
  • His laboratory was one of two that reported a new
    way to turn ordinary human skin cells into what
    appear to be embryonic stem cells without ever
    using a human embryo.
  • The fact is, Dr. Thomson said in an interview, he
    had ethical concerns about embryonic research
    from the outset, even though he knew that such
    research offered insights into human development
    and the potential for powerful new treatments for
  • If human embryonic stem cell research does not
    make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you
    have not thought about it enough, he said. I
    thought long and hard about whether I would do

(No Transcript)
James A. Thomson (2007)
  • Now with the new technique, which involves adding
    just four genes to ordinary adult skin cells, it
    will not be long, he says, before the stem cell
    wars are a distant memory. A decade from now,
    this will be just a funny historical footnote,
    Dr. Thomson said in the interview.
  • http//

  • (ESC)Human embryonic stem cells,
  • Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) Therapy - theoretically
    involves the use of cells extracted from a five
    day old in vitro fertilized embryo (in this
    embryo there is approximately 100 cells, ICM is
    30 of them). ESCs have been scientifically
    substantiated to be pluripotent for all cell
  • (FSC)Human embryonic germ cells,
  • Fetal Stem Cell (FSC) therapy involves the use of
    human fetuses aborted between 1 and 3 months.
    Tissue with imbedded stem cells is scraped from
    the liver, neural or gonadal ridges. Commercial
    providers of these potentially pluripotent cell
    types do not scientifically classify the cell
  • (ASC)Human Adult stem cells,
  • ASC are undifferentiated, found among
    differentiated cell types in a tissue or organ.
    ASC can renew themselves, and can differentiate
    to yield the major specialized cell types of the
    tissue or organ. Their primary role in a living
    organism is to maintain and repair the tissue in
    which they are found. There are approximately 20
    types of ASC in the human body.

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Embryonální kmenové bunky
Embryonální kmenové bunky
Possible Sources of Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Surplus embryos
  • Embryos made exclusively in order to receive ESC
  • SCNT Therapeutic Cloning

Preimplantation Diagnosis
Plasticity of ASC
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Dr. Woo Suk Hwang
  • 24. listopadu 2005 Dr. Hwang is forced
    to to step down
  • female researchers in his own lab had supplied
    eggs for his research.
  • two key scientific papers in 2005, both published
    in Science Magazine, were found to have been

August 2005 Snuppy, an Afghan hound was cloned by
Dr. Hwang
Dr. Hwang
  • Dr Hwang was in March fired from his
    professorship at Seoul National University (SNU)
    and in May was charged with fraud and
    embezzlement. Dr Hwang had received millions of
    dollars' worth of funds from the state and
    private foundations for his research.
  • The downfall of Dr Hwang came as a big shock to
    Koreans, who had taken great pride in what
    appeared to be the pioneering work of the stem
    cell researchers at Seoul National University.
  • Dr Hwang at one point had 15,000 hard-core fans,
    who belonged to a "I love HWS" online community.

Definition of Human Embryo
  • A human embryo is a discrete entity that has
    arisen from either
  • (i) the first mitotic division when fertilization
    of a human oocyte by a human sperm is complete or
  • (ii) any other process that initiates organized
    development of a biological entity with a human
    nuclear genome or altered human nuclear genome
    that has the potential to develop up to, or
    beyond, the stage at which the primitivestreak
  • and has not yet reached 8 weeks of development
    since the first mitotic division.

Status of Embryo
  • Ontological personalism Ontological personalism
    states that all human beings are human persons.
    On this view, the intrinsic quality of personhood
    begins at conception and is present throughout
    life Such individuals are not potential persons
    or "becoming" persons they are persons by their
    very nature. There is no such thing as a
    potential person or a human non-person.
  • Empirical Functionalism there is a diffrention
    between being and person. According to this
    conception, the moral status of zygotes, embryos,
    foetuses and even infants is problematic. The
    person must need a minimal level of mental life.
    The embryo can not be determined by its
    potentiality or by what the embryo will become,
    but must be assessed in terms of what it is.
    Therefore it is not reasonable to think that the
    embryo has a moral status comparable to adults.

(No Transcript)
Arguments for obtaining Embryonic Stem Cells from
  • The prospects are beyond our scope
  • Only 30-50 zygote implants. If Mother Nature is
    so prodigal, we may not to bother with embryos.
  • individual is in-dividium, non-divisible.
  • Human embryo is nothing than cluster of cells
  • if we approved abortions, there is no discussion
    about status of embryos
  • utilitarianism we have to consider the ethical
    calculation, gains and losts happy and healthy
    patient/destroyed embryo

Arguments against obtainig Human Embryonic Stem
  • Embryo is not, embryos are. Every embry has a
    unique genetic design
  • An Embryo has a potentiality to become an adult
    human person, so we must treat an embryo as a
  • Aristotle four causes
  • Immanuel Kant
  • the problem of freedom
  • difference between cost/value and dignity

  • causa materialis
  • causa formalis
  • causa efficiens
  • causa finalis

  • causa materialis cluster of atoms, cluster
    of cells, C,H,O,N, etc.
  • causa formalis form of living matter is a soul
  • causa efficiens where from I came?
  • causa finalis what is goal of my life?

Cluster of cells Five day old embryo is
composed from150 200 cells, adult human from 5.
1014 cells
Arguments for obtaining Embryonic Stem Cells from
  • If abortions are legal, protection of embryos is
    inproportionate, inadequate
  • ES cells are not embryos. These cells are no
    more totipotent. If we already have these lines,
    they are cells, not embryos.
  • individuum is etymologically indivisible
  • MZ twins could arise until the end of the second
    week. Until this time we cannot speak about

Arguments for obtaining Embryonic Stem Cells from
  • Argument of utilitarianism on the one side of
    the ethical scale is healthy happy patient, on
    the other side of the scale embryo which can not
    feel neither pain, nor pleasure

Regulation of Research in  EU
  • Germany prohibition to destroy embryos for
    obtaining hES. Allowance to work with hES if the
    lines were created before 01/01 2002
  • 22/05 2008 this inport and usage was shifted to
    01/05 2007

Many thanks Marek Vácha