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March 22, 2005

Nose Smells, Stem Cells

The Australian reports that a research team (partially funded by the Catholic Church) succeeded in growing adult stem cells harvested from the nose. These cells appear to be able to deliver everything that embryonic stem cell research promises, but without the medical and ethical side-effects.

Notwithstanding the good news, apparently, having the Catholic Church on the side of science, health, and morality all at the same time was too much for a Federal Health bureaucrat who delivered a much-needed slap of agnosticism:

Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott, who officially launched the publication of the team's paper in the peer-reviewed journal Developmental Dynamics, steered away from describing the apparent breakthrough as a godsend.

"It's a science-send not a godsend," he said. "But if adult stem cell research is a prospect, as this particular project seems to suggest, well then, all those moral dilemmas we were wrestling with a few years ago...we may be delivered from."