Panel OKs Embryo Research
WASHINGTON -- A presidentially appointed ethics panel has decided to recommend that the federal government begin funding some research on human embryos, saying the moral cost of destroying embryos in research is outweighed by the social good that could come from the work.
Citing recent evidence that some human embryo cells have the potential to grow into replacement tissues to treat a wide variety of chronic diseases, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission has concluded that it is essentially unfair to millions of patients for Congress to continue its broad, four-year-old funding ban on human embryo research.
Instead, federal rules should be written that ensure an appropriate measure of protection and respect for human embryos, according to a draft version of the report and interviews with commissioners and others.
"These are very difficult judgments to make, but it's a balancing act," said Harold Shapiro, chairman of the bioethics commission and president of Princeton University.
The recommendations go further than those recently proposed by the National Institutes of Health. …