Moral complicity in induced pluripotent stem cell research

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 19 (1):pp. 1-22 (2009)
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Abstract

Direct reprogramming of human skin cells makes available a source of pluripotent stem cells without the perceived evil of embryo destruction, but the advent of such a powerful biotechnology entangles stem cell research in other forms of moral complicity. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) research had its origins in human embryonic stem cell research and the projected biomedical applications of iPS cells almost certainly will require more embryonic stem cell research. Policies that inhibit iPSC research in order to avoid moral complicity are themselves complicit in preventable harms to patients. Moral complicity may be unavoidable, but a Blue Ribbon Panel charged with assessing the need for additional embryonic stem cell lines may ease a transition from embryonic stem cell research to clinical applications of iPS cells.

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