Human gene editing controversy. Summit concludes with divergent opinions

Despite differences, nearly everyone at the meeting agreed that efforts to use gene editing after birth to correct defects in non-reproductive cells should continue. When nearly 500 scientists, ethicists, legal experts and advocacy groups from more than 20 countries came together...

Brain tissue repair advances. Human nerve cells derived from astrocytes

Within the possibility of deriving cells from others already existing in our body, in the area of cell therapy, scientists have managed to reprogram brain astrocytes into neurons in the way to achieve brain tissue reapair. As we know, neuronal loss is thought to be definitive in...

Mitochondrial transfer. Researchers extend the procedure to treat infertility problems

So-called mitochondrial transfer has recently been legalised in the United Kingdom. It aims to replace “sick” mitochondria with healthy ones, in an attempt to prevent mitochondrial diseases. Now, researchers hope to extend this technique to replace aging or faulty...

Does human papilloma virus vaccination encourage sexual promiscuity?

An ethical issue that often arises is to determine whether human papilloma virus, HPV vaccination could encourage sexual relations between adolescents who have been vaccinated. This was tackled in an extensive study published in JAMA (175; 617-623,2015), which concluded that...

Surrogate motherhood opposed by various feminist associations

Various feminist associations have spoken out against surrogate motherhood. In this respect, a contribution of a grouping of feminist and human rights organisations to the Hague Conference, an inter-governmental organisation that defends the rights of the family, stated that:...

Umbilical cord blood banks. What is the ideal type?

Since umbilical cord blood banks were first used for stem cell transplants, their number has been increasing permanently worldwide. There are currently three types of umbilical cord blood banks: public, private and mixed. In the public banks, samples are at the disposal of any...

Ageing and disability – XX General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life

This text is a comment on the book “Ageing and disability” corresponding to the XX General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, celebrated in Rome from 26th February to 1st March, 2014.  Introduction The increased life expectancy of the world population, due...

Human embryos manipulation for possible biomedical uses is permitted. Ethical assessment

It is often said that in scientific research, anything that can be done, will be done, regardless of its ethical connotations. This is what seems to have occurred in the light of an article published on 4th May this year in Nature (doi:10.1038/nature17948), entitled...

Surrogate motherhood stirs deep controversy for both medical and ethical reasons

Results of a survey using data from clinics authorised in the UK  Surrogate motherhood can be genetic (using sperm from the contracting father or oocytes – eggs – from the contracting mother) or gestational, which refers to the implantation in the surrogate mother of...

Adult stem cells could effectively substitute embryonic cells in regenerative medicine

Many technics showed that adult stem cells could effectively substitute embryonic cells in cellular therapy. One medical and ethical problem to resolve is to find adequate substitute for the use of embryonic stem cells in regenerative and reparatory medicine. The best possibility...