Yamanaka's breakthrough "put human embryonic stem cell research largely out of business," Father Thomas Berg
was quoted as saying by the Catholic News Agency
But Father Berg, a professor of moral theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., acknowledged that not all pro-lifers were thrilled by the selection.
While Yamanaka's work has nearly eliminated the research market for embryonic stem cell lines, some of his
early research relied on what Father Berg called "tainted" cells, and there is also the possibility that the results of Yamanaka's work could be turned to immoral purposes.
Still, Father Berg
said, Yamanaka's move away from embryonic stem cell research is, in itself, laudable, especially given the way Yamanaka came to decide to look for a way to conduct research without destroying embryos.
It can lead to further technologies that are morally problematic," Father Berg
But Father Berg
, who said he
generally views Yamanaka's work favorably, said pro-lifers must be pleased that the creation of induced pluripotent stem cells pushed most scientists involved in stem cell research to move away from using embryonic stem cells.
They made that move for a number of reasons, Father Berg
said, including the fact that the new research, which uses adult cells, is "more fascinating scientifically."
It is also more cost effective to eliminate the restrictions set up by the federal government for work with embryonic stem cells.
The prohibition against using federal funding for embryonic stem cells means that scientists who accept federal funding for other fields of research would have to set up entirely separate laboratories for the work, Father Berg