Thursday, August 18, 2005
The Color of Cannibalism
Fetal Tissue Heals Burns
An experimental therapy that uses skin cells grown from an aborted fetus successfully healed severe burns in eight children, sparing them the need for skin grafts, according to a study published today.
The Swiss researchers were the first to use cells from a fetus -- a 14-week male whose mother gave permission at the time of abortion.
The Swiss researchers used a patch of fetal skin 1.5 inches square. They grew cells from it in tissue culture and let the cells spread out on sheets of a material called collagen, forming a kind of artificial skin. They cut that into pieces 3 1/2 by 5 inches and placed about four of them on 10-day-old burns in eight children. The burns were second- and third-degree, they said, and all would normally have undergone skin grafting.
The fetal-cell material disappeared, but it was not incorporated into the regenerating skin.
To be fair, this treatment was derived from previous experiments involving:
Cells grown from the foreskin of circumcised newborns and large pieces of skin removed from cadavers are sometimes used to cover burns and promote healing.
Thus one could say that this is cannibalism, too. Yes, but in a different way. One is a result of murder or killing if you prefer. The other is not. Brave new world, indeed.
posted by Mark Butterworth |