New Views of Modern Medicine Regarding Treatment with Stem Cells, its Practical and Ethical Consequences


Klin Onkol 2010; 23(1): 10-13.

Embryonic stem (ES) cells recently became the Holy Grail for the treatment of multiple diseases including cancer. A recent discovery of Israeli scientists however shows that ES cells can also become one of the causes triggering cancer. They base this hypothesis on a case of an Israeli boy suffering from Ataxia teleangiectasia, who developed cancer 4 years after ES transplantation. DNA analysis of the tumors showed that the malignant cells originated from the transplanted ES cells of the donors and not from the recipient’s own cells. Given the fact that the therapeutic application of ES cells is still in the beginning, it is therefore necessary to thoroughly verify and test all the risks of their potential therapeutic use. This article also discusses in detail ethical and other aspects of ES cells applications, in particular the differences in points of view between Christianity and Judaism. Israeli Health to address these issues draws on traditional Judaism. Judaism defines an individual as a man if he cans a separate existence, in comparison with the human embryo, which is still directly dependent on his or her mother. Therefore, in matters of saving lives, including treatment options for improving the living, treatment with ES cells is tolerated Judaism as a clear preference for live and self– sustaining individual, before a cluster of cells. On the other hand, it is clear that all these therapies must have their basic rules and ethical reasons. In Israel, research on ESC and allowed it to those obtained in the course of unsuccessful fertility treatment by artificial insemination.