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The Vatican has abruptly cancelled a controversial stem-cell conference that was set to be attended by the Pope next month.
The Third International Congress on Responsible Stem Cell Research…was to focus on clinical applications of adult and reprogrammed stem cells. But a number of the invited speakers, including Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco, and keynote speaker George Daley, a stem-cell scientist at Children’s Hospital Boston in Massachusetts, are involved in research using human embryonic stem cells, which the Catholic Church considers unethical…
The Catholic News Agency…quoted an unnamed academy member who called the cancellation an “enormous relief to many members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who felt that the presence on its program of so many speakers, including the keynote speaker, committed to embryonic stem cell research, was a betrayal of the mission of the Academy and a public scandal”.
“I think the only interpretation is that we are being censored. It is very disappointing that they are unwilling to hear the truth,” says Trounson. He had hoped to provide a “balanced perspective” on the potential clinical applications of stem cells, both adult and embryonic.
Meanwhile, some European scientists, who had called for a boycott because they believed the conference unfairly maligned embryonic stem cell research, cheered its cancellation…
RTFA for all the thorny details.