INSIDE IOWA STATE
December 14, 2001
Stem cell research ethics discussed at faculty retreat
Ethical issues surrounding stem cell research will be debated at a
faculty-staff retreat from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at The
Hotel at Gateway Center, Ames.
"The retreat is an occasion for us to explore the stem cell issue in depth,"
said Gary Comstock, coordinator of ISU's bioethics program. "Many scientists
believe research in this area is valuable, but they must be responsive to
the public's concerns. Our faculty are very interested in helping students
think through the issues comprehensively and objectively."
Because stem cells can become different kinds of cells, they hold promise to
treat diseases and injuries by generating new tissues or organs. They have
been controversial because human fetal tissue is one source for research.
The topic is particularly timely, Comstock said, in light of the recent news
that a company has cloned a human embryo, an experiment the company said
could lead to treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's and child
Speaking at the retreat will be Robert Streiffer, a nationally recognized
teacher of ethics at the University of Wisconsin. Streiffer works with a
group of ISU faculty on a USDA-funded project to address economic, ethical
and social aspects of agricultural biotechnology.
Two ISU faculty members also will speak. Don Sakaguchi, zoology and
genetics, conducts research with mice stem cells to understand how the cells
may be used to repair nerve damage. He will discuss the ethical dimensions
of research on stem cells. Adah Leshem-Ackerman, zoology and genetics, will
present a case study on stem cells and ethics that she wrote after attending
the International Bioethics Institute in Portugal last summer.
More information about the retreat is online at
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
Copyright © 1995-2001, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.