Advances in the use of pluripotent stem cell research to cure human disease have all been made using adult stem cells (ASC). To date, there have been no diseases cured with embryonic stem cells (ESC). Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR) involves the removal of stem cells from a human embryo and results in the death of that embryo. The size of the human embryo precludes its giving consent to scientists before they remove its stem cells. Human embryos are the most vulnerable of all human beings and therefore need the protection of the law to prevent scientists from exploiting their size and lack of a voice.  

Adult stem cell research (ASCR) involves the use of cells, such as skin cells, bone marrow cells, and cord blood cells, taken from adult humans, or from the cord blood of newborn babies. The taking of these stem cells does not harm the human being who consents to their removal. Thus, ASCR is an ethical alternative to ESCR. ASCR has had hundreds of successful cures in the recent past. The following links will give you more information about ASCR and the successes scientists have had using these important stem cells for the curing of human diseases.

A recently discovered source of pluripotent stem cells is the amniotic fluid that surrounds and cushions a baby in the womb. These amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells can be extracted through a simple process that poses no danger to the mother or the developing child. The plentiful and readily available AFS cells offer a “best of both worlds” proposition – they are even more versatile than the adult stem cells already being used in successful treatments, and they have proven to be more stable and safe than embryonic stem cells in laboratory testing.

Amniotic fluid-derived stem cells differentiate easily and multiply rapidly, becoming many varied types of tissue cells, such as liver, bone, and brain.  They do not form dangerous tumors as embryonic stem cells do.  If used to treat later health problems in the person from whose amniotic sac they came, they would not be rejected because they would be a perfect genetic match.  Even better, scientists estimate that 99 percent of the American population could receive genetically compatible stem cells through AFS cells from only 100,000 pregnancies.

Check back here for continued updates about this and other exciting developments in stem cell research.

If you are aware of any scientific advances that have taken place but have not yet been discussed on this page, please feel free to contact us.

Additional resources:

For information about disease being cured with adult stem cells, click here

For an article by Wesley Smith on how Adult Stem Cells are being used, click here:

To access a glossary of stem cell research terms, click here:

The National Catholic Bioethics Center:

The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity

To read updated articles on bioethics see Making Sense Out of Bioethics by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk Ph. D. go to