Chinese fetal stem cell use commands attention

In a small, quiet hospital in Beijing, China, a doctor injects cultivated nasal stem cells from aborted Chinese fetuses and brings near-miraculous improvements in hundreds of people with conditions U.S. scientists have dubbed hopeless. “Uncontrolled” by western medical standards, “unethical” by U.S. mores, controversial by everybody’s assessment, the operations are nevertheless being sought after by sufferers of ALS, Parkinson’s, severe spinal injuries and other cases of paralysis. They’re of every religious persuasion, and they’re coming from all corners of the world.

Improvements–talked about freely over the Internet by those who have experienced them–happen much too quickly to be attributed to regeneration but yet are significant enough that even former foes of abortion are putting aside their moral objections and seeking help.

“Olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) cells do not replace damaged cells,” says Dr Huang Hongyun, the man many his patients fall in love with. Instead they act as a catalyst to natural processes in “spinal-cord injuries, ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and conditions caused by strokes.”

China is now considered the leader in this type of research. Because worries about ethics are non-issues in China, where the one-child rule has made abortion a fact of daily life, they’ve been able to conduct experiments that U.S. scientists may be banned from trying for yet decades to come.

But the Texan anti-abortion patient who changed his mind about his ethics now sees it this way–something good coming from something bad. And he says anyone who doesn’t see it that way, isn’t chained to a wheelchair.

Our world today faces questions no generation has ever had to even consider–let alone find answers for. This calls for extreme care and consideration for each other as we struggle to find solutions that satisfy our frail human desires to relieve suffering and our deep soul needs to know we are doing the right thing.

See a trailer from BBC TV here. Read The Guardian article here.