Embryonic Stem Cells: Cure or Controversy?

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A group of Georgia doctors from Geron Corp made medical history this week, using controversial embryonic stem cells to treat a patient.  But is there a better option?

The clinical trial at Shepherd Center Hospital in Atlanta is the first of its kind. Doctors injected millions of human embryonic stem cells into a patient with a spinal cord injury.

The company said they hope this study will determine the safety and effectiveness of the therapy.

Geron will eventually broaden its study, taking in 8-10 patients in different sites around the country. Overall, the trial will last two years.

Controversy surrounds the study, including a legal battle over federal funding of such projects. Opponents, including pro-life researchers, believe other human stem cells can be just as effective.

CBN News spoke to Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council.  He says embryonic stem cells don't have the track record of success that adult stem cells have.  Click play for his comments.

"Embryonic stem cell research destroys a human person," said Michael Hitchborn, media director and lead researcher for the American Life League.

"Adult stem cell research on the other hand doesn't destroy a living human being," he said. "It simply extracts some cells, utilizes them, and they have shown progress with adult stem cell research."

Geron, based in Menlo Park, Calif., is among several companies focusing on embryonic stem cell therapy. Other companies such as StemCells Inc. are focusing on adult stem cells, which can be gathered from a person's skin.

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