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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Dr. Binkley Debated the Use of Stem Cells to Save Lives

"Stem cells" by BWJones is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Should patients be able to donate their own cells to create replacement organs for transplantation? This was the topic of a discussion between surgeon and bioethicist Dr. Charles Binkley, director of bioethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and stem cell biologist and bioethicist Dr. Megan Munsie, deputy director of the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Stem Cell Systems at the University of Toronto’s Stem Cell Conference on February 27. Recent advances in technology allow scientists to transform mature human cells into stem cells. These stem cells can then be grown into “organoids” which resemble the liver, kidney, pancreas, intestine, and heart. Dr. Binkley argued that this promising technology could save the lives of tens of thousands of people who die waiting for an organ transplant. Dr. Munsie raised concerns about the early stage of this research and how to address societal expectations. Both agreed that systems must be in place to ensure just access to bioengineered organs once they become a reality.

Mar 22, 2021


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