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US President Trump, An anti-abortion opponent who does not stand by his ideals, seems to be getting better after his corona infection. He had been given a number of drugs, including an antibody cocktail that had not yet been approved. The British „Guardian“ reports that one of the funds that Trump received was developed using human stem cells from an abortion. A practice that Trump and many of his supporters strictly reject. Donald Trump acts almost in real life, like a world conspiracy called Qanon.
Fetal stem cells
What are fetal stem cells?
Fetal or fetal stem cells are ethically not undisputed, but by no means as problematic as embryonic stem cells. In the latter, an embryo is consciously created in a test tube and destroyed at a very early stage in order to obtain the stem cells. Fetal stem cells, on the other hand, are obtained from embryos or fetuses that are around five to twelve weeks old. The source of the cell material is aborted fetuses or spontaneous stillbirths, which occur rarely.
In contrast to embryonic stem cells, which are pluripotent and can differentiate into every cell in the body, fetal stem cells are predominantly “only” multipotent. This means that they are already tied to a specific body tissue, since the embryo or fetus is already further developed at the time the cells are isolated and the internal organs are already formed. However, fetal stem cells are still more viable than adult stem cells, which are found in the human body after birth.
What use do fetal stem cells have in medicine?
Fetal stem cells are very young cells with great growth potential and their genetic makeup is hardly damaged. Since they are also comparatively easy to isolate, scientists have high hopes that they will help to find therapeutic options for various diseases. This is especially true for degenerative diseases of the brain such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s chorea, as there are only limited numbers of adult stem cells in the brain.
What are the ethical concerns about its use?
In Germany, the production of embryonic stem cells is prohibited by the Embryo Protection Act. However, under certain conditions, fetal stem cells can be obtained from aborted fetuses. However, doctors would always need several fetuses for the therapy of a patient, since only a limited number of stem cells can be obtained per fetus due to the stage of development and the resulting size. Furthermore, reproducing fetal stem cells in the laboratory is still difficult. Experts therefore do not see fetal stem cells as suitable for broad mass use. Thus, only a small number of patients will be treated with them – also because the iPS, the induced pluripotent stem cells, is an alternative with great potential.