Growing New Body Parts

Haruko Obokata


Humanity is taking another step toward being like God.

Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata and her team have discovered a way to create personalized stem cells that do not involve human embryos or manipulating DNA. So ethical issues are minimized or erased.

Obokata’s idea was so crazy, that no one really thought it would work. But it did. She immerses the tissue cells of newborn mice in mild acid, which causes a near-fatal shock, which makes the cells “pluripotent”–capable of growing into any type of body cell.

She, and others, theorize that the procedure could very likely work with humans. The idea is that tissue of any body part could be regenerated from the patient’s own cells–and thus not be attacked by the immune system. No one gets hurt; everyone wins. The future could mean that an unlimited array of cancers, illnesses, and injuries could be cured by organ regeneration inside the patient’s body.

If you’re not getting it yet, this could be one of the biggest change factors of humanity–at least those who have access to medical care–moving into a whole new world.

I find it fascinating and promising. Imagine the wonderful cures (new body parts), simplification of procedures (fewer and simpler surgeries), and reduction of medications (Hooray! Take that, big pharmaceuticals!)

I also find it scary. The ethics are far less severe than before, but it’s uncharted territory. The medical industry will take a major step toward doing what hitherto only God could do. I often say that with modern technology humans have become little gods. Now we’re getting bigger, and technology is our new Tower of Babel.

I’m not for or against anything here, but I do recognize a world-changing frontier when I see one.

On one hand I cheer this breakthrough; it’s wonderful.

On the other hand I wonder how far God will let us go.

What do you wonder?

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