Pro-Life News in Brief
By Liz Townsend
Adult Stem Cells from
Veins May Treat Heart Disease
Researchers in England are
studying the use of adult stem cells obtained from leftover veins
during heart bypass surgery. They hope that one day these cells
could be used to repair damage after a heart attack.
“This is the first time that
anyone has been able to extract stem cells from sections of vein
left over from heart bypass operations,” Professor Paolo Madeddu of
Bristol University told BBC News. “These cells might make it
possible for a person having a bypass to also receive a heart
treatment using their body’s own stem cells.”
During bypass surgery,
doctors remove a long section of vein from the patient’s leg and use
it to replace a blocked artery near the heart. Only a portion of the
leg vein is actually used in most operations, so there is usually a
section left over.
When Madeddu and his team
tried to extract stem cells from the leftover piece, they were
surprised to obtain thousands of cells. “That is not nearly enough
for treatments,” said Madeddu, according to the Daily Mail.
“However, it provided us with a source from which we could get those
cells to proliferate. We seeded the stem cells in special plates and
were able to grow them until we got samples of 50 million to 60
million cells—which was enough to use as treatments.”
Much more study needs to be
done before these cells can be used to treat humans, but initial
tests on mice showed that they helped new blood vessels to grow
around damaged hearts, The Observer reported.
“It brings the possibility
of ‘cell therapy’ for damaged hearts one step closer,” Professor
Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation,
told BBC News, “and, importantly, if the chemical messages produced
by the cells can be identified, it is possible that drugs could be
developed to achieve the same end.”
Twin Unborn Babies Die
after Abortionist Kills Healthy One
Florida abortionist Matthew
Kachinas lost his medical license April 20 after he killed a healthy
unborn baby while trying to destroy the twin diagnosed with Down
syndrome. After finding out the wrong baby was killed, the parents
had the surviving child aborted as well, according to the St.
The parents came to
Kachinas’s Sarasota abortion clinic in January 2006 when the mother,
identified only as “K.M.,” was 16 weeks pregnant with twins
conceived through in vitro fertilization, the Times reported.
Doctors diagnosed the boy baby as having Down syndrome and a heart
defect, but his sister was considered “normal.” The parents wanted
to abort the “defective” baby while allowing the girl to continue to
Kachinas has admitted that
he had never performed a “selective reduction” abortion before. “It
seemed like something that was within my purview, that I would be
able to do safely and appropriately,” he told the Times. “I have
never, ever in my entire career ever said ‘no’ to a patient. And
that was my downfall.”
Using ultrasound as a guide,
Kachinas injected what he thought was the boy with a lethal
chemical. One week later, the parents discovered that the girl had
actually been killed. In court hearings, Kachinas blamed the
ultrasound machine for misidentifying the targeted child, according
to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
After discovering that the
wrong baby had died, the parents came back to Kachinas to abort the
remaining twin, the Times reported.
Kachinas told the Times that
he will appeal the license revocation. He also said that he made a
financial settlement with K.M. soon after the second abortion.
Promising Technique Uses
Patient’s Own Stem Cells to Repair Brain Damage
Researchers in England are
working on a technique that will use a patient’s own stem cells to
repair brain damage by building a “biological scaffold” that the
cells can attach to and grow on, according to The Independent.
The technique would use stem
cells that are already present in the patient’s brain but are
inactive. “We know there are stem cells in the human brain,”
Professor Andrea Brand of the Gurdon Institute at Cambridge
University told The Independent. “If we can reactivate stem cells
that are in the right place at the right time, that would be ideal.”
They hope to one day build
the scaffolding from “synthetically made biological materials” and
then insert it into a brain in which cells have been killed by a
stroke or other types of brain trauma, according to The Independent.
The inactive stem cells would then multiply in the scaffold and
regrow tissue that had been lost.
“We know that stem cells
will sometimes go to sleep and we’re studying ways of reactivating
them,” Brand told The Independent. “This is really key because what
we’d like to do eventually in terms of repairing the brain is to
reactivate someone’s own stem cells in situ to give rise, hopefully,
to the neurons that will replace those that have been damaged.”
The idea is in the very
early stages of development. The researchers are currently working
to identify genes that are needed to activate the stem cells,
studying simpler nervous systems of creatures such as fruit flies to
learn more about the process.
“In particular, we are
interested in how these stem cells can generate all the different
types of nerve cells that you find in the human brain,” Brand added.
Baby Boy Left to Die
after Botched Abortion
An Italian priest praying
over the body of an aborted 22-week-old baby boy discovered he was
still alive. Although the boy was rushed to another hospital for
neonatal care, he died the next day.
Doctors at Rossano Calabro
Hospital in Italy aborted the baby April 24 on his mother’s request
because she was told he had a disability, the Daily Telegraph
reported. After the abortion, he was wrapped in sheet with his
umbilical cord still attached.
Father Antonio Martello, the
hospital chaplain, went to pray for the baby 20 hours after the
abortion. Shocked to find the baby boy moving and breathing, he
called for help and the boy was rushed to Cosenza Hospital’s
neonatal unit, according to the Telegraph. Sadly, the baby died
Italian law requires doctors
to treat babies born alive after abortions, the Telegraph reported.
Government officials said there will be an investigation.
“We must remember that a
baby, once born, is an Italian citizen equal to all the others, and
is entitled to all fundamental rights, including the right to health
and therefore to be given full support,” Eugenia Roccella, the
under-secretary of state in the health department, told the
If the reported story is
true, Roccella added, “this would be a case of deliberate
abandonment of a seriously premature neonate, possibly also with
some form of disability, an act contrary to any sense of human
compassion but also of any accepted professional medical practice.”
Pro-Life Nurses Lifted
Admitting that they needed
to change their policies, officials at Nassau University Medical
Center in New York lifted sanctions against eight nurses who
objected to participating in an abortion for reasons of conscience.
“We erred in our personnel
actions, have apologized to several of the nurses and will do so
with the others, as well,” medical center president Arthur Gianelli
told Newsday. “They did nothing wrong.”
Federal law allows health
care workers to refuse to participate in procedures for which they
have a moral objection, as long as the patient is not in a
In this case, a pregnant
woman’s water broke when she was 14 weeks pregnant March 31. Told
she could face a life-threatening infection later on if the
pregnancy continued, the mother decided to abort the baby, Newsday
Eight nurses refused to
assist in the abortion for conscience reasons. Since another nurse
who did not object would report to work later, and since there was
no immediate danger to the woman’s life, her doctor agreed to wait
to abort the baby, according to Newsday. The baby was aborted April
However, the director of
perinatal nursing misunderstood the situation and thought the woman
needed an immediate abortion, Newsday reported. She reported the
nurses and the hospital began disciplinary action, including
reprimands and loss of vacation leave days.
When the nurses protested
the sanctions, the hospital investigated and concluded that the
officials’ actions were wrong. Gianelli told Newsday that the
medical center is refining its policy on conscientious objection.
Chinese Officials Conduct
Forced Sterilization Program
Officials in China’s Puning
county, in Guangdong Province, conducted a 20-day forced
sterilization campaign in April, aiming to sterilize 9,559 people
who had more children than allowed, the London Times reported.
Most people in China are
only allowed to have one child, according to rules implemented in
1978. In rural areas like Puning, some are allowed to have two
children if the first is a girl, but can have no more than that no
matter the gender of the second child, according to the Times.
Because some Puning families
have three or four children, family planning officials decided to
crack down on rule breakers. “It’s not uncommon for family planning
authorities to adopt some tough tactics,” an official at the Puning
Population and Family Planning Bureau told the Global Times.
Relatives were imprisoned in
order to force compliance with the sterilization efforts. Huang
Ruifeng, who has three daughters, said that officials threatened his
father. “Several days ago a village official called me and asked me
or my wife to return for the surgery,” Huang said, according to the
London Times. “Otherwise they would take away my father.”
About 100 relatives were
being held in cramped conditions April 10, the Southern Countryside
Daily reported. “There were some mats on the floor but the room was
too small for all people to lie down and sleep, so the young ones
had to stand or squat. Owing to the lack of quilts, many cuddled up
to fight the cold,” according to the newspaper.
About half of Puning’s
targeted citizens had been sterilized as of April 12, only five days
into the campaign, the Times reported.
State-level authorities told
the Times that they may investigate to determine if the county
officials went too far in their program. State rules do not allow
family members to be threatened in order to force compliance, and
require authorization before penalizing violators, according to the