There has been some political response to the news today. Not surprisingly, there was a very upbeat comment from the White House. To my mind, a critical quote from that is the following:
The President believes medical problems can be solved without compromising either the high aims of science or the sanctity of human life. We will continue to encourage scientists to expand the frontiers of stem cell research and continue to advance the understanding of human biology in an ethically responsible way.
We need to consider the ethical implications of scientific advances more than we typically do, and I hope that the stem cell issue will prove to be a good case study for this. Romney can claim a certain prescience on this issue because of his remarks on this topic in June of this year. Fred Thompson had a comment on this topic, and he noted, quite correctly, that adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells have far more successes to their name than do embryonic stem cells:
There is exciting news for patients today. In yet another breakthrough for adult cell research, scientists have made normal human skin cells take on the relevant properties of embryonic stem cells. That is in addition to 73 breakthroughs for adult and cord blood research to date. There are still no embryonic stem cell breakthroughs.
Anyway, regardless of who makes political hay on this topic, it is good news, and once again congratulations to those scientists who made the breakthrough happen.