Ethics and science
Gender is considered a main issue in Horizon 2020, the largest ever EU Research and Innovation programme, with €80 billion worth of funding available over seven years. The European Commission has identified seven priority areas of societal challenges, with the goal targeting investment in research in these fields. They are:
“Why should we throw away assisted fertilization embryonic cells that will never be used? Shouldn’t we utilize them for research instead? Discarding them is not only against science, is against logic and common sense too. How would you explain it to ill people? They, especially the most unlucky, know perfectly well that research on embryonic cells will tell us if in the future we will be able to cure diseases with stem cells, in case also adult ones.
As doctors and researchers we have been following with great dismay the news and statements regarding the possibility of treating patients who have severe nervous system diseases using "stem" cells, without any scientific evidence and through procedures that are not accepted by national and international rules. Our first concern is protecting patients and their families, who bear a large burden of suffering and are naturally and understandably open to any element of hope for their loved ones.
The ethics of clinical tests is controversial. Paradoxically, instead of moving towards more and more protected conditions, some research still has gray areas because enrolled patients do not always have the same guarantees.
Usually Massimo Piatelli Palmarini chooses very interesting topics to comment on the "Corriere della Sera" and tells them convincingly. Not this time (see article). Perhaps he was naively taken by too much enthusiasm for a subject that is apparently interesting and (unfortunately) outside his expertise.
When you discover you have cancer, the first and only thought coming to mind is to get rid of it. No one certainly comes out with the rather morbid idea of asking the surgeon for the removed tissue in order to preserve it: throw it away and forget about it. You should instead donate it, because nowadays these samples are precious and coveted.