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Sydney Archbishop pledges funds for adult stem cell research

Archbishop of Sydney Dr George Pell said yesterday the church would be prepared to contribute $50,000 if the federal and NSW governments committed "significant money" for research into adult stem cells.

He said the Council of Australian Governments' decision to permit research on surplus human embryos from the IVF program was encouraging a misdirection of research funds.

"The only significant human advances throughout the world have been made on adult stem cells," Dr Pell said. "Embryonic stem cell research had produced no human cure and I think the more sensible thing, the more productive mind, is to put money into adult stem cell research."

The offer to co-fund research on the use of adult stem cells was welcomed yesterday by the Federal Government's Minister for Ageing Kevin Andrews, who has pushed to ban research on spare embryos.

Dr Pell said the Church would give the money even if the government passed legislation allowing embryonic stem cell research. He added that while the church had been unable to convince the Prime Minister of the difference between letting surplus embryos expire naturally and destroying them via research, it would continue its opposition to the research and still hoped to block the passing of any legislation.

A Statement on Stem Cell Research by the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Dr George Pell (Media Release)

The Age

10 Apr 2002