On April 20, 2005, the Federal Government introduced the first public bid notice which will permit the financing of research with stem cells in the country. R$ 11 million will be released by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The fund will be used to finance basic research projects (in vitro experimentations), pre-clinic (experimentations with animals) and clinic (experimentations in human beings) research, which have the development of innovate procedures in cellular therapy as their objective. Adult bone marrow and umbilical cord stem cells may also be researched, and the embryonic stem cells, included in the public bid notice due to the bio-security law. (1)
With the approval of the Bio-security Law, Brazilian scientists are authorized to do research with embryonic stem cells, unequivocally, currently one of the most promising areas in medicine. (2) But the research with stem cells may only be done if they have been obtained through in vitro fertilization and have been frozen for more than three years. (3)
For those who do not know the subject, we inform that the stem cell is a type of cell that can differentiate itself and form different types of tissues. This is a special capacity, because the other cells can generally be part of just one specific tissue (for instance: skin cells can only form the skin). Another special capacity of the stem cells is self-replication, in other words, they can generate identical copies of themselves. (4)
Due to these two capacities, the stem cells have been object of intense research lately, because, in the future, they can work as substitute cells in wounded or sick tissues, as in the cases of Alzheimer, Parkinson and neuromuscular diseases in general, or even in the place of cells that the organism stops producing due to some deficiency, such as in the case of diabetes. However, it is important to say that the immediate application is still distant. (5)
For now, there are high hopes but we lack research, which, although accelerated, are in the initial stage. The Ministry of Health is worried with the excessive euphoria about the use of stem cells. They are not a promise of cure, a miracle…as if the patient was to "leave the crutches and walk away".
For the spirits, embryos that remain stored (frozen) may or may not have connected spirits. Whether by the fact of being in debt with humanity or, according to Joanna de Angelis, of escaping from their persecutors, they may be taken to "a period of probation" in these frozen embryos, passing through a period of dormancy, a period in which they would be free from obsessive persecutions, and in a preparatory phase to a possible return to the Earth.
Placed the subject, one question presents itself: Would the frozen embryos, where the embryonic stem cells are placed, have potential of vitality that cannot be transformed (for some destroyed)? That is the question!
In the last months, several religious leaders and specialists have bee getting together, in several parts of the Earth, to discuss these scientific progresses and their controversial ethical questions. Some of them believe it is an "abortion".
Thinking over some important notes of Joanna's, we also have to consider that the spiritual Mentors, specialists in this area, are sufficiently intelligent to know which ovule will be, or not, destined to produce stem cells with therapeutic purposes and, therefore, that any spirit shall be connected with it. Or, then, we are enthroning the vigorous power of the unexpected, the "chance".
Do the frozen human embryos have a spirit connected with them or not? As we remarked above, Joanna explained that there are cases that there may be, and there cases that there are not. Question 356 of The Book of the Spirits explains that there may be the development of gestation without spirit. André Luiz elucidates the mechanism of that process in the second part of the book Evolução em Dois Mundos (Evolution in Two Worlds), considering that the perispiritual model is the maternal one, given by the spiritual command of the mother who desires to have a child very much. (8)
In this regard, question 136-a of the "Book of the Spirits", emphasize again " (…) The organic life may animate a body without a soul (…)" " (9) That idea lead us to reflect about the possibility that embryos without spirits connected with them may exist. And, even more, wouldn't we be making a big mistake, the possible generation of thousands of frozen (expandable) lives waiting for death? It is worth to meditate a little more deeply about that question!
It is interesting to bring to the discussion the fact that the researches of the Medicine School of Cardiff, in Wales, recently announced that they are producing human embryos without using sperm, looking for making the use of blastocysts (10) to the use of stem cells less polemic. The method made public by the New Scientist magazine uses just the PLC-Zeta protein, found in the sperm, responsible for the cellular division. The embryos develop themselves without the male chromosomes and, therefore, would not result in a procreation process. The use of stem cells taken from human embryos - generally ruled out in assisted reproduction clinics - face serious resistances in several countries. Many consider those embryos as living beings, because they characterize life from the fecundation of the ovule by the spermatozoid. (11)
Joanna de Angelis knowing about the importance of those researches points out: " (...) True blessing, the organ transplantation grants the opportunity of continuation of the physical existence, in the moratorium condition, through which the Spirit goes on its organic periplus. After all, life in the body is the way to plenitude - which is life in itself, ardent and real". (12) We cannot refrain from recognize that the physical body is the divine machine that the Lord lends us to the confection of our happiness on Earth.
We cannot remain in the ignorance, and science must reach the objective that the Providence gave it. Kardec teaches that we instruct ourselves through the power of the things. The moral revolutions, like the social revolutions, infiltrate themselves in the ideas little by little; they germinate during centuries; after that, they break out suddenly and produce the collapse of the past ideas that were not in harmony with the new necessities and the new aspirations anymore.
Every new technology generates polemics. Among the arguments of those who are against the therapeutic technique with stem cells is the fear that it will generate ovules and embryos commercialization. In case that reality is feasible, are we going to stagnate science?
For Eduardo Krieger, president of the Brazilian Academy of Science (ABC), the financing of research with embryonic stem cells represents society's trust in the Brazilian scientists. "Today the scientist is extremely worried that the progress of science has to be focused on society. The scientific community has evolved and is in conditions of producing that knowledge". (15)
In reality the search of knowledge is man's basic need. And concerning the fear of misuse of the stem cells we think that the science will learn how to best handle with the techniques which involve cloning, making it simpler and safer. Concerning its dissemination, it will depend on the Spirituality programs. (16)
For those who believe that the scientists would be subverting the divine order when manipulating embryonic stem cells, it is important to remember them that transgression to the natural order is an undernourished child, bombed cities, terrorist acts, sick people without medical assistance, workers without job. Subverting the divine order will always be the way we treat people, not how they are born. (17) Can the ones who are against the scientific research at issue today absolutely guarantee that they will not benefit from that innovate proposal of human therapy in the future?
1 - The public bid notice to the projects selection is available in the e-mail address of the National Counsil of Scientific and Technologic Development (CNPq - Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico).
2 - A Census carried out by the Brazilian Society of Assisted Reproduction (SBRA - Sociedade Brasileira de Reprodução Assistida) reveals the existence of 9,914 frozen embryos in the 15 major Brazilian reproduction clinics. From those, 3,219 have been frozen for more than three years, an essential criteria for the use of them in research with embryonic stem cells (CTs) approved by the Bio-security Law.
3 - Veja Magazine published on March 03, 2005.
4 - The stem cells currently used in experiments are, basically, from: 1) the patient's bone marrow, 2) the placenta and the new born´s umbilical cord and 3) human embryos.
5 - Lygia da Veiga Pereira, from the Center of Studies of the Human Genome of the University of São Paulo (USP).
6 - O Estadão newspaper, edition of 03/02/2005
7 - Franco, Divaldo Pereira. Glorious Days, dictated by the spirit Joanna de Angelis. Salvador: Ed. LEAL, 1999
8 - Xavier, Francisco Cândido. Evolution in Two Worlds, dictated by the spirit André Luiz. 5th edition. 2nd part. Rio de Janeiro ,RJ: Ed FEB, 1972
9 - Kardec, Allan. The Book of the Spirits, RJ: Ed. FEB, 2003, question 136-a
10 - The blastocyst is a cluster rangin from 100 to 200 cells.
11 - O Estadão newspaper, of Thursday, December 02, 2004
12 - Franco, Divaldo Pereira. Glorious Days, dictated by the spirit Joanna de Angelis. Salvador/Ba: Ed. LEAL, 1999, Cf. Chapter: Organs Transplantation
13 - Xavier, Francisco Cândido. THOUGHT AND LIFE - dictated by the spirit Emmanuel. 3rd edition. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Ed. FEB, 1972
14 - Comments to question 783 of The Book of the Spirits
15 - Correio Braziliense newspaper, edition of April 21, 2005
16 - From the book: Reencarnação: Tudo o que você precisa saber (Reincarnation: All that you want to Know) - ed. CEAC Bauru/SP
17 - Simonetti, Richard. Reencarnação: Tudo o que você precisa saber (Reincarnation: All that you want to Know) - ed. CEAC Bauru/SP