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Ethics lecture addresses the 'other' stem cell debate

Nov. 5, 2007

KALAMAZOO--The "other" stem cell research debate will be explored Wednesday, Nov. 7, at a presentation sponsored by the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.

Dr. Insoo Hyun, assistant professor of bioethics, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University and formerly WMU assistant professor of philosophy and associate director of the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, will speak at 4 p.m. in Room 242 of the Bernhard Center. The presentation, titled "The 'Other Stem Cell Debate: What You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About the Ethics of Stem Cell Research," is free and open to the public.

Much of the ethical discourse on human stem cell research has centered around the moral status of early human embryos. As the debate rages on, human stem cell research has been proceeding vigorously around the world in hopes of generating clinical applications of stem-cell-based therapies. This march toward the clinic has raised many new important ethical issues, which tend to get overshadowed by the attention drawn to the moral status debate.

Hyun's presentation will provide an overview of some of these emerging ethical issues and discuss what role public engagement ought to have in these emerging controversies.

In 2005, Hyun was awarded a Fulbright Research Award by the U.S. Department of State to study the ethical, legal and cultural dynamics of human research cloning in South Korea. In 2006, he chaired the Subcommittee on Human Biological Materials Procurement for the International Embryonic Stem Cell Guidelines Task Force, a multinational, multidisciplinary working group for the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Hyun is currently chair of the ISSCR's Ethics and Public Policy Committee and co-chair of the 2007 ISSCR Task Force on International Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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