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Desire for profit must never prevail over value of life

By editor - 01 May, 2016

pope francis listening

A desire for profit should never prevail over the value of human life Pope Francis stressed in his address to a Vatican conference on regenerative medicine.

On Friday, the International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and its Cultural Impact heard the Pope express concern that some people suffering from unusual diseases, do not receive proper care “because investing in them is not expected to produce substantial economic returns.”

The Conference is being sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Stem for Life Foundation, and the STOQ Foundation.

Appealing for access to care, the Pope said the globalisation of indifference must be countered by the globalisation of empathy.

By drawing attention to and educating people about rare diseases, by increasing funds for research, and by promoting “necessary legislation as well as an economic paradigm shift,” he said, “the centrality of the human person will be rediscovered”.

In his address the Pope suggested that the conference participants should focus attention on three aspects of medical care and research.

First, the Pontiff called for “increasing sensitivity” to the needs of those who are ill. Even if a cure is not available, the sick should not feel abandoned.

Secondly, the Pope spoke about the need for ethical research in pursuit of cures. “Research, whether in academe or industry, requires unwavering attention to moral issues if it is to be an instrument which safeguards human life and the dignity of the person.”

Thirdly, the Pope urged the faithful to “oppose an economy of exclusion and inequality that victimises people when the mechanism of profit prevails over the value of human life.”

The 2016 conference focused on paediatric cancers and rare diseases, as well as diseases that occur with aging.

It featured talks and discussions with leading cell therapy scientists, physicians, patient advocates, ethicists, philanthropists, leaders of faith and government officials.

On Saturday, the second day of the three day conference, researchers from some of the world’s leading cancer institutes presented their ground-breaking technologies in immunotherapy and expressed high hopes that a cure for the all-too-often deadly disease may be just around the corner.

The body can work as its own ‘pharmacy’ with its own tool kit to heal itself – that’s one of the revolutionary concepts to come out of a Vatican conference on regenerative medicine and its cultural impact on society.

US Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son to cancer, addressed participants saying his son’s doctors told him that just in the last 4-5 years, cancer research has reached a turning point and that for the first time in history, many disciplines are working together to bring a cure.

He said the tens of thousands of cases of cancer need to be prevented, and patients need access to affordable treatment. Fewer than 5% of patients end up in clinical trials.

Mr Biden challenged scientists and doctors to share their research and data with each other. “Why do you wait? Do it now!” he implored.

To find out more about the conference: #unitetocure and go to the website http://www.stemforlifefoundation.com/

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