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Putting a Face on the Stem Cell Argument

With recently awarded FDA approval, a California biotech firm sits poised to begin the world's first human trial that will involve injecting embryonic stem cells into the spinal cords of people who are paralyzed. The subject has spurred heated debate for the past ten years. Advocates believe it will throw open the door to medicine's future. Opponents say it destroys life. At the heart of the debate, but sitting on the sidelines, is 17 year old Jacob Coffron. Jacob is confined to a wheelchair and breathes with the help of a ventilator. At age 15, Jacob fell while climbing over a fence, and hasn’t breathed on his own since. Jacob’s grandmother Jane Caffron is steadfast in her belief that stem cell research is the key to his future.

With recently awarded FDA approval, a California biotech firm sits poised to begin the world's first human trial that will involve injecting embryonic stem cells into the spinal cords of people who are paralyzed. The subject has spurred heated debate for the past ten years. Advocates believe it will throw open the door to medicine's future. Opponents say it destroys life. At the heart of the debate, but sitting on the sidelines, is 17 year old Jacob Coffron. Jacob is confined to a wheelchair and breathes with the help of a ventilator. At age 15, Jacob fell while climbing over a fence, and hasn’t breathed on his own since. Jacob’s grandmother Jane Caffron is steadfast in her belief that stem cell research is the key to his future.

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