Essays on Infinite Lifespans
Michael D. West
and turned into cells that repopulate our blood with young
immune cells, or cells that can re-seed our blood vessels with
fresh young cells, or indeed young cells of any kind to treat a
vast array of currently untreatable diseases.
Despite the good intentions of researchers in this emerging
field of regenerative medicine, these technologies have been at
the center of one of the most heated controversies in the his-
tory of science. The raging controversy over embryonic stem
cells and cloning has deeply divided our nation, and the stem
cells profound implications for battling the manifestations
of age-related degenerative disease have raised concerns that
mankind may be meddling in technologies that will anger the
In the face of lives molded and bounded by death, we are
forced to choose our own position on these new technologies.
In the summer of 1999, as I stood with my mother in a small
hospital room, I knew my position in the debate. I would do
anything to save the life of my mother anything, that is,
short of harming an actual human being.
And I had strong reasons to believe that therapeutic cloning
would not have to create an individualized human being, even
at the earliest states of development. I would risk my life, my
finances, my reputation; I would give anything to help her.
DEATH IS THE ENEMY
My mothers pulse continued its downward glide 90, 80,
20, 10, 8
I thought to myself, her heart was solid; I would
never have worried that she would have died of heart failure.