Vatican City - The Vatican's top health issues official reiterated Tuesday the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to embryonic stem cell research - a field of study supported by US president-elect Barack Obama. Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan said stem cells taken from human embryos and involving the destruction of the embryos, "served no purpose with no health cure to date" resulting from such scientific research.

The Church instead championed research on adult stem cells that, Barragan said, have been shown to have "positive value."

Barragan, who is president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, made the remarks at a news conference where he was asked to comment on Obama's stance on the matter.

However, the Mexican-born cleric said he was not "fully aware" what the US president-elect's position on the issue was.

While President George W Bush has strictly limited stem-cell research from cell lines derived from human embryos, Obama has long favoured such research and is likely to end to a US federal ban that limits funding of research.

Obama's views on embryonic stem cell research and his pro-choice stance on abortion are supported by his vice president-elect Joe Biden, who is Catholic.

(Source: The Earth Times, 11 Nov 2008)