DAVID GRANOVSKY

Archive for March 11th, 2009|Daily archive page

News Analysis – Rethink Stem Cells? Science Already Has – NYTimes.com

In ALL ARTICLES on March 11, 2009 at 11:42 pm
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Rethink Stem Cells? Science Already Has
Published: March 9, 2009

In practical terms, federally financed researchers will now find it easier to do a particular category of stem cell experiments that, though still important, has been somewhat eclipsed by new advances….

the president’s support of embryonic stem cell research comes at a time when many advances have been made with other sorts of stem cells. The Japanese biologist Shinya Yamanaka found in 2007 that adult cells could be reprogrammed to an embryonic state with surprising ease. This technology “may eventually eclipse the embryonic stem cell lines for therapeutic as well as diagnostics applications,” Dr. Kriegstein said. For researchers, reprogramming an adult cell can be much more convenient, and there have never been any restrictions on working with adult stem cells.

For therapy, far off as that is, treating patients with their own cells would avoid the problem of immune rejection.

Members of Congress and advocates for fighting diseases have long spoken of human embryonic stem cell research as if it were a sure avenue to quick cures for intractable afflictions. Scientists have not publicly objected to such high-flown hopes, which have helped fuel new sources of grant money like the $3 billion initiative in California for stem cell research.

In private, however, many researchers have projected much more modest goals for embryonic stem cells. Their chief interest is to derive embryonic stem cell lines from patients with specific diseases, and by tracking the cells in the test tube to develop basic knowledge about how the disease develops.

Despite an F.D.A.-approved safety test of embryonic stem cells in spinal cord injury that the Geron Corporation began in January, many scientists believe that putting stem-cell-derived tissues into patients lies a long way off. Embryonic stem cells have their drawbacks. They cause tumors, and the adult cells derived from them may be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Furthermore, whatever disease process caused the patients’ tissue cells to die is likely to kill introduced cells as well. All these problems may be solvable, but so far none have been solved.

via News Analysis – Rethink Stem Cells? Science Already Has – NYTimes.com.

031109 – AlphaInventions.com gives you a dose of stem cells

In ALL ARTICLES, Daily Dose of Stem Cells on March 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm

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The 2 Blind Eyes of the American Diabetes Association

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm

I’m continually amazed at organizations that put all of their hopes into embryonic stem cell research to provide treatments while turning a blind eye to the reality expressed by Dr James Thomson, father of embryonic research:

…embryonic stem cells are not being used in any clinical applications yet, while alternatives such as adult stem cells figure in scores of therapies.” and “Ten or 20 years from now…there will be transplantation- based therapies (from ESC) , but even if there was none, and it was a complete failure, this technology is extraordinarily important”

In fact “The iPS (induced pluripotent stem cells) discovery even prompted Ian Wilmut, who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep, to abandon his license to attempt human cloning, saying that the researchers “may have achieved what no politician could: an end to the embryonic stem cell debate.” And, just several days ago, Dr. Bernadine Healy, director of the National Institutes of Health under the first President Bush, wrote in U.S. News & World Report that these recent developments “reinforced the notion that embryonic stem cells . . . are obsolete.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/10/AR2009031002842.html

Meanwhile, these same organizations are also turning a blind eye to the huge advancements around the world that adult stem cells have made in therapeutic treatments.  https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/category/victories-success-stories/

-dg

Statement From the American Diabetes Association on President Obama’s Executive Order Regarding Stem Cell Research

Order Will Expand Embryonic Stem Cell Research; Help Advance Search for Better Treatment and a Cure for Diabetes

Mar. 9, 2009 12:59 PM

ALEXANDRIA, VA — (Marketwire) — 03/09/09 — The American Diabetes Association applauds President Obama for issuing an Executive Order that will advance stem cell research by lifting existing restrictions on the use of embryonic stem cells, while maintaining strict ethical guidelines.

“The ethical use of stem cell research holds the promise of accelerating medical advancements in many fields. This brings hope to the nearly 24 million American adults and children with diabetes who face its many complications including heart disease, amputation, and blindness. Diabetes is also deadly — it is a leading cause of death in the United States,” said R. Paul Robertson, MD, President Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association.

The American Diabetes Association has long been a strong advocate for ending the current restrictions on stem cell research.

“As a person with type 1 diabetes, I’m encouraged by President Obama’s decisive action on advancing this very important area of research that has the potential for finding a cure for diabetes and so many other devastating diseases,” said George Huntley, CPA, Chair, American Diabetes Association.

via Statement From the American Diabetes Association on President Obama’s Executive Order Regarding Stem Cell Research | SYS-CON INDIA.

Children’s, UC ready for stem cell boost – Business Courier of Cincinnati:

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 3:22 pm

“We want to be able to use stem cells to treat fatal or life-threatening genetic disorders like we use drugs to treat other diseases.” – Dr. Arnold Strauss, director of the foundation and chair of pediatrics

He gets it! – dg

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Children’s, UC ready for stem cell boost

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati are preparing for an expansion of stem cell research programs.

The federal government is implementing budget increases for biomedical research and easing restrictions on funding for embryonic stem cell research. As part of the economic stimulus bill just signed into law by President Barack Obama, the National Institutes of Health is receiving a $10.4 billion increase in funding for biomedical research.

The Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation has budgeted $10 million to expand stem cell research programs over the next five years, according to a news release. That amount could increase to as much as $30 million, depending on the status of federal and private funding proposals.

“Our research foundation is deeply committed to stem cell research because of its potential to relieve incredible suffering and save the lives of children around the world,” said Dr. Arnold Strauss, director of the foundation and chair of pediatrics at UC, in the release. “We want to be able to use stem cells to treat fatal or life-threatening genetic disorders like we use drugs to treat other diseases.”

via Children’s, UC ready for stem cell boost – Business Courier of Cincinnati:.

Four Wausau men could be key to stem cell research | wausaudailyherald.com | Wausau Daily Herald

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Four Wausau men could be key to stem cell research

By Amy Olson • Wausau Daily Herald • March 10, 2009

Four Wausau men could help lead the way to understanding disease and finding treatments through stem cells after President Barack Obama’s decision to restore federal funding for such research.

Obama signed an executive order Monday reversing former President George W. Bush’s decision to ban funding for research beyond stem cell lines that had been identified by 2001.

Obama’s decision means stem cell research can move forward and could yield understanding of diseases and help scientists identify treatments, said Wausau native Andy DeTienne, licensing manager for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The organization manages patents held by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, including those for stem cells. The university has been a leader in human embryonic stem cell research since UW researcher James Thomson first isolated them in 1998.

Critics claim it is wrong to destroy embryos in the name of scientific knowledge, no matter what benefits might result.

via Four Wausau men could be key to stem cell research | wausaudailyherald.com | Wausau Daily Herald.

Stem-Cell Researchers Cheer Obama’s Vote for Science – TIME

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 10:02 am

While this was a significant event for embryonic research…it is a completely NON event for those looking for stem cell treatments in the next 10-20 years. – dg

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President Barack Obama signing an Executive Order reversing the government’s stem-cell stance

President Barack Obama is surrounded by stem-cell-research supporters, members of Congress and members of his cabinet while signing an Executive Order reversing the government’s ban on funding stem-cell research, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on March 9, 2009

“All right, there we go.” With those words and a swish of his pen, President Barack Obama reversed one of the most controversial executive orders in recent history. In front of the country’s leading scientific minds, including Dr. Francis Collins, who helped map the human genome, and Dr. Harold Varmus, former head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a science adviser to the Administration, Obama fulfilled a campaign promise to lift the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research put in place by then President George W. Bush in 2001. Obama’s new executive order allows scientists to apply for government grants to study the versatile cells.

While decisive, the order can still be reversed by a future President, so Obama urged congressional leaders to seal the intent of his order into law — a process that Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado has already begun. DeGette co-authored two previous bills expanding taxpayer support of embryonic-stem-cell research, both of which Bush vetoed.

The sigh of relief in labs across the country was almost audible. In Boston, Douglas Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, gathered his entire staff to listen to Obama’s announcement and served cake in celebration. James Thomson, the University of Wisconsin scientist responsible for isolating the first human embryonic stem cells in 1998, flew to Washington at Obama’s request to watch the signing in person.

via Stem-Cell Researchers Cheer Obama’s Vote for Science – TIME.

Stem cell pioneer does a reality check – Cloning and stem cells- msnbc.com

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS FROM THE PAST, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 7:04 am

One of my favorite scientists and articles. Dr Thomson, father of embryonic stem cells, tells the real story! – dg

“…embryonic stem cells are not being used in any clinical applications yet, while alternatives such as adult stem cells figure in scores of therapies.”

“Ten or 20 years from now…there will be transplantation-based therapies, , but even if there was none, and it was a complete failure, this technology is extraordinarily important” Dr T.

James Thomson reflects on science and morality – Stem cell pioneer does a reality check

By Alan Boyle

Science editor – msnbc.com – updated 6:29 p.m. ET, Sat., June. 25, 2005

MADISON, Wis. — Seven years ago, when James Thomson became the first scientist to isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells, he knew he was stepping into a whirlwind of controversy.

He just didn’t expect the whirlwind to last this long.

In fact, the moral, ethical and political controversy is still revving up — in Washington, where federal lawmakers are considering a bill to provide more federal support for embryonic stem cell research; and in Madison, Thomson’s base of operations, where Wisconsin legislators are considering new limits on stem cell research.

Thomson, a developmental biologist and veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, made history in 1998 when he and fellow researchers derived the first embryonic stem cell lines from frozen human embryos. The breakthrough came after the news that a sheep named Dolly was born as the first cloned mammal — and together, the two announcements hinted at a brave new world of medical possibilities and moral debates.

Some of Thomson’s other pronouncements might seem more surprising: that supporters of stem cell research are overestimating the prospects for transplantation cures, that the current stem cell lines aren’t well-suited for such applications anyway, and that there’s no need to resort to therapeutic cloning right now — or perhaps ever.

Critics point out that embryonic stem cells are not being used in any clinical applications yet, while alternatives such as adult stem cells figure in scores of therapies. Thomson acknowledged that the field was still in its formative stage: “There have been companies that have gone into stem cells, but nobody’s made any money.”

But he recently helped found a biotech start-up called Cellular Dynamics International that takes a different approach, aiming eventually to turn embryonic stem cells into human heart cells suitable for drug testing. “Nobody’s been able to test heart drugs on heart cells [outside the human body] before,” he said. “That will change medicine a lot quicker than actually transplanting those heart cells.”

Thomson predicted that in the long run, embryonic stem cells would play a more important role in fundamental research than in transplantation therapies — a view that doesn’t sit well with the critics.

“You have to ask the question, why would you destroy living human embryos just to study them?” said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life.

In last week’s wide-ranging interview, Thompson explained the reasons behind the research, and touched on many other scientific and moral issues as well. Here is an edited transcript:

MSNBC: How do see this research developing in the next few years?

Thomson: I want to make a basic statement first — which almost never gets in the press, but I keep trying — on what I see as the legacy of these cells.

One is the basic science, and simply having better access to the human body. That’s the most important legacy. I’m very hopeful that there will be some transplantation applications for this technology, but they’re going to be very challenging. And it’s been so hyped in the press that people expect it to come the day after tomorrow. …

Ten or 20 years from now, I’m actually currently optimistic that there will be transplantation-based therapies, but even if there was none, and it was a complete failure, this technology is extraordinarily important.

via Stem cell pioneer does a reality check – Cloning and stem cells- msnbc.com.

Children’s, UC ready for stem cell boost – Business Courier of Cincinnati:

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 4:05 am

Broken record interjects: Adult stem cells, repair stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells work.  Embryonic stem cells do not. – dg

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Children’s, UC ready for stem cell boost

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati are preparing for an expansion of stem cell research programs.

The federal government is implementing budget increases for biomedical research and easing restrictions on funding for embryonic stem cell research. As part of the economic stimulus bill just signed into law by President Barack Obama, the National Institutes of Health is receiving a $10.4 billion increase in funding for biomedical research.

The Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation has budgeted $10 million to expand stem cell research programs over the next five years, according to a news release. That amount could increase to as much as $30 million, depending on the status of federal and private funding proposals.

“Our research foundation is deeply committed to stem cell research because of its potential to relieve incredible suffering and save the lives of children around the world,” said Dr. Arnold Strauss, director of the foundation and chair of pediatrics at UC, in the release. “We want to be able to use stem cells to treat fatal or life-threatening genetic disorders like we use drugs to treat other diseases.”

via Children’s, UC ready for stem cell boost – Business Courier of Cincinnati:.

CNW Telbec | MCGILL UNIVERSITY HEALTH CENTRE | Stem cells could halt osteoporosis, promote bone growth

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on March 11, 2009 at 3:03 am

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Stem cells could halt osteoporosis, promote bone growth

MUHC team describes a new pathway that controls bone remodelling

MONTREAL, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ – While interferon gamma sounds like an

outer space weapon, it’s actually a hormone produced by our own bodies, and it

holds great promise to repair bones affected by osteoporosis. In a new study

published in the journal Stem Cells, researchers from the Research Institute

of the McGill University Health Centre explain that tweaking a certain group

of multipotent stem cells (called mesenchymal stem cells) with interferon

(IFN) gamma may promote bone growth.

“We have identified a new pathway, centered on IFN gamma, that controls

the bone remodelling process both in-vivo and in-vitro,” explains Dr. Kremer,

the study’s lead author and co-director of the Musculoskeletal Axis of the

McGill University Health Centre. “More studies are required to describe it

more precisely, but we are hopeful that it could lead to a better

understanding of the underlying causes of osteoporosis, as well as to

innovative treatments.”…

via CNW Telbec | MCGILL UNIVERSITY HEALTH CENTRE | Stem cells could halt osteoporosis, promote bone growth.

Stem cells offer new hope to CF patients

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 2:27 am

Stem cell scientists at the University of Toronto and Kyoto University in Japan have teamed up to jump-start new research that could help prolong the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis, a fatal lung disease that suffocates thousands of young people in Canada.

Canadian scientists were in Japan Thursday to sign a collaboration agreement with Shinya Yamanaka, a Japanese scientist who in 2007 discovered the process of converting normal adult cells into stem cells like those found in embryos.

The method offers scientists a way to study diseases without the ethical dilemma of cloning human embryos by taking cells from a patient’s own skin biopsy and converting them into what they call IPS, or induced pluripotent stem cells.

Scientists believe these IPS cells will lead to new therapies to repair or regenerate the diseased lungs.

via Stem cells offer new hope to CF patients.

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