Stem Cell Research & Cloning

December – January 2012: Stem Cell Research

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Adult Stem Cell Research Pioneers Deserve More Attention

Nose Cells Help Dogs Walk Again After Spinal Cord Injury

California Panel Awarded Stem Cells Grants to Its Directors

Adult Stem Cells from Blood to Cure Wrinkles

Scientists Continue Trend Towards Adult Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Bank Closes as Embryonic Research 'Dies Off'

Report: Stem Cell Research Debate Over, Embryonic Side Lost

Skin Cells From Heart Failure Patients Made Into Healthy New Heart Muscle Cells

Adult Stem Cell Treatments Move Ahead, Embryonic Stem Cells Fall Farther Behind

Commentary: Embryonic Stem Cell Researcher Resigns, Fabricated Experiment

Adult Stem Cells Make New Blood Vessels for Heart

Really Bad News: FDA Permits Use of Fetal Brain Tissue in Lab Experiments

The Heart of Life

Komen: Embryonic Research Has “Not Shown Promise” for Breast Cancer, Yet Funding Continues

Embryonic-Like Stem Cells Have Yet To Cure Any Patients

Adult Stem Cell Studies in Mice Combat Aging Effects

Adult Stem Cells Use Special Pathways To Repair Damaged Muscle

 

COURT CASE

Legal Battle Over Obama’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding Moves Ahead

Adult Stem Cell Research Pioneers Deserve More Attention

It was very heartening to see Dr. Shinya Yamanaka recognized with the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine [1], for his work in development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), an ethical route to create pluripotent stem cells [2]. http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/21/adult-stem-cell-research-pioneers-deserve-more-attention/

Nose Cells Help Dogs Walk Again After Spinal Cord Injury

Dogs are well known for their keen sense of smell. It turns out their noses are good for more than just detecting scent. Scientists in England have isolated cells from the noses of dogs with spinal cord injury and have used those cells to reverse the canines’ paralysis.
http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/20/nose-cells-help-dogs-walk-again-after-spinal-cord-injury/

 

 

 

 

California Panel Awarded Stem Cells Grants to Its Directors

This is soooo NOT surprising: Wathdog David Jensen, author of the stellar California Stem Cell Report blog, discloses that California Institute of Regenerative Medicine has doled over a billion of Californians’ borrowed money to recipients affiated with its directors.
http://www.lifenews.com/2012/10/01/california-panel-awarded-stem-cells-grants-to-its-directors/

 

 

Adult Stem Cells from Blood to Cure Wrinkles

The company says that as many as 500 million stem cells can be obtained from only a small amount of normal blood.

British researchers announced this week that they may have discovered a cure for wrinkles using stem cells taken from a person’s blood. A Glasgow based biotechnology company, Pharmacells, has announced they will begin human clinical trials next year on a method of inducing stem cells taken from blood to replace the skin’s own cells as they break down during the aging process.

stemcellremedy.com

Athol Haas, the company’s chief executive, told British media, “The skin has a natural elastic property which comes from cells known as fibroblasts.

“The ability of the body to produce this elastic material slows down with age because the number of these fibroblasts decrease.

“By introducing large numbers of stem cells into the right place, we are increasing the ability of the body to produce this material. It is still in its early stages but we hope to begin phase one trials within the next 12 months.”

Pharmacells owns the patent on a method of harvesting, isolating and storing a newly discovered type of blood derived adult stem cell. The company says they have created a private stem cell bank, which people can use to store their cells “for future use in personalised medicine”.

“We also supply ‘our’ adult cell line into many types of research projects, allowing others access to one of the more significant stem cell lines available anywhere in the world.”

Older methods of obtaining stem cells from fat are not as successful, he said, being able to produce only five or ten million at a time. The company says that as many as 500 million stem cells can be obtained from only a small amount of normal blood, collected in the same way as any regular blood test.

“By introducing large numbers of stem cells into the right place, we are increasing the ability of the body to produce this natural material. It will be long lasting, we think at least five years if not longer,” Haas added.

Blood-derived, or haematopoietic stem cells are currently used in treatment of some cancers, and researchers are working towards using them to treat a variety of illnesses including leukemia and kidney diseases. Pharmacells hopes to use its method of extracting stem cells to work towards treatments for heart dise

ase and osteoarthritis.
[11 Sept 12, Hilary White, Rome Correspondent, GLASGOW,  http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/adult-stem-cells-from-blood-to-cure-wrinkles?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Lifesitenewscom LatestHeadlines+%28LifeSiteNews.com+Latest+Headlines%29]

 

 

 

Scientists Continue Trend Towards Adult Stem Cell Research

Two recent developments involving the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) again serve to underscore the reality that adult and other non-embryonic avenues of stem cell research are advancing at a far more dramatic pace toward providing actual therapeutic benefits for patients than is human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR)l.

For remainder of article — http://www.lifenews.com/2012/08/07/scientists-continue-trend-towards-adult-stem-cell-research//

Stem Cell Bank Closes as Embryonic Research Dies Off

It would seem that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is not alone as it increasingly moves away from human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) and towards adult and other non-embryonic avenues of stem cell research.

As a recent Lozier Institute study reported, over the years since it was founded to provide financial support for hESCR, CIRM has instead been awarding more and more grants to adult stem cell research.  CIRM’s current strategic plan has as its goal moving projects as quickly as possible to the clinical trial phase, and its pattern of awarding more and more grants to adult stem cell research would indicate that hESCR is falling far short of achieving this goal.

Enter the University of Massachusetts Stem Cell Bank.

Or, rather, exit the University of Massachusetts Stem Cell Bank.

According to news reports, the stem cell bank will run out of money at the end of the year and, when it does, state officials and officials at the University of Massachusetts have agreed to just let it close.

This was not how things were supposed to turn out.

As was the case with CIRM, the University of Massachusetts Stem Cell Bank was conceived as push-back against President Bush’s policy of limited federal funding for hESCR.

“Originally, the bank was seen as a repository for embryonic stem cell lines that were being created but were not eligible for federal funding under Bush-era restrictions,” according to the Boston Globe.

When it first opened, the bank was “absolutely state of the art,” said Susan Windham-Bannister, president of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.  Such a bank housing hESC lines was to be “a marquee piece of Governor Deval Patrick’s effort to bolster the life sciences industry” in Massachusetts.  Towards that end, the state provided just under $8 million to launch the project.

Yet today, “the bank receives one to two requests a week,” Terence Flotte, dean of University of Massachusetts Medical School, told the Globe.  The most reasonable explanation for this unanticipated development would seem to be that scientists hoping to turn research into cures are losing interest in working with hESCs.

Or, as the Globe succinctly put it, the bank has “become obsolete.”

Taken together with CIRM’s favoring of adult/non-embryonic stem cell research, the University of Massachusetts Stem Cell Bank’s closure provides yet more evidence that the therapeutic promise of hESCs – so hyped in the past — is becoming obsolete as well.

For many imbedded links, see article — http://med.studentsforlife.org/2012/07/26/stem-cell-bank-closes-as-embryonic-research-dies-off/

[Gene Tarne, LifeNews.com, 7/24/12; July 26, 2012 by J Russell, Students for Life, http://med.studentsforlife.org/2012/07/26/stem-cell-bank-closes-as-embryonic-research-dies-off/

 

 

 

 

Report: Stem Cell Research Debate Over, Embryonic Side Lost

A new report released today by the Charlotte Lozier Institute takes a comprehensive look at the stem cell research debate and comes to the conclusion that proponents of embryonic stem cell research have lost.

The new report analyzes the history and trajectory of funding for stem cell research by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and it reveals the scientific community now views morally unproblematic alternatives to embryonic stem cells as the best hope for progress toward effective treatments and therapies.

Launched in 2004 as a response to the Bush Administration’s unwillingness to force taxpayers to fund new embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life to obtain stem cells for research that still hasn’t helped a single patient, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine funneled $75.7.million in California state taxpayer funds to embryonic stem cell research projects in its first year.

However, the Charlotte Lozier Institute report notes CIRM’s growing preference to fund ethical stem cell projects is evidence of the scientific community’s acceptance that the best hope for progress lies in the funding and pursuit of morally unproblematic alternatives like adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.

“A decade ago researchers, media, and Hollywood alike dismissed moral and ethical concerns to hail stem cell research using, and destroying, human embryos, as the ‘only hope’ for developing efficacious therapies,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

He continued: “But despite the millions of dollars spent on this research, cures brought about by embryonic stem cells have continued to prove elusive, while adult stem cell research applications have exploded. As the leading funder of stem cell research, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has made grant decisions that show where the industry sees promise.  In the past six years, where that promise lies has become increasingly clear: ethical adult stem cell research.”

The report concludes this way:

    In 1999, when then-President Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) first endorsed federal funding for hESCR it recognized that the research raises serious ethical concerns and that “human embryos deserve respect as a form of human life.”

    For this reason, NBAC made pursuit of the research conditional: harvesting “left-over” IVF embryos for stem cells “is justifiable only if no less morally problematic alternatives are available for advancing the research (at pg. 53).” In other words, given the ethical problems associated with it, hESCR should not be pursued if viable, ethically non-contentious alternatives to it exist. At the time, the NBAC judged that such alternatives did not exist; however, that judgment was provisional and “is a matter that must be revisited continually as science advances.”

    The trajectory of CIRM’s grant-making since 2007 – halfway into its 10-year life —certainly argues that such alternatives to hESCR do indeed exist.18 CIRM’s “natural evolution” to placing increasing emphasis on clinical trials has led it to provide more and more resources to adult and other non-embryonic avenues of stem cell research, and fewer and fewer to hESCR.

    Adult stem cells may be “less glamorous&rdq

uo; in some esoteric sense than their embryonic counterparts, but in terms of arriving at real therapeutic benefits for patients, they are the warhorses getting the job done. As CIRM’s grants show, the “alternative” has now become the preferred option.

    In light of this, it is reasonable to ask, in the spirit of NBAC’s recommendation, is human embryonic stem cell research still “justifiable”?

Read the full report at http://www.lozierinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/07-12-12-The-Ethical-Stems-of-Good-Science-Gene-Tarne-CLI.pdf

[Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 7/12/12,  http://www.lifenews.com/2012/07/12/report-stem-cell-research-debate-over-embryonic-side-lost/]

 

 

 

 

 

Skin Cells From Heart Failure Patients Made Into Healthy New Heart Muscle Cells

For the first time in medical science, Israeli scientists have successfully turned skin cells from heart failure patients into healthy new heart muscle cells.

This achievement is significant, as it opens up the prospect of treating heart failure patients with their own, human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to fix their damaged hearts.

Furthermore, the cells would avoid being rejected as foreign as they would be derived from the patients themselves. The study is published in the European Heart Journal.

However, the researchers state that it could take a minimum of 5 to 10 years before clinical trials could start due to the many obstacles that must be overcome before using hiPSCs in humans is possible.

Although there have been advances in stem cell biology and tissue engineering, one of the major problems scientists have faced has been lack of good sources of human heart muscle cells and rejection by the immune system. Furthermore, until now, scientists have been unable to demonstrate that heart cells created from hiPSCs could integrate with existing cardiovascular tissue.

"What is new and exciting about our research is that we have shown that it's possible to take skin cells from an elderly patient with advanced heart failure and end up with his own beating cells in a laboratory dish that are healthy and young – the equivalent to the stage of his heart cells when he was just born," said Professor Lior Gepstein, Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Physiology at the Sohnis Research Laboratory for Cardiac Electrophysiology and Regenerative Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, who led the study.

In the study, Professor Gepstein, Ms Limor Zwi-Dantsis, and their colleagues retrieved skin cells from two male heart failure patients, aged 51 and 61 years, and reprogrammed the cells by delivering 3 transcription factors (Sox2, Oct4, and Klf4) in addition to a small molecule called valproic acid, to the cell nucleus. The team did not include a transcription factor called c-Myc as it is a known cancer-causing gene.

Professor Gepstein said:

"One of the obstacles to using hiPSCs clinically in humans is the potential for the cells to develop out of control and become tumors. This potential risk may stem from several reasons, including the oncogenic factor c-Myc, and the random integration into the cell's DNA of the virus that is used to carry the transcription factors – a process known as insertional oncogenesis."

In addition, the team used an alternative strategy involving a virus transferred reprogramming data to the cell nucleus. However, the team removed the virus after the information had been transferred in order to avoid insertional oncogenesis.

The researchers found that the resulting hiPSCs were able to differentiate to become heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) just as effectively as hiPSCs that had been developed from healthy, young volunteers who acted as controls for this study.

The team then integrated the new heart muscle cells with existing heart tissue and found that they began beating together within 24-48 hours.

Professor Gepstein explained: "The tissue was behaving like a tiny microscopic cardiac tissue comprised of approximately 1000 cells in each beating area."

After the new tissue was transplanted into the hearts of healthy rats the team found that the grafted tissue began to establish connections with the cells in the host tissue.

Professor Gepstein said:

"In this study we have shown for the first time that it's possible to establish hiPSCs from heart failure patients – who represent the target patient population for future cell therapy strategies using these cells – and coax them to differentiate into heart muscle cells that can integrate with host cardiac tissue.

"We hope that hiPSCs derived cardiomyocytes will not be rejected following transplantation into the same patients from which they were derived. Whether this will be the case or not is the focus of active investigation. One of the obstacles in dealing with this issue is that, at this stage, we can only transplant human cells into animal models and so we have to treat the animals with immunosuppressive drugs so the cells won't be rejected.
 
"There are several obstacles to clinical translation. These include: scaling up to derive a clinically relevant number of cells; developing transplantation strategies that will increase cell graft survival, maturation, integration and regenerative potential; developing safe procedures to eliminate the risks for causing cancer or problems with the heart's normal rhythm; further tests in animals; and large industry funding since it is likely to be a very expensive endeavor. I assume it will take at least five to ten years to clinical trials if one can overcome these problems."
[25 May 2012, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245821.php, Grace Rattue;  European Heart Journal]

Adult Stem Cell Treatments Move Ahead, Embryonic Stem Cells Fall Farther Behind

Still confused by the stem cell debate?  Don’t feel alone.  Medical professionals and the public alike still have many questions about the different types, or sources, of stem cells as well as their potential and actual effectiveness for clinical treatments.

Embryonic stem cells continue to receive the majority of news coverage, yet remain the least likely stem cell to help patients.  In fact, even the embryonic stem cell advocates are beginning to admit failure.  The California company Geron, first to receive approval to inject embryonic stem cells into a few patients, gave up on their trial and shut down all of their embryonic stem cell research.  After a year, none of the patients showed improvements, though they will need to be monitored for many years to come for potential tumor formation.  

Even celebrity stem cell promoter Michael J. Fox recently admitted that “[embryonic] stem cells” were unlikely to help any patients any time soon.  Given that embryonic stem cells are ethically tainted, requiring the destruction of young human life or even creating a new human life via cloning (somatic cell nuclear transfer) specifically for destruction, it’s heartening that many are seeing the many problems associated with this type of stem cell.

The newer technology of iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) has been increasingly in the news lately, as an ethical alternative to embryonic stem cells.  The iPS cells are made by adding a few genes to a normal cell such as a skin cell, causing the normal cell to look and act like an embryonic stem cell, yet without any use of embryos, eggs

, or cloning technology.  

Even though iPS cells use an adult cell (not a stem cell) as their starting material, they are definitely not “adult stem cells,” but rather an ethically-derived version of embryonic stem cells.  They can be made from any person, starting with almost any normal cell, and have been used to model cell growth and development in the lab.  They may also serve as disease models in the lab, allowing scientists to investigate how some diseases develop.  Recently, Israeli scientists made iPS cells from heart patients, then turned the iPS cells into beating heart cells in the lab, to study heart disease.

Adult stem cells remain the only type of stem cell used successfully to treat human patients.  They are the one and only gold standard for clinical treatments with stem cells.  

Adult stem cells have many advantages.  They can be isolated from numerous tissues, including bone marrow, muscle, fat, and umbilical cord blood, just to name a few.  And isolating the adult stem cells from tissues of a patient or a healthy donor does not require harming or destroying the donor, giving adult stem cells a decided ethical advantage over embryonic stem cells.  

Adult stem cells also have a proven track record for success at saving lives and improving health on a daily basis.  Over 50,000 people around the globe are treated EACH YEAR with adult stem cells.

The diseases and conditions successfully treated by adult stem cells, as shown by published scientific evidence, continue to expand, with published success for numerous cancers, spinal cord injury, heart damage, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, and many others.

Here are a few samples of adult stem cell advances in the last year.

* Heart damage.  Adult stem cells continue to pile up the evidence for their success at improving the health of damaged hearts.  Repair of damaged heart muscle in patients has been documented both for new heart attack damage as well as for patients with chronic heart failure.  
Doctors at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles used adult stem cells from the hearts of the patients themselves, grown in the lab and then injected back into the patients’ own hearts.  They found that the adult stem cells could re-grow damaged heart muscle and reduce scars in the heart tissue.  

Meanwhile Yale scientists used a young girl’s own bone marrow adult stem cells to grow heart tissue and blood vessels to repair the girl’s congenital heart problem.  And doctors from the Texas Heart Institute in Houston presented evidence that adult stem cells from a patient’s own bone marrow could repair damaged areas of hearts suffering from severe heart failure, allowing the heart to increase its pumping capacity to deliver oxygenated blood to
the body.  

If you think that using adult stem cells to treat heart damage is a new fad or unproven in the medical literature, you need to understand that it’s not.  Prof. Dr. med. Bodo-Eckehard Strauer of Germany recently published a review of his own and other’s clinical trials, starting with his first adult stem cell transplant for a heart patient back in 2001.

* Muscle repair.  Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have shown that adult stem cells from the muscle of young mice can improve the health and extend the life of aged mice.  While this doesn’t mean that the cells are truly the fountain of youth, it highlights the possibility of using adult stem cells for muscle repair, as well as the ability eventually to isolate “rejuvenating factors” from adult stem cells in muscle or other tissues.

* New windpipes.  Italian Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, who is a Visiting Professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, continues to improve on his procedure to grow new windpipes for patients.  Dr. Macchiarini has grown new trachea for at least eight patients, using the patient’s own adult stem cells from bone marrow to grow functional windpipes in patients with cancer or other tracheal problems.  His most recent advance this year was using a synthetic substrate on which the adult stem cells are seeded, allowing them to grow and take the shape of a normal windpipe.

* Grow your own transfusion.  French scientists showed for the first time that a few adult stem cells from a patient could be used to grow enough red blood cells in the lab for a transfusion.  The adult stem cells efficiently produced new cells that survived transfusion back into the patient’s body and functioned normally.

If you’d like to see a few more samples of the tremendous success of adult stem cells, see the videos at http://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org

Dr. Prentice is Senior Fellow for Life Sciences at the Family Research Council.
Editor’s note. Dr. Prentice will be speaking at National Right to Life’s convention which takes place June 28-30. For more about the convention, go to www.nrlconvention.com. For more about Dr. Prentice, go to www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2012/05/nrlc-2012-todays-featured-speaker-dr-david-prentice.

[24 May 2012, David A. Prentice, Ph.D., http://www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2012/05/adult-stem-cell-treatments-move-ahead-embryonic-stem-cells-fall-farther-behind/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commentary: Embryonic Stem Cell Researcher Resigns, Fabricated Experiment

[Ed. Whatever happened to objective Scientific study to actually seek TRUTH?]

More on the” crises of competence and character” (as I call it) that has infected science–along with general society–as the West increasingly turns its back on what made it great and heads in a decidedly decadent direction.

A UK scientist, now in the USA, fabricated a stem cell experiment in the quest to obtain federal funding. From the British Medical Journal report :

    A British ophthalmologist who headed a US laboratory involved in pioneering stem cell research fabricated the results of a non-existent pilot experiment in applying for two federal grants, the US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has found. Peter Francis, who has resigned from his job as associate professor and director of the Translational Clinical Trials Center at Oregon Health and Science University’s Casey Eye Institute, was granted permanent US residency on the basis of the country’s national interest in attracting clinical researchers. In 2002, while still in Britain, he won the National Research prize for “Best up and coming medical researcher in the UK.”

    The ORI found that Francis had “fabricated results of a pilot experiment in which he claimed to have injected retinal pigment epithelial cells obtained from Rhesus monkey embryonic cells into a strain of rats that develops retinal degeneration.” He claimed that when the rats were tested they showed “enhanced photoreceptor preservation and no adverse effects,” compared to mock injected controls. But Francis admitted that the pilot experiment had not even been carried out when he submitted the two grant applications to the National Eye Institute for federal funding, the ORI said. The office was called in after an investigation by the university.

Good for the university.  But we see too much of this. I say we got tr

ouble, right here in River City.  In fact, we could call it Fraud City.  One way to chill such lying is to pursue fraud charges against the scientist.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. He writes at his blog, Secondhand Smoke.
[Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 5/1/12, http://www.lifenews.com/2012/05/01/embryonic-stem-cell-researcher-resigns-fabricated-experiment/]

 

 

 

Adult Stem Cells Create New Blood Vessels for Heart Issue

Scientists have always been fascinated by the power of some organisms to regenerate whole body parts. One flatworm, called the planarian, is so good at regeneration that it can be cut up in several pieces that each of those pieces will generate a whole new worm. That regenerative power comes from stem cells that can become the cells that are needed for replacement. Which is why stem cell scientists study the planarian as a model.
The dream has been that harnessing the power of stem cells, humans could have this regenerative power to repair damaged limbs or organs as well. And scientists made a step toward that goal by growing a blood vessel in a little girl who needed one using stem cells from her own bone marrow.

Remainder — http://www.lifenews.com/2012/03/20/adult-stem-cells-create-new-blood-vessels-for-heart-issue/

Really Bad News: FDA Permits Use of Fetal Brain Tissue in Lab Experiments

The Food and Drug Administration has approved experiments using brain tissue from aborted unborn babies to treat macular degeneration.  StemCells Inc. will inject fetal brain stem cells into the eyes of up to 16 patients to study the cells’ effect on vision.

In its press release announcing the clinical trial, StemCells Inc. was careful to refer to the fetal brain material as “purified human neural stem cell product” or HuCNS-SC cells, rather than “fresh human fetal brain tissue,” a description which can be found elsewhere on its website.

“StemCells Inc. is not using embryonic stem cells.  A five-day-old human being at the embryonic stage does not have a brain, but a fetus at 10 or 20 weeks of development with visible fingers, toes and ears has a functioning brain,” said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach.  “Developing human beings in the womb are treated simply as raw material for laboratory experimentation by StemCells Inc. and other companies seeking to monetize aborted unborn children.”

The misleadingly-named Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle is known within the research community as a top government distributor of fetal tissue. 

The lab has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over four decades, according to a report in WORLD Magazine.  The Puget Sound Business Journal stated that the lab “in 2009 filled more than 4,400 requests for fetal tissue and cell lines.”

WORLD reports that the Seattle facility has retrieved the products of 22,000 pregnancies to date; the lab collects aborted fetuses from abortion centers across the country.

Experimental fetal stem cell treatments have yielded horrific results.  Dr. David Prentice, an internationally recognized expert on stem cells and cloning, cites trials in which fetal stem cells have been used unsuccessfully to treat Parkinson’s disease.  The New York Times called the outcome of a 2001 study “devastating” after “the patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably.”  Another large clinical trial published in 2003 showed similar results.

“The use of morally illicit material in the biomedical industry violates the ‘do no harm’ principle that has governed the practice of medicine for millennia,” Fischbach said.  “Adult stem cells offer the ethical and efficacious alternative.  Unborn babies deserve dignity, not dissection and destruction.”

It is not known whether the University of Minnesota is experimenting with material from aborted fetuses, but it does use stem cells extracted from human embryos, which are killed in the process.  Minnesota’s Human Conceptus Statute 145.422 prohibits the use of a living human conceptus for any type of research or experimentation.

“MCCL calls upon the U of M to pledge not to purchase or use fetal material in its research,” Fischbach added.  “Such gruesome work violates human dignity and has no place in our state-funded institutions.”
[John-Henry Westen, Washington, March 16, 2012, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/fda-permits-use-of-fetal-brain-tissue-in-lab-experiments?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=8921c1fcb0-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_03_16_2012&utm_medium=email

 

 

 

The Heart of Life

Without skipping a beat, a research team from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles took a big step in the direction of hope for heart attack patients. Led by Dr. Edurado Marban, the group of medical experts discovered that they could use stem cells to re-grow heart muscle scarred and damaged from an attack.

Here’s the key finding of this breakthrough: These very cells weren’t the embryonic stem cells that some constantly tout as [the solution] for “saving” the lives of the sick.

Instead, researchers took adult stem cells from the patients themselves—a truly remarkable and fascinating process. By doing so, the added concern of an immune rejection on the part of patients is dismissed.

Here’s how it worked. Dr. Marban’s team inserted a catheter into the diseased hearts to take a small muscle biopsy. The muscle tissue extracted was then manipulated into producing stem cells in a laboratory. Eventually, when enough stem cells were produced, they were reinserted into the patients’ hearts.

The results were quite astounding and promising.

According to Dr. Marban, the 17 treated patients experienced shrinkage of the scar tissue by an average of 50-percent. That’s progress.

Here’s a brief animated video describing the procedure if you’d like to learn more. Click here to watch video — http://www.lifeissues.org/video/heart.htm

Additionally, the heart muscle of patients experienced new growth over the course of one year. With inserted adult stem cells taking root in the cardiac tissue of the patients studied, the heart was stimulated to create new muscle and blood vessels—all without killing human embryos in their first days of life.

The study is only Phase 1 of more extensive research. While some aspects still need to be worked out—as well as questions that remain unanswered—no doubt science is moving at a heartwarming pace (I know, enough with the puns) toward saving one life without killing another.

Adult stem cells hold much life-affirming promise. Learn more by visiting the special section on our website devoted to the benefits of adult stem cells — http://www.lifeissues.org/cloningstemcell/index.html

With companies like Geron Corporation recently halting human embryonic stem cell trials, and now this, embryonic stem cell proponents are running out of excuses and just

ifications to take innocent lives in the name of treating diseases. Pro-embryonic stem cell activists are a heartbeat away (okay, just one more) from losing legitimacy in the medical community.

What this latest development really shows is that sound science is on our side.
[http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Heart-Institute/Videos/How-the-Heart-Heals-Itself.aspx , 17Feb12, Bradley Mattes, Executive Director, Life Issues Institute]

Komen: Embryonic Research “Not Shown Promise” for Breast Cancer, Yet Funding Continues
Lost in the debate over its funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion business, Komen for the Cure quietly changed its position on funding agencies that are engaged in embryonic stem cell research.

As LifeNews reported, on November 30, 2011, Komen quietly added a new statement to its web site stating that it does not support embryonic stem cell research but supports the kinds that do not involve the destruction of human life.

“Komen supports research on the isolation, derivation, production, and testing of stem cells that are capable of producing all or almost all of the cell types of the developing body and may result in improved understanding of or treatments for breast cancer, but are derived without creating a human embryo or destroying a human embryo,” Komen says. “A priority in our research funding is to quickly find and deliver effective treatments, especially for the most lethal forms of breast cancer, while seeking effective preventive strategies, enhanced screening methodologies, and solutions to disparities in breast cancer outcomes for diverse women.”

Komen, in its listing of grants for 2011, lists two stem cell studies that do not involve the use of embryonic stem cells.

More recently, Komen also released a new statement on Sunday on embryonic stem cell research — saying such research shows “no promise” when it comes to finding cures or treatments for breast cancer. In fact, embryonic stem cells themselves have never been tried on human patients because of massive problems such as the formation of tumors and immune system rejection issues — whereas adult stem cells have helped patients dealing with more than 100 diseases or medical conditions.

“While Susan G. Komen for the Cure does not conduct research, it does fund innovative research projects in leading institutions worldwide. Komen has a long history of funding groundbreaking research to fulfill its promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever. A recent review of our funded grants revealed that human embryonic stem cell tissue has not been used in breast cancer research funded by Komen,” the breast cancer charity said.

“Embryonic stem cells are currently considered to have the most potential for use in the regeneration of diseased or injured tissues. Whether embryonic stem cells will have a role or will be of value in the fight against breast cancer has not been clearly determined. To this point, embryonic stem cell research has not shown promise for application in breast cancer,” it added.

Komen says it “has not 'de-funded' any grantee based on human embryonic stem cell research conducted at their institution” and will “will continue to focus its research efforts on the most promising areas of science which have the greatest potential for breast cancer patients.”

As LifeNews reported last July, Karen Malec of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer spent time examining Komen’s 990 Forms for the IRS for 2010 and she found that Komen has active relationships with at least five research groups or educational facilities that engage in embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of unborn children in their earliest days for stem cells that have yet to help any patients.

The return showed donations from Komen totaling $3.75 million to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, $4.5 million to the University of Kansas Medical Center, $1 million to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, $1 million to the Society for Women’s Health Research, and $600,000 to Yale University. All of them have embryonic stem cell research programs.

Komen’s funding for embryonic stem cell research centers was an issue for pro-life advocates.

Komen's support for both abortion and the indirect supporting of embryonic research are reasons to have misgivings about the breast cancer group.

“They are open to embryonic stem cell research and may well fund such research in the future,” he noted.

Pro-life groups will continue monitoring Komen regarding its donations and grants.

Remainder — http://www.lifenews.com/2012/02/07/komen-embryonic-research-not-shown-promise-for-breast-cancer/

 

 

 

 

Embryonic-Like Stem Cells Have Yet To Cure Any Patients

Yesterday it was reported that a human embryonic stem cell derived treatment has improved the vision in two women…

The women are not reporting any adverse side effects and I do hope, for their health, that this remains the case.  But researchers are cautious.  Delving deeper, there are concerns that this improvement in their vision may be a placebo effect or that it will be temporary:

    Lanza cautioned that the findings are preliminary, the improvements could disappear and complications could emerge. Nevertheless, he thinks the two cases will provide useful lessons for the field….

This is a two-person, uncontrolled, non-blinded study, so preliminary reports of vision improvements are just that, preliminary.

A reader asked about the fact that it was reported that ACT extracted the embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo. They perform what is called an embryo biopsy, removing a single cell from the early embryo and using that to create an embryonic stem cell line instead of ripping open and destroying the embryo all together.  This same procedure is also performed in preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) where embryos are screened for certain genetic traits like tissue compatibility, genetic disease and gender.

I have heard it argued many times that because ACT can create embryonic stem cell lines this way, that it solves every problem any pro-lifers could ever have against embryonic stem cell research.  

It doesn’t.  

Just because an embryonic stem cell line can be derived with an embryo biopsy does not mean that every embryo survives the process.  
(Actually, as reported by The Post, the embryo used for this stem cell line was later destroyed.)

In fact, researchers have discovered that mice that were subjected to embryo biopsy as embryos were at high risk for neurological disorders as adults.  These scientists called for more rigorous research on the long term effects of embryo biopsy.  Let us keep this in perspective, life in a dish is already a precarious proposition.  Extracting cells at such an early stage makes it even more so.
[Rebecca Taylor | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 1/24/12; For entire article, visit — http://www.lifenews.com/2012/01/24/embryonic-like-stem-cells-havent-cured-any-patients-yet/]

 

 

 

Ad

ult Stem Cell Studies in Mice Combat Aging Effects

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have shown that adult stem cells from muscle of young mice can improve the health and extend the life of aged mice. http://www.lifenews.com/2012/01/04/adult-stem-cell-studies-in-mice-combat-aging-effects/

 

 

 

Adult Stem Cells Use Special Pathways To Repair Damaged Muscle

When a muscle is damaged, dormant adult stem cells called satellite cells are signaled to “wake up” and contribute to repairing the muscle.

University of Missouri researchers recently found how even distant satellite cells could help with the repair, and are now learning how the stem cells travel within the tissue.

This knowledge could ultimately help doctors more effectively treat muscle disorders such as muscular dystrophy, in which the muscle is easily damaged and the patient’s satellite cells have lost the ability to repair.

“When your muscles are injured, they send out a ‘mayday’ for satellite cells to come and fix them, and those cells know where to go to make more muscle cells, and eventually new muscle tissue,” said D Cornelison, an associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science and a researcher in the Bond Life Sciences Center.

“There is currently no effective satellite cell-based therapy for muscular dystrophy in humans. One problem with current treatments is that it requires 100 stem cell injections per square centimeter, and up to 4,000 injections in a single muscle for the patient, because the stem cells don’t seem to be able to spread out very far. If we can learn how normal, healthy satellite cells are able to travel around in the muscles, clinical researchers might use that information to change how injected cells act and improve the efficiency of the treatment.”

In a new study, researchers in Cornelison’s lab used time-lapse microscopy to follow the movement of the satellite cells over narrow “stripes” of different proteins painted onto the glass slide. The researchers found that several versions of a protein called ephrin had the same effect on satellite cells: the cells that touch stripes made of ephrin immediately turn around and travel in a new direction.

“The stem cell movement is similar to the way a person would act if asked to walk blindfolded down a hallway. They would feel for the walls,” Cornelison said. “Because the long, parallel muscle fibers carry these ephrin proteins on their surface, ephrin might be helping satellite cells move in a straighter line towards a distant ‘mayday’ signal.”

If researchers gave the satellite cells the signals to differentiate and form muscle fibers in culture, the group also found that they could use stripes of ephrins to get them to arrange themselves in parallel, the way muscle fibers always do in living beings, but have never been persuaded to do in a culture dish. This leads researchers to think that ephrins might actually be regulating several of the different steps that are needed to get from a population of stem cells spread out all over the muscle, to an organized and patterned new muscle fiber.

“We are really excited about the potential of these findings to explain a lot of things that were puzzling about the way satellite cells behave in healthy muscle, compared to a muscular dystrophy patient’s own cells, or cells that have been injected therapeutically,” Cornelison said. “[We hope] we could find something that could make a difference in these kids’ lives, and that’s what we want the most.”

The paper, titled “Eph/ephrin interactions modulate muscle satellite cell motility and patterning,” was published in the December edition of the journal Development.

Co-authors include Danny Stark, Rowan Karvas and Ashley Siegel, all students from the University of Missouri Division of Biological Sciences. The National Institutes for Health (NIH) funded the study.

[Source: University of Missouri; Featured In: Academia News; 2 Dec 2011, http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/News/2011/12/Adult-Stem-Cells-Use-Special-Pathways-To-Repair-Damaged-Muscle/; LifeSiteNews.com, 27 Dec 2011]

COURT CASE

Battle Over Obama’s Embryonic Research Funding Moves Ahead

In case you missed it, the appeal that was filed in the federal embryonic stem cell lawsuit regarding taxpayer funding, Sherley and Deisher et al. v. Sebelius et al., is moving forward.

A law suit threatening to block government-funded research on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) is moving forward in a federal appeals court. And the makeup of the three-judge panel assigned to the case suggests that a win by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is less certain than some observers had hoped.

Sherley v. Sebelius was filed in 2009 by two researchers who claim that NIH guidelines easing restrictions on hESC research are illegal. In August 2010, a district court judge agreed and briefly blocked NIH funding for hESC research.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit later overturned that preliminary injunction, and the district court dismissed the case in July. The plaintiffs are now appealing.

For remainder of article, visit — http://www.lifenews.com/2011/12/22/battle-over-obamas-embryonic-research-funding-moves-ahead/