Stem Cell - Archive

December – October 2010: Stem Cell Research & Funding Battles

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Doctors Say Adult Stem Cell Research Cures HIV-Positive Man

Scientists Create Cloned Mice With Two Genetic Fathers

California's Stem Cell Research Agency Faces Strong Criticism

Leukemia Patient Completely Cured with Cord Blood Stem Cells

Parents: Cord Blood Stem Cells Significantly Improved Cerebral Palsy Symptoms

Direct Conversion May Make Embryonic Stem Cell Research Obsolete

U.S. House Re-approves Funding for Ethical Cord Blood Stem Cells

Major Scientific Advance: Blood From Skin Without Stem Cells

Cult of Celebrity Drives Research, Leaves Ethical Researchers in the Cold: Stem Cell Pioneer

Media Misreporting: Embryonic Stem Cells Not Involved in Geron's New Testing

California Funds Less Embryonic, More Adult Stem Cell Research

Adult Stem Cell Research Far Ahead of Embryonic

Adult Stem Cells Hammer the Sickle

Commentary: Best Kept Secret of Adult Stem Cells — They Are Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Adult Stem Cells: More than Meets the Eye?

Geron Company Claims First Patient Treated With Embryonic Stem Cells, Not The Case

If Only Liberals Had a Heart for Adult Stem Cells

Commentary: Stem Cell Research is the Best-Kept Secret in the Galaxy

Scientists Ask Appeals Court Not to Allow Federal Funding of Research Involving the Destruction of Living Human Embryos Pending the Government's Appeal of the District Court's Funding Ban

Scientific Studies Using Adult & Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

NIH Expedites Grants for Human Embryo Destroying Research 

Stem Cell Financing Ban Ends, for Now

Good News in the Midst of Bad Legal Battles Over Funding: 5-Year Reauthorization of the National Cord Blood Inventory Program Passes in the US House

New iPS Technique for Making Stem Cells WITHOUT Destroying Human Embryos / Maybe Not

Doctors Say Adult Stem Cell Research Cures HIV-Positive Man

Doctors in Germany say they have cured an American living there who has the HIV/AIDS virus by using a treatment based on adult stem cells, the more ethical form of stem cell research.

In 2008, German doctors reported they had used a selective adult stem cell transplant to treat a leukemia patient. The treatment had a side effect — that the transplant also removed his HIV infection.

After the transplant, the virus was undetectable in his bloodstream for at least two years and he no longer took antiretroviral drugs.

Now, doctors have reveale the name of the patient — Timothy Ray Brown, an HIV-positive man — and they are claiming the results with this patient provide evidence for a “cure” for HIV infection using the selective adult stem cell transplant.

Publishing their results in the medical journal Blood, they say, “In conclusion, our results strongly suggest that cure of HIV has been achieved in this patient.”

The transplant appeared to wipe out both diseases, but Dr. David Prentice, a former biology professor at Indiana State University who is a fellow at the Family Research Council, told LifeNews.com that caution is in order.

“The evidence at the time, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was compelling,” he told LifeNews.com this afternoon. “The adult stem cell transplant, a standard treatment for leukemia, selectively used donor cells that lacked a molecule called CCR5–this cell-surface protein acts as an attachment factor for the HIV virus, so the donor cells were resistant to HIV infection. But the HIV virus can hide in various cells and re-infect a patient’s system.”

“Caution is still the byword though,” Prentice warned. “These types of transplants are not gentle, and the virus could still be hiding and waiting. In addition, such transplants would require finding bone marrow adult stem cell donors with the particular mutation, so that the donated cells lack the CCR5 receptor, so this will not be a widely-applicable treatment.”

“Still, it provides more evidence of the real hope and  possibilities with adult stem cell transplants,” Dr. Prentice said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has studied HIV/AIDS for 30 years, also cautioned the public about the results and new speculation about what could come from them — saying any new cure is impractical.

“It’s hard enough to get a good compatible match for a transplant like this,” he told Fox News. “But you also have to find compatible donor that has this genetic defect, and this defect is only found in 1 percent of the Caucasian population and zero percent of the black population. This is very rare.”

Fauci also said that, while Mr. Brown is “functionally cured,” not every HIV-positive individual would respond to the treatment.

“This is not prime time to me at all,” he said. “This is a very unusual situation that has little practical application for a simple reason. This donor not only had to be a good compatible match, but the donor had to have a genetic defect of cells that do not express the receptor that the HIV virus needs to enter the cell.”

He said the treatment is painful, expensive, complicated and re

quires the patient to begin an entirely new drug regimen.

“This patient is trading one poison for another. He may not have to be on anti-retroviral drugs anymore, but he has to take immuno-suppressant drugs now to prevent the rejection of his transplant cells. Again, what this is, is an interesting proof of concept, but it’s absolutely impractical,” he concluded.

But Dr. Thomas Quinn, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, told FOX News he has more hope about the potential for the treatment.

“This was a new report that looked much deeper into whether HIV could still be present or lurking in the body in some way, not cured, and since the transplant he remains viral free and his cells appear to be resistant to infection,” he said.

“He [Brown] has been without therapy for three years and appears to be free of the virus,” he said, adding that this should qualify as the first HIV ‘cure’ of sorts. “It gives hope to the millions of people infected with HIV that cure is a feasible option in the future.”
[14 Dec 2010, Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com,  http://www.lifenews.com/2010/12/14/bio-3233/]

 

 

 

 

Scientists Create Cloned Mice With Two Genetic Fathers

Using a very roundabout technique, scientists have created mice with two genetic fathers. But don’t look for this to be applicable any time soon with humans. The convoluted technique needs flow charts to explain (thankfully provided by the authors in their paper.)

In their first try, they derived embryonic stem (ES) cells from a destroyed male mouse embryo (Father #1). Over time in culture, some ES cells lose the Y chromosome (1.3% in this experiment.) These “XO” (one X chromosome, no second sex chromosome) cells are then injected into female mouse embryos, creating a chimeric organism composed of some cells from the original embryo (XX) and some XO cells. Those embryos are then gestated to birth.

Some of the chimeric mice have oocytes produced from their XO cell contribution. These female mice are bred with male mice (Father #2) and the resulting pups thus have two genetic fathers.

Of course, there’s a little catch, in that Father #1 was destroyed as an embryo. As the authors note:

“ES cell lines are derived by disassembling the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, thus the individual that would have been generated from that particular blastocyst does not exist.”

So in their second experiment, they generated iPS cells (embryonic-like stem cells) from mouse skin (Father #1 in this case was still not an adult, but was a mouse fetus.) Because iPS cells behave like ES cells, some of these cells also lost the Y chromosome in culture (0.9%), resulting in “XO” cells. As before, these were injected into female (XX) mouse embryos to create chimeric embryos, which were gestated to birth and then at maturity bred to male mice (Father #2), resulting in some pups that had two genetic fathers.

So they did indeed derive mice that have the genetic complement of two fathers. But then they engage in some “what if” speculation regarding use in humans that is stretched, at the least. Since their current experiments relied on forming chimeric embryos and then culling to get the mice with XO genotype, then breeding, the technique is a real Rube Goldberg process. They note that it might be possible to generate eggs or sperm from human iPS cells and use those in IVF.

While there is some evidence this might be possible, the authors themselves point out that deriving functional gametes from ES and iPSC cells has yet to be achieved, as well as the concern that lab-generated gametes might lack the maturation needed for normal development.

“It is also not clear if in vitro differentiated germ cells would acquire the appropriate epigenetic marks required for normal development. Perhaps in the future, it may be possible to generate human oocytes from iPS cells in vitro or through human-animal chimeras. However, in humans, a 45,X karyotype results in infertility.”

That last little bit is also a problem. Mice with XO genotype are fertile females. Humans with XO genotype have Turner syndrome, a syndrome that includes infertility. So then a greater speculation–maybe they could add back an X or Y chromosome to the cells. Conceivable perhaps, but extremely difficult technically.

Maybe senior author Richard Behringer summed it up best:

“It has been a weird project, but we wanted to see if it could be done.”
[10Dec 2010, David Prentice, PhD | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com, http://www.lifenews.com/2010/12/10/dap-104/

 

 

 

 

California's Stem Cell Research Agency Faces Strong Criticism

In what was seen by many as a rebuke of the Bush Administration's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, California voters passed Proposition 71 in 2004 – a move that authorized the state to issue $3 bllion in state bonds to fund embryonic stem cell research.

The campaign was led by Silicon Valley millionaire Robert Klein whose son had been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.  To jump start the effort, $271 million in seed money was used to launch the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Robert Klein was appointed its chair, accompanied by a 29- member board.  To date, CIRM has given $1.1 billion to California researchers and institutions. However, while embryonic stem cell research is seen as showing promise to help cure debilitating diseases, CIRM has been mired in criticism from consumer and government agency watchdog groups as well as the California legislature for conflicts of interests, a lack of transparency, a lack of progress and high salaries.

Currently fueling heightened scrutiny are reports that Klein, who is stepping down in December, plans to launch a second inititative seeking additonal taxpayer dollars from Californians in 2012.  Conflicts of interest and lack of transparency have plagued CIRM since its inception.  Of the $1.1 billion that CIRM has committed, $930 million has gone to institutions with faculty or administrators on the board. For example, Stanford, UCLA and UCSF have received the largest three grants, receiving $176 million, $135 million and $111 million respectfully.  All three institutions have representation on the board.

CIRM does not allow institutions that have a grant in play to vote on their institution's application, but that is not seen as enough of a check-and-balance.  In fact, a report released in 2009 by the Little Hoover Commission, a state panel charged with transparency and accountability, recommended that CIRM reduce the number of its board so that the trememdous amount of money going to is board members' institutions would not look so awkward, claiming that it "undermines the legitimacy of the agency."  The report also recommended more oversight, disclosure of the votes of board members on grants, and greater transparency.

Salary levels have also raised eyebrows, particularly for a state agency.  In 2009, President Alan Trouson was paid $490,000, the second highest state salary, to oversee a staff of just 50 people.  Compare that to Governor Schwarzenegger who earns just $174,000 annually and is charged with oversight of 200,000 employees.  CIRM also hired former State
Senator Art Torres as vice-chair of the board for $225,000 a year….
[29 Nov 2010, http://caivn.org/article/2010/11/29/californias-stem-cell-research-agency-faces-strong-criticism by Adrienne Verrilli]

 

 

 

 

Leukemia Patient Completely Cured with Cord Blood Stem Cells

Doctors associated with the German umbilical cord blood bank Vita 34 say that they have cured a child’s leukemia completely using an infusion of stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

The procedure was reportedly performed in 2005 on a four-year-old girl whose chemotherapy treatment had failed and who had a prognosis of only three months to live.  The procedure was possible because the parents had decided to preserve their child’s umbilical cord blood at the time of birth.

After continuous monitoring of the child for five years now, with no sign of leukemia cells in her blood, doctors say that they have confirmed that the treatment worked.

“Seventy-five months have passed and we can speak of a cure with certainty,” said Eberhard Lampeter of Vita 34.

According to the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, this is the first case in the world of a child cured of leukemia by her own stem cells. In most cases the child’s umbilical cord blood is not available, and the stem cells of close family members must be used.

The new treatment is the latest in a long string of hundreds of successes in the science of stem cell treatments that use mature cells rather than embryonic stem cells.  Embryonic stem cell treatments, which destroy a human life, have never been proven effective in any medical treatment to date. Treatments with mature stem cells do not cause harm to the donor of the cells.

Stem cell pioneer Dr. Colin McGuckin recently told LifeSiteNews that, despite amazing success with umbilical cord blood treatments, it remains difficult to obtain funding for research because of the “cult of celebrity” in science, which rewards controversial research over research that is truly effective in saving lives.

“People aren’t talking about cord blood because it’s not controversial,” McGuckin told LSN. “Consequently, it does not make headlines and therefore researchers who want to use the cells from cord blood do not receive funding.”

Related Stories
Cord Blood Stem Cells Significantly Improved Cerebral Palsy Symptoms Claim Parents
Cult of Celebrity Drives Research, Leaves Ethical Researchers in the Cold: Stem Cell Pioneer
U.S. House Reapproves Funding for Ethical Cord Blood Stem Cells
Umbilical Cord Blood Cell Therapy May Reduce Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Adult Stem Cells From Human Cord Umbilical Cord Blood Successfully Engineered to Make Insulin
Human Liver Grown from Cord Blood Stem Cells—Media Ignores UK Breakthrough
US Congressman and 18 Co-Sponsors Back Bill to Set Up National Cord Blood Bank

[BERLIN, November 26, 2010, Matthew Hoffman, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/leukemia-patient-cured-with-cord-blood-stem-cells?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=c60447b690-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines11_26_2010&utm_medium=email ]

Parents: Cord Blood Stem Cells Significantly Improved Cerebral Palsy Symptoms

The condition of a 3-year–old child with cerebral palsy in the UK has been significantly improved after treatment with stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood, stored when he was born, the Daily Mail reported Monday. Sasha Browne is thought to be the first British child to be injected with cord blood cells and her parents are reporting that her condition has significantly improved.

Tania and Richard Browne told media that the treatment their daughter received at an unregulated clinic in France has improved her motor control, her ability to speak and her vision.

Mrs. Browne said, “Her walking is streets ahead of what it was before; look at her hand – last time I saw her hand it was really closed and now it is moving more.”

“We feel there has been some general improvement in her motor skills and perhaps some improvement in her vision and cognitive ability.

“We can’t categorically say this is attributable to the stem cell infusion. However, we and Sasha's therapist feel the improvement has potentially been at a faster rate than it may have occurred, or in comparison with other children with similar abilities.”

In the last ten years, leading stem cell scientists have lauded the value of blood taken from the umbilical cord as one of the richest sources of stem cells in the human body. While funding continues to pour in to research using cells derived from human embryos, cord blood research is slowly gaining acceptance as an ethical alternative that is saving lives and curing illnesses.

Professor Colin McGuckin, president and director of the Cell Therapy Research Institute in Lyon, France, recently told Modern Medicare magazine, “Around 20 years ago, only a handful of diseases were being treated with umbilical cord blood stem cells. With the advancement in this field in recent times now over 80 diseases can be treated or supported with stem cells. The advances that have been made are staggering.”

In related news, new research has shown a link between the use of IVF for conception and increased risk of cerebral palsy in the child. Researchers at the University of Aarhus in Denmark found that babies born by IVF were more than twice as likely to have cerebral palsy as those conceived naturally.

The journal Human Reproduction reported that the risk was still elevated when the figures were adjusted to account for other factors such as the mother’s smoking, or her age.
[November 10, 2010, Hilary White, LONDON,   http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/nov/10111008.html

Direct Conversion May Make Embryonic Stem Cell Research Obsolete

Scientists made a major step towards making embryonic stem cell research obsolete when they used direct reprogramming to convert adult stem cells to an embryonic-like state. Now direct conversion is moving the ball forward.

The process of direct conversion involves changing one kind of specialized stem cell into another kind — and it eliminates the need for controversial embryonic stem cells, which some scientists promote because they can change into most any kind of cells.

It is also an improvement on the direct reprogramming technique pro-life advocates applauded because it moved the debate in a more ethical direction.

“I think everyone believes this is really the future of so-called stem-cell biology,” John Gearhart of the University of Pennsylvania, who is engaging in direct conversion research, told the Associated Press.

“This is something that’s really caught fire because it’s an easy strategy to use,” Gearhart said. “Everyone’s out there trying their different combinations (of chemical signals) to see if they can succeed.”

Gearhart also says direct conversion is helpful because embryonic stem cells are producing immature cells and the new process would produce mature cells that provide better prospects for patients and cures.

The direct conversion approach also avoids the need to create embryonic-like stem cells from adult stem cells because it gets to the end result of creating new cells without going through additional steps from beginning to end.

But Gearhart cautioned the public in hi

s Associated Press remarks, saying direct conversion is still new, unproven and needs considerable research to make it viable.

“We’re a long way from showing safety and efficacy for any of these things,” Gearhart said. “This stuff is all so new that we have a lot of work to do.”

Dr. David Prentice, a former Indiana State University biology professor who is now a fellow at the Family Research Council, applauded AP for the focus on the process, saying it “highlights one of the most exciting areas in science now.”

He told LifeNews.com:  “The “direct conversion” technique bypasses formation of stem cells, directly converting one cell type into another.  The most recent example of turning human skin into blood cells shows that this ethical technique has a real future.”

Prentice said the success of the technique “exposes the failure of unethical, unsafe embryonic stem cell research, rather than the usual hype associated with embryo research.  Direct conversion offers an ethical way forward, and may even be one mechanism by which adult stem cells are producing current successes in patients.”

Bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith says he thinks direct conversation has the ability to make embryonic stem cell research obsolete — which helps solve the ethical problems pro-life advocates have with it since unborn children must be destroyed to obtain the cells.

“When George W. Bush praised scientists as having the talent and ability to discover and harness the healing potential of regenerative medicine ethically, that is, without needing to destroy embryos–his enemies scoffed. What a dope,” he said. “His religion got in the way of the understanding that ESCR was the only hope.”

“That was then,” Smith added.

“Now, scientists are working with a number of techniques that are already providing hope in human trials–adult stem and umbilical cord stem cells–as they develop astonishing techniques that can reprogram normal cells into pluripotent stem cells–IPSC, now being used in drug testing and to study disease–or now, even skip the stem cell stage altogether with direct reprogramming or “direct conversion.”  More advances have been made on the latter front,” Smith opined.

If scientists can make more progress with direct conversion, Smith says “the cures angle would become obsolete–and with it, the politics of hype–as the scientific focus, and the research dollars shifted–and just perhaps, the resulting ethical regenerative medicine would stall the drive toward Brave New World.”
[29Nov2010, Ertelt, Philadelphia, PA, LifeNews.com, http://www.lifenews.com/2010/11/29/bio-3220/

U.S. House Reapproves Funding for Ethical Cord Blood Stem Cells

Hope for future therapies and cures from stem cell research got a big boost Thursday [30 Sept 10], when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to renew funding for non-controversial work in stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood over the next five years.

The House reauthorized the “Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act,” authored by New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith in 2005, with a unanimous voice vote. “The Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2010” now extends the program’s life through 2015.   

The bill, which the Senate already approved,  authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to appropriate $23 million every year between fiscal years (FY) 2011- 2014 and $20 million in FY 2015 for the National Cord Blood Inventory (NCBI).

The HHS Secretary also may appropriate $30 million every year for FY 2011-2014, and $33 million for FY 2015 for the Bone Marrow Transplant program.

The funding will support studies, programs, and projects related to cord blood donation, such as developing new technologies and approaches, expanding collection sites, forming long-lasting relationships between cord blood banks and birthing hospitals, and establishing a genetic diversity of cord blood units with the NCBI.

The reauthorization bill also includes an amendment that removes the 150,000 cap on cord blood units that could be made available for transplant.

Smith on the House floor said the law created a “nationwide umbilical cord blood stem cell program designed to collect, derive, type and freeze cord blood units” that would be used both for treatment of patients and provide stem cells for research.

The Congressman added that umbilical cord blood, once considered medical waste, is now on the “cutting edge of science” for treating leukemia, other cancers, cerebral palsy, lupus, spinal cord injuries, sickle-cell anemia and other diseases.

The new bill is a big boost to researchers in cord blood compared with the original program. Under the 2005 law, funding for Smith’s cord blood program began at $4 million in FY2008, growing to $12 million in 2010, and will reach $14 million in 2011.

Since the cord blood program was established, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has contracted with 12 cord blood banks to collect, store, and provide units of cord blood to doctors, patients and researchers.  

While the goal of collecting and maintaining a collection of 150,000 units of genetically diverse cord blood has not yet been met, the extension of time and money should put them closer to meeting that goal.

Stem cell treatments derived from umbilical cord blood have yielded enormous successes, vastly expanding the frontiers of medical science and providing tangible hope in the fight against what were once considered incurable diseases.  

One famous case involved a two year-old girl from Suffolk, England, who was cured of a rare form of cancer in 2007 using genetically matched stem cells from a frozen Japanese umbilical cord. Sorrel Mason was suffering from acute myeloid leukemia, and given a 30 percent chance of survival.

With the stem cell treatment given by Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, a leader in extending donor stem cell pools and one of the best centers for stem cell transplants in Europe, Mason made a full recovery. She was reported cancer free in 2008 and again in 2009.

Pro-life advocates point out that, meanwhile, embryonic stem cell research has yet to provide the medical community with any treatments.

Related sites:  
Cord Blood Registry
— http://www.cordblood.com/cord_blood_banking_with_cbr/banking/diseases_treated.asp
Cells for Life — https://www.cellsforlife.com/index.html
Stem Cell Research Facts — http://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org/
Stem Cell Research — http://www.stemcellresearch.org/

[WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2010, Peter J. Smith, http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-house-reapproves-funding-for-ethical-cord-blood-stem-cells]

 

 

 

 

Major Scientific Advance: Blood From Skin Without Stem Cells

Scientists at McMaster University in Canada have shown that they can transform human skin cells directly into blood cells, without going through an intermediate stem cell stage.

This is the first evidence for human cells of what is termed “direct reprogramming”—turning one type of cell directly into another type of cell.

The scientists repeated the experiments, published online in Nature on Sunday, several times using human skin cells from young and old volunteers, to show that the process works no matter the age of the person.

Senior author Mick Bhatia noted:

“We have shown this works using human skin. We know how it works and believe we can even improve on the process.  We’ll now go on to work on developing other types of human cell types from skin, as we already have encouraging evidence.”

Direct reprogramming avoids the practical problems seen with pluripotent stem cells such as iPS cells or embryonic stem cells, both of which are difficult to control and tend to form tumors.  In the report by the Canadian scientists, the reprogrammed cells gene expression never resembled that of embryonic stem cells, and the cells produced didn’t cause tumors in mice.

The direct reprogramming process also avoids the ethical problems inherent in embryonic stem cell research, which relies on the destruction of young human embryos to derive stem cells.
[David Prentice | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 11/8/10  http://www.lifenews.com/2010/11/08/bio-3208/ ]

Cult of Celebrity Drives Research, Leaves Ethical Researchers in the Cold: Stem Cell Pioneer
Funding for ethical stem cell research is hampered by a shallow “cult of celebrity” in scientific research that is fed by media hype, a leading researcher in adult stem cells told LifeSiteNews.com this weekend.

Dr. Colin McGuckin, who was the first to synthesize living and functioning human liver tissue from adult stem cells, was speaking at a conference held by the leading Irish pro-life group Youth Defence. His topic was the medical and ethical advantages of research using “somatic” cells (those taken from the patient’s own body) and stem cells derived from stored umbilical cord blood.

“History shows that the last hundred years in medicine will be some of the most embarrassing in the history of human development because the cult of celebrity affected every part of humanity,” said McGuckin. “Being famous seems to be the only route forward for doing anything useful in life to most children.”

According to McGuckin this cult of celebrity, driven by hopes of miraculous cures and media recognition, has even taken over funding practices for scientific research – and this is especially true when it comes to stem cell research.

“When we were at university people told us that if you want to be a good scientist you have to come up with a novel thought and it will be peer-reviewed by all your peers, and you will try to do the right thing for humanity if you’re going to do medical research. It used to be that you’d be peer-reviewed and the best proposal for a fund would go forward and get the money.”

But that has changed in recent years, he said.

“The whole world has moved toward a celebrity culture. Now if you’re pitted for a Nobel Prize, you’re going to get any fund you can think of. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s rubbish work or not; no one is going to dare to reject it.”

Media-generated controversy gets attention, he continued, and this presents a huge problem for those doing non-controversial, but immensely beneficial work with adult or umbilical cord blood cells.

“People aren’t talking about cord blood because it’s not controversial,” he said. “Consequently, it does not make headlines and therefore researchers who want to use the cells from cord blood do not receive funding.”

“It’s a vicious circle. If cord blood were controversial people would be talking about it seriously at government level. But because people aren’t writing in and giving their ministers a hard time, no one [in government] is talking about it.”

Dr. McGuckin has been working in the field of stem cell biology since 1988 and has become one of the world’s most sought-after experts in stem cell biology, tissue engineering, transplantation sciences and cancer treatment.

Even so, he described his own funding since the global financial crisis as “terrible.” He is the director of the Cell Therapy Research Institute in Lyon, France, one of the world’s largest adult stem cell centres. He recently moved his research work to France from Britain, saying that U.K. universities and funding agencies continually prioritize embryonic stem cell research.

“After the financial crisis it was awful. It is the cult of celebrity, and even if you make liver cells, you’re only a celebrity for ten minutes then they’re giving [funding] to the next person.”

In reference to possible solutions to the problem, the doctor said: “People have to write in. They have to raise their voices. It’s no good saying ‘I don’t like embryonic stem cell research if you don’t have something alternative to offer. Negativity never wins anything.”

Dr. McGuckin predicts that groups, universities and individual researchers will push for embryonic stem cell research for at least another ten years. “But ten years from now we won’t be any further on in terms of clinical treatments.”

“People will still want embryonic stem cells as treatments. They won’t be cures, but they will be heralded as cures. In the meantime the only way we can fight back is to show that adult stem cells at the same time has gone from where it is now, 100,000 bone marrow treatments, 20,000 cord blood treatments, and in ten year’s time it will be a million.”

Dr. McGuckin said he was baffled as to why there is a push by the Irish government for embryonic stem cell research, which is being “dumped” by researchers around the world in favor of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute told LSN that in her view the Irish government’s movement towards embryo research, despite the fact that it is fast becoming obsolete, cannot simply be attributed to ignorance.

“When we look at the evidence presented in how Irish government ministers have voted in the EU and how they have appointed various groups to do research, it’s apparent that a certain ideology is driving government policy – and that ideology doesn’t favor protecting life from conception,” she said.

“The current Minister for Health, [Mary Harney,] for example, has given millions to abortion referral agencies, and has called for 11-year olds to be given the morning-after-pill. It would actually buck the trend if the Department of Health then wanted to protect the embryo.

“That’s why it’s so crucial for the pro-life majority to speak up and make the government listen and ensure human life is protected from the cradle to the grave,” she added.
[9 Nov 2010, DUBLIN, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/nov/10110905.html

 

 

 

 

 

Media Misreporting: Embryonic Stem Cells Not Involved in Geron's New Testing
In its usual style, Geron has put out a press release that it has injected the first patient for its trial of embryonic stem cells for spinal cord injury. Of course their main goal is to increase their stock price and cash flow from investment.

Not about science, not about helping patients. After all, this is just an announcement that the patient has been injected with millions of cells. No results, no peer-reviewed publication, nada.

Contrary to what most of the news stories report, Geron is not injecting growing embryonic stem cells into a patient. They inject cells made from embryonic stem cells; in this case cells called “oligodendrocyte progenitors."

Oligodendrocytes form a sheath around nerve fibers, like insulation. The injected ESC-derived cells are progenitors or precursors, only partly specialized; theoretically the cells will grow, migrate and specialize around the spinal cord, creating a sheath around nerves and also perhaps secreting nerve growth factors to enhance nerve survival.

From the total of two published rat studies on which the human experiment is based, Geron already knows that their ESC-derived cells will not work on chronic spinal cord injury; patients must be recruited and injected within the first 14 days after their injuries. They also know that the patient must be juiced with immunosuppressive drugs, so that the injected cells are not rejected by the immune system, since they are foreign to the body.

And because of the significant possibility that ESC-derived cells can run amuck, growing out of control or forming improper tissues throughout the body, Geron has already said they will have to monitor the patients for 15 years to assess the danger.

The danger has made even some proponents of embryonic stem cell research concerned about the risky nature of Geron’s human experiment, instead of making a political point.

The Geron experiment in patients is not blinded, randomized, or controlled, and spinal cord injury patients can show spontaneous improvement within the 3 months after injury, even up to 18 months. It will be difficult to determine whether Geron’s injected cells had any real effect. We wish the patient well, but think Geron is irresponsible for this premature hype.

Of note is that now, a year and a half after approval, Geron has finally listed their experiment, the only approved embryonic stem cell trial, at ClinicalTrials.gov. As of this writing, there were 2,002 adult stem cell trials in patients listed.

Despite the overwhelming success of adult stem cells for patients, few have heard the good news.

Adult Stem Cells have already shown published scientific evidence documenting effective treatment for spinal cord injury.

That peer-reviewed evidence includes not only safety but also improvement of chronic spinal cord injuries, including in patients up to 15 years after their injury. Dr. Jean Peduzzi Nelson of Wayne State University discussed this research in her recent Senate testimony; Laura Dominguez is one of the spinal cord injury patients who has benefited from adult stem cells.
[October 12, 2010, David Prentice, Ph.D., http://www.lifenews.com/bio3195.html ; LifeNews.com Note: Dr. David Prentice is Senior Fellow for Life Sciences at Family Research Council. Up to July 2004 he had spent almost 20 years as Professor of Life Sciences, Indiana State University, and Adjunct Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine.]

California Funds Less Embryonic, More Adult Stem Cell Research

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) again seems to realize that adult stem cells have a distinct advantage over embryonic stem cells, including the best opportunity of helping patients.

CIRM is spending $3 billion of California taxpayers’ money (a $6 billion payback with the interest) on stem cell research. Their reason for existence originally was to fund embryonic stem cell and cloning research.
 
This week they approved funding for 19 grants worth $67 million; the funding is “its second round of awards designed to move good ideas out of the lab and into the clinic.” (A complete list` of applications including those not funded is posted.)
 
Only 5 of the 19 funded grants involve embryonic stem cells. Zero grants on cloned embryos.
 
Last year the CIRM funded 14 “Disease Research Team” grants designed to move to the clinic, with only 4 of the 14 grants used embryonic stem cells, and zero grants on cloned embryos.
 
The funding continues to emphasize the pragmatism noted by CIRM president Alan Trounson:
 “If we went 10 years and had no clinical treatments, it would be a failure.”
 
Trounson has recently said that CIRM provides the “most significant source” of dollars available for hESC research in the U.S.
 
More funds for adult stem cells is welcome news, since adult stem cells are saving lives and improving health of thousands of patients now. [27 October 2010, David Prentice | Washington, DC, http://www.lifenews.com/2010/10/27/dap-102/]

Adult Stem Cell Research Far Ahead of Embryonic

by David Prentice

The media have rarely reported on the multitude of successes with adult stem cells in the past, preferring to focus on unethical, unsuccessful embryonic stem cells.

So it was heartening to see Malcolm Ritter and the Associated Press put out a story that highlights some of the real successes and promise of adult stem cells, as opposed to the wishful thinking and hype of embryonic stem cells.

The lead story is Dr. Thomas Einhorn at Boston University Medical Center, injecting a patient’s bone marrow into a broken ankle that wouldn’t heal; four months later the ankle was healed.

    Einhorn, chairman of orthopedic surgery at Boston University Medical Center, credits “adult” stem cells in the marrow injection. He tried it because of published research from France.

As the AP piece notes, it’s an example of many innovative therapies doctors are studying with adult stem cells; stem cells taken from body tissue and umbilical cord blood, not embryos.

As the AP story notes:

    For all the emotional debate that began about a decade ago on allowing the use of embryonic stem cells, it’s adult stem cells that are in human testing today. An extensive review of stem cell projects and interviews with two dozen experts reveal a wide range of potential treatments.

A few of the examples highlighted include multiple sclerosis, heart damage, juvenile diabetes, and blindness from chemical burns.

    Apart from these efforts, transplants of adult stem cells have become a standard lifesaving therapy for hundreds of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.

Many of the treatments, including new ones being tested in clinical trials now, rely on the idea that stem cells can form other cell types. That seems to be the case for Einhorn’s ankle-repair technique, with the adult stem cells forming new bone and blood vessels.

But adult stem cells also seem to have abilities to stimulate tissue repair or suppress the immune system.

According to Dr. Rocky Tuan of the University of Pittsburgh:

    “That gives adult stem cells really a very interesting and potent quality that embryonic stem cells don’t have.”

That stimulation of tissue repair may be the mechanism for the published adult stem cell success treating spinal cord injury, including long-term injury up to 15 years — http://www.frcblog.com/2009/10/adult-stem-cells-help-patients-with-spinal-cord-injury/

To learn more and see some examples of adult stem cell success stories, watch the three videos at Stem Cell Research Facts — http://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org/
http://www.lifenews.com/2010/10/24/dap-101/
[by David Prentice | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 10/24/10]

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Stem Cells Hammer the Sickle

September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

And most people don't realize that one in every 500 African-Americans has the disease. Sickle cell anemia is a serious, life-threatening blood disease that causes pain, chronic anemia and tiredness, and can lead to organ failure, stroke and death.

Adult stem cells are considered the only curative treatment, according to medical authorities.

A couple of years ago, FRC had the privilege of meeting Joseph Davis Jr. He was born with severe sickle cell disease, and his parents were told that he probably wouldn't live to be a teenager. But after receiving adult stem cells from his brother Isaac's umbilical cord blood, Joe Jr. is now just a normal boy.

On FRC's Stem Cell Research Facts site, you can read how adult stem cells are saving the lives of sickle cell anemia patients. While you're there, don't miss hearing Joe Jr.'s miraculous story of how "My Brother Saved My Life."

But despite all these success stories, there's no shortage of scientists who are clinging to the dead-end research of embryonic stem cells. Yesterday, a U.S. Court of Appeals made its latest move in an ongoing legal chess match over the taxpayer-funding of embryonic stem cell research.

As part of the decision, judges granted a stay of the temporary injunction that had stopped federal funding of the life-destroying research. The Appeals Court will still have to rule on whether to completely overrule the injunction or allow it go into force while the main question of federal funding is being decided at the District Court level. The bottom line is that the National Institutes for Health (NIH) can keep rushing money out the door for embryonic stem cell research while the courts weigh the issue.

In the meantime, both sides have asked Judge Lamberth to move ahead at the District Court level with a ruling on whether the Dickey-Wicker amendment passed by Congress prohibits federal taxpayer-funding of any human embryonic stem cell research. The Senate recently held a hearing on stem cell research, but it's unclear whether Congress will make any legislative moves before the elections or in a lame-duck session. [29 Sept 2010, FRC e-report]

 

 

 

Commentary: Best Kept Secret of Adult Stem Cells: They Are Treating Multiple Sclerosis
by David Prentice

Adult stem cell success treating patients has been noted as “the best-kept secret in the galaxy” by Dr. Jean Peduzzi Nelson of Wayne State University. In her recent Senate testimony she described the case of Barry Goudy, who had relapsing-remitting MS. Barry had numerous relapses and medication was not helping his condition.

He was treated as part of a study conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and received his own adult stem cells in 2003. His MS symptoms disappeared in 4 months, and he continues to be symptom free today.

Barry is not a single case. Results were published in 2009 in Lancet Neurology by Burt and colleagues, where they reported that they had reversed the neurological dysfunction of early-stage multiple sclerosis patients. As Dr. Burt noted:

“This is the first time we have turned the tide on this disease.”

These were patients who were still having relapses despite interferon beta treatment. All of the treated patients stopped the normal progressive worsening associated with MS, and a significant functional improvement was noted in these patients.

In a similar study published in 2010, University of Bristol researchers led by Dr. Neil Scolding describe the one-year follow-up of six patients who showed improvement in muscle function. Patients stabilized or improved in a disease that is characterized with progressive decline in function.

Adult stem cells–treating multiple sclerosis patients now!
[7 Oct 2010, David Prentice, http://www.lifenews.com/nb328.html, Washington, DC]

Adult Stem Cells: More than Meets the Eye?

Liberals seem blind to the success of adult stem cells. Maybe if they saw the evidence from a recent Italian study, their eyes would be opened to the potential of ethical research.

After cataracts, corneal disease is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
In September, Dr. Jean Peduzzi Nelson testified to the U.S. Senate about the success that Italian doctors have achieved at restoring sight to patients with corneal blindness, using adult stem cells. The details of the successful adult stem cell treatment were given in a June 2010 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Italian doctors treated 112 patients who had corneal blindness from chemical burns. The clinical team isolated adult stem cells from a portion of the patient's eye, grew the cells in the lab to create many new corneal cells, and transplanted the new cells onto the damaged eyes. Over 77% of patients recovered normal vision, and 13% of patients had partial vision restored.

One of the successful transplants was a man who had severe damage in both eyes as a result of a chemical burn in 1948. The doctors grafted stem cells from a small section of his left eye to both eyes. His vision is now close to normal. Seeing is believing! Adult stem cells are helping patients now!

Maybe Not: Leslie Tignor sheds light on iPS Stem Cell "Breakthrough" — "NEW iPS STEM CELL ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ IS NOT A PRO-LIFE VICTORY" http://www.all.org/newsroom_judieblog_response.php?id=3148
[http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WU10J05&f=PG07J01 , Family Research Council; ALL Pro-Life Today, 11 Oct 2010]

Geron Company Claims First Patient Treated With Embryonic Stem Cells, Not The Case

Geron Corporation, a California-based firm that conducts embryonic stem cell research and has a history of making dubious announcements to see a boost in its stock price and reputation, is apparently at it again. The firm has announced it has treated the first patient with embryonic stem cells.

However, the patient did not receive an injection of actual embryonic stem cells — because scientists have still not been able to overcome significant problems in their use with animals.

Specifically, the cells, once injected, cause tumors and are rejected by the immune system.

But that didn't stop Geron fro

m announcing today that it injected the cells into the first patient ever under the first clinical trial authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and the Washington Post, in a story posted today, repeated the false claim.

"The first patient has been treated with human embryonic stem cells in the first study authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to test the controversial therapy," the Post claimed. "A patient who was partially paralyzed by a spinal cord injury had millions of embryonic stem cells injected into the site of the damage."

However, former Indiana State University biology professor and Family Research Council fellow Dr. David Prentice says that's not the case.

He told LifeNews.com the situation is "a bit confusing" but the cells are not truly human embryonic stem cells but ones that "are directly derived from embryonic stem cells, and rely on embryonic stem cells."

Prentice accused Geron of falsely promoting its work as embryonic stem cell trials when derivatives are used instead.

"Geron is irresponsibly trying to do science by press release, publicizing that they have begun their human experiment by injecting a patient with potentially dangerous cells made from embryonic stem cells," he said.

"Their press hype will help their stock price, but not science and not patients. We hope the patients don't suffer any ill effects, but it will be years before there is hard evidence about safety or effectiveness," Prentice continued.

The patient involved in the trial was treated at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, which is one of seven locales nationwide where Geron is trial the injections.

Prentice said if Geron truly wanted to help patients, it would stick to research and trials involving adult stem cells — which are already helping patients now who are battling dozens of diseases and medical conditions.

He said "adult stem cells have published real scientific evidence for effectively treating spinal cord injury."

The Food and Drug Administration had initially placed the trial on hold but Geron indicated in July that the agency approved it.

The FDA placed a hold on the trial in August 2009, when evidence showed Geron's GRNOPC1 encountered safety issues when used in animal studies. Geron's own data showed higher frequency of small cysts within the injury site in the spinal cord of animals injected with the embryonic cells.

Prentice previously elaborated on the derivative nature of the cells.

"They inject cells derived from embryonic stem cells; in this case a cell type called an oligodendrocyte, which is a cell that forms a sheath, like insulation, around nerve fibers," he said. "So they don't inject growing embryonic stem cells, but the cells are indeed directly derived from embryonic stem cells, and actually are not completely differentiated, but only part-way ("precursors")."

"The theory is that once inside the body, the cells will finish specializing to the final cell type, and form an insulative covering over exposed nerves in the spinal cord," he told LifeNews.com.

Prior to the FDA approval, scientists expressed concerns about Geron's trial.

Before FDA approval, Dr. John A. Kessler, chairman of neurology and director of the stem cell institute at Northwestern University, said the first application from Geron for the embryonic stem cell trial was flawed.

“We really want the best trial to be done for this first trial, and this might not be it,’’ he said at the time.

In August 2008, Evan Snyder, a neuroscientist who heads up the stem cell research center at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in San Diego, warned the research may not be ready for humans.

"There's a lot of debate among spinal cord researchers that the pre-clinical data itself doesn't justify the clinical trial," Snyder, who is working on using neural stem cells himself, said then.

Snyder said then the mice Geron used to conduct pre-human trial research had more excessive injuries that scientists would normally prefer to see prior to trying the procedure on human patients.

He suggested that Geron should have done experiments involving larger animals before seeking FDA permission to use the controversial embryonic stem cells in humans.

Those concerns existed as early as 2005 and may not have been addressed.

Snyder said then that Geron should do more animal testing first to make sure the tests would be on the same injuries humans have.

"I'm not convinced they have done that yet," Snyder said.

Jerry Silver, a neuroscience professor and stem-cell researcher at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, told Knight Ridder back in November 2005 that Geron was moving too fast and needed to do more tests on animals before seeking human patients.

"Frankly, I cannot conceive of a human trial with the use of human embryonic stem cells following immediately from experiments in rodents only," he said then. "Many treatments that work in rodents to alleviate disease fail miserably in humans."

The news of the trial comes as the Obama administration is doing battle with scientists over forcing taxpayers to finance embryonic stem cell research 

[ED. Now, isn't that an amazing coincidence?]
[October 11, 2010, Washington, DC, http://www.lifenews.com/bio3194.html ]

 

 

 

 


If Only Liberals Had a Heart for Adult Stem Cells
The media and liberals may focus on life-destroying embryo research, but we hope you'll take notice of adult stem cells' real life-saving potential.

One person who certainly has noticed is Doug Rice. The retired Marine had been told that he had only a short time to live after multiple heart attacks. His condition left him so weak that he was barely able to walk.

Unable to qualify for any U.S. clinical trials, he went to Thailand in early 2006 to have his heart treated with his own adult stem cells.
After the therapy, Doug's heart function improved, and he became his energetic self once again.

And Doug's miracle is no isolated case!
Read more about how adult stem cells are helping patients with chronic heart failure and listen to patients discuss their own life-changing experiences by clicking here — http://www.frcblog.com/2010/09/adult-stem-cells%25e2%2580%2593best-kept-secret-treating-chronic-heart-failure/
Related: http://www.stemcellresearchfacts.org/
[4 Oct 2010, FRC.org]


Commentary: Stem Cell Research is the Best-Kept Secret in the Galaxy

Please don’t read this article about adult stem cells or the best-kept secret in the galaxy will get out: Adult stem cells (usually a person’s own cells) are helping lots of people with a variety of diseases and injuries.

At the Senate subcommittee yesterday, I presented five examples of people helped by adult stem cells.

So don’t ask Silvio Flegnani how he feels now that he can use a walker to walk after receiving a stem cell transplant from Dr. Lima’s team, two years after a complete spinal cord injury left him as a quadriplegic.

In addition, please don’t talk to Doug Rice who was told he had two years to live in 2002 because of heart failure and several heart attacks b

efore he improved from an adult stem cell treatment. Please don’t track down the 112 people with corneal blindness for whom vision was restored in more than 75 percent of the cases.

Then there is the world’s cutest kid, Joe Davis who had painful symptoms from severe sickle cell anemia before he received umbilical cord blood cells from his brother. By all means, don’t communicate with Barry Goudy who no longer has symptoms of multiple sclerosis after his adult stem cell treatment in 2003.

There are other conditions helped by adult stem cells in early trials, so be careful talking to people about newly-diagnosed juvenile diabetes, peripheral artery disease and many other problems.

Of course, be careful surfing the web and definitely avoid sites on adult stem cells such as www.ascrnetwork.org (showing many of the laboratories and clinical trials involved in the global initiative to use adult stem cells to treat major diseases), www.celltherapyfoundation.org (providing awareness of the need to fast forward this work with specific funding), and www.stemcellresearchfacts.org (highlighting outcomes in real patients and providing hope for many with critical diseases).

Stay away from peer-reviewed medical journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) or the New England Journal of Medicine containing adult stem cell clinical trial results or you will see that these patients are not isolated examples. Although these articles describe several adult stem cell clinical trials in the US, many Americans have to go to other countries to obtain treatments where the clinical studies range from really excellent to, unfortunately, very bad.

So why, as a 2008 JAMA study reported, isn’t the US leading the way in adult stem cell clinical studies?

First, clinical trials needed to bring treatments to patients require millions of dollars to complete. However, this is a rather inexpensive price tag compared to billions spent on caring for these patients, not even considering the cost of human suffering.

Second, patient advocate groups are not pushing for these adult stem cell clinical trials because, don’t forget, this is the best-kept secret in the galaxy.

Third, the biotech industry, which devotes much more money to research than the Federal government, is less interested in adult stem cells that are often not patentable and cannot be mass-produced as a single product to treat a large number of patients. Most of these adult stem cell transplants use a person’s own stem cells, ones from a close relative or matched donor.

What is so great about adult stem cells?

Some people have mentioned that it is a good way to avoid tumor formation, immune rejection of cells and even moral controversy, but don’t let people know this.

Very seriously, although basic scientific research needs continued support, more Federal funding (through the NIH, Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration) is needed to fund the preclinical safety studies and the clinical trials using adult stem cells. More emphasis needs to be placed on bringing successful adult stem cell treatments to the patients and their families that are suffering.

It is time for patients, their families and friends to demand that more funding be directed to adult stem cell clinical trials so these effective treatments can become standard-of-care for all Americans.   [17 Sept 2010,
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/119503-stem-cell-research-is-the-best-kept-secret-in-the-galaxy
Dr. Jean Peduzzi Nelson is an Associate Professor at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan]

 

 

 

 

Scientists Ask Appeals Court Not to Allow Federal Funding of Research Involving the Destruction of Living Human Embryos Pending the Government's Appeal of the District Court's Funding Ban

Advocates International (AI), part of the public interest legal team along with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (GD&C) who brought the case on behalf of Americans favoring ethical stem cell research more than a year ago, will argue this morning at 10:00 am before the United States Court of Appeals that the Court should vacate its "administrative stay" and deny the government's request for an emergency stay pending their appeal of the district court's preliminary injunction enjoining the government's unlawful, unethical and unnecessary federal funding of research involving the destruction of living human embryos.  Counsel will be available for comment following the hearing. 

AI's General Counsel, Sam Casey, said "the government pending appeal seeks a stay of a preliminary injunction that enjoins them from  funding research using human embryonic stem cells ("hESC") — cells derived by destroying living human beings at their embryonic stage of life. 

This funding violates the plain language of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, in which Congress prohibits federal funding of "research in which" a human embryo is "destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-117, § 509(a)(2), 123 Stat. 3034, 3280-81.  The district court correctly concluded that granting a stay pending appeal, even of short duration, would "flout[] the will of Congress," and that "the public interest is served by preventing taxpayer funding of research that entails the destruction of human embryos." 

GD&C's Lead Trial Counsel, Tom Hungar, who has argued this case before the federal district court and the Court of Appeals, points out that the Court of Appeals in this case "has already held that adult stem cell researchers like Drs. Sherley and Deisher suffer 'actual,' 'imminent' injury from competition with hESC research for scarce federal funding. 

Mr. Hungar adds: "if further proof were needed, the National Institutes of Health ("NIH") recently confirmed the urgent need for a preliminary injunction to prevent these federal dollars from disappearing forever when it ordered last week that for the duration of this Court's administrative stay, hESC awards be "given priority" over other awards and hESC applications currently scheduled for consideration in January 2011 be expedited to October 2010.  

NIH likewise instructed that in-house (or "intramural") research on hESC may resume during the brief period of the administrative stay.   As we have detailed in our written opposition to the government's request for stayThese actions confirm that a stay pending appeal would lead to a flight of federal dollars into hESC research, causing Appellees and other NIH grant applicants irreparable harm." 

Mr. Casey also noted that the government has provided "no explanation based on science or the merits of the competing proposals to justify allowing hESC applications to leapfrog proposals filed by Appellees or any other NIH grant applicants.  To the contrary, there
is only one explanation for NIH's actions–an ideological preference for spending as much federal money as practicable on illegal hESC research. 

Because the entire purpose of the district court's preliminary injunction was to prevent the evaporation of such funds, a stay pending appeal would irreparably injure Appellants and the public interest by undermining the injunction before the Court of Appeals has an opportunity to consider and rule on the merits of the appeal."  

On September 9, 2010, the plaintiff adult stem cell researchers also asked the federal district court for entry of summary judgment in their favor on their request for declaratory and injunctive relief against the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research ("NIH Guidelines"), 74 Fed. Reg. 32170 (July 7, 2009), because the NIH Guidelines violate the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-117, 123 Stat. 3034, 3280-81, § 509(a), and are arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law, and were promulgated without observance of procedures required by law, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act." 

GD&C's Thomas Hungar, explains: "We have asked the federal district court to permanently enjoin the government from implementing, applying, or taking any action whatsoever pursuant to the NIH Guidelines or otherwise funding research involving human embryonic stem cells as contemplated in the NIH Guidelines. We have also asked the Court to order the government to immediately inform any NIH grant recipients in possession or control of federal funds granted under the Guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research that any remaining and unspent NIH-granted funds may not be spent on human embryonic stem cell research but must be returned to NIH to fund lawful research."

Federal district Chief Judge Royce Lamberth, in his 2-page Order, has already denied the government's request for an emergency stay pending the government's appeal of the court's August 23rd decision and preliminary injunction enjoining unlawful federal funding of "research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death." 

Then the federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a short "administrative stay" order to give it time to review the government's request for the emergency stay that the federal district court has already denied. 

The district court's opinions issuing the preliminary injunction and denying the government's request for a stay of that injunction pending its appeal followed the decision by the United States Court of Appeals earlier this summer finding that doctors doing adult stem cell research have 'competitive standing' to sue. Therefore, the court reinstated the doctors' federal lawsuit, filed last summer that seeks to preliminarily enjoin and ultimately overturn the NIH's controversial guidelines for public funding of embryonic stem cell research that the NIH issued on July 7, 2009. 

Since 1996, in what has been popularly known as its Dickey-Wicker Amendment to each HHS Appropriations Bill, Congress has expressly banned NIH from funding research in which human embryos "are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death."

The plaintiffs contend that the NIH guidelines violate the congressional ban because they "necessarily condition funding on the destruction of human embryos." 

In addition, the plaintiffs also allege that the NIH guidelines were invalidly implemented, because the decision to fund human embryonic stem cell research was made without the proper procedures required by law and without properly considering the more effective and less ethically problematic forms of adult and induced pluripotent stem cell research. 

President Obama, in his March 11, 2009 Executive Order announcing his Administration's policy stated he was determined to fund ethically "responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research…to the extent permitted by law". Sadly, said AI's Casey, "these NIH guidelines while claiming to 'implement' the President's directions, failed his own test because they are not only unlawful, they are based upon an ethically irresponsible misunderstanding of available scientific evidence." 

As acknowledged by Judge Lamberth in his Order denying any stay of his Order, "the length of time this preliminary injunction will be in place should be limited" because, as confirmed by plaintiffs' legal counsel Hungar and Casey, "plaintiffs are hopeful that the federal district court will favorably rule on our just filed motion for summary judgment and issue its permanent injunction before the end of the year."

[Advocates International is an international organization of attorneys in over 150 nations, including the United States, who seek to do justice with compassion, including through its Law of Life Task Force protecting the inalienable and sacred right to human life from biological conception to natural death. WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /Christian Newswire]

 

 

 Scientific Studies Using Adult & Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Human Gingiva-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Elicit Polarization of M2 Macrophages and Enhance Cutaneous Wound Healing (pages 1856–1868)
Qun-Zhou Zhang, Wen-Ru Su, Shi-Hong Shi, Petra Wilder-Smith, Andy Peng Xiang, Alex Wong, Andrew L. Nguyen, Chan Wook Kwon and Anh D. Le
Article first published online: 26 OCT 2010
DOI: 10.1002/stem.503
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/stem.503/full

Efficient Generation of Functional Dopaminergic Neurons from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Under Defined Conditions (pages 1893–1904)
Andrzej Swistowski, Jun Peng, Qiuyue Liu, Prashant Mali, Mahendra S. Rao, Linzhao Cheng and Xianmin Zeng
Article first published online: 26 OCT 2010
DOI: 10.1002/stem.499
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/stem.499/full

 

 

 

NIH Expedites Grants for Human Embryo Destroying Research
The National Institute of Health (NIH) is expediting the grant process for outside researchers in human embryonic stem-cell (hESC) research, after the D.C. Court of Appeals gave them an emergency stay until September 20 on a judge’s order halting their work.

Thanks to the appeals court’s intervention, the NIH has decided to lift its suspension of all grants and contracts involving hESCs. However, according to Nature, Michael Gottesman, NIH's deputy director for intramural research, advised those working on eight in-house hESC projects to use “prudence in resuming experiments” given the possibility that the court may decide to reinstate its injunction on the NIH’s funding of hESC research.

Sally Rockey, the NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research, circulated an email recommending that NIH institute councils should fast-track grants for hESC research.

"Given the delay in their issuance, hESC awards should be given priority including non-competing continuations, and new and
renewing competing awards," Rockey said.

Rockey also recommended that NIH councils that were expecting to fund applicants after September 20 resort to an expedited approval process.

U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth for the District of Columbia ruled August 23 that human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research projects funded by the NIH violate an "unambiguous" U.S. statute, the Dickey-Wicker amendment, which prohibits federal dollars from going to research that destroys human embryos.

Lamberth issued a preliminary injunction that was temporarily stayed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals until at least September 20.

The U.S. Justice Department had sought a stay from Lamberth on the order, arguing “irreparable harm” would occur if NIH “is forced to cease all activities pertaining to [hESC] research that is subject to government funding.” Lamberth rejected those arguments, but the appeals court said it would re-examine arguments for the preliminary injunction while Lamberth continues to examine the case.

The appeals court is set to make a decision on whether to extend its emergency stay within days after the September 20 deadline. If the court extends the stay, it would last only until Lamberth makes his final judgment in the case, which may end in a permanent injunction on NIH funding hESC research. However, the appeals court may reinstate a stay when the case is appealed to them.

Two scientists involved in adult stem cell research, Drs. James Sherley of Boston and Theresa Deisher of Seattle, filed suit against the Obama Administration on the basis that the NIH was favoring hESC researchers, starving ethical researchers who do not engage in human embryo destroying research such as themselves for grants.

Attorneys with Advocates International (AI), Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (GD&C), are representing the plaintiffs against the NIH, and have filed a comprehensive summary judgment motion with Lamberth’s court.

“We have asked the federal district court to permanently enjoin the government from implementing, applying, or taking any action whatsoever pursuant to the NIH Guidelines or otherwise funding research involving human embryonic stem cells as contemplated in the NIH Guidelines,” said chief trial counsel, Thomas Hungar of GD&C.

Hungar added that they have also asked the court to order the federal government to demand NIH grant recipients with remaining unspent funds for hESC research, to return them to the NIH “to fund lawful research.”
 
Related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

Embryo Research Can Continue Pending Lawsuit: D.C. Appeals Court
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10090907.html

Federal Judge Denies Obama Embryo Research Appeal
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10090808.html

Congressmen Seek to Undermine Embryonic Stem Cell Ruling by Changing Law
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/aug/10083005.html
[September 10, 2010, Peter J. Smith, BETHSADA, Maryland, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10091009.html ]

Stem Cell Financing Ban Ends, for Now

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court here ruled Thursday that federal financing of embryonic stem cell research could continue while the court considers a judge’s order last month that banned the government from underwriting the work. [http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/10/health/policy/10stem.html?_r=2 , NYTimes; PharmFacts E-News Update, 13 Sept 2010]

 

 

 

Good News in the Midst of Bad Legal Battles Over Funding: 5-Year Reauthorization of the National Cord Blood Inventory Program Passes
You are aware of the Embryonic Stem Cell funding wrestling match going on: The Bush administration restricted funding for research that destroys human embryos; the Obama administration OK's it; the lower court puts a "hold" on it; the appeals court puts a "hold" on the "hold"; so funding for killing human embryos can go ahead. So we are back to disposable human beings, presently.

The frenzy to push ahead with tax funded destruction of humans go on.

(Remember, there has been zero clinical successes with embryonic stem cells so far, and over 70 different disease entities successfully treated with non-embryonic cells). (why not try more tax-funding for these??)

Early yesterday morning [1 Oct 2010] the House passed by a voice vote the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act (S. 3751), a five-year reauthorization of the National Cord Blood Inventory Program. Umbilical cord blood is an ethical and effective way of treating over 70 diseases and eliminating suffering for patients.

 

 

 

New iPS Technique for Making Stem Cells WITHOUT Destroying Human Embryos /  Maybe Not…

Here is some more encouraging news on advances without destroying embryonic humans:

Yesterday researchers announced that they have found another technique to make stem cells without destroying human embryos.

Dr. Derrick Rossi a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital and his colleagues at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute released a new study which demonstrates a more efficient way to reprogram induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells so that they can be used to fight disease.

Dr. Douglas Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute said, "The technique makes it much faster, and much more user friendly. So we are going to turn over our entire iPS core to this method to efficiently make stem cells from patients with all sorts of different diseases so we can begin drug screening and studying the causes of these diseases."

For more information you may be interested in these links to recent news articles on the subject: Associated Press, Bloomberg, Boston Globe, NPR, Reuters, TIME, Washington Post, and USA Today.

While functionally equivalent to stem cells derived from embryos, iPS cells do not have the ethical concerns of creating or harming human embryos or of requiring the use of women's eggs. It also has the technical benefits of being a simple technique with a high success rate that can produce a large number of both patient-specific as well as disease-specific stem cells lines.

Yesterday's announcement is another exciting development which underscores the need for federal funding to be directed toward this ethical, cutting edge area of scientific research—not embryo-destructive research.

Background on iPS

On November 20, 2007, Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka and Wisconsin researcher James Thomson shocked the scientific community by independently announcing their ability to derive pluripotent stem cells through the reprogramming of regular skin cells.

iPS cells are made by adding a small number of factors or genes to regular skin cells in a Petri dish, thus remodeling these mature skin cells into stem cells that are functionally identical to those obtained from embryos. A further advance in genetic reprogramming was announced in Nature on March 1, 2009, when two research teams demonstrated that they could reprogram cells

without the use of potentially cancer-causing viruses.
[2 Oct 2010, e-report, AAPLOG, www/aaplog.org]

 

Maybe Not: Leslie Tignor sheds light on iPS Stem Cell "Breakthrough" — "NEW iPS STEM CELL ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ IS NOT A PRO-LIFE VICTORY" http://www.all.org/newsroom_judieblog_response.php?id=3148