May 2005

27 May 2005 12:00 am

Stem Cell Hypocrisy of Bush Government

LATimes has a scathing editorial on the Stem Cell hypocrisy practiced by Bush and his government.

Photographs in Wednesday’s papers of President Bush with cuddly little babies, all of whom were produced from surplus fertilized eggs at fertility clinics, represent a White House attempt to deal with the biggest flaw in logic regarding its stem cell policy — and its moral weak point.

Here is what happens to those embryos: Some are destroyed because a microscopic examination indicates that they are defective or abnormal. Some of the rest are implanted. But generally, there are some left over. These may be discarded, or frozen for future attempts, or frozen indefinitely; it’s up to the customers.

Encouraging the donation of frozen embryos to prospective parents, even under the most optimistic scenario, would put only a small dent in the supply. According to a 2003 study, there are almost half a million frozen human embryos in storage in the United States. The vast majority of them — 87% — were frozen in case the parents might need them, but the vast majority of that vast majority will never be needed or used. An embryo-adoption drive wouldn’t save the embryos that die in other stages of the process. And ironically, the recipients of donated fertilized eggs also generally have several implanted in the hope that one will survive. In effect, donation results in the deaths of embryos that would otherwise stay frozen.

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23 May 2005 01:55 am

Long term survivality study of stem cell transplants in cancer patients

Improved techniques and supportive care have resulted in a growing number of long-term survivors of stem cell transplants, though little is known about the impact transplants have on patients’ lives long after treatment.

This is the first study I have seen which attempted to find out long term effects of stem cell transplants. So far so good.
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23 May 2005 01:54 am

Gene keeps neural cells on correct developmental path

Embryonic stem cells with identical genomes grow into distinctive tissues, such as heart, bone, and brain. At one time, scientists believed the differences among cell types arose from various sets of genes switched on inside developing cells. Then, studies showed that adult neurons uniquely lack a protein that permanently turns off neuronal genes in the rest of the body’s cells.
Now, it turns out that precursor nerve cells contain that same repressive protein after all. In fact, the protein directs the complex network of genes that transforms an embryonic stem cell into a mature nerve cell, say Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers.

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20 May 2005 07:30 am

Korean Study Demonstrates Feasibility of Efficiently Harvesting Genetically Identical Stem Cells from Egg Donors

Korean Scientists lead by Woo Suk Hwang and Shing Yong Moon of Seoul National University in Korea have successfully generated new lines of human embryonic stem cells that are exact genetic matches for individual patients, according to a new study.

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