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Thread: Advances put pressure on Bush

  1. #1

    Advances put pressure on Bush

    Advances put pressure on Bush

    &bull Research restrictions set forth by the president are holding back possible breakthroughs, scientists say.

    Rick Weiss
    The Washington Post

    April 22, 2003 A series of important advances has boosted the potential of human embryonic stem cells to treat heart disease, spinal cord injuries and other ailments, but researchers say they are unable to take advantage of the new techniques under an administration policy that requires federally supported scientists to use older colonies of stem cells.

    Now pressure is building from scientists, patient advocates and members of Congress to loosen the embryo-protecting restrictions imposed by President Bush, with some on Capitol Hill saying they want to take up the issue next month.

    Stem cells obtained from five-day-old human embryos can morph into all kinds of human tissues and appear capable of regenerating ailing organs. But while newer and safer versions of the cells have recently been created, the policy imposed by Bush in August 1991 puts those cells off-limits to any scientist whose work is supported with federal money.

    Supporters of embryo cell research have long grumbled about the Bush policy but have acknowledged their complaints were largely theoretical because there was still plenty to learn from older cells. The unexpectedly rapid advent of more medically promising cells -- and the possibility of human studies within the next year or so -- have changed that equation, they say, making the Bush policy a real barrier to progress.

    The older cells allowed under the Bush plan are problematic because they have been grown in mixtures with mouse tumor cells. The tumor cells, known as "feeder" cells, secrete crucial, though as yet unidentified, nutrients that help nourish human embryo cells. But they can also pass mouse viruses or other microbes to the human stem cells, which means the stem cells could end up sickening patients instead of curing them.

    Concerned about that risk, the Food and Drug Administration has said it will demand a daunting array of safety tests and long-term patient follow-up for any experiments in which patients are given stem cells that have been in contact with animal feeder cells.

    Recently, however, scientists have learned how to grow human embryonic stem cells without mouse cells. The new stem cell colonies, or "cell lines," appear ideal for use in clinical trials, scientists say. But they remain unavailable to the vast majority of U.S. stem cell researchers -- most of whom depend on federal grant money -- because the 2001 Bush policy requires scientists to work only with cells from embryos destroyed before Aug. 9, 2001. The goal was to prevent further destruction of stored human embryos, but it also limits researchers to cell lines tainted by contact with mouse cells.

    "This is the conundrum we're caught up in as federally funded researchers under the Bush policy," said George Daley, a Harvard University stem cell biologist also affiliated with the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass. "We want to do the basic research that works towards cures, but we cannot use the newly derived, latest and best cell lines, which puts us at a disadvantage."

    Monday, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., sent a letter to Bush urging the president to expand the current policy "so that doctors and scientists can use these new safer stem cell lines and realize the promise of stem cell research to cure diseases and disorders that afflict millions of Americans."

    In interviews last week, Specter and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said they would like to hold a Senate hearing on the topic next month. And Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he is "disappointed at the number of stem cell lines that have been available" to federally funded scientists, and that he will work with others on Capitol Hill "in re-examining the administration's policy."

    But foes of embryo cell research said they remain opposed to any changes.

    The White House indicated last week it has no intention of changing its position.

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the policy was arrived at with "great care" and is based on advice from leading scientists that "existing lines (of stem cells) are more than enough to realize the promise of stem cell research in a way that adheres to the highest ethical standards."


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  2. #2
    Member Fritsch's Avatar
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    I hope this issue becomes the downfall of George Bush. This is just another example of how out of touch he is with Americans.

  3. #3
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    He's in perfect touch with most wealthy Americans.

  4. #4
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    Just wait until advances come to light via the private sector. A significant amount of advances and findings will be coming down the pipe soon, and most will be from outside the U.S. I bet the Bush administration will change it's tune when less developed countries are turning out cures or maybe even biological/genetic weaponry. Just hang in there guys, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.

  5. #5
    Author Topic: テつ* Stem Cell Strides Test Bush Policy

    cheesecake
    Moderator posted Apr 22, 2003 10:31 AM テつ*
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stem Cell Strides Test Bush Policy

    By Rick Weiss
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, April 22, 2003; Page A01



    A series of important advances have boosted the potential of human
    embryonic stem cells to treat heart disease, spinal cord injuries and
    other ailments, but researchers say they are unable to take advantage of
    the new techniques under a two-year-old administration policy that
    requires federally supported scientists to use older colonies of stem
    cells.

    Now pressure is building from scientists, patient advocates and members
    of Congress to loosen the embryo-protecting restrictions imposed by
    President Bush, with some on Capitol Hill saying they want to take up
    the issue next month.

    Stem cells obtained from 5-day-old human embryos can morph into all
    kinds of human tissues and appear capable of regenerating ailing organs.
    But while newer and safer versions of the cells have recently been
    created, the policy imposed by Bush in August 2001 puts those cells
    off-limits to any scientist whose work is supported with federal money.

    Supporters of embryo cell research have long grumbled about the Bush
    policy but have acknowledged that their complaints were largely
    theoretical because there was still plenty to learn from older cells.
    The unexpectedly rapid advent of more medically promising cells -- and
    the possibility of human studies within the next year or so -- have
    changed that equation, they say, making the Bush policy a real barrier
    to progress.

    The older cells allowed under the Bush plan are less attractive
    researchers because they have been grown in mixtures with mouse tumor
    cells. The tumor cells, known as "feeder" cells, secrete crucial, though
    as yet unidentified, nutrients that help nourish human embryo cells. But
    they can also pass mouse viruses or other microbes to the human stem
    cells, which means the stem cells could end up sickening patients
    instead of curing them.

    Concerned about that risk, the Food and Drug Administration has said it
    will demand a daunting array of safety tests and long-term patient
    follow-up for any experiments in which patients are given stem cells
    that have been in contact with animal feeder cells.

    Recently, however, scientists have learned how to grow human embryonic
    stem cells without mouse cells. The new stem cell colonies, or "cell
    lines," appear ideal for use in clinical trials, scientists say. But
    they remain unavailable to the vast majority of U.S. stem cell
    researchers -- most of whom depend on federal grant money -- because the
    2001 Bush policy requires those scientists to work only with cells from
    embryos destroyed before Aug. 9, 2001. The goal was to prevent further
    destruction of stored human embryos, but it also limits researchers to
    cell lines tainted by contact with mouse cells.

    "This is the conundrum we're caught up in as federally funded
    researchers under the Bush policy," said George Daley, a Harvard
    University stem cell biologist also affiliated with the Whitehead
    Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass. "We want to do the
    basic research that works towards cures, but we cannot use the newly
    derived, latest and best cell lines, which puts us at a disadvantage."

    Yesterday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) sent a letter to Bush urging the
    president to expand the current policy "so that doctors and scientists
    can use these new safer stem cell lines and realize the promise of stem
    cell research to cure diseases and disorders that afflict millions of
    Americans."

    In interviews last week, Specter and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said they
    would like to hold a Senate hearing on the topic next month. And Sen.
    Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said that he is "disappointed at the number of
    stem cell lines that have been available" to federally funded
    scientists, and that he will work with others on Capitol Hill "in
    reexamining the administration's policy."

    But foes of embryo cell research said they remain opposed to any
    changes.

    "We expressed support for the president's policy when he enunciated it,
    and I don't believe that Congress will overturn it," said Douglas
    Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

    The White House indicated last week it has no intention of changing its
    position.

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president's policy was
    arrived at with "great care" and is based on advice from leading
    scientists that "existing lines [of stem cells] are more than enough to
    realize the promise of stem cell research in a way that adheres to the
    highest ethical standards."

    The president has said he favors research on "adult stem cells," which
    are retrieved from adults but which some scientists believe are less
    versatile than embryonic cells.

    Under FDA guidelines, doctors will have a difficult time conducting
    human studies with stem cells grown with mouse cells -- and the agency's
    concerns go beyond the mere possibility of mouse viruses sickening stem
    cell recipients.

    The bigger concern is that a mouse virus could mix its genetic material
    with human viruses already in the patient, creating a new virus with
    added virulence and perhaps even a newfound ability to spread from
    person to person -- much as is believed to have happened with severe
    acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is spreading illness and death
    around the world. That means stem cell transplants would pose a
    potential risk not only to the patient but also to close contacts and
    the public at large.

    Given those risks, the agency has published a 60-page "guidance"
    document that spells out the kinds of tests researchers should do if
    they want permission to give patients human cells that have been in
    contact with animal cells.

    First is the need to conduct many different tests aimed at finding any
    viruses that may be lurking in those cells. But researchers are also
    instructed to warn patients and their close contacts of the risk of
    getting an animal disease; monitor the patients' health for the rest of
    their lives; and save blood and tissue specimens for at least 50 years
    after each patient dies. Researchers are also urged to get patients to
    agree to make their medical records available throughout their lives to
    the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public
    health agencies; agree to be autopsied after death; agree to never
    donate blood, sperm, eggs or organs; and agree to abide by travel
    restrictions, medical isolation or other actions that health officials
    may at some point deem necessary.

    Clinical scientists and patients have been clamoring for a simpler
    approach. And lately their wishes have begun to come true.

    It started last fall, when researchers from Singapore published a
    landmark report showing that human embryonic stem cells could be
    maintained in culture dishes if they were accompanied by cells from
    14-week-old aborted human fetuses, instead of mouse cells.

    That granted the cells a reprieve from the FDA's rules. But as the
    researchers noted in the September 2002 issue of the journal Nature
    Biotechnology, there remained "ethical concerns" about using cells from
    aborted fetuses.

    Then last month scientists at Johns Hopkins University made another
    leap, showing that human embryonic stem cells could thrive in a culture
    system containing adult human bone marrow cells, which apparently
    secrete all the growth factors the stem cells need.

    The marrow cells offer "a clinically and ethically feasible method to
    vastly expand human embryonic stem cells on a clinical scale," concluded
    Linzhao Cheng and his colleagues in the March issue of the journal Stem
    Cells. hen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said tha

    Now Cheng and others are scrambling to find other recipes that support
    stem cell growth.

    "It's probable that many different human cell types can support the
    growth of [embryonic stem] cells in the right conditions," Cheng said.
    "It's certainly broader than we thought."

    Indeed, Australian researchers say they have learned several ways of
    growing human embryonic stem cells without animal cells. And Thomas
    Okarma, president and chief executive of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park,
    Calif., said his company is close to having an all-human culture system
    for stem cells. With recent animal studies looking quite positive, he
    said, he could imagine human clinical tests beginning as soon as a year
    from now.

    "That's far ahead of what anyone thought, even us," Okarma said. "So
    these production issues are going to become important sooner instead of
    later."

    But scientists receiving federal grant money are not able to study any
    of the newly derived lines under the current Bush policy, because they
    come from embryos that were donated to research after August 2001. (Most
    come from fertility clinics, which are disposing the embryos at parents'
    request after successful fertility treatment.)

    James Battey, who chairs the stem cell task force at the National
    Institutes of Health -- the primary source of federal funds for stem
    cell research -- said there is much basic research that scientists can
    do on the handful of older embryonic stem cell lines and it is premature
    for scientists to be chafing over the Bush restrictions.

    The older cells still offer "an enormous research opportunity," Battey
    said. "We're doing everything we can within what's allowed to move this
    research agenda forward as quickly as possible."

    But opponents of the current policy said the United States stands to
    fall behind other countries with access to more advanced cell lines and
    more open research policies.

    "It seems to me it would be foolish for a physician or researcher to
    use possibly contaminated lines in a patient or research protocol when
    other lines are available," said Anthony Mazzaschi, associate vice
    president at the Association of American Medical Colleges. The new
    advances, he said, "will put a great deal of pressure on Bush's
    policy."

    Daniel Perry, a patient advocate who heads the Washington-based
    Alliance for Aging Research, said patients will demand nothing less than
    the best cells available.

    "There's always been an expectation that the [Bush policy] line would
    have to give way as the science progressed," said Perry, also a vice
    president for the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research,
    which advocates for stem cell research.

    "Time is not on our side," Perry said of patients awaiting new
    therapies, "but the science is."

    "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
    It's already tomorrow in Australia!"----- Charles Schultz


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Posts: 829テつ*|テつ*From: USAテつ*|テつ*Registered: 08-19-01

    Max

    Member posted Apr 22, 2003 06:22 PM テつ*
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pressure grows to relax Bush stem cell rules /Scientists say federal limits block access to newer, safer techniques
    Pressure grows to relax Bush stem cell rules
    Scientists say federal limits block access to newer, safer techniques

    Rick Weiss, Washington Post Tuesday, April 22, 2003

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...2/MN285651.DTL

    A series of important advances has boosted the potential of human embryonic stem cells to treat heart disease, spinal cord injuries and other ailments, but researchers say they are unable to take advantage of the new techniques under an administration policy that requires federally supported scientists to use older colonies of stem cells.

    Now pressure is building from scientists, patient advocates and members of Congress to loosen the embryo-protecting restrictions imposed by President Bush, with some on Capitol Hill saying they want to take up the issue next month.

    Stem cells obtained from 5-day-old human embryos can morph into all kinds of human tissues and appear capable of regenerating ailing organs. But while newer and safer versions of the cells have recently been created, the policy imposed by Bush in August 2001 puts those cells off-limits to any scientist whose work is supported with federal money.


    THEORETICAL NO LONGER
    Supporters of embryo cell research have long grumbled about the Bush policy but have acknowledged their complaints were largely theoretical because there was still plenty to learn from older cells. The unexpectedly rapid advent of more medically promising cells -- and the possibility of human studies within the next year or so -- have changed that equation, they say, making the Bush policy a barrier to progress.

    The older cells allowed under the Bush plan are problematic because they have been grown in mixtures with mouse tumor cells. The tumor cells, known as "feeder" cells, secrete crucial, though as yet unidentified, nutrients that help nourish human embryo cells. But they can also pass mouse viruses or other microbes to the human stem cells, which means the stem cells could end up sickening patients instead of curing them.

    Recently, however, scientists have learned how to grow human embryonic stem cells without mouse cells. The new stem cell colonies, or "cell lines," appear ideal for use in clinical trials, scientists say. But they remain unavailable to the large majority of U.S. stem cell researchers -- most of whom depend on federal grant money -- because the 2001 Bush policy requires scientists to work only with cells from embryos destroyed before Aug. 9, 2001. The goal was to prevent further destruction of stored human embryos, but it also limits researchers to cell lines tainted by contact with mouse cells.


    PLEA TO BUSH
    On Monday, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., sent a letter to Bush urging the president to expand the current policy "so that doctors and scientists can use these new safer stem cell lines and realize the promise of stem cell research to cure diseases and disorders that afflict millions of Americans."

    In interviews last week, Specter and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said they would like to hold a Senate hearing on the topic next month. And Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he is "disappointed at the number of stem cell lines that have been available" to federally funded scientists, and that he will work with others on Capitol Hill "in re-examining the administration's policy."

    But foes of embryo cell research said they remain opposed to any changes.

    "We expressed support for the president's policy when he enunciated it, and I don't believe that Congress will overturn it," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

    In response to the Bush policy, California lawmakers last year passed a measure supporting embryonic stem cell research, a move intended to make the state a haven for such studies. The federal limits, however, remain in place.

    Many researchers are scrambling to find methods that support stem cell growth without the presence of animal cells.

    Indeed, Australian researchers say they have learned several ways of growing human embryonic stem cells. And Thomas Okarma, president and chief executive of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, said his company is close to having an all-human culture system for stem cells; he could imagine human clinical tests beginning as soon as a year from now.

    "That's far ahead of what anyone thought, even us," Okarma said. "So these production issues are going to become important sooner instead of later."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Posts: 4838テつ*|テつ*From: Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADAテつ*|テつ*Registered: 07-25-01

  6. #6
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Superior Stem Cells

    Superior Stem Cells


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    Thursday, May 1, 2003; Page A26


    Despite amazing advances in adult stem cell therapies, a few biotech entrepreneurs keep beating the drum for human embryo stem cell research ["Stem Cell Strides Test Bush Policy," front page, April 22]. Now it turns out that the embryo stem cells they insisted would cure millions are potentially contaminated by mouse cells and could spread a SARS-like virus.

    In their quest for federal funds, these researchers prematurely asserted the tissue-morphing superiority of embryo stem cells over adult stem cells. However, the prestigious journal Nature put that argument to bed by reporting the discovery of the "ultimate stem cell" -- an adult cell that can grow into any other cell type.

    Researchers of adult stem cells are quietly providing hope and help for people with Parkinson's disease, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, immunodeficiencies, sickle cell anemia, autoimmune diseases and stroke. Scientific evidence, fiscal prudence and compassion for the afflicted all point to investing our tax dollars in adult stem cell research, where proven results are yielding real treatments for real patients.

    JONATHAN IMBODY

    Senior Policy Analyst

    Christian Medical Association

    Washington Bureau

    Springfield


    テつゥ 2003 The Washington Post Company



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2003Apr30.html

  7. #7
    I am amazed by the misinformation being spread by opponents of embryonic stem cells. This letter (originally posted by Max) was published by a "senior policy analyst" from the Christian Medical Association in the Washington Post, responding to the article "Stem Cells Strides Test Bush Policy".

    washingtonpost.com

    Superior Stem Cells
    Thursday, May 1, 2003; Page A26

    Despite amazing advances in adult stem cell therapies, a few biotech entrepreneurs keep beating the drum for human embryo stem cell research ["Stem Cell Strides Test Bush Policy," front page, April 22]. Now it turns out that the embryo stem cells they insisted would cure millions are potentially contaminated by mouse cells and could spread a SARS-like virus.

    In their quest for federal funds, these researchers prematurely asserted the tissue-morphing superiority of embryo stem cells over adult stem cells. However, the prestigious journal Nature put that argument to bed by reporting the discovery of the "ultimate stem cell" -- an adult cell that can grow into any other cell type.

    Researchers of adult stem cells are quietly providing hope and help for people with Parkinson's disease, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, immunodeficiencies, sickle cell anemia, autoimmune diseases and stroke. Scientific evidence, fiscal prudence and compassion for the afflicted all point to investing our tax dollars in adult stem cell research, where proven results are yielding real treatments for real patients.

    JONATHAN IMBODY
    Senior Policy Analyst
    Christian Medical Association Washington Bureau Springfield
    Jonathan Imbody clearly has a very limited understanding of what stem cells are and what they do. He claims that adult stem cells are helping many conditions, not realizing that most of these conditions are being treated with hematopoietic stem cells for replacing blood cells. Curiously, he includes spinal cord injuries amongst those conditions. Does he know something about spinal cord injury that we don't?

    It is bizarre that he blames human embryonic stem cells for being "potentially contaminated" by mouse cells when this contamination is only present because Bush has refused to allow development of embryonic human stem cells grown on human cells since 2001.

    It is a brazen lie that human embryonic stem cells could spread a SARS-like virus. This goes beyond the pale. This man is clearly trying to spread rumors and trying to raise public opinion against embryonic stem cells with false and rumor begatting innuendos.

    Perhaps Imbody should read the "highly prestigious journal Nature" more closely if he is going to cite it for putting that argument to bed by reporting the discovery of the "ultimate stem cell" -- an adult cell that can grow into any other cell type. Was he referring to the Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 3, Online-only article (2002) where it clearly quotes Verfaille saying that "it was too early to hail MAPCs as the ultimate stem cell." Does Imbody believe that he is more expert on the subject than Catherine Verfaillie?

    The ultimate stem cell...part 1
    Simon Frantz

    The discovery of an adult stem cell that could differentiate into every cell type has caused a stir within the scientific and non-scientific community.

    New Scientist reported how a patent application from a team led by Catherine Verfaille at the University of Minnesota reveals that a class of stem cells, called multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs), could be as versatile as embryonic stem cells (ESCs).

    The MAPCs were isolated from bone marrow by enrichment and seem to grow indefinitely in culture (some for almost two years), and show no signs of ageing. Implanting MAPCs from humans and mice into blastocysts has found they share a striking similarity with ESCs. "Given the right conditions, MAPCs can turn into a myriad of tissue types: muscle, cartilage, bone, liver and different types of neurons and brain cells", (New Scientist, 26 January 2002).

    Although Verfaille said it was too early to hail MAPCs as the ultimate stem cell, the finding has been used by opponents of embryo research to show that it makes such research redundant. "'Science continues to prove that destructive embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary,' said Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas", (The New York Times, 25 January 2002).

    But scientists, including Verfaillie, remain cautious about the findings, as fundamental questions remain unanswered. One is whether MAPCs progress to form functioning cells. The other is whether the MAPCs are reprogrammed back into a semi-embryonic state as a result of the selection process.
    Or was he is citing another Nature article also named The Ultimate Stem Cell Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 3, 148 (2002) which described the work of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) and Wake Forest University showing that macque oocytes can be tricked into dividing into blastocysts without the presence of sperm.

    This is an example of the dishonesty of those who oppose embryonic stem cell research.

    [This message was edited by Wise Young on 05-06-03 at 07:40 PM.]

  8. #8
    Senior Member foster's Avatar
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    This is Gods way. Trying to put fear in people with lies. Sounds like the Govt.

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