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Thread: Biological “space race�, pitting nation against nation in competition to therapeutic Stem Cells

  1. #1
    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    Biological “space race�, pitting nation against nation in competition to therapeutic Stem Cells

    Published on Tuesday, May 04, 2004
    Harvard, God and the Petri Dish
    The University's new stem cell center will advance medicine, despite lack of federal funds

    By THE CRIMSON STAFF


    In labs across the globe, a biological "space race" of sorts is pitting nation against nation in a competition to uncover the therapeutic potential of stem cells. Only this time, the foreign competitors are way ahead.
    In February, South Korean scientists successfully extracted a line of stem cells from a cloned human embryo, a Sputnik-sized embarrassment for U.S. researchers. Stymied by the Bush administration's 2001 prohibition on federal funds for research on newly-created stem cell lines, American scientists have long been confronted by an unattractive choice-use scarce, sometimes inferior government-approved stem cell lines or strike out alone without any federal cash.

    Thanks to the efforts of private donors, however, U.S. research into the creation of new stem cell lines has continued-albeit at a reduced pace. Harvard, to its credit, has led this push. In March, Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Douglas A. Melton made 17 new stem cell lines freely available for private use. And last week, Harvard unveiled plans for a new stem cell center aimed at coordinating the University's research in the area. Funded privately to circumvent government restrictions, the center will help to quicken the pace of American stem cell research.

    And in this line of research, which involves potential cures for life-threatening diseases, pace matters. Stem cell research may be the key to understanding and treating many currently untreatable maladies like Lou Gehrig's disease, diabetes and spinal cord injuries. Harvard's vision-and decision to forge ahead despite short-sighted federal restrictions-is good for the University and good for humanity.

    So it is a shame that so few of America's elected leaders comprehend these long-term benefits.

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=502315

    "Together we stand, divided we fall..."


  2. #2
    What really frightens me to death is Bush will push the UN or just the U.S. and make ESC research illegal. Remember the Brownback bill? This can still happen. We must make sure that GWB does not get re-elected in 2004.

    Deb

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    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    An Impediment to Research

    Published: May 7, 2004

    To the Editor:

    Re "Limits on Stem-Cell Research Re-emerge as a Political Issue" (front page, May 6):

    At the Columbia University Medical Center, we have nearly 400 Ph.D. students and 600 postdoctoral fellows. Some would like to contribute to research on diabetes, paralysis or other clinical problems using human embryonic stem cells. They are well trained, imaginative and exceptionally hard-working. These are the people, at Columbia and similar institutions, who drive biomedical research.

    Yet, because they or their mentors are supported by the National Institutes of Health and the taxpayer, they cannot work on human embryonic stem cells, except for the few inadequate lines that are available.

    It's as if a football coach said to his team, "O.K., guys, we play Green Bay tomorrow, but management says we can't use the first string." The British, with suitable safeguards, are playing their first string.

    And good luck to them. It's time for Congress to let our own dynamic researchers contribute.

    RICHARD H. KESSIN
    New York, May 6, 2004
    The writer is a professor of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia University.

    Source

    "Together we stand, divided we fall..."

  4. #4
    You know what, maybe we sould focus our fund raising and advocacy efforts for Britain or Australia. Obviously, the U.S. is already way behind these other countries and the way things look we aren't going to catch up any time soon. With all of our money going to the war effort and with the ban on ESC and SCNT we will more than likely end up going overseas for therapy. What a shame for such a great country to fall behind so dramatically simply because of a minority that doesn't understand that ESC and SCNT has nothing to do with abortion.

    Deb

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    Senior Member DA's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Debbie7:

    You know what, maybe we sould focus our fund raising and advocacy efforts for Britain or Australia. Obviously, the U.S. is already way behind these other countries and the way things look we aren't going to catch up any time soon. With all of our money going to the war effort and with the ban on ESC and SCNT we will more than likely end up going overseas for therapy. What a shame for such a great country to fall behind so dramatically simply because of a minority that doesn't understand that ESC and SCNT has nothing to do with abortion.

    Deb
    deb where are you getting your information from? mad magazine. focus your fund raising on clinical trials. NOW THATS AN ORDER.

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    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DA:

    deb, focus your fund raising on clinical trials. NOW THATS AN ORDER.
    Ok, we're very anxious to hear what YOU are doing to raise funds for clinical trials

    Faye

    "Together we stand, divided we fall..."


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    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    U.S. slips behind in stem-cell research
    Gareth Cook The Boston Globe Monday, May 24, 2004
    BRNO, Czech Republic Last spring, Petr Dvorak's cellphone rang with the news that his biology lab, a simple concrete building not far from the rolling farmland of Moravia, had just entered the forefront of global science.
    .
    He rushed to work, down a cracked blacktop walkway and past a sagging barbed-wire fence. Then Dvorak, 48, peered through a microscope and saw what had triggered the call: He and his team had isolated a new line of human embryonic stem cells.
    .
    "We were so happy," said Dvorak, a biologist who is a member of the Czech Academy of Sciences. "I couldn't sleep for a week." Although the first human embryonic stem cell line was created in the United States, the majority of new embryonic cell lines - colonies of potent cells with the ability to create any type of tissue in the human body - are now being created overseas, a concrete sign that American science is losing its pre-eminence in a key field of 21st-century research.

    .....the number of cell lines available to the world's researchers, but off-limits to U.S. government-funded researchers, is now much higher: at least 51. It could rise to more than 100 over the coming year. There are three new lines in Dvorak's lab, with four more in progress. And there are also new lines in Sweden, Israel, Finland, and South Korea. Last week, the world's first public bank of embryonic stem cells opened in Britain, a country where there are at least five new lines and more on the way.
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    "Science is like a stream of water, because it finds its way," said Susan Fisher, a stem-cell researcher at the University of California at San Francisco. "And now it has found its way outside the United States."
    .
    Fisher and many other researchers say they are increasingly worried that America is not building a competitive foundation in one of the most active areas of biological discovery.
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    Embryonic stem cells, taken from a microscopic embryo in its first few days of development, are in a sense the most primordial and powerful human cells, and can develop into any part of the body. Many scientists believe that embryonic stem-cell research has the potential to yield profound insights into a range of afflictions, including Parkinson's disease and diabetes.
    .
    For many non-American scientists, the restrictions imposed on the world's leading biomedical power represent an opportunity. Dvorak once used old rum bottles as flasks in his underfunded lab. Now he is talking to a professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ole Isacson, about collaborating on research. "He is swimming," said Isacson, whose laboratory at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, is famous for its research on Parkinson's disease. "But for us, it is like trying to swim on dry land."
    .
    In Britain, there has been contentious public debate over embryonic cell research, but the government has designed a system of strict oversight. With the opening last week of the new U.K. Stem Cell Bank north of London, funded by the government at $4.6 million over three years, Britain is taking an international leadership role. The bank will accept cell lines that meet a set of ethical standards, study and grow them to ensure they are scientifically useful, and then make them available to researchers. In Australia, the government is funding research and helping to set up a national stem cell center. In the Czech Republic, Dvorak's lab at the Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry is part of a center for cell therapy and tissue repair, supported by the government. South Korea has derived almost as many new lines of human embryonic stem cells as the United States, and researchers there were the first to create stem cells from a cloned human embryo. This rush of work is yielding other advances, such as technology that could be key in turning the science of embryonic stem cells into usable therapies.
    .
    All of the cell lines on the U.S-government-approved list are grown on a layer of mouse cells. These cells, called a "feeder layer," sustain the human cells, but could also transmit mouse-borne viruses, making them potentially dangerous for use in humans. Dvorak's lab has just begun working with human feeder cells instead, a technique that could yield cells safe to transplant back into humans. Already, laboratories in Singapore, Israel, Sweden, and Finland have isolated lines of stem cells that do not need mouse feeder cells. Only one American laboratory has done so: Fisher's in California, which is barred from receiving U.S. funding and is supported in part by Geron, a biotech company based in California..

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    "I do not believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
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    Senior Member Jeff's Avatar
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    These articles are exactly what the "Stem Cell Wars" author is talking about. It's a shame that US researchers don't have funding for the full arsenal of tools they could have. But it's also a shame that all the great advances in treating people with adult stem cells are made to appear like they don't exist.

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

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    Senior Member Kaprikorn1's Avatar
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    Faye...could you please refrain from adding bold emphasis to the articles you post. It is distracting to those of us who can read.

    It also could be construed as "altering the form of an original work" and cause copywrite infringement problems for care cure.

    Thank you.

    Kap

    "It's not easy being green"

  10. #10
    I liked that she highlighted the interesting parts in bold. When I first checked the site this morning, I didn't have time to read the whole article.

    Putting something in bold does not alter the original work, if so we'd already be in trouble because CC uses a different font than the news site this was originally posted to.

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