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Thread: Philadelphia Chapter President of SCS says..

  1. #1

    Philadelphia Chapter President of SCS says..

    Not enough money for both?
    ________________________________
    "...thought I needed to respond. There seems to be alot of confusion about
    stem cell research and I think some of it has been intentional,(specifically
    by the Kerry/Edwards campaign). I spoke at a Kerry/Edwards press conference
    last month on stem cell research. I was invited to what I thought was going
    to be a fair discussion of the President's ban and how it could affect us.
    Just the opposite occurred.

    First and foremost we need to be clear about what we're discussing, there
    are TWO types of stem cells, embryotic (fetal), and adult stem cells. The
    current ban is on federal money for fetal stem cell research on cell lines
    other than those available at the time of the ban (~ 87 worldwide). Anyone
    in this country can do research with fetal stem cells with their own money,
    or if they want to use our federal money they are limited to these specific
    lines. This is what the ban means and it is almost never presented clearly.

    For those of us interested in potential cures we need to be aware of the
    research. Fetal stem cells are VERY problematic, mainly noone has figured
    out a way to rein them in. Chinese researchers found out the hard way when
    they tried to treat a Parkinsonian patient with fetal stem cells a few years
    ago. The patient got some improvement but soon developed a brain tumor and
    was dead within two years. An autopsy showed that the stem cells had
    morphed into bone and muscle tissue. Conversely, our group (SCS), started
    human trials with adult stem cells four years ago, and although we were only
    allowed to do one patient, that patient went from stage 3 to stage 1 after
    only one treatment and has remained healthy for the last four years.

    Both scientifically and ethically the obvious choice in where our limited
    research dollars should go is adult stem cells. Adult stem cells come from
    our own bodies so there is no problem of rejection that one would have with
    fetal stem cells. Also it come down to greed and money. The end product of
    fetal stem cells could be patented and the companies developing could charge
    whatever the market bares. On the other hand, adult stem cells harvested
    from our bodies are very cheap.

    For anyone who reads the current research literature, and understands the
    problems and limitations, the preference for research into adult stem cells
    should be clear. People may ask why not do both? The short answer is that
    even the government has only a limited amount of money for research. Money
    spent on fetal stem cell research means less money on the more promising
    adult stem cell research, which translates into an even longer wait for our
    cures. I find it disgusting to see politicians try to use medical research
    as a political tool against each other. If we allow Kerry/Edwards to
    promote a technology, (which they also know is inferior), with our federal
    money, than we will be waiting even longer for the cures we seek.



    Chris Cellucci, Ph.D.
    President, Philadelphia Chapter of the Spinal Cord Society
    Associate Professor
    Department of Physics
    Ursinus College
    Collegeville, PA 19426
    (610) 409-3000 (ext. 2452)
    ccellucci@ursinus.edu
    ________________________________

    J.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DA's Avatar
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    there isn't enough for both...bull.
    there is more than enough money for both if the usa cared. however adult stem cell would be an easier and quicker path.

  3. #3
    Banned Faye's Avatar
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    Hi NoDecafPlz,

    I've been a member of SCS since 1998, and always agreed with their single-mindedness in pursuit of a Cure. I also agree with their careful approach in preventing secondary problems such as rejection, which is why they have focused solely on autologous stem cells. However Dr. Carlson, President of SCS has repeatedly said that if they found out that ESC may be better they would not mind directing their research towards ESC application.
    As a matter of fact I've told Hope2FindaCure that I've been meaning to write him a letter to ask him if SCS is ready to consider moving to ESC research.
    BTW the singlemindedness of SCS with their motto CURE NOT CARE and their monthly newsletters were my source of strength. At the time spine wire was not very focused.

    "We have a chance to take a giant stride forward for the good of all humanity" in the next election. "We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology."- Ron Reagan Jr.

    [This message was edited by Faye on 09-30-04 at 05:39 PM.]

  4. #4
    whats the SCS web site please

  5. #5
    Joe,

    I disagree with Dr. Cellucci.

    1. Dr. Celluci equates embryonic and fetal cells. As used in the field now, the term "embryonic stem cells" refers to stem cells obtained from blastocysts. Fetal stem cells are obtained from later stages of development from about 6 weeks to delivery. Although President Bush claimed that there were 87 embryonic stem cell lines, this has been proven to be false. NIH admitted this more than two years ago. After spending millions on centers to validate the lines over the past three years, NIH acknowledges that there are currently only about 21 validated cell lines that can be studied with NIH research funds. Dr. Celluci clearly does not know the embryonic stem cell situation. Incidentally, none of the approved stem cell lines can be used in humans because all were grown on mouse feeder cells. The limitations on NIH funding of embryonic stem cell research has held back the field. Only recently have scientists discovered how to culture human embryonic stem cells without using mouse feeder cells (Rosler, et al., 2004). However, none of many human embryonic stem cell lines isolated since 2001 can be studied with NIH funds.

    2. Dr. Cellucci claims that "fetal stem cells are VERY problematic, mainly noone has figured out a way to rein them in". While embryonic stem cells do have a tendency to produce tumors (e.g. Erdo, et al., 2004), the risk can be limited by treating the cells with factors before transplantation (e.g. Kogler, et al., 2004; Asano, et al., 2003). Many laboratories have reported successful use of mouse embryonic stem cells in animal models without tumor production. For example, one laboratory successfully treated diabetes in mice without producing tumors (Hori, et al., 2002). Furthermore, new techniques are being developed to control tumor formation by inserting certain genes that make transplanted embryonic stem cells sensitive to certain drugs (Schuldiner, et al., 2003). This is a solvable problem.

    3. Dr. Celluci cites a case of a Chinese patient with Parkinson's disease that died of a tumor, apparently from Charles Krauthammer (2001) in an article entitled "The great stem cell hoax" in the Weekly Standard, August 20/August 27, 2001, p. 12. I don't know where Krauthammer got this story and he unfortunately does not document his source. To my knowledge, there has never been any embryonic stem cell treatment applied to humans. Krauthammer may have been referring to fetal neural stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells. In any case, many hundreds of people in the United States, Europe, and China have receive fetal cell transplants for Parkinson's disease. To my knowledge, no tumor has ever been reported in human associated with fetal or embryonic cell transplants.

    4. Dr. Cellucci seems to fear "rejection" to the point that he believes that autologous transplants are the only way. He neglects to mention that heterologous cell transplants (from one individual to another) have been practiced for many decades in millions of patients. Hundreds of Parkinson's patients have received fetal stem cells, transplanted from aborted fetuses. Dr. Hongyun Huang in Beijing has transplanted over heterologous fetal olfactory ensheathing glia into the brain or spinal cords of over 500 patients. Umbilical cord blood cell transplants have been done in tens of thousands of people. Likewise, heterologous bone marrow transplants are being done in many thousands of people and heterologous organ transplants have been done in hundreds of thousands of people. Finally, of course, heterologous blood transfusions have been successfully used in many millions of people. What is the basis of his fear of "rejection"?

    5. Dr. Cellucci suggests that "adult stem cells harvested from our bodies are very cheap". In fact, adult stem cells harvested from our bodies are not cheap. It is estimated, for example, that a typical bone marrow harvesting and transplant procedures may costs as much as $50,000. It is very costly to harvest and grow cells for transplantation. I understand, for example, that the autologous transplants of activated macrophages for spinal cord injury (i.e. Proneuron) costs over $50,000 per patient. It is not clear that adult stem cells will be cheaper than embryonic stem cells.

    6. Dr. Cellucci claims that the adult stem cells are more promising than embryonic stem cell research. While I am a strong supporter of adult and umbilical cord blood cells, and in fact am doing umbilical cord blood cell research in my laboratory, I don't think that the data warrants his claim. If Dr. Celluci were to spend any time studying the literature, he will realize that adult stem cell research is quite controversial and that evidence of the beneficial effects of adult stem cells in spinal cord injury is currently quite limited. If adult stem cell therapies are really so promising, why aren't they being used now to treat spinal cord injury? NIH probably funds hundreds of millions of dollars of adult stem cell research every year. I estimate that over a billion dollars have been spent on adult stem cell research during the past decade.

    7. Dr. Cellucci suggests that "for anybody who reads the current research literature, and understands the problems and limitations, the preference from research in adult stem cells should be clear." He claims that "even the government has a limited amount of money for research. Money spent on fetal stem cell research means less money on the more promising adult stem cell research, which translates into an even longer wait for our cures. I find it disgusting to see politicians try to use medical research as a political tool against each other." I want to remind everybody that nobody is limiting adult stem cell research at all and that Dr. Cellucci is arguing for limiting embryonic stem cell research. Why are we not allowing science to go where the best science leads us? If embryonic stem cell research does not show promising results, so be it. However, if embryonic stem cells turn out to be better than adult stem cells, it would be unconscionable to shut down the research. Scientists also need to study embryonic stem cells to understand how they do what they do, how they are able to grow indefinitely, and how they differentiate. Embryonic stem cell biology is a fundamental area of biomedical research. I notice that Dr. Celluci is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics of Ursinus College. I don't know what field of physics he studies but his argument for limiting human embryonic stem cell research is equivalent to my arguing that physicists should be allowed to study only 21 stars in the galaxy because money spent on studying of other stars will divert from the study of the moon. I am saddened by such an argument. Now, if Dr. Celluci believes that embryonic stem cell research is immoral, I would respect his right not to partake in embryonic stem cell therapies. I would even respect his right to object to his tax dollars being used for immoral research. But, I don't think that he is making that argument. He is closing down this research for everybody, not just himself. That is not right.

    Wise.

    References Cited

    • Rosler ES, Fisk GJ, Ares X, Irving J, Miura T, Rao MS and Carpenter MK (2004). Long-term culture of human embryonic stem cells in feeder-free conditions. Dev Dyn. 229: 259-74. Geron Corporation, Menlo Park, California, USA. We have demonstrated previously that human embryonic stem (hES) cells possess a characteristic morphologic, antigenic, and molecular profile that can be used to assess the state of ES cells (Carpenter et al., [2004] Dev Dyn 229:243-258). In this manuscript, we have examined the long-term stability of three hES cell lines in feeder-free culture. We demonstrate that the expression of antigens and transcription factors, telomerase activity, telomere length, and karyotype appear stable for all three hES cell lines after continuous culture for over 1 yr. All three lines retained pluripotent differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Although hES cell lines were remarkably stable over the period of analysis, a detailed quantitative analysis of antigen expression by flow cytometry and gene expression by microarray suggested that cell lines show subtle differences in the expression of small subsets of genes upon long-term culture.

    • Erdo F, Trapp T, Buhrle C, Fleischmann B and Hossmann KA (2004). [Embryonic stem cell therapy in experimental stroke: host-dependent malignant transformation]. Orv Hetil. 145: 1307-13. Experimentelle Neurologie, Max-Planck Institut fur neurologische Forschung, Koln, Nemetorszag. franciska.erdo@idri.hu. INTRODUCTION: Therapeutic application of embryonic stem cells in neurodegenerative disorders like stroke is widely investigated in preclinical animal models. AIM: The authors studied the therapeutic potential of murine embryonic stem cells in two rodent models of stroke. METHODS: Undifferentiated and predifferentiated stem cells were implanted into the non-ischemic hemisphere of mice and rats following focal brain ischemia. The brains were analysed by immunohistochemistry and histology. The in vitro differentiation of the cells was checked by immunocytochemistry and Western-blot. RESULTS: After xenotransplantation in rats undifferentiated cells migrated along the corpus callosum towards the ischemic injury. Later stem cells differentiated into neurons in the border zone of the lesion. In the homologous mouse brain, the same murine embryonic stem cells did not migrate, but produced highly malignant teratocarcinomas at the site of implantation, independent of whether they were predifferentiated in vitro to neural progenitor cells. These experiments demonstrated a hitherto unrecognized adverse outcome after xenotransplantation and homologous transplantation of embryonic stem cells. CONCLUSION: This observation raises serious concerns about safety provisions when the therapeutic potential of human embryonic stem cells is tested in preclinical animal models. The clinical trials are based on the positive outcome of the xenologous experiments.

    • Kogler G, Sensken S, Airey JA, Trapp T, Muschen M, Feldhahn N, Liedtke S, Sorg RV, Fischer J, Rosenbaum C, Greschat S, Knipper A, Bender J, Degistirici O, Gao J, Caplan AI, Colletti EJ, Almeida-Porada G, Muller HW, Zanjani E and Wernet P (2004). A new human somatic stem cell from placental cord blood with intrinsic pluripotent differentiation potential. J Exp Med. 200: 123-35. Institute for Transplantation Diagnostics and Cell Therapeutics, Heinrich Heine University Medical Center, Moorenstrasse 5, 40225 Dusseldorf, Germany. koegler@itz.uni-duesseldorf.de. Here a new, intrinsically pluripotent, CD45-negative population from human cord blood, termed unrestricted somatic stem cells (USSCs) is described. This rare population grows adherently and can be expanded to 10(15) cells without losing pluripotency. In vitro USSCs showed homogeneous differentiation into osteoblasts, chondroblasts, adipocytes, and hematopoietic and neural cells including astrocytes and neurons that express neurofilament, sodium channel protein, and various neurotransmitter phenotypes. Stereotactic implantation of USSCs into intact adult rat brain revealed that human Tau-positive cells persisted for up to 3 mo and showed migratory activity and a typical neuron-like morphology. In vivo differentiation of USSCs along mesodermal and endodermal pathways was demonstrated in animal models. Bony reconstitution was observed after transplantation of USSC-loaded calcium phosphate cylinders in nude rat femurs. Chondrogenesis occurred after transplanting cell-loaded gelfoam sponges into nude mice. Transplantation of USSCs in a noninjury model, the preimmune fetal sheep, resulted in up to 5% human hematopoietic engraftment. More than 20% albumin-producing human parenchymal hepatic cells with absence of cell fusion and substantial numbers of human cardiomyocytes in both atria and ventricles of the sheep heart were detected many months after USSC transplantation. No tumor formation was observed in any of these animals.

    • Rosler ES, Fisk GJ, Ares X, Irving J, Miura T, Rao MS and Carpenter MK (2004). Long-term culture of human embryonic stem cells in feeder-free conditions. Dev Dyn. 229: 259-74. Geron Corporation, Menlo Park, California, USA. We have demonstrated previously that human embryonic stem (hES) cells possess a characteristic morphologic, antigenic, and molecular profile that can be used to assess the state of ES cells (Carpenter et al., [2004] Dev Dyn 229:243-258). In this manuscript, we have examined the long-term stability of three hES cell lines in feeder-free culture. We demonstrate that the expression of antigens and transcription factors, telomerase activity, telomere length, and karyotype appear stable for all three hES cell lines after continuous culture for over 1 yr. All three lines retained pluripotent differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Although hES cell lines were remarkably stable over the period of analysis, a detailed quantitative analysis of antigen expression by flow cytometry and gene expression by microarray suggested that cell lines show subtle differences in the expression of small subsets of genes upon long-term culture.

    • Hori Y, Rulifson IC, Tsai BC, Heit JJ, Cahoy JD and Kim SK (2002). Growth inhibitors promote differentiation of insulin-producing tissue from embryonic stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 99: 16105-10. Department of Developmental Biology and Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. The use of embryonic stem cells for cell-replacement therapy in diseases like diabetes mellitus requires methods to control the development of multipotent cells. We report that treatment of mouse embryonic stem cells with inhibitors of phosphoinositide 3-kinase, an essential intracellular signaling regulator, produced cells that resembled pancreatic beta cells in several ways. These cells aggregated in structures similar, but not identical, to pancreatic islets of Langerhans, produced insulin at levels far greater than previously reported, and displayed glucose-dependent insulin release in vitro. Transplantation of these cell aggregates increased circulating insulin levels, reduced weight loss, improved glycemic control, and completely rescued survival in mice with diabetes mellitus. Graft removal resulted in rapid relapse and death. Graft analysis revealed that transplanted insulin-producing cells remained differentiated, enlarged, and did not form detectable tumors. These results provide evidence that embryonic stem cells can serve as the source of insulin-producing replacement tissue in an experimental model of diabetes mellitus. Strategies for producing cells that can replace islet functions described here can be adapted for similar uses with human cells.

    • Schuldiner M, Itskovitz-Eldor J and Benvenisty N (2003). Selective ablation of human embryonic stem cells expressing a "suicide" gene. Stem Cells. 21: 257-65. Department of Genetics, Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Over the past few years, technological procedures have been developed for utilizing stem cells in transplantation medicine. Human embryonic stem (ES) cells can produce an unlimited number of differentiated cells and are, therefore, considered a potential source of cellular material for use in transplantation medicine. However, serious clinical problems can arise when uncontrolled cell proliferation occurs following transplantation. To avoid these potential problems, we genetically engineered human ES cell lines to express the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) gene. Expression of the HSV-tk protein renders the ES cells sensitive to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug ganciclovir, inducing destruction of HSV-tk(+) cells at ganciclovir concentrations that are nonlethal to other cell types. The reversion rate of engineered cells was low even under prolonged selection with ganciclovir. The HSV-tk(+) clones retained a normal karyotype and the ability to differentiate to cells from all three germ layers. Most importantly, tumors that arose in mice following subcutaneous injection of HSV-tk(+) human ES cells could be ablated in vivo by administration of ganciclovir. By utilizing these cell lines, safety levels can be improved in transplantations involving tissues derived from human ES cells.

  6. #6
    BTW the singlemindedness of SCS with their motto CURE NOT CARE and their monthly newsletters were my source of strength. At the time spine wire was not very focused.
    Faye

    Good for you, some people need care too. I have been so tormented by this notion of cure vs care. It shouldn't be you have to chose one or the other. I applaud your cure efforts but please don't make it a one or the other thing.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rvr's Avatar
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    too bad/seems odd nobody ever tells us we need to choose between a war, foreign aid to human rights violators, welfare fraud or useless political conventions, etc and ESC/ASC research... seems to me those would be choices that actually make sense...

    reminds me of the old "if you won't let us raise taxes for a admin pay hike, we'll have to cut fire/police/ services/etc" extortion routine... too many folks miss the big picture as the fear takes over...

    there's lots of money - it's just being spent un-Wise-ly (sorry doc, couldn't resist)...

    rvr

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