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Thread: "It's the holy grail. It's like turning lead into gold."

  1. #11
    Senior Member kate's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    bellevue, wa, usa
    We ought to be trying to frame the argument this way:

    Because there is right now a safe and ethical source of esc (ivf clinic blastocysts bound for the garbage bin), research ought to be permitted with a clear and definite time limit.

    If it's going to take another X number of years to work with the esc-like cells derived from skin cells, then for that X number of years basic research ought to be ongoing on esc's.

    There is no ethical reason to hold back. There is no slippery slope if the time limit is well-defined. There is every reason to proceed, because every day that passes with no research being done is another day of health and well-being lost to people whose conditions could be cured with esc's.

    Those people have waited for the last 7 years for their government to permit scientists to get to work. Now should they have to wait another 7 years while another kind of cell is developed?

  2. #12

    Stem cell breakthrough:skin not embryos

    This could be big news in the search for a cure everyone! There is bound to be more money devoted to research if the ethical debate about destroying embryos is out of the equasion.Plus, from my very limited understanding,there is the added benefit that rejection is less likely if the cells come from the patients own body.

    BTW found this story on ninemsn, an australian news site

    skin not embryos
    Wednesday Nov 21 05:54 AEDT
    In a major breakthrough, scientists announced overnight they have generated potent stem cells from human skin which could help in the fight against major diseases and sidestep the battle over using embryonic cells.
    The discovery opens the door for promising research into using the blank-slate stem cells to do things like replace diseased or damaged tissues and organs without being forced to destroy embryos in the process, which has led to legal restrictions on research in the United States.
    The researchers in Japan and the United States have also eliminated a major treatment hurdle: skin-derived stem cells could come with a specific patient's genetic code, eliminating the risk that the body would reject transplanted tissues or organs.
    The new method is expected to rapidly advance research in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, diabetes, arthritis, spinal cord injuries, strokes, burns and heart disease because scientists will have much greater access to stem cells.
    "(The) work is monumental in its importance to the field of stem cell science and its potential impact on our ability to accelerate the benefits of this technology to the bedside," said Deepak Srivastava, director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease.
    "Not only does this discovery enable more research, it offers a new pathway to apply the benefits of stem cells to human disease."
    Stem cells are seen as a possible magic bullet because they can be developed into any of the 220 types of cells in the human body.
    But research has been limited in the United States because of ethical concerns, and very few labs have had the resources and technical expertise to work with embryonic stem cells.
    The new method is fairly straightforward and can be repeated by standard labs with relative ease, said study author James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
    "My personal barometer of optimism has gone up a lot," Thomson said in a conference call.
    "Funding is finally going to go up because this does remove the political debate. And as we engage more and more people in the United States things are going to accelerate."
    The White House hailed the discovery as a means of solving medical problems "without compromising either the high aims of science or the sanctity of human life."
    Two teams of researchers were simultaneously able to transform the skin cells by using a retrovirus to insert four different genes into the cells.
    The Japanese team, led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, managed to produce one stem cell line out of every 5,000 cells.
    "This efficiency may sound very low, but it means that from one experiment, with a single ten centimeter dish, you can get multiple iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cell lines," he said, referring to a stem cell type capable of creating any type of cell in the body except those of the placenta.
    The US team, led by Thomson, reprogrammed one of every 10,000 cells but did so without the use of a gene that is known to cause cancer.
    Both techniques have the risk of mutation because the cells retained copies of the virus used to deliver the genes.
    The crucial next step, according to an article in Science magazine, is to find a way to switch on the genes that cause the skin cells to regress into stem cells rather than relying on the retrovirus to insert the genes.
    "It's almost inconceivable at the pace this science is moving that we won't find a way to do this," stem cell researcher Douglas Melton of Harvard University told Science magazine.
    The ability to design patient- and disease-specific stem cells ought to help push research forward even before the mutation risk is eliminated.
    "These cells should be extremely useful in understanding disease mechanisms and screening effective and safe drugs," Yamanaka said. "If we can overcome safety issues, we may be able to use human iPS cells in cell transplantation therapies."
    While the skin cells may eventually prove to be more useful than embryonic stem cells, Yamanaka cautioned that it would be "premature to conclude that iPS cells can replace embryonic stem cells."
    "We are still a long way from finding cures or therapies from stem cells and we don't know what processes will be effective," he added.
    Thomson cautioned it could be a couple years before researchers resolve all the problems with iPS cells and can confirm that they do not eventually act differently than embryonic stem cells.
    Thomson's paper will be published Thursday in the online edition of Science magazine. Yamanaka's paper will be published in the November 30 edition of the journal Cell. Both were released Tuesday.

  3. #13
    Ahh. Right on time for the CDRPA.

    I heard about this on the news this morning.
    No one ever became unsuccessful by helping others out

  4. #14
    Miss September,

    If confirmed by more work, it is a breakthrough. This was actually accomplished a year ago in mouse cells, by yamanaka who had shown the insertion of four genes into mouse skin cells will result in the transformation of the cells into embryonic-like stem cells. The current study essentially shows that this can be done in human fibroblasts. This is great and is a vindication for the work that is being carried out on embryonic stem cells. Without the work on embryonic stem cells, particularly overseas, we would not be where we are in stem cell research.

    It is important to understand, however, that this does not mean that we stop studying embryonic stem cells. At the present, NIH will not allow U.S. laboratories that they fund to study embryonic stem cells derived after August of 2001. Over 600 embryonic stem cell lines have been created since 2001 and scientists in the United States who receive NIH funding are not allowed to touch them in NIH funded facilities. Only laboratories that are funded by state or private funds are allow to do so. Why is this restriction in place? It is not killing any embryos.

    Please don't jump out of the lifeboat yet. While the studies are showing that it is possible to create ESC-like cells from fibroblasts by having them express certain stem cell genes, it is not clear that these cells can make all the different cells of the body, that the cells produced from such cells can actually make animals and people walk, etc. Scientists must now take this finding and move forward with it. It is not time to shut down any research.

    Finally, there must be more funding for clinical trials for stem cell therapies. It is so crazy that scientists are making these important discoveries and yet they are not able to take these discoveries to clinical trials, due to lack of funding.

    Last edited by Wise Young; 12-03-2007 at 02:14 PM. Reason: corrected mistake...

  5. #15
    Senior Member kilgore's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Madison, WI USA
    All progress is good progress, though I do wonder if the talent and resources used in this research could have furthered progress toward effective SCNT-derived cell treatments. Breadth of understanding is good for science as a whole, but folks like us would be better served by depth.

    Is there a chance that the "gene reprogramming" techniques could be used to change cells to specific cell types?

  6. #16
    Senior Member Van Quad's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    A shorter format...


    The technique the Japanese team used to create the new cells:

    1 The scientists began by taking some human skin cells from the face of a 36-year-old woman.

    2 The human skin cells were then injected with four retroviruses -- known as Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc -- that had previously shown success in transforming mouse skin cells into stem cells.

    3 Over several weeks, the cells were seen reverting to something that looked like embryonic stem cells. The cells appeared to be 'pluripotent,' meaning that, like stem cells, they were capable of turning into any type of human tissue.

    4 Final test: the scientists injected growth factors into the new cells to see if they could turn into other types of human tissue. The cells were injected with heart growth factor. Twelve days later, the cells were seen to be beating.

  7. #17
    This science will never pan out. The only reason it is being publicized so widely, is those who have/are morally opposed to hESCs need this to justify their actions. Anyone notice how quickly George Bush issued a public comment? It's propaganda, nothing more.

  8. #18
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2001
    New York USA
    My money is still doing towards embryonic stem cells. That is very good news they found the other cells. Still means 10 years +... this just gives more power to the right to life people & everybody against embryonic stem cells. So you've all heard this good news he probably won't hear anything special about it for a number of years. Don't plan on jumping out of your wheelchairs anytime soon. Unfortunately... just keep on fighting for the funding and making donations doing whatever we can. It's still a long time away. I also hate to say that but we have to face reality. Like I said just keep supporting our scientists & hope they keep on finding more stuff.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Leo's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Yankton, South Dakota
    i agree with the last two

    also need to point out there are already a few non-contriversal things that are ready for trials now

    show us the money

    2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

    "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

    .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."

  10. #20
    Senior Member Schmeky's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
    West Monroe, LA, USA

    I agree. This is more discovery than therapeutic intervention. Some hESC's are ready for trials, whereas these skin derived cells are most likely many years away.

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