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Stem Cell FAQ – Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Posted: July 27, 2016 at 2:47 am

Why are doctors and scientists so excited about stem cells?

Stem cells have potential in many different areas of health and medical research.

Adult and embryonic stem cells differ in the type of cells that they can develop into.Embryonic stem cells can become all cell types of the body (they arepluripotent). Adult stem cells are found in mature tissues (bone marrow, skin, brain, etc.) and give rise to other cell types from their tissue or origin (they are are multipotent). For example, adult blood stem cells give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

Adult stem cells are thought to exist in every type of tissue in the body. But, to date, the isolation of many types of adult stem cells has been limited. Hematopoietic (blood) stem cells are readily available via bone marrow aspiration. But stem cells for solid organs such as liver or brain have proven more difficult to identify and derive. The hope is that hESCs can be used to derive every type of adult stem cell in the body and allow research that is currently not possible.

Embryonic stem cells are isolated from 3 to 5 day old human embryos at the blastocyst stage. The blastocyst is a hollow microscopic cluster of several hundred undifferentiated cells.

This is a culture of hESCs derived from a single embryo. Because stem cells can self-replicate, just a few hESCs can give rise to a whole population of identical hESCs, or a cell line.

Once established, a cell line can be grown in the laboratory indefinitely and cells may be frozen for later use or distributed to other researchers. Because each cell line has its own distinct genetic footprint, researchers are often interested in using the same cell line for a number of related experiments.

No. At this point, the promise is huge, but hESC research is still in its early stages. Human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research only began in 1998, when a group led by Dr. James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin developed a technique to isolate and grow the cells.

In late January 2009, the California-based company Geron received FDA clearance to begin the first human clinical trial of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. View Geron press release

In contrast, research with adult stem cells such as blood-forming stem cells in bone marrow (called hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs) has been active for over decades. And this research has resulted in treatment of patients; for example, bone marrow (stem cell) transplants have been conducted for over 40 years.

In addition, studies with a limited number of patients have demonstrated the clinical potential of adult stem cells in the treatment of other human diseases that include diabetes and advanced kidney cancer.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are cells that began as normal adult cells (for example, a skin cell) and were engineered (induced) by scientists to become pluripotent, that is, able to form all cell types of the body. This process is often called ‘reprogramming.’ While iPS cells and embryonic stem cells share many characteristics they are not identical. Scientists are currently exploring whether they differ in clinically significant ways.

The technology used to generate iPS cells holds great promise for creating patient- and disease-specific cell lines for research purposes. These cells are already useful tools for drug development and scientists hope to use them in transplantation medicine. However, additional research is needed before the reprogramming techniques can be used to generate stem cells suitable for safe and effective therapies.

Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), is a technique in which the nucleus of a somatic cell (any cell of the body except sperm and egg cells) is injected, or transplanted, into an egg, that has had its nucleus removed. The product of SCNT has the same genetic material as the somatic cell donor.

Yes. SCNT is a technique of cloning. The product of SCNT is nearly genetically identical to the somatic cell used in the process. (Of note, the product of SCNT is not technically 100% identical in that the cytoplasm of the oocyte includes mitochondrial DNA.) While SCNT is considered cloning, it is important to differentiate between therapeutic and reproductive cloning. The following FAQ addresses these differences.

Reproductive cloning includes the placement of the product of SCNT into a uterus for the purpose of a live birth. The resulting organism would, in theory, be the genetic copy of the somatic cell donor. Reproductive cloning has been performed in animals for many years and is burdened by many technical and biological problems. Only about 1 percent of all the eggs that receive donor DNA can develop into normal surviving clones. Therapeutic cloning uses SCNT for the sole purpose of deriving cells for research, and potentially in the future for therapy. In therapeutic cloning, the product of SCNT is not placed into a uterus and hence a live birth is never a possibility. Therapeutic cloning provides two potential benefits.

Yes. Massachusetts state law that was enacted in May 2005 allows hESC research and it allows the derivation of hESCs from embryos that were created for reproductive purposes and are no longer needed for reproduction and from somatic cell nuclear transfer.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued guidelines for hESC research in April 2005, and subsequently updated those guidelines in 2007 and 2008. The current guidelines contain detailed recommendations with regard to many aspects of hESC research, including:

No. IRB approval is required for:

Until recently, the federal government limited its funding to specific hESCs derived before August 9, 2001. Specifically, federal funds were only allowed for research on hESCs listed on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Registry, and on derivative products from hESCs on the NIH Registry. On March 9, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order clearing the way for the NIH and other federal agencies to fund research using all kinds of hESCs.

Human embryonic stem cell research at the Center for Regenerative Medicine has been supportedin partby private philanthropic donations. These donations allowed us to support a wide range of research activities that could not have been supported from other sources such as NIH funding. In the future, we expect to receive support for eligible activities from NIH and other funding agencies.

The Center for Regenerative Medicine depends upon philanthropic support. To find out how you can help accelerate research and discovery, please click here.

The Center for Regenerative Medicine is dedicated to understanding how tissues are formed and may be repaired in settings of injury. Embedded at Mass General Hospital, the Center’s primary goal is to develop novel therapies to regenerate damaged tissues and thereby overcome debilitating chronic disease. The success of this effort requires a cohesive team of scientists and clinicians with diverse areas of expertise, but with a shared mission and dedication to the larger goal.

The Center for Regenerative Medicine has extensive interactions with other investigators at MGH and in the broader Harvard-MIT community. The Center helped galvanize the establishment of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), which is co-directed by Dr. Scadden and Dr. Douglas Melton of Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biologyand the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As an important confederated partner of HSCI, the Center brings specific features that augment other elements of HSCI, including unique stem cell clinical investigation expertise and ongoing collaborative clinical trials using stem cell transplantation. The Center emphasizes technologies that will ultimately be critical for the success of stem cell based medicine, including bioengineering, biomaterials expertise, close links to in vivo imaging capability and its GMP facility for sophisticated cell manipulation.

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Stem Cell FAQ – Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

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Stem Cell Facts – University of Massachusetts Medical School

Posted: at 2:47 am

What Are Embryonic Stem Cells?

Embryonic stem (ES) cells are a collection of cells found only in very early development which are the precursors to every celltypein the human body. The vast majority of cells in the body (somatic cells) fall into specific classes or types, such as muscle, bone and neurons, each of which have unique characteristics and functions. However, these cells are not interchangeable(a muscle cell cannot become a neuron) and most of these cells have lost the ability to multiply to create new cells. ES cells differ from all other cells in two important ways. First, they can be induced tochange, or differentiate, into virtually any cell type. Second, unlike somatic cells which have finite lifespans, ES cell can grow indefinitely in culture. These two unique characteristics give ES cells enormous potential to medicine and science.

Embryonic stem cells are important to medicine because of their ability to change into other cell types. This ability means that ES cells have the potential to repair damaged organs and replace cells that do not function properly. Since they can multiply indefinitely, the large numbers of cells necessary to repair or replace these tissues can be produced. Thus, the hope is that ES cells can be a renewable source of replacement cells that can be used to treat a number of medical problems including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, burns, spinal cord damage and heart disease.

Recent publications have described the derivation of ES-like induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from adult mouse and human cells(Nakagawa et al., 2008;Takahashi et al., 2007;Yu et al., 2007). These researchers introduced specific sets of genes encoding transcription factors which are normally expressed in undifferentiated ES cells. The expression of these genes resulted in thereprogramming of the adult cells to a more ES-like or pluripotent state. While the initial studies indicate that these cells share characteristics of true ES cells, more detailed work is needed to determine how closely they resemble ES cells. In addition, the reintroduction of these genes can have adverse consequences. For instance, the use of retroviruses and the potential for reactivation of introduced genes such as c-myc and Oct-4 can increase the risk of cancer. These issues will need to be addressed if iPS technology will have clinical applications.

The human body has a relatively small number of cells, called adult stem cells that are capable of differentiating into a limited range of cell types. For instance, blood stem cells are capable of changing into a number or different types of blood cells. These adult ES are also of enormous importance to medicine. However, they have limitations that ES cells do not. First, they are limited in the number of types of cells into which they can change. For instance, blood stem cells cannot form bone. In addition, unlike ES cells adult stem cells do not appear to have the same capacity to multiply indefinitely. They have also been more difficult to grow in the laboratory. So, while adult stem cells are important, they cannot be viewed at this time as a replacement for ES cells. Research into all types of stem cells is needed in order to advance medicines ability to treat disease.

Types of Stem Cells

hES Cells


iPS Cells

Adult Stem Cells

Derivation Method

Removal of cells from ICM of blastocyst embryo from IVF.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. Transfer of somatic cell nucleus to enucleated egg, development to blastocyst, removal of ICM.

Reprogramming of somatic cells by introduction of specific regulatory factor genes.

Isolation from adult tissues.


Differentiate into all cell types.

Excess of IVF embryos exist.

Differentiate into all cell types.

Stem cells can be matched to patient

ES cell like characteristics.

Stem cells can be matched to patient

Doesn’t require embryos.

Successful treatments demonstrated.

Stem cells can be matched to patient


Limited number of lines available for federally funded research.

Immune rejection issues

Risk of tumors (teratomas) from transplanting undifferentiated cells.

Requires use of embryo.

Risk of tumors (teratomas) from transplanting undifferentiated cells.

Eggs difficult to obtain.

Unknown if cells can differentiate into all cell types.

Risk of tumors (teratomas) from transplanting undifferentiated cells and from expression of introduced genes.

Cells not found in all tissues.

Produce a limited number of cell types.

Difficult to identify, isolate and grow.


Stem Cell Basics Prepared by the National Institutes of Health, this primer on stem cells answers a number of fundamental questions about the properties and potential uses of embryonic and adult stem cells with a glossary of terms and illustrations.

Tell Me About Stem Cells This site, created by Harvard and MIT, provides basic information about stem cells in plain language with illustrations.

Understanding Stem Cells Developed and published by the National Academy of Sciences, this free booklet (available as a 1.13 MB PDF, 24 pages) provides information on what stem cells are and why stem cell research is important, as well as the ethical and legal issues surrounding stem cells.

EuroStemCell This website presents information and educational resources about stem cells from a European perspective.

National Institutes of Health Stem Cell FAQs This page contains a wealth of information, from basic questions about stem cells, to research and potential clinical uses of stem cells as well as US government policies.

ISSCR Stem Cell FAQs Prepared by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, this page addresses a number of basic questions about embryonic and adult stem cells, their origins and potential uses.

MedlinePlus: Stem Cells This site offers a number of useful links for those seeking health-related information about embryonic and adult stem cells; from basic information to disease specific sites to links to clinical trials.

A Closer Look at Stem Cell Treatments This site is designed to arm patients, their families and doctors with information they need to make decisions about stem cell treatments. The content of this site is based on recommendations from the ISSCR’s Task Force on Unproven Stem Cell Treatments.

21st Century Snake Oil A CBS 60 minutes story from 2010 that serves as a warning about unscrupulous stem cell therapies.


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Stem Cell Facts – University of Massachusetts Medical School

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The Stem Cellar | The Official Blog of CIRM, California’s …

Posted: July 26, 2016 at 6:06 am

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Best Master’s Degrees in Biotechnology 2016

Posted: at 12:46 am

Biotechnology is a top-notch field of study that emerged into the scientific world as a result of revolutions in Biology, Chemistry, Informatics, and Engineering. It is considered to be an applied branch of Biology. Biotechnology helps out this old and respectable field of science keep up with the pace of time and remain competitive in the contemporary world.

With a Master in Biotechnology, students will study the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in technology, engineering, medicine, agriculture and results in all kinds of bioproducts, from genetically modified food to serious cutting-edge devices used to carry out gene therapy. Students in Master in Biotechnology programs may also explore bioinformatics, which is the application of statistics and computer science to the field of molecular biology. Bioinformatics is extremely important for contemporary biological and molecular researches because the data amount there grows by geometric progression and it is necessary to have adequate technology to process it. Bioinformatic methods are widely used for mapping and analyzing DNA and protein samples, as well as for the study of genetics and molecular modeling. Biotechnology and Bioinformatics do a great favour to traditional fields of study, refreshing them with new methods of research, which allows their drastic development, and you can make your contribution with a Master in Biotechnology degree.

Find out about various Master in Biotechnology programs by following the links below. Don’t hesitate to send the “Request free information” form to come in contact with the relevant person at the school and get even more information about the specific Master in Biotechnology program you are interested in.

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Best Master’s Degrees in Biotechnology 2016

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The big debate: Stem cell research –

Posted: July 25, 2016 at 5:42 am

(CNN) — Is George W. Bush right to veto the easing of federal funding restrictions on stem cell research?

Stem cells may hold the key to curing diseases like Parkinson’s — but to make them, days-old embryos must be destroyed. In May this year, the U.S. Senate passed a bill easing federal funding restrictions on stem cell research, but President Bush has again vetoed the bill, citing moral grounds.

We ask you: is the cost of stem cell research outweighed by the possibilities that it holds?

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the building blocks of the human body. They can split and grow into any sort of cell: liver, heart, skin, nerve cells and more.

Stem cells can be harvested from adults and from umbilical cord blood, but at the moment, the most effective stem cells for research are found in days-old embryos.

What do people want to do with them?

Supporters of stem cell research hope that the cells will yield treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes, as well as spinal-cord injuries.

What’s the debate?

In the USA, President George W. Bush used the first veto of his presidency to kill a 2006 effort to loosen his policy on stem-cell research, which bars the use of federal funding for work that would destroy human embryos.

In April this year, the Senate approved a measure that would roll back President Bush’s 2001 limits on embryonic stem-cell research, but the margin was short of the two-thirds needed to override another promised veto.

In a statement issued after the Senate vote, he said he would veto the new bill as well, saying it “crosses a moral line that I and many others find troubling.” As promised, he vetoed the bill in June.

What’s happening elsewhere?

The British government made a dramatic U-turn in May this year, when it withdrew a proposed ban on research into hybrid embryos — stem cells made by, for example, injecting human DNA into empty animal cells. Similar research, creating human embryos from animal eggs, is currently underway in China and the United States, the Associated Press reported.

Why do people support stem cell research?

People with chronic and genetic diseases say that stem cell research could be their only hope of finding a cure. Scientists in countries like the USA and Britain say that banning stem cell research would not stop it from taking place elsewhere, and that it should be properly monitored and regulated.

Why do people oppose it?

Many pro-life campaigners equate the procedure to abortion because days-old human embryos are destroyed when the cells are extracted. Some critics also say that stem cell research is an unwanted step towards human cloning.

Are there any other options?

Stem cells harvested from adults and umbilical cord blood are alternatives, as are stem cells created from hybrid cells. At the moment, embryonic stem cells are preferred because they have the greatest ability to divide.

However, scientists led by Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University announced in June this year that they had managed to coax a mouse skin cell to reverse its development and return to an embryonic stage where it produced stem cells, Time reported.

What do you think?

Now it’s your turn. Is President Bush right to restrict the funding for stem cell research, or should scientists be able to explore the opportunities it offers? Where, if anywhere, should the line be drawn? Share your views, and we’ll print the best comments here.


From: Dave McIntosh, Calgary, AB, Canada Date: September 4, 2007 Your view: I believe stem cell research should be allowed, people should be granted a chance for recovery. People think to narrow mindly about it, imagine it was yourself in the situation of the individuals who suffer from the diseases and conditions that could be repaired with some research.

From: Cindy Davis, Mississippi, USA Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: Stem Cell research should absolutely be allowed, and Federally funded. I understand that Bush has a ‘moral’, at least in his mind, obligation to protect unborn embryos, but by denying money to stem cell research he is denying his ‘moral’ obligations to the many Americans that are in pain and that are suffering because of deblitating diseases that may be cured by Stem Cell Research. True, the diseases may not be cured in Bush’s lifetime, or even in the Americans afflicted lifetimes, but steps can be made now to ensure that a cure is eventually found. Bush needs to look at the country, and world, as a whole instead of focusing on the embryos that will most likely never be used again. Why should morals be applied to something that is techniqually not alive?

From: Uriel Epstein, NJ, USA Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: I believe that Bush is absolutely wrong in his decision to veto the stem cell research bill. Stem cell research could have an enormous array of positive results. Paraplegics could walk again, blind people could see again, and it could save the lives of many, many others. At only a few days, the fetus is really just a bunch of cells. It can not think, it can not feel, whereas the thousands of paralyzed people, or people who are near death because of other conditions can. These fetuses would not just be destroyed; they would be used to save the lives of thousands of living, breathing, and feeling humans.

From: julia lucas, Mississauga, Canada Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: I have a 17 year old son who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 13. I was devastated by this, but I could not let him see my pain. He was courageous then, and almost 4 years later, he still is. He was so pleased with his needles, and couldn’t wait to tell me how this was going to be his new life. I was struck with profound grief, but inside, I knew I would do everything I could to help my son live as normal a life as possible. Our world is growing increasingly complicated and fearful and therefore, hope must never be taken away from those who need it most. If stem cells will move humanity towards greater compassion, then I believe this is the right direction to take.

From: Jack Carter, Hong Kong Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: I am undecided on this issue but am concerned about comments by some who attack Bush for whatever decision he makes. The media has failed miserably to not report in the same sound byte’s that Bush also issued an Executive Order to fund research in turning adult stem cells into ones that have ’embryotic’ qualities. Surely that makes alot of sense and removes the ‘moral’ issues. Are the Bush nay sayer’s that unconfident in our scientists to achieve this goal?

From: Manjit Manhas, Surrey, BC, Canada Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: This is the price of human evolution which we must and will pay. We can not go back to the dark past, for that we will need to de-evolve. Since that is not a possibility, we as modern society must move forward very carefully with a balanced approach one that respects life and the other that allows human awareness to expand to meet new challenges. I see so much beauty ahead of us.

From: Alexandra Waugh, New Brunswick, Canada Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: Stem Cell research is the future. The amount of money the U.S. has could make an amazing contribution to curing many diseases. Bush, as usual is taking a step backwards. They are funding a war that KILLS many innocent people everyday. How is it morrally different to use a dish of cells (from fertility facilities that would be discarded regardless) to SAVE people’s lives worldwide?

From: Skip Barnes, Dallas, USA Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: I am an American, and I am ashamed that we have a president that refuses to listen to science, but claims to talk to Jesus.

From: Mike Stewart, Farmersville, USA Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: George Bush is SO far out of touch with the people of the US, the world and the scientific world it is absolutely ridiculous! He is NOT the Pope and if idiots like him would understand the importance of research like this, my father might still be alive. But GW wouldn’t know about that beause he is rich and his parents are still alive and in good health! Makes me wonder what would happen if it was his mom or dad that were suffering from some disease that the outcome might benefit from this research if he might have a different view. In my opinion, if he says he wouldn’t, he is a liar!!! I AM a taxpayer of this great country and I volunteer my tax money to be spent on stem cell research rather than some idiotic guest worker program that bankrupts the economy and negates the reason I have paid taxes for the last 50 years. Wake up Bush or pay the consequences!

From: Steve, Philippines Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: What should we expect from someone who has delivered up total chaos in Iraq, $70/barrel oil, seriously increased the importance of Iran, squandered favorable solid world opinion following 9/11, trashed the deficit and hijacked the constitution? We wouldn’t want him to do anything useful, now, would we?

From: Brad Scott, Prescott Valley, USA Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: Sadly, President Bush has once again seen fit to ignore the opinion of the majority of U.S. citizens in favor of his own. He was elected, and now we must suffer his disregard for our views until January of 2009. Hopefully, this issue will be reconsidered again, when our next ELECTED leader responds to the people who put him/her there in the first place. The current President seems not to care about the average American.

From: Magnus Ahlberg, Stockholm, Sweden Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: To restrict funding will not stop progres, maybe just for the moment. But in the future, when another leader steps in, new rules will apply and the research will go forward. There is no way to stop progres and future research, history has tought us that. Also, religion should not prevent research, if done in a humane and safe way.

From: Dan Slone, KS Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: As an american scientist who has worked all over the world it is very sad we have such an arrogant president who does not convey or accept the will of the American people.

The US is falling behind in this critical research that will create therapies to many unmet medical needs.

President Bush has even created a difficult envirnment for Americans abroad due to his arrogance that brings negative feeling to our country and its citizens.

He is the worst president this counrty has ever had. The next president has alot of fence mending ahead, but not until he brings our troops home

From: john lewis, escondido, CA Date: June 21, 2007 Your view: The veto is hypocritical. How does W. rate the”sanctity of human life” of unborn embryos with the lives of 3500 dead American soldiers, and 600,000 dead Iraqis in his accursed “war” ?

From: GEOFFREY ORME, HAWAII, USA Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: No one should be surprised that, once again, President Bush lets his primitive personal beliefs decide policy, rather than the wishes of the majority of the people of the United States of America.

What an unmitigated disaster this President has been! His actions will impact our country and the entire world, for decades to come.

From: Toma~ Vargazon, Ljubljana, Slovenia Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: Allowing embrios to be used for purposes of embriotic stem cell research is a slippery slope. First we allow creation of human embrios in order to cure certain diseases, what if we’ll need human fetuses next? What about toddlers?

Experimentation on humans is and should be prohibited whereever it can be replaced by some other means. We should not abandon our most sacred principles whenever we find them to limit us in our goals. A human embrio is geneticaly a unique human.

I find this matter to be attracting a lot more attention than it should. Firstly, mr.Bush did not prohibit embriotic stem cell research, but mearly federal funding of such research. State and private funding is permitted. Secondly, he did increase funding for alternatives to embriotic stem cells.

He did what any responsible leader should.

From: Heather D, Calgary, AB, Canada Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: In this day and age, the fact that the leader of any country would prohibit research that could save so many lives disturbs me. Stem cell research holds so much promise and hope in the medical industry!

While I do acknowledge the President’s view on taking a human life to save a human life, and absolutely respect that, the fact is that abortion, unwanted and unplanned pregnancies are not going to go away. I personally believe there is always a better choice then abortion, but I also respect the fact that it is a woman’s choice – and if she makes the choice to abort her child, I’d rather see that embryo go to positive use then get thrown in the trash.

I wish the President would listen to the hundreds of medical organizations pleading to allow the chance to improve, if not potentially cure, so many medical problems through this research. It inevitably affects the rest of the world Mr. Bush. Keep your personal opinions out of politics and serve your country! Lead by example.

From: Kelly Baron, Vancouver, Canada Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: If it has been said once, it will be said again, the President of the United States is a hypocrite, who refuses to endorse stricter gun controls in his own country and openly adovates for the development and production of technologically advanced weapons used to enforece “peace”,leading to the the death of thousands of innocents at home and abroad, while, at the same time, vetoing the funding of stem cell research, based on his own religious principles and beliefs.

From: mouhammed jammoul, ezza, Lebanon Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: hey everybody…soory for my bad english but am interested to share you with my point of veiw..i think presedent george.w.bush had taken the wrong dicision…why funding of killing people in afghanistan,lebanon,palistine,iraq and other countreis is a good step towards democracy?and why funding of scientific reaserches that could save many human lives along many generations comming is illeagal? its true that many innocent lives may lost the chance to survive and would be killed from days-old-age but the most imortant that the progress in stem cell researshes will be a step in the righ direction towards a more hopefull future for many suffering familleis around the world..thnk u for giving us the chance and i hope i will not be excluded becouse am not american or for political reasons..thanks again..

From: Roger Babb, Ringgold, GA Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: President Bush was placed in office by a dishonest election and has governed for the benefit of a few wealthy business and religous leaders. Scandals and an ill-planned war are been the legacy of the GOP. Family values? Pooh, just so much BS as the GOP rips off our pocketbooks. I just hope that American voters will wake up in 2008 and throw out the GOP crooks.

From: Mark Ferrantin, Los Angeles/CA Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: There is no hope for a country that re-elects and keeps a president like this, swamped in corruption and crimes against humanity. Just to benefit his group financially, George Bush has taken the most damaging decisions to the entire country. Our troops are dying in the middle of a senseless war, our people hit by natural disasters are being left to face devastation of their lives without no federal support and now he murders any hope of finding a cure for terrible diseases. Unfortunately, we can’t count on politicians in general, Democrats are awarded the majority in the Senate and House and they just choose to yield to this devilish worst ever president of the US.

From: David Martin, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: Regarding stem cell research, I think the United States is very wrong in it’s approach. The US is obviously a great place for opportunity, it’s a fantastic place in some respects, but it’s ideology seems to be governed presently by religion and to some respect, corruption by that of personal opinion. (People in power). It seems to me that unlike here in Britain, the word of the people seems to count for less to a much greater extent. The political orientation and importance of one man influences all. That is sad.

Stem cell research holds the promise for saving countless lives, and by hindering it’s progress, we are harming humanity, not just a minority.

People often forget that advances in technology, (sometimes in unrelated fields of Science), have a snowball effect, and can mutually benefit other Sciences, hence improve our every day lives as human beings.

It often makes me wonder how many of these people that disagree with stem cell research on ethical or religious grounds are actually seriously ill, I could bet with 99% certainty that the majority of them aren’t.

They should be ashamed that they play a part in halting the cure of many terrible diseases.

From: Sue Smith, Cedar City/Utah Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: The embryos used in this research are destined to eventually be destroyed, so it makes no sense that scientists are denied the ability to perform what promises to be life-saving research. I’m fed up with the people, including Bush, who have a self-righteous view that scientists want to destroy “little babies.” These aren’t babies and they never will be babies!

From: Kevan Currie, NB, Canada Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: There is an age old saying that history repeats itself. Over 1000 years ago the church decreed what was right and what was wrong. Some historians believe that due to the “Dark Age” our scientific community was put on hold, and we regressed to a point before the Roman Empire, where they had baths and clean water etc…. I believe in God and I am a Christian, If God did not want our scientist to find a use for these cells then he would not have placed the ability for us to learn how to use them. I guess we should not be upset, no one remembers history, and that is why we will always repeat it. Because of the Veto, Scientist will once again be told what they can peruse and what they can not.

From: Theresa Jarrett, Charleston WV Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: Well to tell you the truth, if GW BUSH had or one of his Girls or Wife or Mother or Father, or someone in his family, just happened to become ill from a disease that he knew was not at all going to be cured from a form of drug here and know, I bet his self would be wishing he had passed the BILL not vetoed it

From: Sundar Varadan, Morgantown/WV Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: If extracting stem cells from days old embryos destroys the fetus, can this be allowed on those fetus that are being voluntarily aborted now ? Then the fate of this research will be tied to the fate of abortion in this country giving temporary reprieve to either side. And even in the event that abortion is banned in this country, they can always go for embryo’s from other countries where abortion is not banned. Afterall, this is the administration that believes that human rights when violated on foreign lands can be justified when it serves its purpose ( I am talking about rendition). They also believe that killing a large number of innocent people to catch ahold of one ultimate terrorist is justifiable for the “greater good”.

From: Bill Graham, Kitchener ON Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: I am a Canadian, and perhaps, as such, have no business commenting on American matters, but all that happens in the US does directly have an effect on us.

President Bush is letting his personal religious views into the political scene, rather than letting democracy work – that is the wishes of the majority of the citizens of his country. Religion and politics must be kept isolated.

Of course he cannot be re-elected so it does not matter to him. However there is his party. They must think they have some hope in the upcoming election. It’s time for them to speak to him, and it is time for the elected representatives of his party to act in accordance with the wishes of the people they represent – democracy in action.

From: Richard Ward, France Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: As an American living in France I cringe on a daily basis reading the news from the U.S. The present administration will veto a bill that has the potential to unlock secrets that could help countless people and refuses to do anything to combat global warming but will commit hundreds of billions of dollars to an unjust and unnecessary war that has done nothing but bring death and destruction to foreign shores and devastate thousands of families of servicemen and women at home.

This President has shown his true colors yet again. It is a disgrace.

From: Misha Havtikess Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: This was just leaked from a speech the President is planning to give: God himself told me that I look good in blue, Texas was the true birthplace of our Savior and stem cell research was wrong because it could stem the cells from becoming the magnimious things that are meant for. And I believe in that with all my heart. So if you have a bad illness that’s bad and it’s too bad and I support that and will fight to the end to preserve your right to it as well as the right for all. Thank you.

From: Jorn Poulsen, NS, Canada Date: June 20, 2007 Your view: Hi CNN. As usual, I’m impressed at your objective approach to journalism, touching on relevant topics. I hope you will keep it up, and (especially) keep asking interesting questions, even if some of them are “controversial”.

I must say I’m worried about the religious injection into the daily lives of quite a few US citizens.

To me personally, there is a (somewhat) abandonment of reason, in favor of certain opinions — opinions whose implications (some of those same) people simply do not grasp themselves.

Instead of typing in my message here, in this pure-text field, I have put it here:

(No, I do not live in Western Somoa (as .ws may suggest), I merely own the domain, and host it out of my basement here in Nova Scotia, Canada.) 🙂

I urge you to bring these topics up, right along with other discussions of religious nature.

For example, when discussing whether Christianity should be taught in public schools, or when asking politicians what their religious beliefs are.

From: Idren Ames, Arvada, Colorado Date: June 19, 2007 Your view: So if destroying embryos after scientific research for a greater good is morally wrong, then should we also as a humanity cease to kill animals for our own consumption?

From: Cary Gollop, Otaki, New Zealand Date: June 18, 2007 Your view: This is the same President Bush who more-or-less single-handedly launched an action in Iraq that has been responsible for the loss of many lives. A few of these (maybe 2000?) are American lives of young men and women, but the vast majority are Arabs. I will quote from a note I sent a few minutes ago to my daughter in Texas. It refers to a CNN report of an action taking place at this very minute:

“A five sided fight, Sunni, Shiite, al Queda, Iraqi, American, all lined up in the first paragraph. but all Arabs and Americans. A bit murky I think. I hope they are all wearing uniforms — maybe the Americans have developed a new ‘scope that makes all hats look either black or white?”

My first point is that ‘life’ is life, whether American citizens, non-Americans, even animals. My second point is that President Bush would almost certainly be in favour of funding the kind of discriminatory ‘scope I mention. My third point is that . . . but that is enough from me. For me ‘life’ means all life. I do not believe we can avoid taking some life in order to live. The action in Iraq is pure waste. ESCR may not be.

I don’t trust President Bush because he is governing from doubtful personal beliefs. I don’t trust scientists for the same reason.

From: Chris M, Texas Date: June 18, 2007 Your view: If you were an embryo and you had the choice of either staying in a freezer your entire life, just taking up space and money or being used in stem cell research to help save thousands of lives what would you choose?

From: Greg Zern, West Chester, USA Date: June 18, 2007 Your view: If you believe that life begins at conception (as I do) then the decision regarding embryonic stem cell research is clear. Destroying a fertilized egg is taking a life. As a society, we dare not take an innocent life with the hope that another will be helped. Consider the possible ramifications of such a position! The fact that there is promise in adult stem cell or umbilical cord stem cell research is tangential to the real issue of preserving life.

From: Erika Chacon, Tachira, Venezuela Date: June 16, 2007 Your view: Hi! About the research of sterm cells I have to agree with President Bush… Even when it can be regulated, it’s a very agressive procedure! We have to think, how many embryos have to be killed to find cures? Yes, they’re going to be killed! Maybe they will not have a right to speech just having a few days of being conceibed, but those embryos are life growing!… Yes, it’s true, we can find cure to many diseases and hard conditions in human beings, but isn’t ironic that we are killing to ensure long lives? Some people may think that we are killing just cells that are not even people yet, and it is prefered to sacrificate them to give better life conditions to those who are already walking on our world… But the truth is, that those cells we are taking belongs to a human being who has a TOTAL right to grow up, live and smile! And we’re not giving the chance to defense him/herself… I know it’s hard to live in difficult conditions by some diseases, and some of them! are very cruel with our body… But, that should be cured in other ways… And if it’s not possible right now, we have to ensure that those peoples who have it can be treated and that we (by ourselves!!!) can help them through all of this!!!

Thanks for this space to speak about a concern this big!!!

Take care y’all!!!

From: Stacey Nagel Date: June 16, 2007 Your view: As the mother of Jesse Nagel, I’m enclosing a copy of a letter that he wrote and I emailed and faxed to Pres. Bush last week….. Stacey Nagel

My name is Jesse Nagel and I am 15 years old. I found out I had type 1 diabetes on December 6th 2001, 5 1/2 years ago. I had a terrible cold, was nauseous, and had a terrible headache for a few days. My mom thought I these symptoms were all stress related because I saw an airplane crash near my house a few weeks before. My Doctor checked me over and did a urine test and told us that I had diabetes. My parents had to rush me to the hospital.

When I found out I had diabetes, my first thoughts were “What is Diabetes?”

At the hospital, they rushed me into a room in the ER and hooked me up to an IV. Then the Dr. came in and gave me a shot of insulin. Getting shots never really bothered me. I thought okay, you gave me my shot, now I’m better, can I go home.

Talk about a big surprise! I had to stay in the hospital for three days and I didn’t even feel sick. While I was there, I learned how to check my blood sugar by pricking my finger and putting it up to a little machine. I had to do this 8-12 times a day. I was scared to give myself shots and made my mom or dad do it for me. I found out that I would have to take these shots for the rest of my life, until a cure is found.

The biggest change in my life was that I couldn’t just eat anything, anytime I was hungry. No matter if I was hungry or not, I had to eat 3 meals and 3 snacks at specific times. This was a very big change from my previous life style, especially when the ice cream man would come after I already had my snack. My mom finally figured out how to get around this, but that meant getting another shot. Can you imagine how it feels to a kid to have really think before you eat? First you have to check your blood sugar, and then figure out how many carbs are in the food, then take a shot. Then I could finally eat. Imagine taking 6-8 shots a day, or having to decide if that ice cream is worth having to stick yourself in the arm again…….

About 4 years year ago, I went on an insulin pump. Diabetes is a lot easier to control now, but it’s still not easy. Living with type 1 diabetes is still a big challenge. For me the hardest part is all the work and thinking I have to do. With the pump I have to worry about changing the infusion set that is attached to the pump and me. I have to change and fill the cartridge with insulin and change the batteries. I still do lots of blood checks, anywhere from 8 to 12 or more times a day!

Diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing anything I want BUT it really gets in the way. I can do anything as long as I take care of myself. I still play baseball, basketball, ride my bike all over and do the stuff that normal 15 year olds do. I just have to stop, check my blood all the time and figure out what to do. After 5.5 years. I’m really getting tired of doing this… but I have no choice . If I want to live, I have to do it. It would be so great to be able to play and hang out with my friends and not have to constantly think about my sugar levels.

I know some really little kids and even babies who have diabetes. What’s sad is that they’ve never known what its like to NOT have diabetes. As long as they can remember, they’ve always had to take shots and check their blood. A cure would be great for all of us before we get complications like going blind, or having our kidneys and hearts get damaged from having erratic blood sugars for so many years.

I dont know if ESCR is the only way to find a cure for duabetes… But after 5.5 years of living and suffering with the Diabetes Monster, I’m willing to try anything.. I rally want a cure .. Insulin is not a cure, It’s life support !!

From: Rebecca Myatt, Boaz, Alabama Date: June 15, 2007 Your view: I am Rebecca Myatt of Boaz, Alabama and I have Parkinson’s Disease. I firmly believe if we could expand our research on stem cells, one, glorious day, we would be able to put them to use to save human, useful, happy lives. I don’t believe President Bush understands, nor has he any reason to understand, our plight. No one who could benefit from stem cell research is wanting to kill embryos. We don’t want to kill anybody; we want to save lives and make lives more productive. If President Bush would simply research the facts; open his heart and try to put himself in our positions, I believe he would see things differently. He is being narrow minded and not reading the facts. This is a program that can be monitored and could mean the difference in living a productive life to a life in bed; living instead of dying. This is such an important decision. My hopes for me and the future are greatly diminished by President Bush’s failure to study and realize how important this subject is. I pray neither he nor his family ever need the help of stem cell research.

Sincerely, Rebecca Myatt

From: Renee Sinrod, Clearwater, Florida Date: June 15, 2007 Your view: I learned at age 50 that I had adult onset diabetes. I controlled it for years with diet and never had to take insulin. When I reached 76, I had a sight accident to a toe and developed gangrene which led to amputation above the knee of the left leg. Stem Cell research might be the answer to a cure for diabetes and it is unconscionable for the president to veto any bill that could help to alleviate many diseases now considered incurable.

From: Robert Hull, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA Date: June 15, 2007 Your view: Though I am a firm Republican Christian. I support no aggenda to suppress embryonic research on moral grounds. All life is sacred, yet we must destroy in order to eat so that we may live. Embryonic research is no different; it is the nature of the universe in which we live. We do not sit above that nature. Neither will such research undermine the church even if used for cloning. Cloning is not the creation of new life, but the duplication of what already exists.

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Cancer stem cells – University of Michigan Comprehensive …

Posted: at 5:42 am

Cancer stem cells are the small number of cells within a tumor that drive the tumor’s growth. These cells generally make up just 1% to 3% of all cells in a tumor Watch the video with Max Wicha, M.D., director emeritus of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Cancer and learn more about stem cell research

If you are having trouble viewing the video, watch it on our YouTube channel.

At the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, we believe treatments designed to target and destroy cancer stem cells will revolutionize how we treat cancer. Over the last 30 years, researchers have developed more effective treatments for cancers like childhood leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease and testicular cancer.

Death rates for some common cancers, like breast and prostate cancer, have gone down due to advances in early detection and prevention. However, the survival rate for patients with many advanced cancers has not changed significantly for decades, and cancer is still the second-most common cause of death in the United States.

Instead of trying to kill all the cells in a tumor with chemotherapy or radiation, we believe it would be more effective to use treatments targeted directly at these so-called cancer stem cells. If the stem cells were eliminated, the cancer would be unable to grow and spread to other locations in the body.

The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only a few research institutions in the United States and Canada that has made an institutional commitment to cancer stem cell research.

Organized teams of U-M scientists are studying cancer stem cells in many different types of cancer:

By working together and sharing information, Cancer Center scientists hope to make progress more rapidly than would be possible for individual scientists working alone.

We believe new treatments designed to target and destroy cancer stem cells could revolutionize the way physicians treat cancer. Our goal is to be the world’s leader in research on cancer stem cells and in the development of new stem cell-based therapies for cancer patients.

Every organ and type of tissue in the body contains a small number of what scientists call “adult” or “tissue” stem cells. Since most cells in the body live for just a short time, the body needs to keep making new cells to replace them.

Adult stem cells ensure a continuous supply of new cells to replace old cells that wear out or are destroyed.

In 2003, U-M scientists were the first in the world to identify cancer stem cells in a solid tumor, finding them in breast tumors. Since then, other Cancer Center scientists have discovered and isolated cancer stem cells in pancreatic cancer (2007), in head and neck cancer (2007) and in an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma (2009).

Even under a microscope, there’s no way to distinguish cancer stem cells from other malignant cells just by looking at them. To identify stem cells, scientists use specialized equipment to detect specific proteins on the cell’s surface.

These proteins are not found on regular cancer cells. A biochemical assay developed at the U-M Cancer Center can identify breast cancer stem cells.

The ultimate test to prove that cells are true cancer stem cells is to inject cells from a human tumor into mice that are genetically engineered to lack a cancer-fighting immune system. If the mouse does not get cancer, scientists know the injected cells were not stem cells, because ordinary tumor cells will divide a few times and then die. But if the mouse develops a tumor with the same types of cells as the human tumor, scientists know that the injected cells were true cancer stem cells.

By analyzing the genes that are active in a patient’s cancer stem cells and counting the number of stem cells in a tumor, physicians could identify patients at high risk for advanced, aggressive disease.

New therapies designed to target stem cells could eliminate cancer without the risks and side effects of current treatments that also destroy healthy cells in the body. Destroying cancer stem cells in the original tumor could reduce the risk of deadly metastasis, where malignant cells move from the primary tumor to other places in the body. Finally, by killing the cells driving the tumor’s growth, treatments targeted at cancer stem cells could eliminate recurrences of the disease.

Scientists don’t know for sure. Since chemotherapy and radiation kill cells that divide often, stem cells may be less vulnerable because they rarely divide. Some scientists believe cancer stem cells may have genetic mutations that make them resistant to damage from chemotherapy or radiation, or cancer stem cells may be able to repair DNA damage more rapidly than normal cells.

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Updated 06.2016

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Adult versus Embryonic Stem Cells – Science in Society

Posted: at 5:41 am

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho gives the latest score-sheet in the great stem cell debate.

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In June, the journal Nature published two articles online, one describing the use of embryonic stem (ES) cells to reverse the symptoms of Parkinsons disease, the other, the isolation of adult stems cells from bone marrow that can produce all cell types in the body.

The accompanying news report entitled, “Stem cell hopes double”, was obviously intended as input to the US Senate debate over the cloning of human embryos for medical research, which has stalled the week before. It came down firmly on the fence: “Todays papers do not settle the adult-versus-embryo dispute: they suggest that both could yield promising therapies. Different cell types might best treat different diseases, so most scientists advocate supporting both types of research.”

But this judgement not only brushes ethical considerations aside, it misrepresents the science and lacks consideration of good therapeutic practice.

Parkinsons disease is associated with the loss of midbrain neurones that make dopamine, a neurotransmitter (molecule that transmits signals between nerve cells). The research team headed by Ron McKay of the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke (National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland) created a highly enriched population of midbrain stem cells that differentiated into dopamine-producing neurones with electro-physiological and behavioural properties expected of neurones from the midbrain.

In order to make those neurones, the ES cells were transformed with a rat gene coding for nuclear receptor related -1 (Nurr1) transcription factor, driven by a Cytomegalovirus promoter to make the gene over-express. Nurr1 is known to have a role in the differentiation of midbrain precursor cells into dopamine neurones. The ES cells were then subjected to an elaborate 5-stage culture procedure. The resulting cells expressed many molecular, morphological and functional features specific for midbrain dopamine-neurons. And the dopamine released on depolarization (electrical stimulation) of the cells was markedly higher in the cultures of stage 5 Nurr1 ES cells compared with unmodified ES cells.

In rodents, administration of 6-hydroxy dopamine in the midbrain kills dopamine neurons, providing a model of Parkinsons disease. These animals then either received a sham operation or a graft of 5 x 105 Nurr1 ES cells, or unmodified ES cells. At 4 and 8 weeks after grafting, the animals were sacrificed and their brains examined. No dopamine-producing midbrain neurones developed in the sham-operated animals. Animals grafted with Nurr1 ES cells showed dopamine-producing cells with complex morphologies. There was no sign of cell division of the engrafted cells. But their processes were found in the brain of the host up to 2mm from the graft. The cells were tested electro-physiologically up to 140days after grafting and found to express the characteristics of dopamine-producing mid-brain neurones.

While the sham-operated animals showed no improvement in neurological performance, animals grafted with unmodified ES cells recovered slightly, and Nurr1 ES engrafted animals showed the best recovery. Another reassuring result was that no teratomas were found in the grafted animals.

On the adult stem cells front, the research group headed by Catherine Verfaille in the Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, Neurosurgery and Genetics, Cell Biology and Development of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, discovered a rare kind of cells within the human bone marrow- the multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) that can be expanded for more than 80 population doublings. The cells can be made to differentiate, at the single cell level, into bone and cartilage cells, skeletal muscle cells, fat cells, bone marrow stroma (ground substance) and endothelial cells (internal linings) of the internal organs.

Similar cells capable of differentiating in vitro into cells of all three germ layers can be selected from mice (m) and rat (r) bone marrow. The mMAPCs have been expanded in culture for more than 120 doublings, and the rMACPCs for more than 100 doublings.

When injected into an early blastocyst mouse embryo, single MAPCs can contribute to most, if not all somatic cell types. On transplanting into a non-irradiated host, MAPCs engraft and differentiate into haematopoietic cells, in addition to the epithelium of liver, lung and gut. Engraftment in haematopoeitc system as well as the gastrointestinal tract is increased when MAPCs are transplanted in a minimally irradiated host.

These cells show a high level of genomic stability under culture conditions, with all except one population retaining the normal chromosome complement after many population doublings. When grown to confluency, they stopped proliferating and when cultured in serum-free medium, and differentiation-inducing cytokines, after 40 or more than 120 population doublings, growth arrest and terminal differentiation was seen. There was also no tumour-formation on transplantation.

So, how do ES and adult stem cells score at this point?

These latest results show that the ES cells need to be genetically modified and extensive manipulation in vitro before they can be transplanted safely. Direct transplant of ES cells are known to give rise to teratomas and uncontrollable cell proliferation. There is already evidence that ES cells are genetically unstable in long term culture, and are especially prone to chromosomal abnormalities. The risks involved in using the cytomegalovirus promoter to drive over-expression of the transcription factor are undetermined. To avoid immune rejection, the ES cells have to be tissue-matched from a bank of stem cells created from spare human embryos. Otherwise, a special human embryo has to be created for the purpose, by transferring the patients genetic material into an empty egg, a procedure prone to failure and morally objectionable to many, including scientists.

By contrast, adult stem cells could be transplanted directly without genetic modification or pre-treatments. They simply differentiate according to cues from the surrounding tissues and do not give uncontrollable growth or tumours. The adult stem cells also show high degrees of genomic stability during culture. There is no problem with immune rejection because the cells can readily be isolated from the patients requiring transplant. And there is no moral objection involved. Better yet, research can be directed towards encouraging adult stem cells to regenerate and repair damaged tissues in situ, without the need for cell isolation and in vitro expansion. By minimising intervention, risks are reduced, as well as cost, making the treatment available to everyone and not just the rich.

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Rob Waddell Defeats Kidney Disease – Adult Stem Cells

Posted: at 5:41 am

Rob Waddell Defeats Kidney Disease

Rob Waddell knew at an early age that he would need a kidney transplant. His mother has had two transplants and polycystic kidney disease runs in his family. “Ive had two uncles thatve died from this disease. At early ages. I mean they went on dialysis, they had a transplant, something happened, theyre no longer here. Their kids are, without, without a dad!”, Rob said.

So when his doctor told him he had to go on dialysis and that a transplant was imminent it was no surprise. Having watched his mother suffer the ups and downs of taking anti-rejection drugs her whole life, he was thrilled to find out there was another option. He entered a clinical trial whereby he would receive an adult stem cell transplant from his kidney donor at the time of the kidney transplant surgery. The donors adult stem cells would allow Rob to accept the same donors kidney, essentially re-training his immune system so that it would recognize the donor kidney as part of Robs own body.

Rob says, “Well, I decided to do the stem cell transplant because I didnt want to live the rest of my life on immune rejection drugs. The good and the bad of immune suppressant drugs is they let the kidney stay in your body. The bad part is that slowly over time it kills the kidney. Its toxic to the kidney. So those drugs, over time, will cause the kidney to fail. My wife, Karen, she, when I proposed the idea of me doing this stem cell study, she was really kind of concerned. I mean she didnt want me to do it because it was new.”

Karen Waddell remembers what she said when she heard about the adult stem cell transplant, “I told him I was totally against it from the beginning. Didnt like it. I said, you can just have a normal transplant. Your mom has lived through it. You know, well just adjust.”

Rob says, “Seeing my mother go through the repercussions of having kidney disease and the transplant and immune rejection drugs, probably was the number one foundation for me pursuing this.”

After the stem cell infusion, Karen says, Rob was like a new man. “Its like hes rejuvenated. Its amazing. He’s alert. All his faculties are working great. And for him to be just drug-free, oh its wonderful!

“We call him my fifth child and other people that know us too, theyll tease, because you will see him rip-sticking around the neighborhood, or on the trampoline. So Im thankful that he was able to just be determined and have that drive and the foresight to know that he was going to get those stem cells.

Today Rob lives a full and active life chasing four kids around the soccer, baseball and lacrosse fields of Louisville, Kentucky.

“I feel so fortunate, because Ive been blessed with this. I mean truly a new lease on life. I feel fantastic. My kids could tell you that. I mean I wear them out half the time and I didnt before.

Actually, almost every day since then, I just walk around and Im like, Wow! I feel so goodI mean is this really happening? These adult stem cells to me were a chance to live a normal life.and its amazing.”

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Indiana (Stem Cell) – what-when-how

Posted: at 5:40 am

Indiana is working to establish itself as a leader in nonembryonic stem cell research to avoid the conflicts associated with embryonic stem cell research. Thus, researchers have supportive legislation and funding, as well as public support, with a goal of improving the economy in the biotechnology sector.

As no federal legislation in the United States regulates stem cell research (except by an executive order to not allow federal funding to be used for embryonic stem cell research except on human embryonic stem cell lines created before August 9, 2001), each state is responsible for determining policy and funding for stem cell research. In Indiana, stem cell research is permitted on adult stem cells and fetal stem cells if consent is received from the biological parent. Indiana prohibits research on human embryonic stem cells in accordance with Indiana code 31-20-2, regarding embryos from assisted reproduction. The law also prohibits the sale of oocytes, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses.

In 2007 the Indiana legislature also approved the establishment of an Adult Stem Cell Research Center at Indiana University and gave the Indiana University School of Medicine approval to administer the center, including appointing a director and accepting income from donations, gifts, and so on, to be used to support the centers activities.

BioCrossroads is a development organization to enhance economic growth in the life sciences. The organization provides money and support to business start-ups and established businesses in biotechnology by providing networking and collaboration opportunities among Indianas various academic, clinical, and industry institutions. Money is available through the Indiana Future Fund and the Indiana Seed Fund

Other services provided by BioCrossroads include the Indiana Health Information Exchange, which facilitates the sharing of clinical information among healthcare providers and other healthcare entities, and the Translational Research Initiative partnership with Indiana University, which leverages resources in promoting life science research to gain national and private grant funding.

Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis was founded in 1969. The university offers bachelors, masters, doctoral, and professional degrees in a variety of disciplines including medicine, biology, engineering, math, and physical sciences. The university is home to the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The Adult Stem Cell Research Center to be established at Indiana University will fall under the purview of the School of Medicine to encourage collaboration among all of Indianas stem cell researchers. Research being done or completed by the university includes the discovery of cells that control the creation of endothelial cells and investigating the possibility of using these cells for medical treatment for circulation problems in the extremities, for heart disease, and for repair of blood vessels, and to use adult stem cells to alleviate diseases secondary to increasing age,

The Emerging Technology Center in Indianapolis allows the university to assist business startups using discoveries made by researchers at the university. EndGenitor Technologies Inc. is one such firm and has capitalized on the research performed by university professors. The start-up company intends to develop and market test kits for researchers to test samples for endothelial stem and progenitor cells.

The Indiana Cord Blood Bank collects, preserves, and stores cord blood as a source of adult stem cells for use in blood transplants for treating blood diseases and cancers, anemia, inherited metabolic disorders, and immune system deficiencies.

The Bindley Bioscience Center opened in 2005 through funding provided by a Purdue alumnus to integrate the life sciences and engineering departments for cross-discipline research at the university. The speciality of the center is basic research with a focus on translating this research to clinical application for testing, diagnosis, and treating human disease, including tissue engineering for use in regenerative medicine.

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Lowering the Stem Cell Bar: More Amniotic Stem Cells …

Posted: at 5:36 am

My son loves the cartoon TV series South Park, and one of my favorite episodes is where James Cameron is enlisted to find out just how far the societal bar has been lowered and how to raise the bar. Just when I thought the stem cell Wild West couldnt lower the bar any farther, here comes a new business planpractice-management companies hawking amniotic stem cells as income generators for chiropractic clinics. This is truly a new twist, one thats as disturbing as it is bizarre. So how far has the bar been lowered?

Weve seen many things that have lowered the stem cell bar so far:

However, the new trend lowers the bar still farther withamniotic stem cells.

Ive blogged extensively about these amniotic products before, but to review, while these likely contain helpful growth factors and some extracellular matrix, they are not stem cell products. However, when orthopedic sales reps tried to sell this stuff as what it is, it didnt sell well. So the reps, based largely on the fact that the amniotic fluid and membrane have a low content of stem cells when fresh out of theobstetrics ward, began to tell physicians that the stuff was loaded with stem cells. After that, 1 cc vials of baby juice (amnioticfluid that surrounds the baby) sold like hotcakes for more than $1,000 each.

Lets do some math to better understand the genesis of the amniotic business. Given that the price this morning for gold is about $1,200 per ounce (28 grams) and a ml of fluid weighs about 1 gram, thisbaby juice costsabout 25 times the price of gold! Also, considering that the average baby has 4001,200 ml of amniotic fluid at term, if we use the 800 ml number, that makes each delivery worth about $800,000 retail! That doesnt include the amniotic membrane or chorion (which make up the sac that holds the fluid). Add in an easy $200,000-$400,000 more for those tissues and we easily have a million-dollar delivery.

How can the disposable tissue after birth be worth a cool million? Well, when its fresh, there are some amniotic stem cells available in these tissues, but once these are processed and frozen, there arent much. In fact, the IOF tested these products and found that none had any living cells by the time they were thawed as a product and certainly none had living stem cells. This is despite physicians telling unsuspecting patients that each 12 ml vial has 2 million amniotic stem cells.

Up until I did the math on how much each birth generates in revenue, I never fully understood why the four or five major tissue banks in the U.S. were signing up new companies every week to private label their amniotic products. You see, even you can get into the amniotic stem cells business tomorrow just by approaching a tissue bank. You would ask that they file an FDA 361 registration on your magic baby juice and then recruit orthopedic sales reps. Within a few months, you would be in business for about a thousand bucks a vial.

First, I have great respect for chiropractors and refer to them all the time. However, the guys and gals I work with would never get involved inlowering the stem cell bar. They know what theyre good at and focus in that world, which makes them very effective at helping patients.

The new group selling decellularized baby juice to chiropractic clinics actually came to my attention through a chiropractor who owns some of our clinics. Hes a good place to start to setapart what he and others like him have accomplished fromthis most recentincome-generating soiree.

The chiropractors I know who are involved in regenerative medicine and who are doing this right have spent a huge amount of time and resources on expertise. They have looked far and wide to find expert physicians to hire, at considerable cost. They have joined a group of physicians measuring clinical outcomes or are measuring their own. They have ensured that advanced imaging guidance is being used for injections. They offer patients a realistic appraisal of what to expect, and they steer clear of being dishonest about the technology theyre offering. So before I delve into the baby juice factory, let me applaud the guys that work hard to do this right.

This week, two events happened that made me aware of this most recent nutty trend lowering the stem cell bar. First, the Interventional Orthopedics Foundation got an e-mail from a chiropractor in Georgia who runs an amniotic stem cell clinic. He was upset that the IOFs research didnt show that amniotic fluid products contained stem cells. Second, achiropractor who is doing this right sent this e-mail on the same day:

we are seeing an epidemic of new groups emerging that make claims that have little justification. Below is a link to a group that has emerged out of a consulting company that has been promoting MD/DC practices for several years and have now added stem cells. In fact, they only provide amniotic injections without saying stem cells, but their name implies they are doing stem cell therapies. The consulting company advises chiros to enlist a MD to become a part time medical director and hire mid-levels to do the actual care. Or, they have a physician come in one or two days a week.

When I hunted down the chiropractor in Georgia who was upset about the IOFs research and the company that was signing up chiropractors to bring in physician assistants to get baby juice injections, their websites looked curiously similar. The explanation above seemed to fit. The Georgia chiropractors website was rife with references to amniotic stem cells therapy, despite the fact that our data and the FDA registrations forthese products show that theycontain no stem cells. The e-mail above also shows how this new Wild West business plan works.

One of the scenes fromthat favoriteSouth Park episode is above. James Cameron goes deep into the ocean to find just how low the bar has sunk and tries to raise the bar. So lets see just how low the amniotic stem cells bar has sunk.

The types of physicians with high levels of training to perform a bone marrow aspiration and/or liposuction and with the image-guided skills to place stem cells into very specific areas of the body are expensive andhard to find. So the new chiropractic baby juice business plan seems to say, Why go through the brain damage of ensuring the doctor knows what hes doing? Just hire a physicians assistant or nurse practitioner. They generally have no idea how to perform a stem cell harvest procedure and can generally only perform the simplest joint injections. However, theyre about one-third the price of a skilled physician. In addition, just hand them a vial of dead cells and claim that its a vial of amniotic stem cells; who will know the difference? When a lab with access to millions of dollars of equipment has a PhD-led stem cell team dig deep into whether there are stem cells in amniotic fluid products and finds nonecomplain! After all, why spend your own money on doing the testing before injecting this stuff into patients? That just takes profit from the bottom line.

If, like James Cameron, were going to raise the bar in stem cell therapy, what would that look like? How would that differ from the new chiropractic business model?

There are many other standards that we should be enforcing, but these three simple ones would go a long way toward raisingthe bar.

The upshot? The stem cell bar gets lowered daily. Being the first physician in the U.S. to have done this work and spending a huge amount of money every year publishing research and investigating in the labwhats best for patients, its upsetting to see how low the bar has sunk. We spend our own money testing the claims of sales reps, like the claim that this little magic vial has millions of amniotic stem cells. I guess the best I can do is to educate physicians and patients about where the bar should be!

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Lowering the Stem Cell Bar: More Amniotic Stem Cells …

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