Adult Stem Cell Awareness

July 30, 2010

Geron Cleared for First ESCR Human Trial

Filed under: adult stem cell awareness,embryonic stem cells — chelseaz @ 8:44 pm

11 months after it halted the trial the FDA has given the Geron Corp permission to go ahead with the world’s first human trial of a treatment derived from embryonic stem cells:

The world’s first authorized test in people of a treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells has been cleared to begin by the Food and Drug Administration.

The trial will test cells developed by Geron Corporation and the University of California, Irvine in patients with new spinal cord injuries.

The F.D.A. had initially cleared the clinical trial in January, 2009, in what was viewed at the time as a research milestone.

But before the study could begin, the agency then put a so-called hold on the trial after cysts were discovered in some mice injected with the cells. Geron had to do another mouse study and develop better ways to check the purity of its cells.

On Friday, the company announced in a press release that the F.D.A. had lifted the hold. Geron shares rose in morning trading.

Research milestone? HA! How’s this for a research milestone: Spinal cord injuries – especially complete injuries – are not reversible. There is, quite literally, “no hope” – no common therapy or drug that will ever improve your mobility or function over time. I know this from personal experience. I have been paralyzed for 11 years since I received a spinal cord injury in a car accident my junior year of high school. That is why it is simply amazing that, for a few years now, adult stem cells have been successfully used in early human trials to restore some feeling and movement in long term spinal cord injury patients (see here, here, here, here, here and here). All, as Wesley Smith points out, without the fanfare of the MSM.

Whatever happens with this new trial – if it ever happens (Geron has been promising this trial for years now) – will not change the fact that human embryonic stem cell research is unethical, period. I’d sure love to be able to walk again, but I would never accept the harvesting of another human life, no matter how small, for my own comfort.

August 25, 2009

Still No Human Trials for ESCR!

Filed under: embryonic stem cells — chelseaz @ 1:09 pm

Earlier this year the drug developer Geron Corp. announced that it was given FDA approval to begin the first trial of an embryonic stem cell treatment in humans. But alas, the FDA reversed its decision last week:

Geron said the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing new data from studies of the therapy, called GRNOPC1, on animals. The company plans to start testing its product on humans this summer, but that testing will be delayed during the FDA’s review. Geron said it will work with the FDA, and did not estimate how long the review will take.

This is significant given that most people think that ESCs have already been used to treat human patients. Meanwhile, ethical stem cells continue to kick butt and outperform – in animals as well as many humans. Full speed ahead!

June 20, 2009

“Crazy Pete’s Embryonic Stem Cell Emporium!”

Filed under: embryonic stem cells — chelseaz @ 10:19 pm

I suppose it’s always good to maintain a sense of humor, no matter how unfunny something really is (like creating and killing tiny human beings in the name of science and making taxpayers fund it – all while ignoring advancements in ethical stem cell alternatives):

h/t Rebecca Taylor

April 17, 2009

Diabetes Orgs are in Denial

Filed under: adult stem cell awareness,embryonic stem cells — benotafraid @ 9:25 am

Well, in one way or another.

Jill Stanek says they are being deceitful, claiming to oppose cloning, when in fact, they only oppose reproductive cloning, not therapeutic cloning. Of course, they do endorse embryonic stem cell research, so it’s not a surprise that they also endorse therapeutic cloning. We wonder, along with Jill, why don’t they just say it instead of hiding behind words that many people are not familiar with?

And still another way the diabetes orgs are in denial is their fervent support for embryonic stem cell research. They are hopelessly left behind in the hype of the 90’s as science marches forward. For example, results from one trial using patients’ own stem cells and chemotherapy, allowed some participants with diabetes Type 1 to go 4 years without the use of insulin, while the average was almost 3 years.  Interestingly, it appears that most of the American Diabetes Association research grants have been awarded to research using non-embryonic stem cells (at current viewing). Given that embryonic stem cell research has not been banned in the US, one wonders why the ADA has not thrown their money at embryonic stem cell research? Perhaps they actually don’t have that much faith in it, afterall? Perhaps they’d prefer that you and I pocket the iffy research and they can keep their donors happy by funding the studies with the solid outcomes . . . maybe?

See past entries: Not at any cost and Happy World Diabetes Day.

March 13, 2009

Biology FAIL

Filed under: embryonic stem cells — benotafraid @ 3:04 pm

This really needs to be posted to the FAIL blog. In a spectacular display of arrogance and ignorance, former President Clinton talked to CNN’s (and former, thank God, Surgeon General pick) Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the Obama Administration reversal of the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Naturally the discussion turned to the ethics of using embryos. Perhaps you weren’t aware that the embryos to be used are in no way “fertilized” or otherwise capable of becoming human babies. No, really!! So, see, it’s all good.

FAIL. Big Biology FAIL.

Read President Clinton’s remarks here and go ahead, you know you want to . . . send your entry over to FAIL blog. Hat tip to Matthew Warner, where you can view CNN video clip.

March 11, 2009

President Changes Stem Cell Policy, Talks Cloning

Filed under: cloning,embryonic stem cells — chelseaz @ 12:58 am

ObamaYesterday President Obama did what we all knew he would do in office – overturn the Bush stem cell policy via executive order. Yuval Levin has an excellent commentary on this (h/t Paul).

Cloning was also apparently on the mind of the president as he signed this new executive order as he said in his remarks yesterday morning:

“we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society.”

Just how do we keep from “opening the door” to cloning for reproduction anyway? If we look into the president’s past we can easily find out what his suggestion would be. Four years ago the then Senator Obama co-signed the “Human Cloning Ban Act of 2005“, a bill that would have outlawed the implantation of the “product of nuclear transplantation into a uterus or the functional equivalent of a uterus.” This would seem like a positive solution, except that it does nothing to actually ban cloning or human reproduction.

The actual process of cloning is somatic cell nuclear transfer in which a new living organism is made by jump-starting the growth process of an egg infused with a somatic cell from a donor organism. Once SCNT is accomplished, the process of cloning is complete and reproductive as this new organism is essentially an exact copy, a reproduction, of the genetic make-up of the somatic cell donor. When this process is done with a human egg and human somatic cell, naturally the result, if all goes well, is a new living human organism – a human life at its earliest stage of development.

Now, what Obama means as “human reproduction” is the actual birth of a live clone, but the only way to ensure that no clones are ever born is to ban the process of SCNT in humans totally, even for research purposes. Says cloning advocate Gregory Pence:

“Scientists are naive to think they can ban reproductive cloning and go ahead studying embryonic [therapeutic] cloning”

What else did Obama do yesterday? You might have missed this one, but kudos to Wesley Smith for his keen eye. Not only did Obama rescinded the Bush funding restrictions for ESCR, but he also rescinded Executive Order 13435 of June 20, 2007. That order, also from Bush, required funding for alternative methods of stem cell research. Obama conveniently kept this one quiet, probably because he knows that, given the choice, Americans prefer ethical alternatives to destroying human embryos for research – especially when it comes to using their tax dollars to pay for it (check out this poll, broken down by Yuval Levin in the New Atlantis).

Why in the world would president Obama rescind requiring funding for the only type of research that everyone can agree on ethically? Smith offers two possible reasons:

First, vindictiveness against all things “Bush” or policies considered by the Left to be “pro life;” and second, a desire to get the public to see unborn human life as a mere corn crop ripe for the harvest.

Either way, it was a move totally contrary to the bipartisan unity he has so strongly called for as America’s political leader.

Some things to look out for in the future:
–The re-emergence of the Human Cloning Ban and Stem Cell Protection Act, introduced in 2007 by Sens. Feinstein and Hatch; a bill similar to the proposed Cloning “Ban” of 2005 mentioned above. see article: Cloning Doubletalk
–Congress to possibly take a look at overturning the Dickey-Wicker amendment which bans the use of tax dollars to create human embryos for scientific research. see: Obama Is Leaving Some Stem Cell Issues to Congress

Previous post:
Why We Need to Ban Cloning – ASAP!!

February 19, 2009

How long, how long must we sing this song?

Filed under: embryonic stem cells — benotafraid @ 4:38 pm

American Thinker takes on news of the fetal stem cell “cure” fiasco. Of course, anyone paying attention knows that the unfortunate turn (this is happening to a teenager, after all) is not really any kind of new development – it’s an anticipated complication from using embryonic stem cells – one that has plagued the so-called therapies since the beginning.  More funding will not impact this type of outcome, nor the moral wrongness of destroying a human life.

Problems with fetal stem cell ‘cure’

Thomas Lifson
Fetal stem cell research became a craze on the left when it appeared that it could be used to justify “harvesting” of fetuses, thereby reinforcing the notion that human beings in utero are objects to be used for the benefit of others. Those anti-abortion activists who criticized the use of fetal stem cells were pilloried as anti-science, standing in the way of cures for Parkinson’s Disease and much more.The embarrassing reality has been that fetal stem cells have not produced much of value, while adult stem cell research has flourished. Californians, whose state faces a massive financial crisis,  have even borrowed 3 billion dollars to fund stem cell research on the promises of activists. continue

February 3, 2009

Autologous cells hold the therapeutic advantage in treatment of neural defects

mouse-and-babies1In this case we have scientists first turning to embryonic neural cells (derived from mice) to find and fix defects in the brains of baby mice born to “crack” moms (not really crack, but the mice were exposed to tetragens and heroin). The neural cells worked their magic with a near 100% success rate, but because they were derived from embryos they posed immunological rejection problems. Next step, use cells from the “patient’s” own body. Of course!  And so, our tax dollars which could be used to move this research along will be funnelled off to labs using human embryos, even though – at the end of the day – it is the ethically obtained cells that really work best.

January 24, 2009

FDA Approves Human Trial of Treatment Derived From ESCs

Filed under: embryonic stem cells — chelseaz @ 7:46 am

The headline: FDA OKs First Human Trials of Embryonic Stem Cells. Note, this treatment will not consist in the direct infusion of human embryonic stem cells, but of neurons derived from ESCs:

Starting this summer, the biotech firm Geron will treat a small group of spinal-cord injury patients using neurons derived from stem cells, marking the first time embryonic stem cells will be tested in humans.

The trial is designed to test the safety of the treatment, not how well it works
. Nonetheless, it’s a huge first step for the field…

Working in a handful of medical centers around the country, Geron will treat eight to 10 recent paraplegics, who can use their arms but not their legs. The patients will receive an injection of neurons to the site of the damage, followed by a short treatment of anti-rejection drugs.

Previous animal studies suggest the new neurons will repair damaged neurons and secrete substances to help nerves function and grow.

This kind of treatment may be a way to try to get around the serious complications that have plagued the direct injection of ESCs for decades. But even if the trial succeeds – and we certainly don’t wish any harm on the trial patients – and the treatment is later also proven effective, it remains unethical to use and destroy human life for any kind of medical treatments. Pray that more people understand this.

P.S. What you don’t hear from the above story regarding this first clinical trial with ESCs is that adult stem cells have not only been proven safe, but also effective in multiple clinical trials for human patients with spinal cord injury. Watch video testimony from Jacki Rabon whose spinal cord injury improved after she was injected with stem cells from her own nose in this trial from Portugal that lead to further human trials in several other countries. See more patients treated with ASCs for SCI here, here and here.

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