Popular Science Magazine Mentions Stem Cells in New Year Predictions – While not overly specific, the latest issue of Popular Science has the phrase, “Stem Cells for All” on its cover, and predicts that stem cells could sidestep controversy and make a real breakthrough in 2013.
The basis of this prediction is largely due to the earlier announcement that researchers had transformed skin cells into working neurons for the first time. This is significant, of course, because stem cells harvested from skin cells sidesteps the ethical / religious elephant in the room ever-present in embryonic stem cell discussions and funding.
Stem cells hold the promise of revolutionizing how doctors study diseases, how pharmacologists test drugs, and in turn bring about treatments tailored to individuals instead of the current “one size fits all” approach to most treatments.
You can read the Popular Science article herein their “2013 predictions.”
2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded – A pair of stem cell discoveries some 40 years apart have earned John B. Gurdon of the University of Cambridge & Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Their discoveries are central to the promise of regenerative medicine and offer hope that human organs can be repaired or replaced with one’s own cells.
Romney’s Position on Stem Cell Research: There is a lot of information online including a plethora of quotes in regards to Mitt Romney’s position on stem cell research. Complicating the issue for Mitt is the fact that his wife suffers from multiple sclerosis, a disease that may benefit from stem cell research.
His general position in 50 words or less is that he is “pro life,” believing that life begins immediately at conception. Because of that position, he is against the practice of abortion or stem cell research that involves the destruction of human embryos. He opposes government funding of such stem cell research, but has said that it is not unethical to use “excess” embryos from IVF clinics.
“I am in favor of stem cell research. I am not in favor of creating new human embryos through cloning.”
Quoted 5-01-2005, National Review Online
Essentially, he supports finding a “scientific solution” to stem cell research that does not involve the use of human embryos & the ethical dilemma that it presents. (including induced pluripotent stem cells & something called “altered nuclear transfer“)
Here are some good resources if you’d like to dig down more on Romney’s position on stem cell research:
“I believe stem cell research is important to our state, for our nation, and I also believe there should be ethical lines drawn on the appropriate type of research. Stem cell research is important, and I’ll support it, and I’m gonna continue to encourage ethical lines to people be drawn in a way that respects human life…” Quote 5-08-2005, Tempe, Arizona
Have you found any more recent quotes from 2012 from Mitt Romney on stem cell research? Please comment below.
Stem Cells and Type 1 Diabetes: I’ve been asked more than once if there was anything that stem cells could do to cure or help fight Type 1 diabetes. Actually, until recently there really wasn’t much progress in that area.
Recently, in an experimental study, 28 teens with type 1 diabetes underwent a stem cell procedure (using their own stem cells) hoping that it could allow them to stay off their insulin injections.
The results of this (small) study? Fifteen of the 28 teens were able to stay off of insulin injections for an average of a year and a half; one of these teens with type 1 diabetes has actually gone without insulin injections for three and a half years.
How does the stem cell treatment work to fight type 1 diabetes? Known as a “cocktail” treatment, stem cell therapy in this case is combined with drugs for a double barrel attack on type 1 diabetes. Because type 1 diabetes generally attacks the immune system, (pancreatic insulin producing cells) the drugs used in this procedure function to suppress the immune system so that the stem cell therapy component can be more affective.
The stem cells used are harvested from the patient prior to treatment, frozen, and then reintroduced during treatment. These “immature” stem cells haven’t learned bad behavior yet, and replace the destructive cells that previously were attacking the patients insulin producing cells.
Although researchers are in the early stages, this treatment shows a lot of promise for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in children.
The findings of this study (including side effect, diet, & weight info) were introduced to the American Diabetes Association, and will appear in July’s issue of the Diabetes Care journal.
University of Hawaii associate professor, Cristy Kessler, was suffering from a rare combination of three different autoimmune diseases: Vasculitis, Scleroderma, and Akylosing Spondyliitis. The pain was so bad, that, in her own words, she was “preparing to die.” She was constantly on a combination of prescription pain medications including morphine and vicadin, and could barely walk down the street.
Stem cell transplant looked like the only viable option for Cristy, but because the procedure is not approved by the FDA or covered by insurance, she would have to look overseas for options.
Eventually, she did find an option: the Anadolou Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. Because her disease was still in the early phase, doctors were optimistic about her prognosis. In March 2010, Dr. Zafer Gulbas led the taxing two month long procedure consisting of chemotherapy, frequent blood tests, and isolation.
Although long term results won’t be measured for some time, the stem cell transplant seems to have been a success. Kessler is now off the prescription pain medications that she previously depended on just to function, and has a new life. Her immune system is fragile and she is dependent on antibiotics, but says she now wants to enjoy music and “dance like a fool” without being in pain. Watch the video from KITV Honolulu
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Geron Quits Stem Cell Research – A leader in the field of stem cell research, and in the midst of the world’s first clinical trial using embryonic stem cells, Geron Corporation abruptly announced that it is leaving the stem cell business entirely. This bombshell comes in the midst of a terrible year for the California-based [...]
Functioning Organ Created From Stem Cells Japanese researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have successfully created a fully functioning pituitary gland from the embryonic stem cells of a mouse. The cultured pituitary gland was then successfully implanted into a mouse, (replacing the animal’s non-functioning organ) where it worked flawlessly. The significance of this [...]