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    First authorized study of embryonic stem cell treatment conducted at Shepherd Center in Atlanta | Political Insider

    Shepherd Center becomes site for first human trial of embryonic stem cell treatment in U.S.

    Atlanta has just become the point where embryonic stem cell research meets a human being in the United States. From the Washington Post:

    The first patient has been treated with human embryonic stem cells in the first study authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to test the controversial therapy.

    A patient who was partially paralyzed by a spinal cord injury had millions of embryonic stem cells injected into the site of the damage, according to an announcement early Monday by the Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., which is sponsoring the groundbreaking study.

    The patient was treated at the Shepherd Center, a 132-bed hospital in Atlanta that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries, Geron said. The hospital is one of seven sites participating in the study, which is primarily aimed at testing whether the therapy is safe.

    Doctors will, however, also conduct a series of specially designed tests to see whether the treatment helps the patients. No additional information about the first patient was released.

    So why is this on a political blog? Because several attempts to bar embryonic stem cell research in Georgia have arisen from the state Capitol in recent years. Many, though not all, conservative Christians oppose it.

    In the governor’s race, the topic is one of the issues that differentiate Democrat Roy Barnes, who supports ESC research, from Republican Nathan Deal, who does not.

    An important point from Reuters:

    Geron is not subject to limitations on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, as it has done all its work with its own funding.

    The government is embroiled in a legal battle over the cells. Just weeks after he took office in 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that eased limitations on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research.

    More from the BBC:

    Geron, a biotech company based in “silicon valley” south of San Francisco, has spent $170m on developing a stem cell treatment for spinal cord injury.

    The research will use cells coaxed to become nerve cells which are injected into the spinal cord.

    In animal trials of the treatment, paralysed rats regained some movement.

    But it is not yet known if it will offer any benefit to people with spinal cord injuries.

    Every year around 12,000 people in the US sustain spinal cord injuries. The most common causes are automobile accidents, falls, gunshot wounds and sports injuries.

    In the trial, patients who have sustained such an injury within the last 14 days will be given the experimental stem cell treatment.

    Geron president Dr Thomas Okarma said: “When we started working with human embryonic stem cells in 1999, many predicted that it would be a number of decades before a cell therapy would be approved for human clinical trials.

    “This accomplishment results from extensive research and development and a succession of inventive steps.”

    But it will take some time to get the results.

    And there are many years of rigorous testing ahead before it can be known if the therapy is safe and effective.

    Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This is very exciting news, however, it is very important to appreciate that the objective of trials at this stage is to confirm first of all that no harm is done to patients, rather than to look for benefits.

    “Once that has been confirmed then the focus moves on to development and assessment of the new treatment.”

    Ben Sykes, executive director of the UK National Stem Cell Network, said: “This is indeed a significant milestone in our journey towards the promise of stem cell-based medicines.

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    I say, it's about time! I know it's a touchy subject, everyone feels different about it. I am very happy to see this taking place, there is so much good that will come from this if allowed to continue.
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    I thought the religious wackos had put the kybosh on this in the USA? Or was that only to federal money funding this kind of research?
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  3. #3  
    I agree with you. It has shown great promise and if it provides good results in humans, it will be a great boon to many.
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  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    I thought the religious wackos had put the kybosh on this in the USA? Or was that only to federal money funding this kind of research?
    I'm thinking it was only certain governemt funding that isn't allowed.

    There were some breakthroughs within the last few years to keep the reseaech going.
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  5. #5  
    Bush banned all NIH-funded embyonic stem cell research. They allowed cord blood research and other sources but not embryonic. Obama overturned that decision and the NIH now is funding embryonic stem cell research. Unfortunately the 8 year delay in allowing the research agenda to proceed at it's own rate has dramatically slowed progress. Private industry was able to do the embryonic research but really couldn't afford it this early in the research process without some evidence that it will do something.
  6. Micael's Avatar
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    #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    I thought the religious wackos had put the kybosh on this in the USA? Or was that only to federal money funding this kind of research?
    It was always about the federal funding.
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
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    I dunno, saying "In animal trials of the treatment, paralysed rats regained some movement." - while hopeful, doesn't sound like it may do all that much. I mean, if all you gain is "now you can wiggle your toes"...?
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    Bush banned all NIH-funded embyonic stem cell research. They allowed cord blood research and other sources but not embryonic. Obama overturned that decision and the NIH now is funding embryonic stem cell research. Unfortunately the 8 year delay in allowing the research agenda to proceed at it's own rate has dramatically slowed progress. Private industry was able to do the embryonic research but really couldn't afford it this early in the research process without some evidence that it will do something.
    Not sure that's quite right. I believe Bush allowed continued federally funded research on existing cell lines, even those derived from embryos, but didn't allow the creation of new lines or work on new lines with federal funding. (I could be wrong, but I'm too tired and lazy to look it up. )

    Obama has lifted those restrictions.

    However, the recent progress with "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPSCs) may render the whole ethical question moot. Scientists are now taking regular skin cells and reprogramming them to become iPSCs. The other advantage to this approach is that the cells would be a genetic match by definition, so you'd get around possible immune rejection issues. There's still some work that needs to be done--i.e, you have to firmly establish that iPSCs act just like "real" stem cells, and you need to make sure they won't cause tumors, etc., but I think it's happening pretty quickly.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by davidra View Post
    Bush banned all NIH-funded embyonic stem cell research. They allowed cord blood research and other sources but not embryonic. Obama overturned that decision and the NIH now is funding embryonic stem cell research. Unfortunately the 8 year delay in allowing the research agenda to proceed at it's own rate has dramatically slowed progress. Private industry was able to do the embryonic research but really couldn't afford it this early in the research process without some evidence that it will do something.
    that's not true.

    my mother had grants to work on the existing lines of embrionic cells under bush.
  10. #10  
    You are both correct. What I meant to say was than any new embryonic lines were banned. There had been some existing lines of cells that were already being used for research and that was allowed with some criteria being met. Some religious right spokesman criticized even the use of those existing lines because "babies were sacrificed" but by and large, sanity prevailed...at least with regard to those lines.
  11. #11  
    I thought the USA was supposed to be secular? Why was the former Prez dictating federal law based on his religious beliefs? ...or any Prez (I'm an equal opportunity hater).
    Last edited by ryleyinstl; 10/12/2010 at 10:09 AM.
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  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by ryleyinstl View Post
    I thought the USA was supposed to be secular? Why was the former Prez dictating federal law based on his religious beliefs?
    initially all federal funding for embrionic cells was halted when the dicky-wicker (sp?) amendment was passed under clinton. Bush opened embryonic research to pre existing lines. Obama opened federal funds to research on new lines but NOT there creation. Thus they must be privately derived.

    no federal funding is available to create new embryonic lines via embryo creation even under obama.
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    #13  
    No, it has to be all Bush's fault. Please don't bother them with facts.
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael View Post
    No, it has to be all Bush's fault. Please don't bother them with facts.
    I did not like bush as a president.

    But I hate the way media obfuscates truth in science and politics.
  15. #15  
    I have to ask, if your govt is secular, why would there be any referance to religion? Seperation between church and state, should, heck does go to your whole Roe vs Wade thing as well. Just asking.
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  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael View Post
    No, it has to be all Bush's fault. Please don't bother them with facts.
    Of course it has to be his fault. lol
    Life is short, Play hard, and enjoy every moment as if it was your last.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xForsaken View Post
    I have to ask, if your govt is secular, why would there be any referance to religion? Seperation between church and state, should, heck does go to your whole Roe vs Wade thing as well. Just asking.
    Who said it was a religious decision? As for referencing anything religious, there's plenty references to God throughout all of our federal and state legislative documents.
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by windzilla View Post
    initially all federal funding for embrionic cells was halted when the dicky-wicker (sp?) amendment was passed under clinton. Bush opened embryonic research to pre existing lines. Obama opened federal funds to research on new lines but NOT there creation. Thus they must be privately derived.

    no federal funding is available to create new embryonic lines via embryo creation even under obama.
    Again, not correct. The Dickey-Wicker rider was passed in the Gingrich-era Congress with Republican support. Stem-cell research barely existed then, and the rider was intended to deal with issues like human cloning.

    As the name implies, this was a rider to an appropriations bill--that was the bill Clinton signed, so his signing was in no way an endorsement of Dickey-Wicker. In fact, the Clinton administration viewed the language in the Dickey-Wicker rider as compatible with research on cells derived from embryos, which is why stem-cell research with federal funding proceeded apace during Clinton's terms in office.

    In that light, President Bush did indeed restrict the stem-cell research that was then happening, but he didn't really use Dickey-Wicker as legal justification--in fact, people pretty much ignored Dickey-Wicker until the recent court ruling that used it as a basis to freeze research, a decision that, on a purely legal basis, has been welcomed by some on the left as well as on the right, because the language in the rider is vague enough to permit many interpretations.

    So Obama, by reversing the Bush decision, did loosen restrictions on stem-cell research.

    You may now commence with Clinton Dickey-Wicker jokes.
    Last edited by grappler; 10/12/2010 at 01:54 PM.
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    So if it's positive, it's Clinton, and if it's negative, it's "Gingrich-era Congress"? lol

    Kind of like today's financial slump is on "Pelosi-era Congress" 's watch?
    The Law of Logical Argument: Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by grappler View Post
    Again, not correct. The Dickey-Wicker rider was passed in the Gingrich-era Congress with Republican support. Stem-cell research barely existed then, and the rider was intended to deal with issues like human cloning.

    As the name implies, this was a rider to an appropriations bill--that was the bill Clinton signed, so his signing was in no way an endorsement of Dickey-Wicker. In fact, the Clinton administration viewed the language in the Dickey-Wicker rider as compatible with research on cells derived from embryos, which is why stem-cell research with federal funding proceeded apace during Clinton's terms in office.

    In that light, President Bush did indeed restrict the stem-cell research that was then happening, but he didn't really use Dickey-Wicker as legal justification--in fact, people pretty much ignored Dickey-Wicker until the recent court ruling that used it as a basis to freeze research, a decision that, on a purely legal basis, has been welcomed by some on the left as well as on the right, because the language in the rider is vague enough to permit many interpretations.

    So Obama, by reversing the Bush decision, did loosen restrictions on stem-cell research.

    You may now commence with Clinton Dickey-Wicker jokes.
    that is wrong, Clinton waited for his ethics panel to recommend how to proceed and even when the ethics panel came back to and recommend that federal funds be used to create stem cells based on IVF left overs, He rejected that advice and did not allow new embryos to be created, then as you point out, he signed off on an amendment passed under a conservative congress which had the Dicky wicker attached. funding did not go forward for several years.

    in 2000 he DID opened grant submissions, but left office before funding ever went out for embryonic stem cells.

    bush put restrictions on what clinton would of have funded by restricting federal funding to those that were already created, under clinton his plan was to have NIH funding of any Privately created cell lines, but not the creation of them. Such is what obama is done

    to say that during the clinton years research continued apace is not correct.

    I never said that clinton was "endorsing" dicky-wicker, he just signed it.

    the complexity of embryonic stem cells, the differences between them and adult stem cells, their potential, and the need to create embryos has been confused, obfuscated, and ultimately turned into a political tool.

    clinton, bush, and most politicians have generally been more interested in its use for politics, then science, the media hasn't been quick to change that either.
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