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Biotech Science

Stem Cells Mend Spinal Injuries 331

Posted by Zonk
from the magic-glue dept.
Darkman, Walkin Dude writes "New research shows that rats that had their spinal columns severed were able to regain use of their hind legs through the use of stem cells from embryonic rats." From the Wired article: "Spinal cord injuries can be caused by accidents or infections and affect 250,000 people a year in the United States alone, costing $4 billion annually, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. Whittemore's team took specific cells from rat embryos called glial restricted precursor cells -- a kind of stem cell or master cell that gives rise to nerve cells."
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Stem Cells Mend Spinal Injuries

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  • by MrPerfekt (414248) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:31AM (#13201049) Homepage Journal
    Oh, that's right... the frozen embryos have souls or some such shit. Yes, this is a hateful post because I simply can't fathom why this scientific area can't be advanced without controversy in the US. I really, really don't get it. I'd love for somebody to explain it to me. Please!
    • by raydobbs (99133) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:34AM (#13201061) Homepage Journal
      ...because we have snivling bio-ethics people who cry about 'playing god' when these same morons get the sniffles, they want the most powerful drugs in existance to not only kill their bug - but to blow it's ass to mars...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because.. you (as a country) voted for Bush?

      • Why is this flamebait? As my foggy memory recalls it was due to the direct intervention of Bush that the stem cell research was banned in the USA. In some of the recent National Geographic issues the main topic was stem cell research.

        According to them, there are 155 stem cell lines in the world atm, 78 out of them can have federal support in funds, and 22 out of them is usable for research AND can have federal support for them, thats mostly because most of the stem cell cultivations are just too old alrea
        • Personally I don't have a problem with killing rabbits and dogs for medical research (or cosmetics) and a newborn really isn't any more capable than a rabbit or a dog. The difference, in our society, is that a human cannot be property, whereas a dog/rabbit can. So if the argument is that you can't kill a human baby because a human baby is not property then it's a total strawman argument to claim that it is ok to kill a zygote on the grounds of what it is capable of. You have to face the argument, is a zy
          • So if the argument is that you can't kill a human baby because a human baby is not property then it's a total strawman argument to claim that it is ok to kill a zygote on the grounds of what it is capable of. You have to face the argument, is a zygote property? To answer that question I think we have to agree on a few things. I own my own body, you own yours.

            This is a false dichotomy. The reason that humans are considered different from other animals is that we are sentient. That is the distinction. S
        • I wonder how your memory morphed the fact that Bush's executive order actually provided the first federeal funding for embyronic stem cell research into "a ban on stem cell research".

          I guess you could use a few injections yourself.
        • A five day old impregnated zygote is smaller than the dot at the end of this sentence.

          I don't think the problems were ever biological with this research. Although normally I find myself squarely on the side of scientific method in every discussion (I'm talking to you, creationists), I'm not as certain in this debate. Its a question of spirituality here. The real question is, assuming the presence of an immortal human soul or some kind of presence which exists beyond the failure of the biological suppor

    • Well, let's see, there IS the question of when life begins. You can't have seen any discussion of embryonic stem cell research without encountered that aspect.

      There's also a very valid concern about preventing trafficking in human tissue. Just as there are lots and lots of controls on organ harvesting and donations, there needs to be a way to prevent pregnancies simply for the sake of harvesting embryos to gain such tissue.

      There are also a lot of concerns about ensuring this is actually a path with true possibility of results rather than a ghoulish battleground over the value of life and a macabe sideshow. Think of how the Nazi and Imperial Japanese performed experiments on living people. Where is the line drawn? It's a very serious issue.

      Monstrously irresponsible snake-oil statements like that made by John Whatshisname (yeah, he was even "my" senator, shows how much he did for NC) that if John Kerry was elected President quadraplegics woudl stand up out of their wheelchairs and walk again are...shall we say...far less than responsible.

      On the other hand, if the comments Senator Frist made are true that it is now evident that stem cells are not capable of endless regeneration and there are far fewer than the original 78 strains of stem cells available for federally funded research, perhaps allowing collection of stem cells from those which are left over from invitreo is a good idea.

      Your post shows you don't really know much about this.

      There is no restriction on private investment into stem cell research.

      There are sources of human stem cells other than killing human embryos. Given the current belief that human embyonic stem cells cannot replicate indefinately, they are actually a poor source of the genetic material.

      (Sidebar: there are very, very, very few human cells which can replicate endlessly. I don't remember the anem of the woman from whom one strain was harvested and is used for bio research. Virtually all cells have a limit to the number of tiems they can split.)

      Prior to President Bush's plan of 4 years ago, there was no Federal funding for this research at all. A lot of what you would be seeing in the common media is not scientific, it's political.
      • Well that's just it, why does *science* need to be *political*? One thing they teach doctors early on is all of the things they can do "ethically", and they do this with engineers and the such as well. My question has always been "Why stop science because a bunch of people don't like it?". Science is science is science and will always be science. The Germans, though misguided in their science, were leaps and bounds ahead of us during World War 2, discovering new things at an astounding rate simply because t
        • Right... Aside from inappropriate use of new technology, I suppose trying to change eye color with needles and dyes or doing sterilization experiments on people in concentrartion camps is fine as long as the goal is science. I suppose you have never been to see Auschwitz? Blue eyes good, brown eyes bad...

        • I mean, they've already shown us that being paralysed does nothing against intellegence (Stephen Hawking)

          Well, duh. Being paralyzed is a huge dexterity hit, intelligence doesn't enter into it.

          ~Will
        • I think the reason for the rapid tech advances during WWII was the fact that we were at war and necessity is the mother of invention. Same for the Germans.

          In a normal market where commodities are manufactured, research is hard to fund. It's been monopolies like Bell Labs and the National Gov't which have really pushed things forward because they had both the cash and the desire to do so.

          1984 was pretty dead on. The govt funds science and technology because we need to compete with other nations economically
        • The Germans, though misguided in their science, were leaps and bounds ahead of us during World War 2, discovering new things at an astounding rate simply because they told their scientists that they didn't care, they just wanted it done, and they wanted it done yesterday.

          It's not true. Tell me one are in which German science of the Nazi age was ahead of the rest of the world. Experiments done in the death camps carry no scientific value, just because they're not repeatable -- you can't do it again and ch
        • Well that's just it, why does *science* need to be *political*? ... My entire arguement is that Politics shouldn't showboat science as it's bitch. Science needs to happen for the good of the human race, while politics does everything possible to stand in the human races' way.

          Too true.

          I see two main reasons science becomes political:
          1) Scientists want government money.
          2) Politicians want to control everything. They generally do this by giving out money.

          I heard government money referred to yesterday as "free
      • Well, let's see, there IS the question of when life begins. You can't have seen any discussion of embryonic stem cell research without encountered that aspect.

        The Bush government is pro in-vitro fertilization, a practice which by design produces large amounts of unwanted embryos, blastocysts really, which are frozen down and eventually thrown away, since they can only survive for so long in a frozen state.

        If your position is that human life begins at conception then I fail to understand how this practice is
      • by BerntB (584621) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:16AM (#13201249)
        there IS the question of when life begins. You can't have seen any discussion of embryonic stem cell research without encountered that aspect.
        Well, in the bible belt and in Teheran, there might be a discussion. :-)

        I've never seen credible evidence that a person with a personality gets created before there is a working brain. Would love to be contradicted here with a few references to e.g. Nature? (-: Or even a few bible verses with claims that life start at conception...? :-)

        I am, frankly, not holding my breath.

        Now, someone might argue that a process is started at conception which would end up with a functioning human. The potential is critical. There are a few problems with that position:

        • When a fertile woman smiles back at me (-: it has happened :-), there is a potential for a new human
        • Soon, all our cells will be potential humans with a little "twist"...
        • Half of all conceptions ends soon with a spontaneous abortion. That means, according to the bible belt, that half of all people dies at an age of a few days. To be consistent, the believers should argue that half of all medical research should try to stop this mass death!
        I could go on. (The potential argument is pathetically blurry and compare amateurs like Stalin and Hitler with tens of millions dying from spontaneous abortions... every year.)

        Your correct (IMHO) point is that given the assumption that life starts at conception, the rest of the religious people's position is logical. My point is that they are quite easily described as fuckwits with the same basis as "Son of Sam" had for his world view.

      • by KingSkippus (799657) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:22AM (#13201259) Homepage Journal

        Because I have karma to burn...

        Monstrously irresponsible snake-oil statements like that made by John Whatshisname (yeah, he was even "my" senator, shows how much he did for NC) that if John Kerry was elected President quadraplegics woudl stand up out of their wheelchairs and walk again are...shall we say...far less than responsible.

        The exact quote from John Edwards is, "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

        I don't find anything particularly monstrously irresponsible about this quote. He doesn't imply that people will get up out of their wheelchairs a week or two after Kerry would have been elected. I think most people, like me, are smart enough to realize that curing spinal cord injury is a while coming.

        However, personally, I'm convinced that if we put our collective ingenuity in medical research towards finding a cure for spinal cord injuries, we will get real and tangible results, as this article demonstrates. It's not a cure, but it sure is progress.

        The election of John Kerry would not have necessarily accomplished this goal during his presidency, and I don't think that Edwards's quote was implying that it would. After all, John F. Kennedy said in 1961, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." Even if he had not been assassinated in 1963 and re-elected in 1964, his goal still wouldn't have happened while he was in office.

        It is certain that the election of George W. Bush has hindered the goal of finding a cure to spinal cord injury. He has shut down a major source of funding in an area of research that, as we can see from this article, is directly relevant to finding a cure.

        The really frustrating thing is the reason given for shutting down this funding—some misguided notion that an embryo is somehow morally equivalent to a human being. I find it interesting that most of these fundamentalists have no problem at all with killing highly complex organisms such as rats, monkeys, rabbits, and so on in the name of scientific research, but a clump of nondescript cells with no capacity for thought, feeling, or any sensation at all; a clump of nondescript cells with no past, present, or future; a clump of nondescript cells very similar to the kind that we wash off in the shower every day without even thinking; is somehow sacred.

        What if these same fundamentalists had insisted that researching advanced rocket propulsion techniques in the '60's was too similar to building a Tower of Babel, attempting to reach to heaven? Would John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson have cowered to this weird religious-based belief and let the Russians unilaterally own space today?

        I hope not, just as I hope that in the next election, we manage to get some leadership who is willing to stand up for science that can make our lives better instead of trying to push America further and further into a new dark age of technology because of religious fundamentalism.

        • by MarkusQ (450076) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @09:36AM (#13201691) Journal

          I find it interesting that most of these fundamentalists have no problem at all with killing highly complex organisms such as rats, monkeys, rabbits, and so on...

          Heck, forget the monkeys--what about their bland willingness (or even outright blood lust) for killing non-christians? "Thou shalt not kill" isn't all that hard of a concept.

          It doesn't say "thou shalt not kill people who look like you".

          It doesn't say "Thou shalt not kill except for oil."

          It doesn't even say "Thou shalt not kill unless they started it, in which case it's fine to open a little Whoop-ass on their sorry Is-le-amic butts."*

          I wouldn't mind the fundementalists (of any flavour) nearly as much if they actually pratciced what they preached instead of running around like a bunch of anti-social nitwits, blowing up buses and abortion clinics and killing people--or voting to have somebody else's kids go kill them--in the name of their god.

          --MarkusQ

          * What it does say about "they started it" is "turn the other cheek."

      • There's no question on when life begins. Adults, teenagers, children, babies, fetuses, embryos, sperm , and egg are all alive.

        It's all a question about when to give legal status to life.

        Do you really want to endow an unborn fetus with the rights reserved to an adult? Be prepared for reckless endangerment lawsuits filed on behalf of the fetus against the mother, filed by a concerned party (the father). Which sounds improbable until you realized that it would be a very nasty move to make during a divorce.

        A
      • There are also a lot of concerns about ensuring this is actually a path with true possibility of results rather than a ghoulish battleground over the value of life and a macabe sideshow. Think of how the Nazi and Imperial Japanese performed experiments on living people. Where is the line drawn? It's a very serious issue.

        Yes, where is the line between stem cell research and Nazi experiments on living people? Oh, where is the line!?

        This is a serious issue. We need to find out where this line is before we cont
      • Just as there are lots and lots of controls on organ harvesting and donations, there needs to be a way to prevent pregnancies simply for the sake of harvesting embryos to gain such tissue

        Why? They're just some cells. Sure, if they were to stay in a womb for another 7-8 months they'd grow into a human. If you can't tell the difference between a gastrula and a human being, you've got some issues. I slough off more cells from my skin on a daily basis. Why does nobody weep for my skin cells?
    • Oh, that's right... the frozen embryos have souls or some such shit. Yes, this is a hateful post because I simply can't fathom why this scientific area can't be advanced without controversy in the US. I really, really don't get it. I'd love for somebody to explain it to me. Please!

      Do you have a soul? Do you believe in God? To many people, their ethics are more important than science or cars or money. You might be able to tell me at what speed an object falls to the earth, but can you tell me why it falls

      • "Your abortion will be put to good use, we can find cures to diseases with your embryo". That might be the extra push that convinces her to get an abortion. Even though there are no gaurentees that there will be any breakthroughs.

        Except nobody would ever say that. That's what pisses me off so much about your side. What kind of freaking monsters do you imagine doctors to be? "If you get an abortion, you get a lollypop... Come on. Do it, do it, do it. Sissy." There are way more than enough people getti
      • by MrPerfekt (414248) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:11AM (#13201240) Homepage Journal
        Skipping the theological mellodrama..

        You might be able to tell me at what speed an object falls to the earth, but can you tell me why it falls? Something as simple as gravity? Science is observing events and trying to predict what will happen. Science does not purport to understand why something happens.

        Um, science _does_ attempt to explain to the best of our ability why things happen. Is "gravity" not a perfectly valid answer to your question? If you want to recursively ask "Why?" to every explanation, then I challenge you to explain your faith and allow me to extend the same courtesy. I guarantee you will run out of productive statements long before I will.

        The fact that you refeer to soul and "some such shit" in the same sentance leads me to believe you believe you are right and everyone else is wrong, and that you should be the one who decides where my tax dollars are spent.

        Blah, blah, blah. Vica versa. Ad nausem.

        All that Bush did was listen to his constituents, who said they don't want their tax dollars being spent on embryos that came from abortions.

        Woah, Woah! Hold it right there. This is where you demonstrate a complete lack of understanding. Embryos that came from abortions? From the wikipedia...

        Embryonic stem cells are stem cells derived from the undifferentiated inner mass cells of a blastocyst, an early stage embryo consisting of 50-150 cells. They are pluripotent, meaning they are able to grow into any of the 200 cell types in the body. Embryonic stem cells can be obtained from a cloned blastocyst, created by fusing a denucleated egg cell with a patient's cell. The blastocyst produced is allowed to grow to the size of a few tens of cells, and stem cells are then extracted. Because they are obtained from a clone, they are genetically compatible with the patient.

        200 cells is not a fetus by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is a blastocyst a fetus. These is very much a lab created process and trying to apply your morality via rubber stamp doesn't exactly line up.
        • And the reason science answers how rather than why is that why, requires intent. Intent requires god.

          If you are asking Why do we exist or why does this happen, you are already assuming that god, or some omniscient, omnipotent creator exists and asking what their intent was.

           
      • You might be able to tell me at what speed an object falls to the earth, but can you tell me why it falls? Something as simple as gravity? Science is observing events and trying to predict what will happen. Science does not purport to understand why something happens.

        Actually, science is all about determining why just as much as how. Admittedly, how is usually the focus because until you really understand how, determining why is kind of tough.

        All that Bush did was listen to his constituents, who said they d
      • Do you have a soul? Do you believe in God? To many people, their ethics are more important than science or cars or money. You might be able to tell me at what speed an object falls to the earth, but can you tell me why it falls? Something as simple as gravity?

        YES !

        Science is observing events and trying to predict what will happen. Science does not purport to understand why something happens.

        YES, IT DOES.

        This may be hard for your pinhead brain to comprehend, but "God said so" is not the only possible answer
    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:14AM (#13201247)
      It is because we haven't had time to adequately address the moral concerns such activity raises.

      It was largely agreed at the end of the second world war that the human experimentation that went on in NAZI germany was wrong. This is despite the numerous real medical advancements that were made as a result of such experimentation. Most reasonable individuals agreed that the societal cost performing compulsory experiments on essentially random members of society was greater than the benefit of the resulting medical knowledge.

      It has since been agreed that, to some extent, animal experiment is okay as long as certain moral guidelines are followed. This is because cruelty toward animals has a dehumanizing effect on the human participant (as evidenced by the fact that most serial killers got their start with animals).

      This puts us in a tricky situation when it comes to embryos and cloning. On the one hand, it is well established that an embryo is not the same as a person, on the other hand, an embryo has the potential the become a living, breathing member of society. So where do you draw the line? If experimentation on embryos is not human experimentation, is is certainly the cousin of human experimentation.

      I'm not saying that the cost is not worth the benefit, I am only saying that there is a cost, and that we need to decide how far down the path toward human experimentation we can go before the costs outweigh the benefits.
      • Not all people think that moral concerns with animal experimentation come from the "dehumanizing effect" on researchers. Some of us think that animals have rights or at least moral considerability in themselves.

        Much of this debate could be solved by once and for all agreeing that the mere fact that the research subject is human is not morally significant. Right now, many people are willing to grant a cell rights because less than 1% of its DNA is different from all other organisms save other humans. That's
    • Every sperm is sacred [taboo-breaker.org]

  • There's far more involved than just regenerating some relatively simple structures like a rat spinal column when the goal is human spinal injury.

    I've had a lamenectomy. It's a procedure where tissue has to be removed from between discs in the spine. In my case, I herniated the tissue during heavy squats (word to the wise from a lifetime power lifter, don't do squats, they're too dangerous.) In my case, the tissue was pushed through the fibrous outer sheath that holds the spinal column together. The only possible way to "heal" this would have been to somehow take all the pressure off that part of the body (prevent all muscle movement and stretch the body on a rack), push the tissue back inside then seal the fibrous outer sheath.

    Would I pay for such an option? Yes. Is it possible? No. Would some form of simple application of stem cells allow my body to rebuild the missing tissue? Probably not. Not only is a human spinal column far more complex than that of a rat, so are human brains. The human body also lives far longer and the human body is more articulate.

    This is nice news but it's just the start of what would have to be a long, long, long process. There's no way to have perfect regeneration of plant tissue yet. Thinking human tissue would be able to regenerate any time soon is silly.
    • there has been limited success in stem cell therapy in humans (last year in november). korean researchers helped a paralyzed woman recover some motor control of her lower limbs. I'm not sure how well it followed through though. i never followed up with it. http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200411/kt200411261 7575710440.htm>
      • Yeah, I saw that, too. The key phrase is "some motor control" and there really hasn't been much said after that. "Some" could mean "almost none" and one case doesn't really prove causation. Mind you, I'm not trying to dampen the enthusiasm at all, I'm trying to be rational about this. There's a long, long, long way to go before we can heal spinal cords. We can't even make skin regrow after a burn or abrasion without it looking like a mess. Imagine how much more complex the spinal column is than skin...
    • by cbnewman (106449) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:04AM (#13201123)
      we're talking about two different things here. the OP (who is describing a discectomy, rather than a laminectomy) presumably did not have a spinal cord injury, rather a disease of the vertebral column (i.e. the bony support around the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots). in the case the OP describes, the nucleus pulposis of the intervertebral disc herniates out (either by mechanical stress or simply by aging) and impinges the exiting nerve root of a spinal peripheral nerve. we have been able to repair peripheral nerves for some time now. in the case of the research presented here, we're talking about growth/repair in the central nervous system. this type of repair was not thought to be possible throughout much of the 20th century. turns out we were mostly wrong.

      while the cited article in this posting is a little light on details, this research is potentially novel for the reason that these researchers appear to have recovered function in an animal with a complete spinal cord transection. incomplete spinal cord injury (aka "crush") injuries are a different beast. for some time now, some degree of functional rehabilitation has been possible. the hope is that in humans, we will be able to culture the appropriate stem cell, provide the correct growth factors and achieve connection between the motor/sensory cortex and the peripheral nerve(s).

      the problem is that until this point, we have not had very much success getting neurons in the central nervous system to grow across scar tissue and make appropriate connections to regain function.

      in anticipation of a heated debate in this forum regarding stem cells etc, it's worth noting that the cells used in this study probably fall into the category of "adult stem cells" and not embryonic stem cells (the more contriversial of the two).
    • Well I can sympathize, but this has nothing to do with the kind of injuries we have.

      My injury happened on a roller coaster, when it went around a corner, it broke a small piece of my spine and cut through the outer part of my spinal column. I was lucky to get off with nothing more than a gradually herniating disk and a whole hell of a lot of back pain.

      Meanwhile, stem cell research is being done to (hopefully) allow for damaged nerve tissue to be regenerated, thus, allowing for disabled body parts to c
  • by ReformedExCon (897248) <reformed.excon@gmail.com> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:39AM (#13201071)
    Every other week or so there is some big success story regarding the regrowth of neural tissue using spinal stem cells, but hardly a word about embryonic stem cells. I understand that there is a ban on using government funds to pursue embryonic stem cell research, however I would like to know whether such research is taking place anywhere. And if it is, why aren't the dramatic results we see with spinal stem cells also being trumpeted by embryonic stem cell researchers?

    There are many people who could ultimately benefit from this research, and it certainly shows much promise. I know several people personally who could stand to regain some quality of life if doctors could regrow nerve tissues in humans.

    Are spinal stem cells better than embryonic stem cells at growing this type of tissue, or is it simply a case of too little money going into embryonic stem cell research?
    • Every other week or so there is some big success story regarding the regrowth of neural tissue using spinal stem cells, but hardly a word about embryonic stem cells. I understand that there is a ban on using government funds to pursue embryonic stem cell research, however I would like to know whether such research is taking place anywhere.

      That is not 100% true. There is a ban on using government to fund research using new embryonic cells. When Bush signed the original law, he was trying to make a comprom

      • Actually that's not quite true. He only cut off federal funding for new lines. He has no moral problem with privately funded stem cell research. He is more of a capitalist then he is a christian.
        • Its possible to take a cell and inject a nucleus into it. That nucleus doesn't even have to be from a single person. It can be engineered from combined DNA.

          If that's too 'Blade Runner' for some, it can be the clone from something that we know is not viable. (end of moral argument because we take the cells from the cadaver of the non-viable source and grow function fractions in agar.)

          As for Bush's ethics; I'll stay out of that quagmire, thank you.
    • Yes, in the UK.

      See relevant web pages from the UK Medical Research Council [mrc.ac.uk], the UK Department of Health [doh.gov.uk], the NIBSC [nibsc.ac.uk] and Cambridge University's Stem Cell Institute [cam.ac.uk].

      Research in this area is also being conducted by the UK universities of Bath and Liverpool, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and Smith & Nephew.

    • Because most of the time embryonic stem cell are mentioned primarily for the marketing value.

      embryonic stems cell have huge amounts of problems with them including uncontrolled growth rates(aka cancer).

      As for why embryonic rats were uses is because it was easier to extract the items neede in quantities and because the subjects where not human(never mind the liberal chant that a boy=rat=bug). The same items could be extracted from an adult which produces them at a constant rate.
      • ...by someone with a PhD in this area, experimenting with embryonic stem cells is a lot like figuring out how to write a computer program in raw machine language whereas experimenting with mature stem cells is like programming in a high-level language with an already-developed set of standard libraries.
  • stem cells (Score:3, Informative)

    by jessejesse (903810) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:49AM (#13201083) Homepage
    I read today Senator Frist went against Bush and is now supporting stem cell funding and research. I really hope the American public can put enough pressure to get the White House behind saving American lives and repairing damage such as spinal cord injuries
  • I wish.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by markass530 (870112)
    Ronnie were still alive, and say 30 years old so he could put George W. into a headlock until he submits and supports stem cell research. I'm republican, but bush's stance on this issues makes me fucking angry. Ignorant fuck. I think before someone can even be allowed to be against federal funding of stem cell research, they should have to care for someone with Alzheimer's for a week. As it stands I hope everyone who is against (even a little bit) stem cell research doesn't get Alzheimer's, but I hope every
  • I wonder if something like this would work for birth defects like spina bifida and so forth?
  • by StandardsSchmandards (828326) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:01AM (#13201115) Homepage

    It is great news as it also may have implications for the large number of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients [thisisms.com].

    As you may already know MS is a chronic automimmune disorder [wikipedia.org] where your body attacks the protective sheath around nerve cells causing them to degrade slowly over time. It is not yet curable. This type of damage is smaller than if your spinal cord was ripped apart in an accident and thus it may be easier to repair.

    If this therapy proves to be useful in MS it will help a large number of people and save billions for countries.

    • Take someone sufferring from a chronic autoimmune disorder and place them on massive amounts of immuno-suppressive anti-rejection medicine.

      What's wrong with this picture?
  • by CloudDrakken (582681) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:05AM (#13201127) Journal
    need to start making "I broke my spine and all I got was this aborted fetus" tees
  • by Punboy (737239)
    I remember seeing this on Eyes of Nye last night. Any coincidence this shows up the day after? Seems to me the news is somewhat old.
  • by mongoose(!no) (719125) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:24AM (#13201161)
    I'll start with saying that it is good to see scientific progress, but is it possible to do this with adult / cord stem cells too? Second, everyone says that Bush is against stem cell research. He is only against federal funding to embryonic stem cell research. That doesn't mean he wants to ban it, well he does, but that is besides the point. All he ever did was say the Government can't support it. Third, other than this, I have yet to see an example of Embryonic stem cell research actually working and adult stem cells don't work, or where Embryonic stem cells actually work at all. If adult stem cells show more promise, and don't involve the taking of a human life (the reason this is all contriversial in the first place), why not use them. About the "how can we support a president who is against scientific progress" issue. It isn't that the pro-life people are anti-scientific progress, it is that they don't beleive science should be working against the betterment of humanity. At least they don't think killing for progress is right.
    • Who is "they"? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by raehl (609729)
      Whoever "they" is, they are absoutely 100% ok with killing for progress. Especially if "they" happen to be certain Republicans in the executive branch of the American government.

      We take human life all the time. We take it when we have people work in extremely hazerdous conditions - like mining, or in the old days, building bridges. We take it when we decide we need a regime change. We take it when we allow the sale of tobacco products, or alcohol. We take it when we allow people to operate motor vehicl
    • Let me tryy to figure out your line of thought.

      Second, everyone says that Bush is against stem cell research.

      Okay.

      He is only against federal funding to embryonic stem cell research.

      Because that's the only thing he has control over?

      That doesn't mean he wants to ban it, well he does, but that is besides the point.

      So he wants to ban it, but he isn't against it? That makes perfect sense...

      Bush doesn't believe in stem-cell research. He is trying to limit the research that goes on. Politically, there are only a c
  • How complicated is stem cell treatment?

    Every time I read about it, I get the impression that the subjects are simply injected with stem cells and they magically get cured. Is it really that simple, or are there additional invonveniences, like unwanted tissue types, or surgery or drugs needed?
  • I can't fathom why the govt. funds PBS (e.g. Monty Python, Benny Hill), yet won't fund embryonic stem cell research.

    The government funds NPR (radio typically enjoyed by a minority of Americans), yet won't fund something that might arguably benefit all Americans. Furthermore, the benefits of the funding go to private people, not the govt. itself (Australia is different in this way).

    The inconsistent policies of the government are irritating; funding all or none, or perhaps using some market mechanism to decid
  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:20AM (#13201254) Journal
    Snippings from this article [latimes.com]:

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) announced that he would support legislation allowing the federal government to finance research using a broader range of embryonic stem cells. His decision substantially raised the odds that the bill would win approval in Congress and face a presidential veto, which White House strategists had hoped to avoid. ... The announcement by Frist, a transplant surgeon who is considered a likely contender for president in 2008, contradicted recent signals that he would oppose the legislation, and word of his decision Thursday night caught his Senate colleagues and the White House by surprise. It also was an unambiguous sign that politics had tilted in favor of research advocates and against Bush and the social conservatives who are the core of his political base.

    Frist said he would back legislation allowing the government to fund research using embryonic stem cells no matter when they were created. ... Catholic League President William Donahue called Frist "a hypocrite." In a written statement, Donahue said: "His change of heart has nothing to do with any scientific breakthrough.... What's changed is that Dr. Duplicity wants to be president."

    Frist's stance appeared to put him closer to the mainstream of public opinion. In a May survey for CBS News, 58% of respondents said they favored embryonic stem cell research; 31% said they opposed it. ... One Republican ally of both Frist and the White House said Friday that Bush's position had proved impossible to sustain. The ally, who requested anonymity because of increasingly "raw" feelings in the party, said the president's position was not held by rank-and-file Republican voters. ... In Congress, Republican supporters of stem cell research said they were optimistic that Frist's support would persuade other Republicans to switch their position.


    Commentary

    I can't help but what what the political and scientific ramifications of Frist's recent actions. I wonder if Frist is really being confrontational with the White House and GOP, or could this be part of a plan to broaden Republican appeal...

    Personally, I suspect the latter. The embryonic stem cell stance is one of the most-often criticized things used to criticize Republicans in general, and this could be a way of putting a damper on that criticism.

    I think this will hurt Frist's chance of getting the GOP nomination, but if he gets that, it'll increase his chances for the actual 2008 election, assuming he can get people to forget about his silly remarks during the Schiavo case. I still doubt I'd vote for him myself, but I know many people would.
  • Super...now we can go help Christopher Reeve walk again!

    What...

    Oh...

    Sorry...
  • by GATIam (880150) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @09:13AM (#13201619)
    There are two types of stem cell research currently being conducted. Embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. The only most people hear about is embryonic, which, as I'm sure most of you know, kills the embryo. This type of stem cell research seems to just now be taking off.....in rats, not real people. HOWEVER, adult stem cell research has had quite a bit of success over the past few years. Real human people have benefitted from this research. Stem cells are taken out of the adult who has an injury (for example from the spinal cord) and are reinjected into the host and, many times, regain the ability of whatever it was that was lost. Embryonic stem cells are usually rejected by the recipient due to different types of whatever, I don't know exactly, I'm not a scientist. Adult stem cells are never rejected because they come from the person. Adult stem cell research does NOT kill anyone or anything. If only the government would support adult stem cell research and not embryonic I believe we would have seen many more advances in this area.
  • For adult stem cells (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BCW2 (168187) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @09:19AM (#13201636) Journal
    There is a product called Ambertose that has helped me greatly. I had a ruptured disk in my neck that damaged the nerve root controlling muscle on the top and back of the right shoulder and the bicep. It took 6 months to be able to raise my hand over my head. Since taking this product I have reained about 70% use of my shoulder.

    This product seems to stimulate stem cell production in adults. Go to mannatech.com and check out the reasearch. It works for me and might help you, I'm not trying to sell anything.
  • This sort of research has been done over and over since the 1970's, with various levels of success. Not to say that it isn't good, but a cure is always 10 years away and I don't see any real cure available for at least 50-60 years.

    Mice are different from humans and just connecting nerves don't work as you have to connect the right severed nerves together. Mice can't tell us how the "repair" feels is the movement just relex is it controlled?, it has been shown that a human can still walk if only 5% of his sp
  • by MsWillow (17812) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @11:06AM (#13202085) Homepage Journal
    I've got advanced multiple sclerosis, and the ONLY hope I have for sutvival, let alone being able to walk again, lies with stem cells (plus some way to remove the scars already on my nercous system). Most people assume this means embrionic cells, but there are other ways. For example,in nasal cavity tissue, there are stem cells that can, and do, differentiate into neurons. This would help not only myself, but many others, with MS, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's, ALS, and possibly even Alzheimer's and BSE.

    I realize that these won't cure verything, but why is this research being ignored in favor of embrionic stem cells? There are no moral issues here, no politically-demanded guidelines to be followed, only a chance to help lots of people before they wither away and die. Yet, from what I've been able to see, this avenue is being soundly ignored by researchers.

    'I am truly baffled.

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