Posted tagged ‘Stem Cell Research’

President Obama to Reverse Stem Cell Ban

March 6, 2009

President Obama is planning to sign an executive order this coming Monday to overturn a policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research, this according to administration officials familiar with the deliberations.

From CNN:

Obama’s move will be hailed by advocates for those suffering from a host of afflictions, ranging from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease, who believe that an expansion of stem cell research could boost medical progress toward eradicating the debilitating diseases.

But many conservatives object to the destruction of human embryos because they contend it ends a human life.

The officials said the administration is planning a Monday event at the White House in which Obama will overturn the executive order signed by President Bush in August 2001 that barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time. Interactive: Unlocking the promise of stem cells »

Bush also twice vetoed legislation, in July 2006 and June 2007, that would have expanded federally funded embryonic stem cell research.

Green Light Given For Stem Cell Work in United States

January 23, 2009

A biotech company in the United States says it plans to start this summer the world’s first study of a treatment based on human embryonic stem cells.  The long-awaited project is aimed at spinal cord injury.

From the Associated Press:

The company gained federal permission this week to inject eight to 10 patients with cells derived from embryonic cells, said Dr. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif.

The patients will be paraplegics, who can use their arms but can’t walk. They will receive a single injection within two weeks of their injury.

The study is aimed at testing the safety of the procedure, but doctors will also look for signs of improvement like return of sensation or movement in the legs, Okarma said.

Whatever its outcome, the study will mark a new chapter in the contentious history of embryonic stem cell research in the United States — a field where debate spilled out of the laboratory long ago and into national politics.

While some overseas doctors claim to use human embryonic stem cells in their clinics, stem cell experts said they knew of no previous human studies that use such cells.

“It’s a milestone and it’s a breakthrough for the field” because Geron passed the safety hurdles for getting federal clearance to launch the study, said Ed Baetge, chief scientific officer of Novocell Inc. His company hopes to begin a similar human study for treating diabetes in a few years.

In addition, said spinal cord injury researcher Dr. Wise Young of Rutgers University, “a lot of hope of the spinal cord injury community is riding on this trial.”

Embryonic stem cells can develop into any cell of the body, and scientists have long hoped to harness them for creating replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases. But research has been controversial because embryos must be destroyed to obtain them.

President Barack Obama has promised to relax the Bush administration’s restrictions on federal financing for such research. But Obama’s ascent to the White House had nothing to do with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s granting permission for the new study, Okarma said in a telephone interview Thursday.

First of Its Kind Stem Cell Surgery Announced

November 19, 2008

Physicians at four European universities have completed what they say is the first successful transplant of a human windpipe using a patient’s own stem cells to fashion an organ and prevent its rejection by her immune system.

From CNN:

Doctors have given a woman a new windpipe with tissue engineered from her own stem cells in what experts have hailed as a “milestone in medicine.”

The breakthrough allowed Claudia Castillo, 30, to receive a new section of trachea — an airway essential for breathing — without the risk that her body would reject the transplant.

Castillo was given the stem cell surgery, the controversial branch of medicine that some say could lead to human cloning, after suffering a severe lung collapse.

The condition, caused by long-term tuberculosis left Castillo, a Colombian now living in Barcelona, unable to carry out simple domestic duties or care for her two children.

The only conventional option was a major operation to remove her left lung, a risky procedure with a high mortality rate.

From the New York Times:

The transplant operation was performed on the patient, Claudia Castillo, in June in Barcelona, Spain, to alleviate an acute shortage of breath caused by a failing airway following severe tuberculosis. It followed weeks of preparation carried out at the universities of Barcelona, Spain, Bristol, England and Padua and Milan in Italy.

News of the procedure coincided with speculation that President-elect Barack Obama may reverse the Bush Administration’s restrictions on stem cell research, which has been contentious in some European countries, too. Anthony Hollander, a professor at Bristol University, said ethical concerns relating to embryonic stem cell research had not surfaced in the latest procedure because it had used only the patient’s own stem cells. “This was not embryonic stem cell research,” he said in a telephone interview.

Ms. Castillo, 30, was hospitalized in March with her windpipe so badly damaged by tuberculosis that she was unable to walk more than a few steps at a time, according to a statement from Bristol University.

“The only conventional option remaining was a major operation to remove her left lung which carries a risk of complications and a high mortality rate,” Bristol University said.

The surgery represented what the university called “pioneering work.”

“We are terribly excited by these results,” said Prof. Paolo Macchiarini of the University of Barcelona, who performed the operation. “Just four days after transplantation the graft was almost indistinguishable from adjacent normal bronchi.”

Barack Obama Plans to Use Executive Orders To Reverse Bush Policies

November 10, 2008

Excellent! President-elect Obama plans to use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office, perhaps reversing Bush administration policies on stem cell research and domestic drilling for oil and natural gas. 

From AFP:

Barack Obama is looking to reverse executive orders on oil drilling and stem cell research implemented by President George W. Bush, the president-elect’s transition team said Sunday.

The move could signal a swift change of course after eight years under the Bush administration, even as top aides stressed Obama’s bipartisan aims and predicted the new cabinet could contain familiar faces, particularly at the Pentagon.

Both the incoming Democrats and outgoing Republicans have largely struck a tone of civility, with economic woes and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan high on the list of priorities ahead of Obama’s inauguration on January 20.

But as Obama prepared for handover talks at the White House Monday, his transition chief John Podesta signaled that Obama could wipe away some hallmarks of the Bush years, including a ban on embryonic stem cell research and moves to open new lands to oil drilling.

“I think across the board, on stem cell research, on a number of areas, you see the Bush administration, even today, moving aggressively to do things that I think are probably not in the interest of the country,” Podesta told Fox.

“We’re looking at — again, in virtually every agency to see where we can move forward, whether that’s on energy transformation, on improving health care, on stem cell research,” he said.

Podesta, who also served as White House chief of staff under president Bill Clinton, said he would not “preview decisions that he (Obama) has yet to make.”