Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Snippets from Obama Stem Cell Media Coverage

Here are some tidbits from the vast coverage of President Obama's stem cell ceremony on Monday.

Nicholas Wade
of the New York Times wrote:
“Members of Congress and advocates for fighting diseases have long spoken of human embryonic stem cell research as if it were a sure avenue to quick cures for intractable afflictions. Scientists have not publicly objected to such high-flown hopes, which have helped fuel new sources of grant money like the $3 billion initiative in California for stem cell research.

“In private, however, many researchers have projected much more modest goals for embryonic stem cells. Their chief interest is to derive embryonic stem cell lines from patients with specific diseases, and by tracking the cells in the test tube to develop basic knowledge about how the disease develops.

“...(M)any scientists believe that putting stem-cell-derived tissues into patients lies a long way off. Embryonic stem cells have their drawbacks. They cause tumors, and the adult cells derived from them may be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Furthermore, whatever disease process caused the patients’ tissue cells to die is likely to kill introduced cells as well. All these problems may be solvable, but so far none have been solved.”
Rob Stein of the Washington Post wrote about the job facing the NIH.
“The task of deciding what kinds of studies will be supported now falls to the National Institutes of Health, which finds itself confronting far more extensive questions than its officials were contemplating. It has 120 days to do the job.

“Among other things, officials will have to decide whether to endorse studies on cells obtained from much more contentious sources, such as embryos created specifically for research or by means of cloning techniques. “
Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times carried, on her blog, a list of guests at the Obama ceremony. They included Zach Hall, first president of CIRM, and other Californians tied to the state's stem cell agency. The list did not include CIRM Chairman Robert Klein, but other stories indicated that he attended. The current CIRM president, Alan Trounson, was invited but did not attend.

Reporter Terri Somers of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Klein was at the ceremony and reported that he said the door is now open for more collaboration between California scientists and those in other states.

Somers also wrote:
“At a 'Free the Stem Cells' breakfast at the home of researcher Jeanne Loring of The Scripps Research Institute, scientists gathered to watch the event and toast Obama. Some were moved to tears, Loring said, because the president's actions validated research to which they have dedicated their careers.”


  1. Anonymous4:14 AM

    Finally! A great decision by Mr. Obama. If we restricted science because of pointless religious protests then we'd still be in the middle ages. This research could lead to some serious breakthroughs in medicine and help saving thousands of lives annually. Finally the rational thinking won and scientist can work on finding cure for diseases like Alzheimer.

    Take care, Elli

  2. Anonymous11:41 PM

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  3. My apologies for that deeply offensive comment that an anonymous reader left on this item. It has been deleted.