Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Media Coverage: Political and Research Implications of hESC Ruling

Here are some excerpts and links to interesting coverage of yesterday's federal court ruling on stem cell research.

Text of the judge's ruling from the Washington Post.

Wall Street Journal, reporters Laura Meckler, Gautam Naik and Brent Kendall on election year politics and more.
"It also could inject the divisive issue into election-year politics and spark discussion in Congress whether to try to nullify the decision by writing new legislation.... 
"The government is spending about $137 million on human embryonic stem cell research this year and is projected to spend about $126 million next year. It's unclear whether the judge's decision would affect currently funded projects. Stem-cell advocates were calling on the government to appeal the decision and seek to have the preliminary injunction nullified....
"A significant amount of stem-cell research will go forward thanks to private funding and the state of California's ambitious stem-cell initiative, which isn't affected by Judge Lamberth's ruling. The California group (CIRM) spends $250 million annually on stem-cell research, with some 30%-40% of the money directed to embryonic stem-cell research."
Los Angeles Times, reporters Karen Kaplan and Naom Levy, on legal view of ruling.
"UCLA law professor Russell Korobkin, an expert on stem cell legal issues, said the ruling was "a terrible decision."
“By considering all research part of an unbreakable continuum, the decision implies that the Dickey-Wicker Amendment has no limits, which is an unconvincing interpretation, Korobkin said. 'It suggests that by conducting research on an acorn a scientist would also be conducting research on an oak tree, because acorns come from oak trees,' he said.”
New York Times, reporter Gardiner Harris, on feeding stem cells and politics of the decision.
"'I have had to tell everyone in my lab that when they feed their cells tomorrow morning, they better use media that has not been funded by the federal government,' said Dr. George Q. Daley, director of the stem cell transplantation program at Children’s Hospital Boston, referring to food given cells. 'This ruling means an immediate disruption of dozens of labs doing this work since the Obama Administration made its order.'
“In his ruling, Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that his temporary injunction returns federal policy to the “status quo,” but few officials, scientists or lawyers in the case were sure Monday night what that meant. Dr. Daley was among those who said they believed that it meant that work funded under the new rules had to stop immediately; others said that it meant that the health institutes had to use Bush Administration rules to fund future grants....
“The ruling could prove politically tricky, since it returns to public attention the politically divisive issue of abortion and research politics. President Obama made support for the research a signature part of his campaign, and he over-turned the Bush Administration’s more restrictive policy in the first two months of his administration.
“Polls show that the public generally supports embryonic stem cell research, and Judge Lamberth’s ruling — while a surprising legal setback for one of the administration’s signature scientific policies — could prove politically beneficial for the administration by reminding votes of a popular decision.”
CIRM still open for business -- Ron Leuty, San Francisco Business Times, The Associated Press(AP story appeared in The Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union-Tribune and other papers)

Washington Post story, reporters Rob Stein and Spencer Hsu
"'This is devastating, absolutely devastating,' said Amy Comstock Rick, immediate past president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, a group of patient organizations that has been lobbying for more federal funding.
"'We were really looking forward to research finally moving forward with the full backing of the NIH. We were really looking forward to the next chapter when human embryonic stem cells could really be explored for their full potential. This really sets us back,' Rick said. 'Every day we lose is another day lost for patients waiting for cures.'"
CBS News on ruling and “snowflake adoptions” Sphere: Related Content

4 comments:

  1. fyi:

    http://ipbiz.blogspot.com/2010/08/i-was-stunned-collins-doing-his-best.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. The is a proposal on the GeronTalk website on a possible way to derive ESC without destroying a viable embryo:

    http://www.gerntalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=1250.msg4420;topicseen#msg4420
    "
    "New way to generate ESC without destroying viable embryos
    « on: 08/30/10 12:39:00 am Eastern Daylight Time »
    Here is a new way to generate ESC without destroying viable embryos, that may or may not be acceptable to the Catholics and RR.

    Once in a while, a young woman carrying a new embryo dies in accidents like car crashes. It is not often, but often enough. Currently, there are no attempts to save embryos from these dead women, so that these embryos die with the mothers. It is very difficult and very expensive to mount a program to save these dying embryos in dying people to be implanted in surrogate mothers to save them. The RR may be against using surrogates also, making saving these embryos impossible currently. Thus, these embryos are doomed to die, when their mothers die. However, it is not too expensive to save some of these dying embryos for ESC medical treatments.

    Unlike the fertility clinic embryos that are destined to be discarded, which the RR are against fertility clinics to begin with, these dying embryos occur as a result of natural accidents.

    Just a thought. Don't know how the RR will consider it."

    ================

    This coupled with using the ACTC (Advanced Cell Technology Company) method of picking off a single cell from the embryo that will not hurt the embryo, as the embryo can replace the single picked off cell and keep on growing, according to a medical procedure of picking off a single cell from the embryo to test for genetic defects.

    Thus, the process does not destroy embryos, and it does not involve "unnatural" fertility clinic actions. It is more akin to the transplant donor program of drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here is the link to the technique of picking-off-an-ESC-without-destroying-the-embryo:

    http://www.advancedcell.com/news-and-media/press-releases/act-uniquely-positioned-as-one-of-few-sources-of-es-cells-that-could-qualify-for-federal-funding/

    "ACT May Be Uniquely Positioned as One of Few Sources of ES cells That Could Qualify for Federal Funding Under Federal Court Ruling
    Blastomere Technique Which Does Not Require Destruction of Embryos May Not Be Subject To Temporary Ruling

    MARLBOROUGH, MA –August 24, 2010 (Business Wire). Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (“ACT”; OTCBB:ACTC) commented today on yesterday’s federal court ruling, temporarily blocking federal funding for embryonic stem cell research involving the destruction of embryos. The company believes that this will add to the pressure on the NIH to find appropriate sources of human ES cells that can be funded in the context of this preliminary injunction. It is notable, then, that ACT’s proprietary “embryo-safe” Single Blastomere technique for deriving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), documented in Nature and CELL Stem Cell magazines and elsewhere, does not require destruction of the embryo and as a consequence may not be directly affected by this ruling. ACT does not rely on government funding for any of its research or product development. Accordingly, there is no current impact on the company’s business."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Here is the link to the technique of picking-off-an-ESC-without-destroying-the-embryo:

    http://www.advancedcell.com/news-and-media/press-releases/act-uniquely-positioned-as-one-of-few-sources-of-es-cells-that-could-qualify-for-federal-funding/

    "ACT May Be Uniquely Positioned as One of Few Sources of ES cells That Could Qualify for Federal Funding Under Federal Court Ruling
    Blastomere Technique Which Does Not Require Destruction of Embryos May Not Be Subject To Temporary Ruling

    MARLBOROUGH, MA –August 24, 2010 (Business Wire). Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (“ACT”; OTCBB:ACTC) commented today on yesterday’s federal court ruling, temporarily blocking federal funding for embryonic stem cell research involving the destruction of embryos. The company believes that this will add to the pressure on the NIH to find appropriate sources of human ES cells that can be funded in the context of this preliminary injunction. It is notable, then, that ACT’s proprietary “embryo-safe” Single Blastomere technique for deriving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), documented in Nature and CELL Stem Cell magazines and elsewhere, does not require destruction of the embryo and as a consequence may not be directly affected by this ruling. ACT does not rely on government funding for any of its research or product development. Accordingly, there is no current impact on the company’s business."

    ReplyDelete