Embryonic Stem Cell Research in USA - homework help

by Billy the Ex-Bethelite 7 Replies latest social current

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    Hey all, I'm back to college, enjoying it, and keeping really busy.

    Can anybody help me with a group project for a class? I'm trying to do some research. Part of the problem is that it's a big subject for very limited time... and the rest of the group gave me the "controversy" part... go figure . Currently, frozen in vitro embryos are available for such research at the signed consent of the parents. Many are simply being destroyed because federal funds don't permit their usage... I think... help!

    First for the politics of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research:

    I think it was March 9, 2009, Obama reverses Bush era ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, with much media coverage...
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/06/obama.stem.cell/index.html

    However, it looks like 2 days later he signed the budget that still caried the same old Dickey-Wicker Amendment that still has the wording that restricts federal spending for embryonic stem cell research. I find little coverage of the details on that, this is about it...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickey_Amendment
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/09/us/politics/09stem.html?_r=3
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/14/obamas-stem-cell-policy-reversed-legislative-restrictions/

    Is federal funding still restricted? I thought it had started flowing...?

  • Elsewhere
    Elsewhere

    My understanding is that it is no longer restricted in the US.

    The text in the bill may have been an artifact that was not removed from the bill.

    Though... you do bring up a very good question! Does the bill override what Obama did?

  • BurnTheShips
    BurnTheShips

    Hi Billy,

    You have a PM.

    BTS

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I get the idea from the NY Times article that Obama signed that it was okay, but then no money would actually be allowed by the budget's amendment, compliments of legislation complications. So, in the end, no funding for embryonic stem cell research.

    Also, as I scan web articles, I notice that research is being done in the other areas of adult (non-embryonic) stem cells in the USA. However, it looks like other countries, including China, are way ahead in actually using stem cells in actually treating people. Is the USA FDA slowing the usage of all stem cells for treating people even with otherwise incurable diseases or injuries?

    Thanks

  • BurnTheShips
    BurnTheShips

    Billy, several of your comments are spot on. Some of our research is moving offshore to China, due to the regulatory climate here. Also, regarding the federal ban, it was only a ban on federal funding for new cell lines. Also, the change in policy relating to federal funding that was greeted with much fanfare was largely nullified days later. Either way, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) from adult tissue are the wave of the future, whether or not you have an ethical issue with embryonic ones.

    BTS

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    Thanks Burn! I sent you an email besides. "Regulatory climate" would be a great issue to address. Oh, and we'll need cited sources to include, too. In the real world, we can't just say, "One Internet post says...", like they'll do in Awake!

    Can you believe that there would be regulatory issues here in the USA on adult stem cell treatment?

    Yeah, I can believe it too. And that's a shame.

  • BurnTheShips
    BurnTheShips
    Can you believe that there would be regulatory issues here in the USA on adult stem cell treatment?

    Entrenched interests. Regarding regulatory climate, have you ever seen the movie Tucker? In the movie, regulatory climate was used to punish and put out of business a small startup with a revolutionary product.

    ....institutional forces, with lobbying clout, always resist change. Much of Big Pharm, and its regulators, are vested in the "one size fits all" model. Many of the old players fear personalized medicine because it threatens the existing hierarchy.

    ....Incidentally, Collins has stated that genomics is currently where the computer industry was back in the 1970s at the beginning of a technological revolution....

    ....Dr. Collins is not alone in his views about personalized medicine. Former FDA director under G.W. Bush Dr. Andrew Von Eschenbach urges that the FDA approval process be overhauled and streamlined to help accelerate the adoption of personalized medicine. He is on record predicting that the medical industry will, in fact, undergo this profound metamorphosis....

    and

    Top private industry scientists have decoded the secrets of hundreds of cell types and are experimenting now with cartilage, nerve and other cell types. Human tests, probably offshore because of the FDA's snail pace, will begin if not this year, then next year. These therapies will be offered initially outside the United States. Many of us believe that, once Americans begin coming back home healed of conditions previously thought incurable, the FDA will bow to public demand.

    BTS

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    Burn, Thanks a ton for that info!

    Another thing I stumbled on and found fascinating was that much autologous (extracting a patient's own stem cells, growing them, and returning them to the affected area of the same patient) stem cell treatment is already successfully being done right here in the USA. Hunter's hip was painful and crippling. Normal treatment would have been hip replacement surgery. Instead, at a quarter of the cost, Hunter received stem cell treatment using his own fat tissue. Within two weeks, the improvement was dramatic! His pain was greatly releaved and his mobility restored. Hunter isn't alone. After treatment, one patient has recovered so well that he resumed his sports career and has earned $1.25M! That's a great return on a few thousand dollars expense. Of the thousands of treatments performed, 75% or so improved, 25% saw no change, and there were no noticable disasters as sometimes happens with invasive surgery. It all seems very safe and effective... except...

    ABC Nightline article: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4109559&page=1
    Same story video, the second one on this page: http://www.vet-stem.com/news/

    ...it's wonderful, it's amazing, but it's only available for dogs and horses from Vet-Stem. This isn't something new, this story is from 2 years ago on Nightline. Yes, due to excessive FDA regulation, stem cell therapies are only available to animals. Consequently, in the USA you can fix Fido's arthritis and he's like a puppy again. Or you can fix Mr. Ed's gimpy leg and he'll be running around the farm. But if Grandma has severe joint problems, sorry, she will just have to wait in her wheelchair popping painkillers because the FDA thinks it's "not safe". Stupid FDA.

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