Archive for the ‘Embryonic Stem Cells’ Category

Crucial Differences Between Non-Embryonic and Embryonic Stem …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Nov 23 2018

July 10, 2009 | by Jan F. Dudt | Topic: Faith & Society Print

We hear a lot about stem cells, which are front-and-center as a major policy debate in America, one that involves science, medicine, ethics, politics, and much more.

What are the issues? Whats at stake? What are embryonic and non-embryonic stem cells? What are the crucial differences and distinctions we need to make as a society and citizenry?

Stem-cell technologies are some of the newest and fastest developing biotechnologies. Typically, along with genetic engineering and cloning, these technologies constitute the kind of 21st century advances that make this the century of Biology.

A stem cell is a type of cell that is nonspecific in its function; in contrast, for instance, to a heart or brain cell, which is functionally specific. There are two major sources of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are obtained from 5- to 12-day old embryos. Although removal of a stem cell from an embryo kills the embryo, the stem cells are valued for their potential to produce any type of cell. That is, they have high plasticity. Conversely, non-embryonic stem cells are found in large quantities in placenta, umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid, and in essentially all adult organs or tissues, including bone marrow, fat, kidney, liver, pancreases, intestines, breast, lung, etc. Any of these non-embryonic stem cells have ample plasticity and can give rise to nearly any type of cells, including heart, liver, lung, muscle, etc.

Thus, the heart of the stem-cell controversy centers on the aforementioned fact that the extraction of stem cells from 5- to 12-day embryos kills the embryo. But thats not the only issue: In addition, stem cells derived from an embryonic human may, in turn, reject the person who receives them. This situation is called graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). The problem can be avoided by producing an embryonic clone of the person needing the stem cells. However, the procedure produces an embryo that is indistinguishable from an embryo from a fertilized egg. This embryonic clone would be destroyed during the stem-cell harvesting required by the therapy. This type of cloning is called therapeutic cloning, since the production of a human baby is not the goal. (Reproductive cloning, producing a cloned human baby, has been universally outlawed.)

Another problem is that the embryonic stem cells can unpredictably cause cancer in the treated patient.

On the other hand, newly developed treatments associated with non-embryonic (adult) stem cells are way ahead of any hoped-for treatments associated with embryonic stem cells. Recent non-embryonic stem-cell therapies include treatments for non-healing bone breaks, healing damaged hearts, regenerating damaged muscles, correcting scoliosis, regenerating knee cartilage, treating thalassemia, osteoarthritis, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, spinal chord and nerve damage. Treatments to heal conditions associated with almost any organ or tissue are in view. These advances cast serious doubt on the need to develop embryonic stem-cell therapies, especially since embryonic technologies are morally objectionable, given that they require the death of the human embryo.

The use of ones own adult stem cells (autologous stem-cell transplant) is a way to avoid the problems of rejection and of killing human embryos. Also, certain types of adult stem cells (mesenchymal cells) can be harvested from anyone and changed in the lab (transdifferentiated) into a desired cell. In both of these stem-cell applications there are no adverse effects to the donor of the adult stem cells. The non-embryonic stem cells are safely harvested, purified from other cells and/or expanded in culture, and introduced into the patient without rejection. In another process, virtually any adult cell can be harvested from ones own body and treated to become cells capable of producing the needed cell type (induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS). These cells can also be cultured in the lab, and reintroduced into the patient. All of these sources of adult stem cells avoid the problem of having to use patented embryonic stem-cell lines that would be less available to the public.

And yet, the reputed plasticity of the embryonic stem cells continues to make the prospects of doing research on human embryos attractive to researchers who are uninhibited by the prospect of killing human embryos.

It is worth pointing out that, in terms of medical applications and treatments, two major facts are usually left out of these discussions: First, non-embryonic stem-cell treatments have been used to treat tens of thousands of patients, and with dramatic benefits. However, embryonic stem cells have not had one clinical trial with humans. Also, it has been clearly demonstrated that non-embryonic stem cells do not produce cancerous tumors in humans. Whether iPS cells share this non-tumorigenic quality is not yet clear. However, iPS cells have all of the medical application value hoped for in embryonic stem cells.

It must be noted that in a field as rapidly moving as stem-cell research, this situation will likely not be current for long. However, the current progress of stem-cell research as of spring 2009 speaks volumes regarding the effectiveness of non-embryonic vs. embryonic stem-cell research. The promises of embryonic stem-cell researchers are wildly overstated. The claims that embryonic stem-cell therapies will be available in five to 10 years rings hollow.

Aside from these scientific considerations, there are moral-religious matters of obvious concerns to Christians:

Christians committed to the sanctity of human life should look with favor on technologies that preserve and/or improve human life. Consequently, non-embryonic stem-cell advances should be embraced when they: 1) respect the consent and preserve the dignity of the stem-cell donors, 2) enhance the health of the stem-cell recipient, and 3) protect human life at every stage of development. Embryonic stem-cell harvesting remains problematic because the procedure destroys the smallest and most helpless members of the human family: embryos.

In truth, embryonic stem-cell use is being trumped by successful and surprising advances in adult and other non-embryonic stem-cell research. These advances protect the dignity of the donor and recipient while recognizing the value of all humans, regardless of their stage of life, from conception through old age. Hence, all frozen human embryos should be given a chance to be born, not given over to researchers to be destroyed for the sake of a research project.

Dr. Jan Dudt is a professor of biology at Grove City College and fellow for medical ethics with The Center for Vision & Values. He teaches as part of colleges required core course Studies in Science, Faith and Technology wherein students, among other things, study all of the major origins theories and are asked to measure them in the light of biblical authority.

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Crucial Differences Between Non-Embryonic and Embryonic Stem ...

14 Key Pros and Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Nov 05 2018

Embryonic stem cells have the promise to be a cure to a myriad of medical conditions and other potential benefits. However, the creation and destruction of embryos is involved in this process. For this reason, not all are supportive of embryonic stem cell research and the controversy surrounding it is still so much in the picture.

These are unspecialized cells found in living things and are able to renew themselves and develop into other cells by means of growth and repair so long as the host is still alive. They can also be manipulated to become tissue or organ specific cells. What are embryonic stem cells?

Basically, these are cells derived from blastocysts which are 3-5 day old embryos. Most of these sources come from unfertilized in vitro eggs and are used in research studies. These eggs are taken with consent from donors and brought to laboratories for scientists to use.

Embryonic stem cells are important because they have several potential uses, from getting information about cell development to creating new drugs for medical disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

When an egg is ready for fertilization, it shapes itself to allow for the sperms chromosomes to enter. During this stage, the egg divides into smaller cells and become what is known as blastocyst. This is then harvested and grown on a petri dish and divide to become embryonic cells. This process wherein cells are grown in an artificial environment is known as cell culture. This is used in cell engineering, molecular biology and stem cell.

Although both can become differentiated cell types, cells from embryos are pluripotent. Adult cells have limited capabilities to differentiate into other cell types. Moreover, adult stem cells are not as available as embryonic stem cells, making them hard to culture in laboratories. When it comes to transplantation rejection however, embryonic stem cells are more likely to be rejected as opposed to adult stem cells, according to scientists especially that there have only been few clinical trials done to test the effect of human embryonic stem cells on transplantation.

Despite the potential benefits of embryonic cells, there are also possible setbacks surrounding its applications. Supporters and critics continue their debate on this controversial issue and express their views on different forums. Scientists are also divided based on ethical and moral concerns.

Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of embryonic stem cell research that are worth looking into.

1. They are not to be considered to have life. On the issue whether embryos have moral status, proponents claim that at this point, these embryos should not be considered as persons because they lack physical and psychological properties human beings have because they have not yet been implanted in the uterus. Moreover, even if they have, as in the case of in vitro fertilization, it is not yet certain that they can become human beings, given that success rates are low. Thus, these embryos are not to be regarded as if they were living persons.

2. At the time an embryo is harvested, the central nervous system is still not yet formed. Another point of supporters is the age of the embryo when it is used for stem cell research, which is around 2 weeks. At this stage, an embryo has not yet developed a central nervous system. Also, there is still no concrete evidence it can develop into a fetus. Since this is the case, embryos are not yet capable to feel anything since they dont have senses. Supporters maintain that if organs from brain dead people are allowed to be donated, this should also be the same with embryos.

3. Human embryos for stem cell research can help a number of patients. With the potential of embryonic stem cells to be used as treatment to several medical disorders such as heart diseases, Parkinsons disease and diabetes, destroying them is not actually doing them harm. For advocates, there is nothing wrong with the process because it results to helping hundreds of patients whose lives are in danger.

4. They come from unused embryos for in vitro fertilization and are not taken without consent. Advocates for embryonic stem cell research say that there is nothing unethical or morally wrong with using the fertilized eggs which were not chosen for in vitro. They also posit that these eggs will be discarded anyway and it would be better that they be used for the common good and benefit of the majority. Also, they reiterate that these embryos are given with consent from donors.

5. They can be used by scientists to find cure for several medical conditions. Another claim of proponents about the importance of embryonic stem cell research is the application of such cells to treat ailments like cardiovascular diseases, spinal cord injury, Alzheimers and Parkinsons as well vision impairment and diabetes.

6. They can be possibly used for organ transplantation. Since embryonic cells have the capability to divide into specific cells and are always available, they are good candidates for organ transplantation application as opposed to adult cells. Even if adult cells can be used to repair tissues and for organ transplantation, they are only few viable cells in adults capable of doing such.

7. Embryonic stem cell therapy is the next best thing to happen after the discovery of antibiotics. Scientists who support the use of embryonic stem cells to treat numerous diseases say that for so many years, patients suffer and die from different ailments. With stem cell research, including this one, hundreds if not thousands of patients lives are prolonged, making this medical science breakthrough a great discovery since antibiotics.

8. Embryonic cells can be used for further research by scientists. Advocates also say that discarded cells can be used by researchers to study more about cell properties, structure and growth. This way, they will understand better how cells function and will be able to apply these researches in finding other ways to cure diseases in the future.

1. Human embryos deserve respect as any other human being does. Opponents of embryonic stem cell research argue that these embryos, regardless of their properties or the lack thereof, should be considered and treated with the same respect just like any other person. They add that these embryos have the possibility to develop into fetuses and human beings. Thus, they also have life.

2. There is no evidence that embryos have lives or not so they should not be destroyed. With the issue whether embryos already have a status of life, critics of embryonic stem cell research say that there is no concrete evidence. An example used is that of a patient who is comatose. Just because he or she is not responding from stimulation is not a proof that there is no life. Critics say that the same logic should be applied in embryos. And since it is unsure that life exists in an embryo or not, no one should destroy an embryo without any concern or consideration.

3. Embryonic stem cell research takes away the chance of an embryo to become a human being. On the argument that an embryo is just like any part of the human body, an organic material and not a person, opponents say that embryos are in a stage that they have the possibility to develop into human beings. Since this is the case, using them for research is taking away this possibility and therefore, it is something unethical.

4. The use of embryonic stem cells had not yet been proven to be successful. Groups against this research contend that there have been very few success stories of embryonic stem cells to cure diseases. In fact, there have been reports of difficulty of these cells to new specific types as well as tumor formation. There is also the concern of organ transplantation rejection of recipients that critics believe to be reason enough to stop stem cell research.

5. Taxpayers money is used to fund researches like this. Another issue that stirs the minds of opponents is that the Federal government fund researches like these at the expense of the American people. Despite some scientists who appealed against this, the government has already spent $500 million in human embryonic stem cell research, according to reports. Despite the passing of legislation in 1996, prohibiting the use of taxpayers money for stem cell research, there are still private groups who were funding researches as well. Groups who are against this, however, continue to fight for the cause.

6. There are alternative ways to culture cells. Aside from embryos being used in stem cell research, adult cells can also be used as well as non-embryonic cells. Opponents posit that scientists should turn to these alternatives to save lives and look for remedies instead of the destruction of embryos. Scientists are already conducting studies on creating induced pluripotent stem cells and attempting to have human skin cells to go back to the embryonic state. With these developments, scientists should consider these options, according to critics.

In the middle of the controversial issue about using human embryos for stem cell research, groups remain divided. However, with new developments and options, perhaps, a time will come scientists can let go of using human embryos. If this happens, supporters are most likely to concede. After all, their concern is not on embryo destruction but on finding treatments for medical disorders.

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14 Key Pros and Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research ...

Reprogrammed stem cells identical to embryonic stem cells

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 29 2018

Click on photo (at left) to enlarge Photo:iPS cells feature reprogrammed stem cells: Credit: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Russian researchers have concluded that reprogramming does not create differences between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells are specialized,undifferentiated cellsthat can divide and have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. They serve as a sort of internal repair system in many tissues, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another more specialized cell type, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. Scientists

distinguish several types ofstem cellspluripotent stem cells can potentially produce any cell in the body. No pluripotent stem cells exist in an adult body, rather they are found naturally in early embryos.

There are two ways to harvest pluripotent stem cells. The first is to extract them from the excess embryos produced duringinvitro fertilization procedures, although this practice is still ethically and technically controversial because it does destroy an embryo that could have been implanted. For this reason, researchers came up with the second way to get pluripotent stem cells reprogramming adult cells.

Reprogramming, the process of turning on genes that are active in a stem cell and turning off genes that are responsible for cell specialization was pioneered by Shinya Yamanaka, who showed that the introduction of four specific proteins essential during early embryonic development could be used to convert adult cells intopluripotent cells. Yamanaka was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize along with Sir John Gurdon for the discovery that mature stem cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent.

Production of iPS cells: Isolate cells from patient; grow in a dish Treat cells with reprogramming Wait a few weeks Pluripotent stem cells Change culture conditions to stimulate cells to differentiate into a variety of cell types blood cells | gut cells | cardio muscle cells Credit: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Thanks to their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer potential for treating any disease. For example, there have been cases of transplanting retinal pigment epithelium and spine cells from stem cells. Another experiment showed that stem cells were able to regenerate teeth in mice. Reprogramming holds great potential for new medical applications, since reprogrammed pluripotent stem cells (or induced pluripotent stem cells) can be made from a patients own cells instead of using pluripotent cells from embryos.

However, the extent of the similarity between induced pluripotent stem cells and humanembryonic stem cellsremains unclear. Recent studies highlighted significant differences between these two types of stem cells, although only a limited number of cell lines of different origins were analyzed.

Researchers compared induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines reprogrammed from adult cell types that were previously differentiated from embryonic stem cells. All these cells were isogenic, meaning they all had the same gene set.

Scientists analyzed the transcriptome the set of all products encoded, synthesized and used in a cell. Moreover, they elicited methylated DNA areas, because methylation plays a critical role in cell specialization. Comprehensive studies of changes in the gene activity regulation mechanism showed similarities between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells. In addition, researchers produced a list of the activity of 275 key genes that can present reprogramming results.

Researchers studied three types of adult cells fibroblasts, retinal pigment epithelium andneural cells, all of which consist of the same gene set; but a chemical modification (e.g. methylation) combined with other changes determines which part of DNA will be used for product synthesis.

Scientists concluded that the type of adult cells that were reprogrammed and the process of reprogramming did not leave any marks. Differences between cells that did occur were thought to be the result of random factors.

We defined the best induced pluripotent stem cells line concept, says Dmitry Ischenko, MIPT Ph.D. and Institute of Physical Chemical Medicine researcher.

The minimum number of iPSC clones that would be enough for at least one to be similar to embryonic pluripotent cells with 95 percent confidence is five.

Clearly, no one is going to convert embryonic stem cells into neurons and reprogram them into induced stem cells. Such a process would be too time-consuming and expensive. This experiment simulated the reprogramming of a patientsadult cellsinto inducedpluripotent stem cellsfor further medical use, and even though the reprogramming paper, published in the journal Cell Cycle, does not currently propose a method of organ growth in vitro, it is an important step in the right direction. Both induced pluripotent cells and embryonic stem cells can help researchers understand how specialized cells develop from pluripotent cells. In the future, they may also provide an unlimited supply of replacement cells and tissues that can benefit many patients with diseases that are currently untreatable.

The study, titled, An integrative analysis of reprogramming in human isogenic system identified a clone selection criterion, concluded that reprogramming does not create differences between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells, involved researchers from the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Research Institute of Physical Chemical Medicine, and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).


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Reprogrammed stem cells identical to embryonic stem cells

Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Development, Volume 129 …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 29 2018

Dr. Brivanlou received his doctoral degree in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Rockefeller in 1994 as assistant professor after postdoctoral work in Douglas Meltons lab at Harvard University. Among his many awards are the Irma T. Hirschl/ Monique Weill-Caulier Trusts Career Scientist Award, the Searle Scholar Award, the James A. Shannon Directors Award from the NIH and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The Brivanlou laboratory has demonstrated that the TGF- pathway plays a central role in inductive interactions leading to the establishment of different neural fates, which begins by the specification of the brain. In studies of frog embryos, Dr. Brivanlou has made several influential discoveries, including the finding that all embryonic cells will develop into nerve cells unless they receive signals directing them toward another fate. A concept, coined the default model of neural induction, postulates that neural fate determination requires the inhibition of an inhibitory signal. His laboratory has contributed to the molecular and biochemical understanding of the TGF- signaling pathway and cross talk with other signaling networks, using comparative studies of frog and mouse embryos and mammalian cell culture. To address whether the default model of neural induction is conserved from amphibians to mammals (and humans in particular), Dr. Brivanlous laboratory was among the first to work directly in hESCs. Dr. Brivanlou and colleagues derived several hESC lines, called RUES1, 2 and 3 (Rockefeller University Embryonic Stem Cell Lines 1, 2 and 3). The RUES lines were among the first 13 hESC lines approved for use in research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research adopted in July 2009 under the Obama administration. Their current work focuses on the molecular dissection of the defining properties of ESCs their capacity for self-renewal and their ability to differentiate into a range of cell types. Dr. Brivanlous overall goal is to use hESCs to study early human embryonic development. Several collaborations with Rockefeller University physics laboratories have provided new insight, from the use of quantum dots for in vivo embryonic imaging (with Albert J. Libchaber) to development of new statistical tools for DNA microarray and high throughput proteomic analysis. Ongoing collaboration with Rockefellers Eric D. Siggia focuses on using a high throughput microfluidic platform to program hESC differentiation toward specific fates by dynamic changes of the signaling landscape and without compromising genetic integrity. Thus, the first steps of stem cell differentiation are being scrutinized using new high-resolution techniques drawn from physics. This data will be organized and developed into a predictive tool to rationally reprogram specialized fates from hESCs.

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Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Development, Volume 129 ...

Embryonic Stem Cell Protocols by Kursad Turksen | Waterstones

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 29 2018

Now in two volumes, this completely updated and expanded edition of Embryonic Stem Cells: Methods and Protocols provides a diverse collection of readily reproducible cellular and molecular protocols for the manipulation of nonhuman embryonic stem cells. Volume two, Embryonic Stem Cell Protocols: Differentiation Models, Second Edition, covers state-of-the-art methods for deriving many types of differentiating cells from ES cells. The first volume, Embryonic Stem Cell Protocols: Isolation and Characterization, Second Edition, provides a diverse collection of readily reproducible cellular and molecular protocols for the isolation, maintenance, and characterization of embryonic stem cells. Together, the two volumes illuminate for both novices and experts our current understanding of the biology of embryonic stem cells and their utility in normal tissue homeostasis and regenerative medicine applications.

Publisher: Humana Press Inc. ISBN: 9781617377778 Number of pages: 456 Weight: 700 g Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 27 mm Edition: Softcover reprint of hardcover 2nd ed. 2006

"...elegantly introduces tremendous methods and protocols in ES of the most useful books that I have ever read in this field..." -Cell Biology International

"...highly valuable for any scientist who wants to make a start in the exciting field but also for experienced ES cell researchers who want to widen their repertoire" -Diabetologia

"...a very informative resource for any developmental or cell biologist with an interest in developments and prospects of ES cell research" -Molecular Biotechnology

"...a useful companion volume to other more specialized ES cell books..." -Nature Cell Biology

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Embryonic Stem Cell Protocols by Kursad Turksen | Waterstones

What Are Stem Cells? Research, Transplant, Therapy, Definition

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Jul 17 2018

Stem cell facts

Stem cells are cells that have the potential to develop into many different or specialized cell types. Stem cells can be thought of as primitive, "unspecialized" cells that are able to divide and become specialized cells of the body such as liver cells, muscle cells, blood cells, and other cells with specific functions. Stem cells are referred to as "undifferentiated" cells because they have not yet committed to a developmental path that will form a specific tissue or organ. The process of changing into a specific cell type is known as differentiation. In some areas of the body, stem cells divide regularly to renew and repair the existing tissue. The bone marrow and gastrointestinal tract are examples of areas in which stem cells function to renew and repair tissue.

The best and most readily understood example of a stem cell in humans is that of the fertilized egg, or zygote. A zygote is a single cell that is formed by the union of a sperm and ovum. The sperm and the ovum each carry half of the genetic material required to form a new individual. Once that single cell or zygote starts dividing, it is known as an embryo. One cell becomes two, two become four, four become eight, eight become sixteen, and so on, doubling rapidly until it ultimately grows into an entire sophisticated organism composed of many different kinds of specialized cells. That organism, a person, is an immensely complicated structure consisting of many, many, billions of cells with functions as diverse as those of your eyes, your heart, your immune system, the color of your skin, your brain, etc. All of the specialized cells that make up these body systems are descendants of the original zygote, a stem cell with the potential to ultimately develop into all kinds of body cells. The cells of a zygote are totipotent, meaning that they have the capacity to develop into any type of cell in the body.

The process by which stem cells commit to become differentiated, or specialized, cells is complex and involves the regulation of gene expression. Research is ongoing to further understand the molecular events and controls necessary for stem cells to become specialized cell types.

Stem Cells: One of the human body's master cells, with the ability to grow into any one of the body's more than 200 cell types.

All stem cells are unspecialized (undifferentiated) cells that are characteristically of the same family type (lineage). They retain the ability to divide throughout life and give rise to cells that can become highly specialized and take the place of cells that die or are lost.

Stem cells contribute to the body's ability to renew and repair its tissues. Unlike mature cells, which are permanently committed to their fate, stem cells can both renew themselves as well as create new cells of whatever tissue they belong to (and other tissues).

Stem cells represent an exciting area in medicine because of their potential to regenerate and repair damaged tissue. Some current therapies, such as bone marrow transplantation, already make use of stem cells and their potential for regeneration of damaged tissues. Other therapies that are under investigation involve transplanting stem cells into a damaged body part and directing them to grow and differentiate into healthy tissue.

During the early stages of embryonic development the cells remain relatively undifferentiated (immature) and appear to possess the ability to become, or differentiate, into almost any tissue within the body. For example, cells taken from one section of an embryo that might have become part of the eye can be transferred into another section of the embryo and could develop into blood, muscle, nerve, or liver cells.

Cells in the early embryonic stage are totipotent (see above) and can differentiate to become any type of body cell. After about seven days, the zygote forms a structure known as a blastocyst, which contains a mass of cells that eventually become the fetus, as well as trophoblastic tissue that eventually becomes the placenta. If cells are taken from the blastocyst at this stage, they are known as pluripotent, meaning that they have the capacity to become many different types of human cells. Cells at this stage are often referred to as blastocyst embryonic stem cells. When any type of embryonic stem cells is grown in culture in the laboratory, they can divide and grow indefinitely. These cells are then known as embryonic stem cell lines.

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The embryo is referred to as a fetus after the eighth week of development. The fetus contains stem cells that are pluripotent and eventually develop into the different body tissues in the fetus.

Adult stem cells are present in all humans in small numbers. The adult stem cell is one of the class of cells that we have been able to manipulate quite effectively in the bone marrow transplant arena over the past 30 years. These are stem cells that are largely tissue-specific in their location. Rather than typically giving rise to all of the cells of the body, these cells are capable of giving rise only to a few types of cells that develop into a specific tissue or organ. They are therefore known as multipotent stem cells. Adult stem cells are sometimes referred to as somatic stem cells.

The best characterized example of an adult stem cell is the blood stem cell (the hematopoietic stem cell). When we refer to a bone marrow transplant, a stem cell transplant, or a blood transplant, the cell being transplanted is the hematopoietic stem cell, or blood stem cell. This cell is a very rare cell that is found primarily within the bone marrow of the adult.

One of the exciting discoveries of the last years has been the overturning of a long-held scientific belief that an adult stem cell was a completely committed stem cell. It was previously believed that a hematopoietic, or blood-forming stem cell, could only create other blood cells and could never become another type of stem cell. There is now evidence that some of these apparently committed adult stem cells are able to change direction to become a stem cell in a different organ. For example, there are some models of bone marrow transplantation in rats with damaged livers in which the liver partially re-grows with cells that are derived from transplanted bone marrow. Similar studies can be done showing that many different cell types can be derived from each other. It appears that heart cells can be grown from bone marrow stem cells, that bone marrow cells can be grown from stem cells derived from muscle, and that brain stem cells can turn into many types of cells.

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Most blood stem cells are present in the bone marrow, but a few are present in the bloodstream. This means that these so-called peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) can be isolated from a drawn blood sample. The blood stem cell is capable of giving rise to a very large number of very different cells that make up the blood and immune system, including red blood cells, platelets, granulocytes, and lymphocytes.

All of these very different cells with very different functions are derived from a common, ancestral, committed blood-forming (hematopoietic), stem cell.

Blood from the umbilical cord contains some stem cells that are genetically identical to the newborn. Like adult stem cells, these are multipotent stem cells that are able to differentiate into certain, but not all, cell types. For this reason, umbilical cord blood is often banked, or stored, for possible future use should the individual require stem cell therapy.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were first created from human cells in 2007. These are adult cells that have been genetically converted to an embryonic stem celllike state. In animal studies, iPSCs have been shown to possess characteristics of pluripotent stem cells. Human iPSCs can differentiate and become multiple different fetal cell types. iPSCs are valuable aids in the study of disease development and drug treatment, and they may have future uses in transplantation medicine. Further research is needed regarding the development and use of these cells.

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Embryonic stem cells and embryonic stem cell lines have received much public attention concerning the ethics of their use or non-use. Clearly, there is hope that a large number of treatment advances could occur as a result of growing and differentiating these embryonic stem cells in the laboratory. It is equally clear that each embryonic stem cell line has been derived from a human embryo created through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or through cloning technologies, with all the attendant ethical, religious, and philosophical problems, depending upon one's perspective.

Routine use of stem cells in therapy has been limited to blood-forming stem cells (hematopoietic stem cells) derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood. Bone marrow transplantation is the most familiar form of stem cell therapy and the only instance of stem cell therapy in common use. It is used to treat cancers of the blood cells (leukemias) and other disorders of the blood and bone marrow.

In bone marrow transplantation, the patient's existing white blood cells and bone marrow are destroyed using chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Then, a sample of bone marrow (containing stem cells) from a healthy, immunologically matched donor is injected into the patient. The transplanted stem cells populate the recipient's bone marrow and begin producing new, healthy blood cells.

Umbilical cord blood stem cells and peripheral blood stem cells can also be used instead of bone marrow samples to repopulate the bone marrow in the process of bone marrow transplantation.

In 2009, the California-based company Geron received clearance from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin the first human clinical trial of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells in the treatment of patients with acute spinal cord injury.

Stem cell therapy is an exciting and active field of biomedical research. Scientists and physicians are investigating the use of stem cells in therapies to treat a wide variety of diseases and injuries. For a stem cell therapy to be successful, a number of factors must be considered. The appropriate type of stem cell must be chosen, and the stem cells must be matched to the recipient so that they are not destroyed by the recipient's immune system. It is also critical to develop a system for effective delivery of the stem cells to the desired location in the body. Finally, devising methods to "switch on" and control the differentiation of stem cells and ensure that they develop into the desired tissue type is critical for the success of any stem cell therapy.

Researchers are currently examining the use of stem cells to regenerate damaged or diseased tissue in many conditions, including those listed below.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/8/2016



"Stem Cell Information." National Institutes of Health.

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What Are Stem Cells? Research, Transplant, Therapy, Definition

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Pros and Cons | HRFnd

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Jun 19 2018

There may not be a greater debate in the medical community right now than that of embryonic stem cell research. Initially banned by the Federal government, these stem cells often originate from human embryos that were created for couples with reproductive issues and would be discarded. These stem cells are thought to be the key that will unlock the cure to many diseases, from Alzheimers to rare immune and even genetic disorders. On the other side of the issue, some see the destruction of an embryo as the murder of an unborn child.

The primary benefit of this research is the enormous amount of potential that it holds. Embryonic stem cells have the ability to create new organs, tissues, and systems within the human body. With a little guidance from scientists, these stem cells have shown that they can become new organs, new blood vessels, and even new ligaments for those with ACL tears. By culturing stem cells and them implanting them, recovery times could be halved for many serious injuries, illnesses, and diseases.

Because nearly one-third of the population could benefit from treatments and therapies that could originate from embryonic stem cell research, many scientists believe that this field could alleviate as much human suffering as the development of antibiotics was able to do. Because funding was restricted on embryonic stem cell lines for several years, however, the chances of any therapies being viable in the near future are slim.

The primary argument against this research is a moral one. Some people see the creation of an embryo as the creation of life, so to terminate that life would equate to murder. This primarily originates from a point of view where life as we define it begins at conception, which would mean that any medical advancement from this research would be at best unethical.

Those against this research argue that since the creation of this research field in the early 1980s, there have been no advancements in it whatsoever. Because of this lack of advancement, it could mean decades of additional research, thousands of embryos destroyed to further that research, and that is morally unacceptable for some.

The debate about embryonic stem cell research isnt in the potential benefits that this field of study could produce. It is in the ethics and morality of how embryonic stem cells are created. There often is no in-between view in this area: you either define life at some part of the physical development of the human body during the pregnancy or you define it at conception. This view then tends to lead each person to one side of this debate. Where do you stand?

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Stem Cell Research: Is It in Danger?

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 29 2017

Studies on diseases like ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's jeopardized if GOP-controlled Congress cuts funding for embryonic stem cell research.

In 2010, when renowned stem cell scientist Lawrence Goldstein, PhD, published his groundbreaking book Stem Cells for Dummies, with co-author Meg Schneider, the forecast for human embryonic stem cell research had just begun to brighten.

In 2001, former President George W. Bush cast a cloud over this field of science by barring the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from funding research that used embryonic stem cells beyond the 60 cell lines that already existed.

But in 2009, then-President Barack Obama signed an executive order repealing Bushs policy.

Obamas decision enabled researchers like Goldstein, director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, and Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center, to make real progress, inching closer to human clinical trials.

Goldsteins work focuses on discovering clinical applications for human embryonic stem cells, also known as ESC.

His work looks specifically at clinical applications for neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and Huntingtons diseases.

After 10 years, weve seen a variety of projects that use embryonic stem cells moving closer to clinical applications and in clinical trials, Goldstein told Healthline.

Although its taken some time, were getting closer to seeing the most promising approach for treatment of different neurologic disorders that have no suitable treatment alternative.

Read more: Stem cells therapy offers hope for MS remission

But now use of human embryonic stem cells are once again under fire from conservative and pro-life groups.

Contrary to popular belief, human embryonic stem cells do not come from aborted fetuses.

All the human embryonic stem cell lines currently in use are derived from unused embryos developed for in vitro fertilization and donated for research.

They are cells that would have only been discarded.

Nevertheless, their use in research is opposed by many in the pro-life movement, including a vocal coalition in Congress.

Last month, 41 conservatives in the House urged President Trump to fire Dr. Francis Collins, director of the NIH, the worlds largest agency funding biomedical research, because Collins supports embryonic stem cell research.

However, Trump announced last week he was reappointing Collins, a widely respected physician-geneticist.

Several Republican leaders in Congress had reportedly urged Trump to retain him, calling Collins the right person, at the right time, to continue to lead the worlds premiere biomedical research agency.

But Trumps decision didnt sit well with many in his voting base and his own cabinet.

Vice President Mike Pence, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price, have both spoken out against the use of embryonic stem cells on moral grounds.

Just a few weeks ago, Pence got a standing ovation at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast when he reminded the audience that he was the one who cast the tie-breaking vote in the United States Senate that allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood.

The Congressional conservatives who called on Trump to fire Collins are voicing their anger over Trumps decision to retain Collins.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., told LifeNews, a pro-life publication, that he was disappointed in the Trump Administrations decision.

Dr. Collins support of embryonic stem cell research, along with his comments that cloned embryos do not deserve the same moral protections as naturally generated embryos, make him a less than an ideal fit for a pro-life administration, Banks said. I am hopeful that Dr. Collins will turn away from embryo-killing research as he continues his tenure as NIH director.

Trumps election has resulted in a new and unprecedentedly tenuous era for the NIH. Its funding has typically had bipartisan support.

Despite Trumps seemingly pro-science pivot, the NIH still faces a potential $5.8 billion cut about 18 prevent in the presidents fiscal 2018 budget.

And this plank from the 2016 GOP platform remains in place:

We oppose embryonic stem cell research. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. We support adult stem cell research and urge the restoration of the national placental stem cell bank created by President George H.W. Bush but abolished by his Democratic successor, President Bill Clinton.

Goldstein and several other scientists interviewed for this story said that while Trumps decision to retain Collins is a positive, theres still no guarantee that embryonic stem cell research will continue getting support from the federal government in this increasingly hostile and volatile political climate.

While human embryonic stem cells are just one of several types of stem cells being studied for their innate, but complex, abilities to treat diseases, Goldstein explained, they are an important weapon in a growing arsenal.

It takes a great deal of time, money, and patience to develop these therapies, he noted.

It would be a shame to go back to the dark age solution that we had under the Bush administration, said Goldstein, who is currently focused largely on ALS, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease, named for the legendary New York Yankee.

Gehrig died from the disease at age 37.

Goldstein said a lot of individuals and institutions are working to find treatments for ALS, which has enjoyed a boost in awareness and funding thanks to the recent Ice Bucket Challenge that caught on nationwide.

Its important that we develop an aggressive set of cell therapy programs so that we have multiple shots on goal, Goldstein said. We need to attack the disease from as many angles as possible.

Read more: Stem cell therapy a possible treatment for RA

For the last 25 years, Frances Saldaa has been on a mission to increase awareness of Huntingtons disease (HD), a debilitating, incurable, and often inherited disease.

Its become my mission in life to advocate for support of HD research and for excellence in patient care, said Saldaa, whose husband, Hector Portillo, didnt tell her he had the disease.

Three of their children inherited HD from their father. Both of Saldaas daughters have died, and her son is not doing well.

My son Michael is fighting for his life every single day, but time is running out for him too, she said. The suffering endured at the end of life for HD patients is unimaginable. My daughter, Margie, and her husband did not have the money to go through IVF when they started their family. They had two beautiful children. I live in fear that my two grandchildren, now 19 and 21, are also at risk of inheriting HD.

When Saldaa learned that members of Congress were urging President Trump to fire Collins, her heart sank.

To have the door close on this research because they have this belief would be tragic, she said. In my opinion, an embryonic egg is not life until its attached to the placenta.

Saldaa said that if she had the opportunity, she would ask people who oppose this research, Have they ever seen their own children dying devastating deaths? Have they ever seen their own children lose the ability to talk, to swallow? Have they ever had their own child die in their arms, and yet know that there is hope, that there is a chance with this research to find a cure?

Ive dedicated my life to supporting this research, from Team Hope walks to bake sales, everything and anything to find a cure, she said.

Leslie Thompson, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior, and professor of neurobiology and behavior, at the University of California Irvine, has devoted her entire career to unlocking the mysteries of Huntingtons disease and finding treatments.

Thompson, who said many of her patients with HD are like family, said human embryonic stem cells present great hope for finding a treatment for HD.

And after decades of painstaking study, she told Healthline that her work could lead to human clinical trials for people with HD as soon as two or three years from now.

Thompson keeps a picture of Saldaas children in her office to remind her of what her research is really all about.

Im deeply concerned how this could move the field backwards, she said, but added that she is hopeful her work and that of others will be allowed to continue.

Were in an exciting, unprecedented time of opportunity to use stem cells for treatments, she said.

When former President George W. Bush decided to halt new human embryonic stem cell research, Saldaa recalled, We all jumped and went toward getting Prop 71 passed.

The California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which was passed by a 60-40 margin, was drafted by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. It has provided millions of dollars in stem cell research in the state, including embryonic stem cell research.

The public vote on this initiative has helped California become the national leader in stem cell research.

There is also solidarity in the stem cell community. Even scientists who dont use human embryonic stem cells still support their colleagues who do.

Jeanne Loring, PhD, a professor of developmental neurobiology, and director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., made the shift about a decade ago from human embryonic stem cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS), which she makes from cells cultured from skin biopsies.

There are certain advantages to IPS, she said, but added that she still fully supports embryonic stem cell research.

Its hard to predict what President Trump will do, said Loring, whose lab is working on finding treatments for Parkinsons disease, discovering the cause of autism, ways to treat it, and more.

Loring notes that there are great misunderstandings about embryonic stem cell research and where the cells come from.

There is always an undercurrent of misunderstanding about sources of human stem cells. People think they are associated with abortion but they are not. she said.

Read more: Using stem cells to heal broken bones

What lies ahead for human embryonic stem cell research is anyones guess.

When Obama signed the order to lift Bushs ban on new embryonic stem cell research, he said, In recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values.

In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.

Goldstein said he hopes Trump, too, will embrace the importance of this research that seeks to find treatments for deadly diseases.

Its early in this administration, there is still time for them to staff up with people who will give the President the appropriate scientific advice, Goldstein said. There are many challenges facing us that are technological in nature. You cant have a humming economy without robust investment in science. It drives the development of new technologies and devices. An investment in science pays far more than what you put in.

Goldstein said investing heavily in science has helped give the United States the quality of life that Americans now enjoy.

Our investments in science and technology are likely the reason for winning World War II, he said. And our investment in biotech has revolutionized medicine and has been invaluable to providing jobs in many states.

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Stem Cell Research: Is It in Danger?

Truth About Embryonic Stem Cells | Stem Cell Orthopedic …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 29 2017

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September 18, 2017| Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas Team | STEM CELL THERAPY

If you have any interest in stem cells, you may be familiar with the debate on embryonic stem cells. Stem cells have been researched since the mid-1900s. While adult stem cells have proven to be safe and effective, embryonic stem cells are banned for human use in the United States.

As such, at the Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute, we exclusively use adult stem cells. For a complete description of our process, please visit our procedure overview.

While we do not use embryonic stem cells in America, it is important to remember how we got to this point to inform what choices we make going forward. Heres the truth about embryonic stem cells:

Just like the name sounds, embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos. Most embryonic stem cells come from embryos that develop from eggs that were fertilized in vitro (in an in vitro fertilization clinic) and then donated for research purposes with the donors consent. These stem cells are not derived from the eggs that have been fertilized in a womans body.

Fertilization usually occurs in the oviduct. The few days after the embryo travels down the oviduct and into the uterus, a series of cleavage divisions will occur. The embryo is a ball of around 100 cells at this point (called a blastocyst). The outer layer of cells forms the placenta and is called the trophectoderm. The cells during this stage are undifferentiated, which means that they do not look or act like the specialized adult cells, and they are not yet committed to becoming any specific type of differentiated cell.

The first differentiation event occurs at around five days of development which is when an outer layer of cells separates from the inner cell mass (ICM). The ICM cells have the potential to generate any cell type, but once they have been implanted, they are quickly depleted as they differentiate into other cell types with limited developmental potential. However, the ICM cells can continue to multiply and endlessly replicate themselves, while maintaining the developmental potential to form any cell only if the ICM is removed from its normal embryonic environment and cultured under proper conditions.

Embryonic stem cells have a never-ending lifespan with an almost unlimited developmental potential. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, which means that can grow into any one of the three primary germ layers: ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. These cells have the potential to form any type of cell in the body, from muscle to nerve to blood. Embryonic stem cells provide endless possibilities for researchers.

In 2001, President George W. Bush allowed federal funding for limited embryonic stem cell research. However, President Barack Obama revoked that statement in 2009 and released Executive Order 13505 to remove the restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research. This allowed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fully fund research with embryonic stem cells. The NIH issued guidelines to establish the policy. These guidelines were created to help ensure that all NIH-funded research on human stem cells is morally responsible and scientifically relevant.

Embryonic stem cells are used for many purposes, from basic research to transplantation therapies for various diseases like heart disease, Parkinsons disease, leukemia, and more. Since it is illegal to use human embryonic stem cells, researchers rely on mice and other animals for these cells. Stem cells have to potential to grow new cells to replace damaged organs or tissues, correct portions of organs that work improperly, research causes of genetic defects in cells, research how diseases occur or why certain cells develop into cancer cells and test new drugs for safety and effectiveness.

Research with embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is highly debated and many people have strong opinions about their stance on the issue. Many of the discussions lie around moral and ethical issues. The dilemma forces us to choose between two moral principles: the duty to prevent and alleviate suffering or the duty to respect the value of human life.

Lets take a look at both stances. In order to obtain embryonic stem cells, you must destroy the embryo also meaning that you are destroying a potential human life. On the other hand, embryonic stem cell research could help us find new medical treatments that could help alleviate or end those suffering from many disorders and diseases. The biggest question: which moral principle should have the upper hand? The answer ultimately depends on how you view the human embryo.

Embryonic stem cells also have a high oncogenic potential meaning it is potentially cancerous. Since these cells have the possibility to transform into practically any cell, there is a possibility they can form tumors in patients.

At the Stem Cell Orthopedic Institute of Texas, we never use embryonic stem cells only adult stem cells. Our patients health and safety is our priority. Rest assured, our doctors will give you the personalized attention you deserve. To learn more about our stem cell treatments or to schedule an appointment, call us at 210-293-3136.

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Truth About Embryonic Stem Cells | Stem Cell Orthopedic ...

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Still Hasn’t Cured a Single …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 25 2017

Dr. Francis Collins has not shown any pro-life leadership at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In fact, in an interview, Dr. Collins response to a congressional letter outlining pro-life members concerns dripped with condescension, implying that the group of 41 congressmen understood neither the science nor the ethics of embryo and stem cell experiments. Dr. Collins owes us an apology. We know the science, use the scientifically accurate terms and know the ethical facts. Dr. Collins positions at NIH have not been pro-life.

His lack of pro-life leadership might have been expected when he served under the previous administration, which was the antithesis of pro-life. However, now Dr. Collins has agreed to work for President Trump, who campaigned on a pro-life agenda. Will Dr. Collins change his positions and adjust his agenda? When will we have a pro-life NIH Director who reflects the policy of our president?

As one example of the void in pro-life leadership, Dr. Collins designed and oversees the NIH registry of human embryonic stem cell lines, a listing of cells created by destroying young human embryos that are eligible for hundreds of millions in federal taxpayer dollars. Dr. Collins continuously approves cells for this registry, and did so most recently in March and again in June of this year.

The registry has created a cottage industry for those who want to destroy human embryos and then reap taxpayer dollars for their efforts. The establishment of the registry created an incentive for further destruction of young human embryos, under the guise of expanding scientific research and providing more experimental material. Dr. Collins called it important, life-saving research, despite the fact that embryonic stem cells have to this day not saved a single human life nor proven to have any near-term success in patients.

Eight years after its inception, the registry is nothing more than an embryonic charnel house. The stem cell lines sit as names and numbers on the registry, memorial markers to the lives of the human embryos destroyed in the name of science.

Moreover, scientific leaders admit that human embryonic stem cells now serve primarily as references to compare with nonembryonic stem cells in the laboratory. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which show the same characteristics as embryonic stem cells, have largely replaced embryonic stem cells. The Nobel-prize-winning iPS cells can be made from virtually any person or tissue, healthy or diseased, more cheaply and efficiently than embryonic stem cells, without destroying the donor of the cells.

After consuming a decade and a half of federal funding, amounting to well over a billion taxpayer dollars, embryonic stem cell research has produced no help for patients. The stem cell registry at NIH and federal funding for it should be foreclosed, and the funds should be redirected to research that shows real hope for patients.

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In previous interviews, Dr. Collins has ignored the gold standard of stem cells for patients: adult stem cell research. Adult stem cells have now treated well over 1 million patients around the globe, including tens of thousands of children. Adult stem cells are the only stem cell option to show authenticated, life-saving success in patients, validated by hundreds of scientific publications.

Yet in a 2009 interview, Dr. Collins touted the one clinical trial approved by the FDA at the time a single trial that showed no benefit to any patient from embryonic stem cells, even to today and ignored over 2,000 adult stem cell clinical trials ongoing at the time (the number of adult stem cell trials now exceeds 3,000). Adult stem cell research is providing real innovation for patients now, and it could use the funding that now goes to dogmatic support for antiquated science. Will Dr. Collins voice his support for adult stem cell research and redirect funding toward patient-focused science.

The House of Representatives has shown tangible support for this idea with the introduction of H.R. 2918, the Patients First Act of 2017. The bill would direct HHS to prioritize adult stem cell research that has the best chance of producing near-term benefits in patients without the creation, destruction, or risk of injury to human embryos. Furthermore, the bill advocates for the ethical approach without authorizing any additional spending.

In addition to refusing to acknowledge the potential of adult stem cell research, Dr. Collins has also supported human cloning to create embryos for experiments. In this scenario, a cloned human embryo would not be allowed to survive and develop, but rather be torn apart for the use of its cells in laboratory tests. Cloning (technically termed somatic cell nuclear transfer) requires the transfer of a cell nucleus into an egg that has had its own nucleus removed. This is the way Dolly the cloned sheep and other cloned animals all began, as cloned embryos.

Yet Dr. Collins takes the unscientific view that a cloned embryo is not really an embryo, because, he says, it was not produced by a sperm and egg coming together. Even the NIH states that the cloning process produces an embryo.

The NIH can be a world leader in successful, ethical science and medicine. But this shift requires a pro-life leader at the helm.

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Embryonic Stem Cell Research Still Hasn't Cured a Single ...