Month Archives: June 2010

Gumming Up Bones with Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

June 29, 2010

Italian doctors report that they have used adult stem cells to regenerate bone lost through severe gum disease in patients. Dr. Marco Baldoni and his team at the University of Milan Patients with periodontitis experience receeding gums and the destruction of gum and bone tissue. In a ten-year study, the Italian researchers found that lost bone could be regenerated using adult stem cells. Patients had some of their bone marrow adult stem cells removed and cultured on a special collagen protein support, then the cells were injected into affected bone. Within a few months, the adult stem cells had entirely regenerated the bone lost through disease. So far, the procedure has been used for seven patients, in every case successfully. According to Dr. Baldoni:

In fact, the preliminary results indicate that the level of bone regeneration is even greater than those obtained with traditional methods.”

Adult stem cells certainly give you something to chew on. Regrowth of jaw bone is just the most recent example of using adult stem cells for patients to stimulate hip bone growth and to repair non-healing bones.

Robert Byrd, Senator for Spending

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 28, 2010

The death of Senator Robert C. Byrd should give thoughtful Americans pause. Sen. Byrd was married for 69 years and was never tied to any moral or financial scandal. His personal life seems to have been exemplary, and in an age of tawdry political scandals this is not a small thing.

That he was briefly a member (a “Kleagle”) of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s became a rightful source of lifelong shame to him. The legacy of his racist past popped up from time to time, as when he used a coarse racial epithet in a 2004 interview with FOX News.

Today, though, the media are waxing rhapsodic about Sen. Byrd’s love of the Constitution. Many outlets are noting that he carried a small copy with him and that it was “well worn.” The Associated Press even writes that “Byrd’s lodestar was protecting the Constitution. He frequently pulled out a dog-eared copy of it from a pocket in one of his trademark three-piece suits.”

No one can dispute that Sen. Byrd frequently cited the Constitution and the prerogatives of the Senate. Yet, one might question whether or not the Constitution truly was his “lodestar.”

Sen. Byrd voted for some of the most anti-constitutional justices in Supreme Court history, men and women for whom the Constitution is legal putty to be reshaped in whatever form their ideological predispositions direct. He voted for an unconstitutional mandate upon all Americans that requires them to purchase health insurance. He supported Roe v. Wade and, perhaps most famously, welcomed his role as one of the Senates’ most vigorous pork-barrel spenders.

I’m going to do everything I can for the people of West Virginia. That’s my duty! You can call it pork, if you want to, but that’s all right. I know what my duty is. My duty is to my people,” Sen. Byrd argued.

His people, indeed. In an embarrassing speech in 2002, he even called himself “Big Daddy” for his ability to funnel money to West Virginia projects.

Sen. Byrd called the Appropriations Committee, of which he was chair for many years, “the greatest committee.” In one sense, he was right - Appropriations has authority to spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually, which even in spendthrift DC is real power.

Sen. Byrd steered hundreds of millions to the Mountaineer State. Perhaps it is for that reason that Sen. Byrd’s name now graces nearly 40 locations in West Virginia.

Yet the Constitution nowhere gives Congress the authority to cull monies from the citizens of the various states and redistribute it as Senate power-brokers so desire. This is nothing more than legalized theft, and it is anti-constitutional.

Sen. Byrd, in all his writing and pondering about the U.S. Senate, its rules and its duties, should perhaps have taken counsel from the Senate’s first president, Thomas Jefferson: “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

Being a big spender of other people’s money is not the worst epitaph a statesman can have. Not the best, but not the worst.

Lawsuit Reinstated to Stop Federal Funding of Embryo-Destructive Research

by David Prentice

June 25, 2010

The Federal Court of Appeals has reinstated a lawsuit that seeks to block federal funding of research that involves the destruction of human embryos, finding that doctors doing adult stem cell research have ‘competitive standing’ to sue.

The lawsuit, Sherley et al. v. Sebelius et al., had been heard in U.S. District Court on October 14, 2009, and had been dismissed with a decision that the plaintiffs lacked standing. The lawsuit is brought by a broad coalition of plaintiffs, including two adult stem cell scientists—Dr. James L. Sherley, a senior scientist at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute; and Dr. Theresa Deisher, the founder, managing member, and research and development director of AVM Biotechnology.

A 3-judge panel of the Appeals Court reversed the order of the District court regarding lack of standing, and returned the case to the District Court for further proceedings.

New ObamaCare Regulations May Eliminate Some Existing Policies

by Chris Gacek

June 25, 2010

They have not received an enormous amount of press, but the White House announced new interim health care regulations on Tuesday that implement Obamacare the Affordable Care Act. (See the Washington Times story.) Heres a micro-summary of what they do:

The new regulations will strengthen the laws so-called patients bill of rights, including the end of insurance companies denying coverage to children with pre-existing medical conditions and caps on lifetime coverage limits.

A friend of FRC wrote me a note about these new rules and the coverage limits annual as well as lifetime:

….the restriction on annual coverage limits (which applies even to grandfathered plans) was supposed to be phased in between now and 2014 to help minimize premium cost increases. These new regulations set $750,000 as the minimum annual individual limit starting September 23 of this year! This goes to $1.25 million the following year, and then $2 million until 2014 when no limits will be permitted at all. So much for limiting premium cost increases! Most policies I have seen have a lifetime maximum of $1 million, so this will blow costs through the roof, immediately.

This expert on employee benefit policy was clearly surprised and went on to make additional points. Many individually-purchased policies are affordable only because the insured is willing to limit the maximum policy payout for annual and total benefits. This is reasonable and beneficial policy purchasers then have an incentive to contain medical costs if there is a maximum payout that does not equal infinity and 00/100 dollars or the practical equivalent thereof. Also, insurance companies can plan for their maximum possible obligation under the current policy structure. All that said, the analyst predicted that many affordable individual policies now will not be renewed undermining the claim that if you liked your old insurance you can keep it. Well, you cant keep your health insurance policy if it is regulated out of existence by government rules that make it actuarially and economically untenable.

Social Conservative Review—June 24, 2010

by Krystle Gabele

June 24, 2010

Sign up for our newest publication: The Social Conservative Review.

The Social Conservative Review:

The Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News

June 24, 2010

FRC has recently published a comprehensive study of President Obama’s efforts to repeal the historic ban on homosexuals in the Armed Forces. Written by respected military analyst Lt. Col. (ret) Robert Maginnis, “Mission Compromised: How the Obama Administration is Drafting the Military into the Culture War” is an important contribution to the debate over this critical issue.

After over 30 years in the Marine Corps, including service as the senior military attorney, I know the serious risks present if the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and law are repealed. I am compelled to speak out since those currently on active duty cannot voice their opinions. Robert Maginnis uses facts, the law, and a dose of military perspective to debunk the myths put forward by those seeking change from the current law. James C. Walker, Brig.Gen. U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

The free PDF of this compelling study can be downloaded here.

Educational Freedom and Reform

Environmental Issues

Faith and Policy

Health Care

Homosexuality in the Military

Judiciary

Marriage and Family

Family Economics

Marriage

Pornography

Religious Liberty

Check out Persecution.com, one of the best websites regarding Christian persecution throughout the world.

Sanctity of Life

Abortion

Adoption

Bioethics

Stem Cell Research

Other Articles of Note for Social Conservatives

Barbarossa: 22 June 1941

by Robert Morrison

June 22, 2010

It was a quiet Sunday morning just before dawn in early summer 69 years ago. The Soviet border guards had nervously reported sighting clouds of dust over the western horizon in the previous days. Increasing numbers of aircraft with swastika markings on their wings had been overflying the Soviet airspace.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent repeated messages to Communist dictator Josef Stalin in the Kremlin: Hitler is going to attack the Soviet Union. British intelligence had confirmed that after the last great Luftwaffe bombing raid over London on 10 May 1941, German aircraft, armored units, and infantry were all moving toward the east. Hitler had proclaimed his intentions to the world in his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) He saw the east as the place where Germanys burgeoning population would find lebensraumroom to live.

Despite all warnings and all indications, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would attack him. He had signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler barely two years earlier. In late August, 1939, Hitler had felt secure to go to war with the British and the French over Poland. He knew that the Pact would prevent Stalin from attacking him from the east.

Now, after his Luftwaffe had failed to defeat the Royal Air Force in the year-long Battle of Britain, Hitler secretly ordered his generals to prepare a drang nach ostena drive to the east. Frustrated in his invasion of Britain, Hitler convinced himself that when he defeated Soviet Russia, Britain would have no choice but to make peace with him.

Hitler and his Nazis had seen how poorly the Soviet military fared against little Finland in the winter of 1939-40. The tiny Scandinavian country had defied Stalins demand for a chunk of its territory and had killed a million Red Army soldiers in the winter war that followed. Virtually without weapons, the Finns invented Molotov cocktails, bottles filled with gasoline. They lit the wicks and hit Soviet tanks with them. Finally, in the spring, Stalins overwhelming numbers forced the Finns to sue for peace. Not a single Finn remained behind in the Karelian Peninsula that their leaders were forced to give over to Stalin.

Seeing this and knowing that Stalin had shot thousands of his own generals, colonels and other high-ranking army officers in a series of bloody purges throughout the 1930s, Hitler was convinced we have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come falling down.

Most observers in the west thought Hitler might be right. They had seen his Wehrmacht roll over Poland in 40 days and over Belgium, the Netherlands, and France in just six weeks.

Churchill disagreed. He told his closest friends he would bet them a monkey to a mousetrap (a term he picked up from horse racing) that Russia would still be fightingand fighting more successfullytwo years from that day.

Churchill won the bet. But not before tens of millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Georgians, Armenians, and many, many others in the old USSR lost their lives. Jews were singled out by Hitler for extermination. The siege of Leningrad (as St. Petersburg was known in the Soviet era) claimed three million livesmore than the U.S., Britain, France, and Canada lost in all of World War II.

When Hitler attacked without warning that morning in June, 1941, Stalin had a nervous breakdown. He cowered in his dacha (vacation home) outside of Moscow. For the first ten days of the German assault, while millions of Red army soldiers were killed or taken prisoner, the Communist rulers of the Kremlin remained paralyzed. Trains full of Russian wheat continued to race westward to Germany as part of the terms of the 1939 Pact. No one had thought to order them stopped. When his Communist comrades came to his dacha to beg for his guidance, Stalin at first thought they had come to arrest him and have him shot.

They should have. No ruler in human history had been responsible for such a catastrophe in his own land. Stalin trusted no one on earth, except Adolf Hitler. But Stalin would survive those first ten days of Barbarossa and live on to see his Red Army come roaring back. Stalins train would carry him to the rubble of Berlin in 1945. He would meet Prime Minister Churchill and President Harry Truman at Potsdam, a Berlin suburb. The allied leaders met, almost literally, over Hitlers dead body.

All through World War II, all through the tragic and bloody conflict that his own alliance with Hitler had made possible, Stalin continued to enjoy a great press in the west. He was called Uncle Joe. Millions of Communists and leftists regarded him and not Churchill, not even FDR, as the leader of progressive mankind. Amazing.

Even more amazing: We have had people in the Obama White House who claim to be Communists, claim to view Chinas Communist dictator Mao Zedongthe only man who managed to kill more people than Stalin and Hitleras a favorite political philosopher.

Eighty-five percent of the Allied war effort in World War II went against Adolf Hitler. Two-thirds of that fight was on the Soviet Front. We had no choice but to align with Stalin. But no onethen or nowshould be under any illusions about what a thoroughly evil man he was. No American should ever be able to claim to be a Communist or to admire Communists without being made to answer for the murderous records of Stalin and Mao.

Sight Restored to Blinded Patients using Their Own Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

June 18, 2010

Italian scientists report that they have restored sight to patients blinded by chemical burns using the patient’s own adult stem cells. The team treated 112 patients blinded in one or both eyes; some of whom had been blind for years. Adult stem cells were taken from the edge of a patient’s eye and cultured on fibrin, then the cell layers transplanted onto the damaged eyes. The adult stem cells produced healthy corneas and functioning eyes. Some patients regained sight within two months, while for others with deeper injuries the process took a year before vision was restored. Patients were followed up to ten years after the transplant. After a single transplant, 69% of patients regained vision; in some cases a second transplant occurred, with a total success in 77% of patients and partial vision restoration in 13% of patients. The long-term restoration was an especially encouraging success of the study.

Lead researcher Dr. Graziella Pellegrini, of the University of Modena, said:

The patients, they are happy, even the partial successes. We have a couple of patients who were blind in both eyes. Can you imagine for these patients the change in their quality of life?

According to the scientists, the key to success was insuring a high enough concentration of adult stem cells in the graft, so that the stem cells could continue to generate new tissue. The team reported their findings at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. You can find the abstract on page 64 of the meeting program (WARNING: 17MB pdf file!)

Miracle at the New York Times, Trouble for America

by Rob Schwarzwalder

June 18, 2010

We live in a world where the extraordinary has become commonplace.

A laptop computer in a coffee shop in Tulsa can link to a climber on Mt. Everest. We walk into a typical suburban supermarket and are faced with an overwhelming variety of every imaginable foodstuff, from 300 types of ice cream to 15 varieties of mozzarella cheese. Intricate surgery can be performed remotely through electronic “arms.” Finely-crafted telescopes can take us into the far reaches of a previously unexplored universe.

These things are amazing. But this morning I am deeply gratified that I have lived to see the day when the front page printed-edition of The New York Times carries a headline that more generally would befit Rush Limbaugh’s website than the cover of the Gray Lady: “Strong Steps or Oversteps? BP Is Latest Example of Tactic by Obama.”

Do wonders never cease?

The Times cites the President’s successful effort to get BP to commit to a $20 billion compensation fund as a “display of raw armtwisting” through which Mr. Obama “has reinvigorated a debate about the renewed reach of government power, or, alternatively, the power of government overreach.” The article concludes with this: “(Mr. Obama should) avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.”

This is only the latest episode in which the President has used the pretext of a crisis to seize power. No one excuses whatever legal or ethical lapses BP committed in the Gulf. Eleven men are dead, and countless gallons of crude oil continue to spew into the water around the Gulf Coast.

Yet what would Mr. Obama have done if BP had declined setting up such a massive fund and, instead, stuck to the $75 million mandated by law? Outlawed the firms presence on our shores? Filed a massive, punitive, bankrupting lawsuit?

Mr. Obama used American concerns with our medical insurance system to ram-through an unconstitutional mandate that all citizens possess health insurance, and included in his legislation provisions that provide federal subsidies to abortion providers. Additionally, the impenetrable measure is almost incalculably expensive.

He used a recession to ram through a “stimulus” package that places the federal government in the role of doling out hundreds of billions of dollars to private industry, thereby becoming a principal source of industrial growth. This growth will collapse, however, once the paper on which it is running crumbles in the fiscal wind. Then what?

He leveraged a crisis in the auto industry to make two of the three largest American auto companies fiefs of the federal government, to the point of forcing one of their boards to fire its CEO.

He eliminated private-source education loans, making college students dependent on Uncle Sam for their post-secondary education.

He is seeking to push homosexuals into the military, diminish religious liberty, skewer the public understanding of abortion (by saying we must reduce the need for abortion his Administrations term of art he insinuates that such need sometimes exists), consolidate the private financial system into a federally-run bureaucracy, and make homosexuality culturally normative.

His Treasury Department is pumping out money at an obviously unsustainable rate, placing us on the path to hyper-inflation and, thus, federal seizure of private assets to avert complete default.

Just wait until America faces a serious military emergency - say, another 9-11 style attack. How will this President use it to advance his vision of an America where “solidarity” trumps liberty?

When America’s liberal paper of record wonders about Mr. Obama’s overreach, it’s clear something is registering with even the elites: This is a different kind of presidency, a giant step down the road to serfdom described in the 1940s by Friederich Hayek.

In 1781, Thomas Jefferson - as much a prophet as a future President - wrote in his Notes on Virginia, “Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” From entitlements to stimulus packages to assorted federal power-grabs, we are at grave risk of becoming a subservient people, intellectually anesthetized by the superficial veneer of government-induced prosperity and security at the cost of our liberty, prosperity, self-reliance and, most essentially, virtue.

The Bible warns us not to place our trust in princes (Psalm 146:3), and for a reason: Our confidence must be in God and, as citizens, in the pathway for public life laid out in the Constitution.

Is it? And if it is, shall we oppose the collapse of the America we have known and love? The answer seems clear, if only we will act on it.

Dr. Donna Harrison’s Remarks to FDA on Drug Application for Ulipristal

by Chris Gacek

June 18, 2010

On Thursday, June 17, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration held a hearing about the new drug application for Ella (ulipristal) the next emergency contraceptive that will be sold in the United States. FRC and other groups will have more to say about Ella, but we thought it was important to post the brief, prepared remarks of Dr. Donna Harrison, the president of the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG). Here is a transcript of Dr. Harrisons statement to the FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs:

Good Afternoon. I am Dr. Donna Harrison, board-certified OBGYN. On behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists I want to thank you for allowing us to address this committee.

Our concerns regarding the lack of safety studies for ulipristal are detailed in our written submission in your folder. I will limit comments to the lack of reproductive toxicology information, without which ulipristal should not be approved for use in women of childbearing potential.

The European Medicines Agency noted that, As expected, ulipristal acetate is embryotoxic at low doses.

The EMEA also noted, Ulipristal acetate prevents progesterone from occupying its receptor, thus the gene transcription normally turned on by progesterone is blocked, and the proteins necessary to begin and maintain pregnancy are not synthesized.

Ulipristals embryolethal and fetocidal action is identical to mifepristone, from which ulipristal is derived. Both act at the level of the ovary-inhibiting granulosa cell production of progesterone needed to maintain pregnancy through the first 10 weeks of gestation. Both also directly block progesterone receptors at endometrial glands and stroma, destroying maternal placental tissues.

Information on this embryotoxic and fetotoxic mechanism of action is critical to informed consent for women.

Many women have ethical qualms about using a drug capable of aborting an early pregnancy.

Clear information about the embryotoxic and fetotoxic potential must be included on the product label for adequate informed consent.

It is predictable that progesterone blockade will have profound embryolethal and developmental effects on the embryo fetus exposed to ulipristal. Yet, reproductive toxicology studies were never completed. The effect of ulipristal on fetal development is unknown, highlighting the failure of the European voluntary pregnancy registry to provide answers to this critically important question, and illustrating the need for a mandatory fetal registry such as the one now utilized for accutane.

Since fetal safety information is lacking, the EMEA label states Ella One is contraindicated during an existing or suspected pregnancy. However, in use as an emergency contraceptive, it is impossible to prevent ulipristal use in pregnancy, as illustrated by the clinical trials which support this NDA. In each trial, there were women whose urine pregnancy tests were negative prior to use of ulipristal, but were later found by pre-administration serum pregnancy tests to have been already pregnant at the time of ulipristal use, so under the best circumstances of a clinical trial, pre-existing pregnancy could not be excluded. The European Medicines Agency noted that ulipristal can be detected in reproductive tissues up to 14 days after administration.

In the real world, it is inevitable that women who are already pregnant will unknowingly take ulipristal. In addition, ulipristals 2% failure rate means that 2 out of every 100 women who use this drug will carry a fetus exposed to ulipristal, a drug known to interfere with placental development. It is irresponsible that basic reproductive toxicology studies called for by the ICH GCP Guidelines, for drugs designed for use in women of childbearing potential, have not been completed for ulipristal.

Voluntary fetal registration from Europe has proven to be inadequate to answer basic questions of safety. Since use of ulipristal as emergency contraception will inevitably result in women using the drug in pregnancy, approval of ulipristal will put the FDA in the untenable position of approving a drug which is contraindicated in pregnancy for an indication in which use in pregnancy is inevitable, and for which inadequate safety information is available.

This reason alone is sufficient for the FDA to deny approval of ulipristal for use as emergency contraception. Our other concerns are detailed in our written submission.

Thank you.

The FDA Advisory Committee ignored Dr. Harrisons comments and failed to provide future ulipristal patients with any information about its abortifacient properties in the product’s labeling (package inserts).

Video: Capitol Hill News Conference on Federal Funding for Abortion Advocates

by Carrie Russell

June 17, 2010

At a June 16 Capitol Hill news conference, Family Research Council joined members of Congress and other pro-life leaders to discuss the Government Accountability Offices report on federal funding for abortion advocates. The report was requested by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) and other key members of Congress. The report revealed that six organizations connected to the abortion agenda received over a billion dollars in federal funds between 2002 and 2009. The organizations included Planned Parenthood Federation of America, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Guttmacher Institute.

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