FRC Blog

California Dreamin’ Reality on Stem Cells

by David Prentice

November 1, 2009

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the quango spending $3 billion of California taxpayers’ money (and paying back $6 billion with the interest) on stem cell research, seems to have realized the distinct advantages of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells, especially when it comes actually to treating patients. The CIRM has awarded over $230 million in “disease team” grants to 14 different projects; the 4-year grants are “explicitly expected to result in a filing with the FDA to begin a clinical trial.”

But only 4 of the 14 funded grants involve embryonic stem cells, and none involve cloned embryos (somatic cell nuclear transfer, SCNT.) This despite the fact that the primary focus of CIRM and the reason for passage of Prop 71 in 2004 was to be embryonic stem cells, including those from cloned human embryos. Maybe they’re finally taking literally that part of Prop 71 about “stem cell research that has the greatest potential for therapies and cures”:

Maximize the use of research funds by giving priority to stem cell research that has the greatest potential for therapies and cures, specifically focused on pluripotent stem cell and progenitor cell research among other vital research opportunities that cannot, or are unlikely to, receive timely or sufficient federal funding, unencumbered by limitations that would impede the research.

The term “vital research opportunities” is their way out in this case, but also means that to fund these adult stem cell research projects, they had to get a two-thirds vote of the committee, according to Prop 71.

As an aside, note how they describe the sources of pluripotent stem cells, from Section 5:

Pluripotent stem cells may be derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer or from surplus products of in vitro fertilization treatments when such products are donated under appropriate informed consent procedures.

By the way, the biologically-accurate term for those “surplus products” is “embryos”, and the only way to derive stem cells from somatic cell nuclear transfer is first to create the cloned embryo, then extract the stem cells.

A list of the grants with links to abstracts, as well as the complete list of applications including those not funded is available.

Here are some of the media’s statements taking notice of the California Dreamin’. Enjoy.

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Next Year” for Embryonic Stem Cells?

by David Prentice

October 31, 2009

Geron now says that it hopes its embryonic stem cell experiment on spinal cord injury patients might begin in the 3rd quarter of 2010. The original FDA approval to test the cells in patients was given in January 2009 and Geron claimed it would begin in the summer of 2009, but before a single desperate patient had been injected with the potentially-dangerous cells, the FDA placed a hold on the Geron experiment due to safety concerns.

Meanwhile, the obsession with embryonic stem cells has obscured the real hope for patients—ADULT STEM CELLS. Peer-reviewed evidence of adult stem cell success for spinal cord injury patients has already been published by groups in Portugal, in Australia, in Ecuador, and in Brazil.

Of course, Geron’s latest announcement achieved its primary goal—Geron stock rose as much as 12%.

The Geron Prophecies

30 October 2009

Geron expects the data from this study to enable re-initiation of the clinical trial in the third quarter of 2010.

27 January 2009

Geron says that it expects to begin enrolment early this summer at up to seven US medical centres.

20 October 2008

A clinical trial that would test the use of embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injury could begin within three months.

17 October 2008

But the FDA is nearing the end of its review process and may lift the hold and allow clinical trials to commence within the next three months, Okarma told The Scientist.

15 May 2008

The Geron Corporation announced Wednesday that its plans to begin the first clinical trial using embryonic stem cells had been delayed by federal regulators. While companies typically do not announce when they submit an application to begin a trial for an investigational new drug, the F.D.A.s action means Geron must have submitted its application in the last 30 days, Mr. Benjamin said.

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Adult Stem Cells for the Arts

by David Prentice

October 31, 2009

Tony Iommi, the guitarist for Black Sabbath, is getting adult stem cell treatment for cartilage damage. More than 40 years of guitar riffs have taken their toll.

I’ve had this problem with my hand and I’ve had this stem-cell treatment on it. The cartilage (was worn out between) the joints, and the joints (were) rubbing on the joints. It was bone to bone and it was getting a bit painful.”

Professor Peter Buckle of the Robens Centre for Health Ergonomics at the University of Surrey notes that strain injuries are common for rockers. “Guitarists need to pace themselves more,” he said. The adult stem cell treatment apparently works by restoring defective muscles and helping to regenerate cartilage growth. Given the success of adult stem cells, worried fans shouldn’t be paranoid.

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Maybe There Is Hope: Most Americans Still Think Viewing Porn is Immoral

by Cathy Ruse

October 30, 2009

A recent survey of 1,000 adults by Harris Interactive found that 76% of Americans disagree with the proposition that viewing hardcore adult pornography on the Internet is morally acceptable and 74% disagree that it is harmless entertainment. The survey was commissioned by Morality in Media in connection with the White Ribbon Against Pornography week this week.

There is a perception held by many that hardcore adult pornography has become acceptable in American society. But the perception is false, according to Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media. This is evidence that, what primarily fuels the market is sexual addiction, not casual viewing, said Peters in a press release. For full survey results and more information about WRAP week, contact Bob Peters at Morality in Media.

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Suffering Suffrage

by Robert Morrison

October 30, 2009

Last year, I voted. I joined the 125,225,900 other Americans (at least, I hope they were all Americans) who voted for President. It was the 40th anniversary of my first vote in a Presidential election. My vote is worth, correspondingly, less now than it was worth then. In 1968, I was one of only 72,054,692 citizens who exercised the suffrage—that old-fashioned word for the right to vote.

Now, I take my vote very seriously. I have never missed once voting in an election in which I was eligible. Im still not sure if I was eligible to vote in Connecticut by absentee ballot in 1984, since we moved to Maryland just one month before election day. I was afraid of missing the voter registration deadline in the Free State (Maryland), so I thought I should take no chances and cast my absentee ballot early in the Constitution State (Connecticut).

If that gets me in trouble, so be it. I was determined to vote for Ronald Reagans re-election. I was also under consideration for a post in the Reagan administration and it would not have served to have missed voting for the Gipper one last time.

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But It Was Just a Fetus … Wasn’t It?

by Rob Schwarzwalder

October 28, 2009

Today in Utah, a 21 year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison for, according to the Associated Press, “beating a pregnant (17 year-old) girl to try to cause a miscarriage” after she paid him $150 to do so.

The girl was seven months pregnant. Aaron Harrison, the criminal convicted of assaulting her, beat her stomach and, bizarrely, even bit her on the neck to induce a miscarriage. And although Harrison had pled guilty to “second-degree felony attempted murder, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison .. District Judge A. Lynn Payne instead sentenced him under Utah’s anti-abortion statute, saying a charge of third-degree ‘attempted killing of an unborn child’ better fit the facts of the case.”

I don’t think words can describe the kind of depraved conduct you entered into in trying to take the life of a child,” Judge Payne said to Harrison from the bench.

The mother of the baby, born healthy in August, is now seeking custody of the child she tried to have killed.

Judge Payne’s words ring like a bell: “The life of a child.” At seven months, the child is almost fully developed; it’s eyelids are opening and closing at this stage, with its brain functioning and its heart beating. All that really needs to happen prior birth is weight increase.

The potency of medical knowledge has pushed proponents of abortion on demand out of the realms of reason and science. The humanness and personhood of the unborn child are indisputable by any measurable, objective standard.

It was President Obama who said, during his one-on-one with Rick Warren last summer, that determining when human life begins is “above my paygrade.” Perhaps the President could read Judge Payne’s remarks and the facts of this wrenching case and let us know if his current salary is sufficient for him to decide.

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In the Know…

by Krystle Gabele

October 28, 2009

Here’s some articles that might be of interest.

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White Ribbon Against Pornography Week

by Cathy Ruse

October 28, 2009

According to Bob Peters of Morality in Media, our nation is facing a moral crisis, including, among other things, teen promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases (including AIDS), abortion, illegitimacy, divorce, sexual abuse of children, rape, trafficking in women and children, on-the-job sexual harassment and lost worker productivity. And what is fueling this crisis is the spread of hardcore pornography, on the Internet and elsewhere.

Thats why one week every October we observe White Ribbon Against Pornography week, where people display white ribbons and inform their public officials about the harms of pornography and the need to enforce our obscenity laws.

The 22nd annual WRAP week runs Sunday, October 25 through Sunday, November 1st, and its chief promoter is Morality in Media. (Resources for individuals and groups can be found at www.moralityinmedia.org under WRAP Campaign and include information about ordering white ribbons, sample letters to Attorney General Holder and state prosecutors, and sample prayers and sermons.

If you think about it, someone is going to define the culture. The Porn Industry and their friends at the ACLU seek an America where there are no legal limits on pornography no limit to how graphic it may be, no limit to the people it can exploit for profit, including children.

And theyre winning, not because what theyre doing is legal, but because theyre getting away with it. But the Supreme Court has ruled that obscenity laws can be enforced against hardcore pornography when a jury finds the material appeals to the prurient interest, is patently offensive, and lacks serious value.

So it doesnt matter what the Porn Industry or the ACLU thinks. All that matters is what a jury thinks, and that means ultimately its up to the American people to decide whats illegal or not.

But the people become disenfranchised when obscenity laws are not vigorously enforced.

Our voice is the jury verdict. Without obscenity prosecutions there are no juries, and no juries mean no verdicts, and no verdicts mean the people have no voice. And that leaves the Porn Industry to set the standards for the culture.

An important way to attack the moral crisis is so simple its deceptive: enforcement of our already-existing obscenity laws.

We call on President Obama and Attorney General Holder give us back our voice, and to vigorously enforce this nations obscenity laws.

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