Here’s out latest poll: What will Trump admin do about embryonic stem cells?
It was intriguing last week to read about another advance in somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT)-based therapeutic cloning of human embryonic stem cells (hESC). The first such work was published last year by Mitalipov’s group from OHSU. This second paper to produce so-called nuclear transfer hESC (NT-hESC) made the important advance to show that it could be done using adult and even old human somatic cells. This is a reproducible technology, which is very important. However, key challenges and concerns remain for human therapeutic cloning …Read More
An international team of stem cell scientists has replicated human therapeutic cloning to make embryonic stem cells via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The team was led by Drs. Dong Ryul Lee of CHA Stem Cell Institute in Korea and Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) and reported the advance in the Chung, et al. paper today in the journal Cell Stem Cell entitled “Human Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Using Adult Cells”. The cells expressed pluripotency markers (see Figure 1A at left) and …Read More
For the first time ever, scientists have successfully used somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) via the process of therapeutic human cloning to generate normal human embryonic stem cells (hESC). Recall that there are two kinds of human cloning: therapeutic (which is reported in the new paper discussed in this post) and reproductive, which is making an actual new person with an identical genome to an existing person. The latter has never been achieved, but some of us are worried it is coming sooner than …Read More
If someone is not in a war, but someone else declares war on them or actually attacks them, I would say the reality is that war has started and there are two opposing sides. However, has that happened when it comes to stem cells? Are we in a stem cell war? There have been times I thought the answer was certainly “yes”. I’ve been personally, verbally attacked by opponents of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) on numerous occasions as have many other scientists and …Read More
What with the Mississippi “personhood” amendment up for a vote today and also the Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference beginning tomorrow, I thought today was a good time for a post about adult versus embryonic stem cells. Does stem cell research have to be either/or? Adult or stem? Can’t someone be for both adult and embryonic stem cell research? Can a scientist study both? In fact, most scientists are working on both adult and embryonic stem cells, which are both very cool. So if …Read More
It seems reasonably likely that in the end, the final say on the embryonic stem cell case one way or another will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. While yesterday brought a victory for science and patients and logic, this was just one battle, not the war. The war that opponents of ES cell research are waging against hope and against science continues. The plaintiffs in the case have many legal options available to them to continue their fight to force feed their …Read More
Over the years, the Vatican has expressed interest and even invested money in the adult stem cell field. Not surprisingly, they’ve also been critical of embryonic stem cell research. Interestingly their own stem cell meetings have at times stimulated heated debate for various reasons and one was even cancelled with at least part of the reason related to embryonic stem cell research.
Supposedly there is a type of normal adult stem cell that intrinsically possesses many of the same properties as embryonic stem cells (ESCs). No reprogramming needed. No blastocysts needed. These reportedly amazing cells, called Very Small Embryonic-Like Stem Cells (VSELs), can in theory be isolated from umbilical cord blood (UCB) or even bone marrow. Yet they are pluripotent like ESCs. They seem to be present in mice and possibly in humans. Wow, you say, VSELs seem like the best thing since sliced bread? No …Read More
The stem cell paper of the week is a fun one about how capsaicin and nociceptors reportedly mobilize blood stem cells. However, since the authors only show this in mice, could it also happen in humans? They argue it’s likely happening in people too. Note that nociceptors are special structures in our bodies that sense pain, not just from spicy food but also from other sources. Where to even start of think about the big take-home message? “Spicy food sparks stem cells” or “stem …Read More