January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

embryonic stem cell ban

4 min read

We kind of take for granted these days that embryonic stem cell research can proceed without any restrictions, at least at the federal level. However, in the early days of blogging here on The Niche the big debate and battle were over federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Things got very complicated and for a time the funding was illegal. We should learn from this science history because things could easily go back to that restrictive atmosphere again. Science is not in a …Read More

3 min read

By Jeanne Loring A stem cell anniversary: 18 years ago today that the US initiated funding of human embryonic stem cell research. August 9, 2001 was a big day for me.  George W. Bush was the US president, and it was an understatement to say that I was not very fond of his policies; but that day he defined my career for the next 18 years. That day Bush gave an 11-minute speech (see Youtube of the video below) at his Texas ranch that …Read More

3 min read

Here we go again with people trying to ban funding of embryonic stem cell research. Really? Yes, including according to a new article from the Catholic News Agency. Who is trying to get this ban? Some Republicans in The U.S. Senate. I’ve wondered for years if the Trump Administration might take action against embryonic stem cell research in part because of the views of VP Mike Pence. But for a long time nothing has happened. I don’t know if the senators mentioned in the …Read More

2 min read

Four or five years ago the top stem cell story was the battle over federal funding of human embryonic stem (ES) cell research in the U.S. by James Sherley and Theresa Deisher. They were the two opponents of ES cell research making the most national headlines. Nature did a whole piece back then on Deisher entitled The Crusader (see image above). They filed a lawsuit trying to stop that funding based on their own moral beliefs and for a short time NIH was unable …Read More

3 min read

Today the US Federal Court of Appeals via a 3-judge panel ruled in favor of continued NIH funding of human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR). The ruling is a setback for pro-life extremists trying to shut down a very promising avenue of stem cell-based regenerative medicine with their lawsuit. It’s a good day for the stem cell field. However, this legal battle is far from over. No champagne or noise makers. Perhaps just a glass of beer. Why? I’ve had several discussions today with …Read More

2 min read

Last year one of the biggest events in the stem cell field was biotech Geron punting its embryonic stem cell (ESC) program. Much consternation followed. Some folks opposed to ESCs happily pronounced ESC research dead. Some folks in favor of ESC thought the world was ending a year early. Others tried to look on the bright side and hoped for a buyer for Geron’s ESC-related assets, but through the grapevine everything I was hearing was that that was not going to happen. Now that …Read More

2 min read

Is Obama bailing out on support for embryonic stem cell research (ESCR)? As even casual readers of this blog easily surmise, I am a supporter of President Obama. I believe he has done a good job in his first term and deserves re-election. I also believe Romney would not be a good president, particularly as it relates to science and stem cell research. However, I have been critical of Obama for not more publicly supporting ESCR, especially as it pertains to the current federal …Read More

3 min read

They say politics makes strange bedfellows….remember the Witherspoon Council? These are the fellows who are the BFFs of the two scientists suing to stop federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. They also wrote a large, very stodgy tome about stem cell research, in which they mentioned me and this blog…kinda implying we are, if not shady, at least misguided. But there were some things in their report that I agreed with too. I’m not joking and you can check out my …Read More

2 min read

What’s the Witherspoon Institute? Most of you know about the 2 scientists who for their own reasons want to kill embryonic stem cell (ESC) research and with it the hopes for millions of people. Relatively new on most of our radar screens, however, is an extremist right-wing “think tank” called The Witherspoon Institute, which I refer to as the “Witherspoon Gang” because of their negative, yet powerful agenda. You know how some “elite” fraternities are in college are very snobby? These Witherspooners are basically …Read More

2 min read

Tomorrow night voters in Mississippi will vote on the so-called “Personhood Amendment”. If passed, the amendment would make a fertilized egg by definition a human being with the same rights as a living, breathing, thinking, walking person in the state of Mississippi. The consequences are not clear, but possibilities include such things as complete bans on all abortion and many forms of contraception, outlawing embryonic stem cell research, and throwing women in jail. Polling indicates that the amendment will most likely narrowly pass, but it may …Read More