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October 31, 2006

Breaking Through The Stem Cell News Blockade

I got up early this morning checked the New York Times, LA Times, USA Today, and other papers to see whether they had reported the big news that scientists had created an artificial liver using umbilical cord blood stem cells. As expected, nothing: The news blockade was in place. After all, if it isn’t an embryonic stem cell research, it isn’t worth reporting since that is where the “best hope” is to be found. I mean, Michael J. Fox tells us so, right?

So, I wrote this piece and the good people over at the Daily Standard were kind enough to post it immediately. Check it out and break through the stem cell news blockade!

Hog-wild for pig organs: Hub doc’s pet project: animal-to-people transplants

Harvesting pig organs and transplanting them in humans may not be that far off, says one doctor, whose Boston-area lab is genetically engineering swine, putting their organs in baboons and waiting to see if it works well enough to try in people. (Boston Herald)

Where medicine, faith coexist

Craig Turczynski traveled from Texas to find ways to help infertile women that do not conflict with his religious beliefs. Cherie LeFevre came from St. Louis to learn how to treat her OB-GYN patients in obedience to her Catholicism. Amie Holmes flew from Ohio so she could practice medicine in conformity with church teachings when she graduates from medical school. (MSNBC)

Scientists Research Brain Implant Chip

An implantable electronic chip may help establish new nerve connections in the part of the brain that controls movement (DailyTech)

Australia: Stem cell report ‘was a farce’

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research have labelled a bipartisan federal parliamentary committee that has backed therapeutic cloning “biased”. (The Courier-Mail)

Turning cells to sales

A number of companies developing stem cell-based therapies believe it’s wise not to keep all of their oocytes in one basket.

Balancing the need to satisfy investors now while funding long-term research and development, stem cell companies are discovering ways to generate revenue sooner rather than later. (MSNBC)

UK: Liver cells grown from cord blood

The news was welcomed by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection which said the government should pump money into the creation of “ethically-sourced human tissue”. (BBC)

Stem Cell Video

“Adult Stem Cell Research: Making a Difference Today” relays three human interest stories to make the following points:
1. There two different types of stem cells: embryonic and adult
2. Adult stem cells have treated more than 70 diseases in human patients
3. Embryonic stem cells have not treated any diseases
4. Embryonic stem cell research involves killing living human embryos

The video is about 20 minutes long, but well worth your time.

Missouri embryonic stem cell opponents outraise supporters in October

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research raised more money than supporters during the past few weeks, marking a first in Missouri’s costly ballot battle over whether to write stem cell research into the state constitution. (AP)

Op-Ed: Michael J. Fox Offers Hype Over Hope

In America it’s considered “politically incorrect” to speak indelicately of the disabled, hence the recent liberal outcry over Rush Limbaugh’s frank thoughts concerning political advertisements by actor Michael J. Fox. Like Mr. Fox, I too suffer spasms and twitches—from spinal cord injury rather than Parkinson’s disease. Like Mr. Fox my future depends on science. Like Mr. Limbaugh I am not politically correct. (Human Events)

Op-Ed: Doctors should be angry about Amendment 2

An unbiased examination of Amendment 2, the so-called Stem Cell Initiative and Cures Amendment, should make you angry. Never before have I been so moved to action about a social issue than with the realization that this referendum just might become a constitutional rule of law on Nov. 7. (

October 30, 2006

More WJS Radio On Amendment 2

I did a one hour interview about Amendment 2 today to 99.3 FM, in Columbia, MO. We discuss the Michael J. Fox deception, the fact that Mr. Jim Stowers is trying to buy his own constitutional amendment in MO, the deception of Amendment 2, the junk biology shoveled by the initiative’s proponents, what Missourians can learn from California’s Proposition 71, and we even get into New Jersey’s law that would permit cloned fetal farming. I point out that the science leadership is becoming hubristic and arrogant because the stem cell fight is over which value system will control society, one based on the intrinsic value of human life or a scientism, in which science is seen as leading to Truth. The host, Derek Gilbert, also has a nice riff about using a constitutional amendment to set policy into stone when laws would be better reflections of the democratic will. There is also discussion of the uncontroversial areas of biotechnology as well as the new breakthrough in which umbilical cord blood stem cells created a new liver. If you don’t get enough of me here, check it out.

Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells Transformed Into a Liver!

This is a huge story: Scientists in the UK have transformed umbilical cord blood stem cells into a liver. From the story:

As it stands, the mini organ can be used to test new drugs, preventing disasters such as the recent ‘Elephant Man’ drug trial. Using lab-grown liver tissue would also reduce the number of animal experiments.

Eventually, scientists hope to generate this technique into liver therapies–and perhaps even transplants. Wow!

Let’s see if the US media ignore or underplay this. After all, it is an experiment that does not undermine the Bush stem cell funding policy, so it really isn’t news.

Laura Ingraham Explains The Deception Behind Amendment 2

Laura Ingraham on O’Reilly – Facts on the cloning bill

Laura Ingraham is spot on in this interview! She is right that majorities in public opinion polls oppose human cloning for any reason. For example, in a 2005 poll published by Virginia Commonwealth University, 59% opposed “using human cloning technology IF it is used to create human embryos that will provide stem cells for human therapeutic purposes.”

The authors of Amendment 2 knew that, of course, which is why they deceptively redefined the term “cloning a human being” from its accurate scientific definition of somatic cell nuclear transfer, to a profoundly deceptive advocacy definition of implanting the product of SCNT into a womb. But implantation is no more cloning than implanting an embryo during IVF fertility treatments is fertilization.

And Ingraham was also right when she stated she suspected that Fox had not read Amendment 2, which he has since admitted.

The entire cloning debate is crucial to the American future. People deserve the facts so that they can make properly reasoned ethical choices. Those, such as the authors of Amendment 2 who use deceptive tactics to win a political debate, demonstrate a profound disrespect for democracy.

Ready to be dads, but they’re going to need help

It was a quest that would take them to the frontiers of medicine, bioethics, technology and the law, as well as to the front lines of the culture wars. (Los Angeles Times)

Saudi Arabia: Young Saudi couples turning to stem cell procedure for kids

Vaccination against disease is almost universally accepted as a positive step in health care. The recipient might not ever be exposed to the disease, but the preventative measures are in place — just in case. It is insurance in the future health of the recipient.

The next stage in preventative medicine and one which has arisen from controversy and has now moved out into the mainstream of preventative techniques is stem cell banking. Stem cells came into public prominence after the discovery that these basic building blocks of animal life could be harvested from embryos and used to grow organs and — just possibly — whole humans. Lost in the furious ethical debate was the fact that stem cells could also be retrieved from the blood contained in the umbilical cord — normally discarded at birth — of the new-born infant. (The Muslim News)

UK: Northeast Scientists Grow Artificial Liver

Scientists in the North-East have grown an artificial liver set to revolutionise the medical world.

Medics based at Newcastle University have grown a tiny liver, believed to be the first of its kind. (The Northern Echo)

Australia: Cloning clears hurdle

Australia took a step closer to therapeutic cloning last night after a parliamentary committee backed a proposal to move ahead with the controversial science. (The Courier-Mail)

US guidelines restrict number of embryos transferred during IVF

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the US Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) have issued new guidelines limiting embryo transfer during IVF procedures to reduce the occurrence of multiple births. Announced at the annual ASRM meeting, held in New Orleans last week, the revised guidelines recommend that no more than two embryos should be transferred to women under 35 during a single cycle of IVF treatment, and that clinics should consider the possibility of transferring only one. For older women the recommended number of embryos increases, but to no more than five. The guidelines state that for women aged between 35 and 37, up to three embryos should be transferred, with up to four recommended for women aged between 37 and 40, and no more than five for women over 40. (BioNews)

Australia: HUMAN CLONING: U.S. feminists warn on cloning risks

Prominent American feminists have highlighted the dangerous effects of multiple egg extraction from women to provide eggs in large numbers to laboratories for cloning experiments. (News Weekly)

Minnesota: In death as in life

Local hospitals are helping terminally ill patients die on their own terms through palliative care, which plans for medical situations long before they occur and often prevents excessive procedures. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)


The Bioethics Poll
Should individuals and/or institutions be allowed to patent human genes?
Yes, with some qualifications

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Which area of research should more money be invested in:
Animal-Human Hybrids
Gene Therapy
Reproductive Technology
Stem Cell Research
"Therapeutic" Cloning
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