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Stem Cells Mend Spinal Injuries

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the magic-glue dept.

Biotech 331

Darkman, Walkin Dude writes "New research shows that rats that had their spinal columns severed were able to regain use of their hind legs through the use of stem cells from embryonic rats." From the Wired article: "Spinal cord injuries can be caused by accidents or infections and affect 250,000 people a year in the United States alone, costing $4 billion annually, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. Whittemore's team took specific cells from rat embryos called glial restricted precursor cells -- a kind of stem cell or master cell that gives rise to nerve cells."

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n1664 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201036)

second post niggers!!

Re:n1664 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201039)

Try again bitch. You likewise FAIL IT!!!!!1

rhetoric (-1, Offtopic)

tikoloshe (515755) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201037)

and the rhetoric will go all the way to 11!

We're not persuing this as fast as we can because? (5, Insightful)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201049)

Oh, that's right... the frozen embryos have souls or some such shit. Yes, this is a hateful post because I simply can't fathom why this scientific area can't be advanced without controversy in the US. I really, really don't get it. I'd love for somebody to explain it to me. Please!

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (5, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201061)

...because we have snivling bio-ethics people who cry about 'playing god' when these same morons get the sniffles, they want the most powerful drugs in existance to not only kill their bug - but to blow it's ass to mars...

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201081)

Speaking of bioEthics... are we going to spend less than 4 billion on stem cells for 250,000 people?

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201085)

How dare you.

This is America. How dare anyone presume to step into the shoes of God by improving the conditions of or completely healing those who are sick or disabled. Man has no right dictate and change what God has obviously deemed his will by employing ridiculous and sinful medical practices.

Unless you live in the midwest and you're trying to knock your wife with the funky teeth up with nine babies. That's totally fine.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (3, Informative)

natrius (642724) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201120)

I think we have a bit of hope though. In a speech in front of the Senate, Bill Frist, the leader of the Senate Republicans, used the "s"-word when discussing this issue. "It isn't just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science." [yahoo.com] Yeah, I was shocked too. If we're lucky, the bill in question will be passed so we can be done with Bush's inane stem cell research policy.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201062)

Like you said, the frozen embryos and the stem cells taken from them aren't ours to screw around with like this. They do (and should) belong to the organism they were taken from.

When it comes to human stem cells, that organism is another human life. It's a simple path from "We want the paraplegic to walk again" to "we will kill humans to allow others to walk again". I don't see the obvious connection that makes those two completely disparate scenarios the same, but it seems all too many see it as the same thing

*shrug*. and people wonder why this country is going downhill

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (4, Insightful)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201072)

Like you said, the frozen embryos and the stem cells taken from them aren't ours to screw around with like this. They do (and should) belong to the organism they were taken from.

Wonderful, said organism is frozen and 99% likely never to see any functional life.

When it comes to human stem cells, that organism is another human life. It's a simple path from "We want the paraplegic to walk again" to "we will kill humans to allow others to walk again".

Do tell, Anonymous Coward, why is taking stem cells from a donated and otherwise perpetually frozen embryo equal to killing a human?

*shrug*. and people wonder why this country is going downhill

Obviously, because of MTV.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201094)

Because it is the obligation of good christian women to offer up their fertile wombs for implantation of these harvested embryos and carry them to term whilst burning at the stake the women who donated them in the first place.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201132)

sorry to post anonymously, but parent actually has a point...
you just have to live in central Florida (or some other such place) to understand it...

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201181)

> Wonderful, said organism is frozen and 99% likely never to see
> any functional life.

Tell that to the tens of thousands of kids born every year from frozen embryos. You would shoot them in the head now because they 99% shouldn't live? No? Why would you kill them as embryos then? What gives you the right to decide that?

Answer that. WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO DECIDE.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201206)

Answer that. WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO DECIDE.

Well, for starters, I post with my user account.

Honestly though, why is every human life precious? Have you ever eaten eggs before? That's one life that will never have a chance to experience this wonderful beautiful world, all because of your senseless "hunger".

Even if you don't, if you mean to tell me that you've never killed anything ever? What makes the life of a fly or ant that you've most certainly killed less precious than the frozen embryo that never developed into a human? What gives you the right to decide that?

You can call this rationalization but I call it using your damn brain. I will choose to help the people that are suffering over bringing another life into the world any day of the week.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (3, Insightful)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201312)

> What makes the life of a fly or ant that you've most certainly killed less
> precious than the frozen embryo that never developed into a human?

The same thing that:
- makes _your_ life more precious than said fly
- made it precious when _you_ were a _human embryo_

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201221)

And we're going to use the frozen embryos that will never get a chance to be born to do this research on. These embryos are going to be thrown away, they will not be born. They are going in the trash, their owners no longer want them.

Do you want to adopt an embryo? Maybe you can get married and your wife can be a mother to as many embryos as she possibly can. If you aren't saving and adopting these embryos, YOU, are killing them. You could save those potential children, if only you would adopt them all and save the lives.

Of course we only have a few dozen embryos at least for every in-vitro fertilization procedure, so if you and your cohorts get started now on turning your wives into baby farms I think we can save those potential lives from the horror of not-living.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201307)

You could save those potential children, if only you would adopt them all and save the lives.

Usually the embryos legally belong to the parents, and most parents do not want to let anyone else have them. Maybe it is because they don't like the idea of having an unknown number of (biological) sons and daughters running around out there.

And anyway, if this is turned into an actual therapy, then it will probably done with embryos created for the purpose using genetic material from the patient. If someone finds this morally objectionable, then it makes sense for that person to be against this stage of research.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201246)

Other posters have brought up a good point. These children being born, being brought forth from the miracle frozen embryos, are given life by the in-vitro fertilization process. A process that wastes dozens of "lives" in order to create one of those IVF children.

So why all the outcry about embryonic stem cell research? Why not go after the people who are wasting and killing all these embryos in the first place? The infertile people "playing god" and destroying embryos in the first place? They are endorsing killing embryos, as it is inherently part of the process of IVF. But yet the outcry is against the research on the remains of the IVF process... where is the logic in this?

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201281)

There is no logic involved.

Republicans love babies.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201357)

So why all the outcry about embryonic stem cell research? Why not go after the people who are wasting and killing all these embryos in the first place? The infertile people "playing god" and destroying embryos in the first place? They are endorsing killing embryos, as it is inherently part of the process of IVF.

The Catholic Church is against IVF, largely for that very reason.

But yet the outcry is against the research on the remains of the IVF process... where is the logic in this?

Two reasons:

First, no one is proposing that the government spend billions of dollars promoting IVF. So it is not exactly a hot news topic.

Second (and more important), the news focuses on politicians. Politicans and political parties tend to take positions that will get votes, rather than positions that are morally consistent.

BTW, I highly recommend NOT forming one's moral views based on any political platform! It will make you go crazy.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Funny)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201262)

I have never understood why fundamentalist religious right-wingers consider embryos to be human beings. It is certainly not mentioned in the Bible, which supposedly provides the foundation for their beliefs.

An early embryo does not have even a single functioning neuron, so certainly it can't have any kind of conscious existence, and it is a far stretch to say that it has a "soul".

The reasoning seems to be that it has the "potential" for becoming a human being. But once cloning is perfected, every cell in our bodies will have the potential for becoming a human being, no different from an identical twin. So every time we shed a few skin cells, we are discarding millions of potential human beings.

In this sense, a pre-neuron embryo is no different from any other mass of tissue in our bodies.

Perhaps we should take these people's reasoning to its logical conclusion, and forbid the destruction of any tissue at all from our bodies. To which senator should I mail my feces for preservation?

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201135)

"We want the paraplegic to walk again" to "we will kill humans to allow others to walk again"

I don't think this will always be the case. Maybe initially, because this field of study is relatively new. It might get to the point where we won't even need embryonic stem cells to do stuff like this.

However, the field needs to first be given the opportunity to get to that point. I hate to use such an obvious cliche, but you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs (no pun intended). I'm not 100% comfortable with the idea of preventing a life from being born, and I seriously doubt you'll find a great many who are, but eventually you have to ask yourself what's more important: life for the sake of living, or the quality of the life being lead?

To quote a famous Jaffa master:

"Life for the sake of life means nothing."

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201156)

I'm not 100% comfortable with the idea of preventing a life from being born, and I seriously doubt you'll find a great many who are

You're on crack. Seriously, it takes absolutely no effort to find people who are 100% pro-choice.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201068)

You're not alone.
the current german government has forbidden stem cell research.
the funny thing here is that the conservative christian party wants to allow it

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201080)

Would that be a desperate attempt of Schröder to win the next election?

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201073)

Because.. you (as a country) voted for Bush?

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201117)

Flamebait???

yes, I'm the same AC.

Stem Cell Research :

Kerry will lift Bush's Federal restrictions on stem cell funding, puting science before ideology.

Bush has imposed federal restictions on stem cell research hindering efforts that could lead to miraculous medical breakthroughs.


http://www.independentsforkerry.org/uploads/media/ bush-vs-kerry.html [independentsforkerry.org]

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (3, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201149)

Why is this flamebait? As my foggy memory recalls it was due to the direct intervention of Bush that the stem cell research was banned in the USA. In some of the recent National Geographic issues the main topic was stem cell research.

According to them, there are 155 stem cell lines in the world atm, 78 out of them can have federal support in funds, and 22 out of them is usable for research AND can have federal support for them, thats mostly because most of the stem cell cultivations are just too old already and were created with old technology. In the UK for example researchers are experimenting with a new method to get rid of the current method of handling those stem cells. Currently it's very resource intensive and costy to maintain the existing lines, but since the law doesn't allow for new stem cells to be harvested and to get federal funds for them, it means they need to deal with the old ones.

A five day old impregnated zygote is smaller than the dot at the end of this sentence.

It has no unique features and there is not even a trace of nervous system. Clearly, people opposing stem cell research should first familiarize themselves first with the "baby" and "murder" they are talking about.

NG quotes some Marie Dooley, who offered her surplus embryos after artificial, in vitro, fertilisation to stem cell research. She said something like that "If they would have a heartbeat, the whole situation would be completely different, but those embryos are only groups of cells and they would have landed in the sewer if not offered for research." or something of that effect. the NG review is very long, it details the issue through 23 pages of informative description from all viewpoints. I'd recommend it for everyone.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Informative)

black mariah (654971) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201192)

As my foggy memory recalls it was due to the direct intervention of Bush that the stem cell research was banned in the USA.
Your memory is incredibly foggy, to the point of being wholly inaccurate. Stem cell research is not banned, it simply can not be funded federally.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201204)

ARRGGH... when are you clueless people going to figure it out. Repeat after me.. Stem cell research is not banned in the United States. States and private companies are free to continue stem cell research. They just won't receive federal tax dollars to do so. Quit repeating what the blathering dimocrats are spewing and read something other than /.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201239)

when are you clueless people going to figure it out. Repeat after me.. Stem cell research is not banned in the United States.

When are you clueless people going to figure out that even the most dimwitted among your opposition knows that? It's short-hand. Quit being so God damned pedantic.

It's against God's .plan (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201212)

Who are you to decide who is supposed to be paralyzed and who's not. This is One Nation Under God and He doesn't like you jerking off, fags, and ppl thwarting his cripple faith testing design. /Everybody/ is free to worship God, you just hate our freedom.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201278)

Personally I don't have a problem with killing rabbits and dogs for medical research (or cosmetics) and a newborn really isn't any more capable than a rabbit or a dog. The difference, in our society, is that a human cannot be property, whereas a dog/rabbit can. So if the argument is that you can't kill a human baby because a human baby is not property then it's a total strawman argument to claim that it is ok to kill a zygote on the grounds of what it is capable of. You have to face the argument, is a zygote property? To answer that question I think we have to agree on a few things. I own my own body, you own yours. If we define a woman's body to include anything that grows within it, regardless of how that growth is initiated, then it is clear that until a fetus is removed from her body it is her property. Of course, I'm sure that's endlessly debatable, and therein lies the controversy.

Now, of course, if you really want to get into a sticky situation, imagine if some well intentioned doctors developed a technique for reembedding miscarriages. I'm sure it would be considered a modern miracle for women who are having trouble getting pregnant. If this technique became well known and successful I'm sure we'd see some people claiming that women who fail to get the procedure are negligent. Now not only would some states being telling women they can't abort a pregnancy willingly, they'd also be saying that they can't abort a pregnancy naturally. Knowing this is likely, is it ethical for a researcher who develops a technique for reembedding miscarriages to suppress that research?

Scary stuff.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (4, Insightful)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201098)

Well, let's see, there IS the question of when life begins. You can't have seen any discussion of embryonic stem cell research without encountered that aspect.

There's also a very valid concern about preventing trafficking in human tissue. Just as there are lots and lots of controls on organ harvesting and donations, there needs to be a way to prevent pregnancies simply for the sake of harvesting embryos to gain such tissue.

There are also a lot of concerns about ensuring this is actually a path with true possibility of results rather than a ghoulish battleground over the value of life and a macabe sideshow. Think of how the Nazi and Imperial Japanese performed experiments on living people. Where is the line drawn? It's a very serious issue.

Monstrously irresponsible snake-oil statements like that made by John Whatshisname (yeah, he was even "my" senator, shows how much he did for NC) that if John Kerry was elected President quadraplegics woudl stand up out of their wheelchairs and walk again are...shall we say...far less than responsible.

On the other hand, if the comments Senator Frist made are true that it is now evident that stem cells are not capable of endless regeneration and there are far fewer than the original 78 strains of stem cells available for federally funded research, perhaps allowing collection of stem cells from those which are left over from invitreo is a good idea.

Your post shows you don't really know much about this.

There is no restriction on private investment into stem cell research.

There are sources of human stem cells other than killing human embryos. Given the current belief that human embyonic stem cells cannot replicate indefinately, they are actually a poor source of the genetic material.

(Sidebar: there are very, very, very few human cells which can replicate endlessly. I don't remember the anem of the woman from whom one strain was harvested and is used for bio research. Virtually all cells have a limit to the number of tiems they can split.)

Prior to President Bush's plan of 4 years ago, there was no Federal funding for this research at all. A lot of what you would be seeing in the common media is not scientific, it's political.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201116)

(Sidebar: there are very, very, very few human cells which can replicate endlessly. I don't remember the anem of the woman from whom one strain was harvested and is used for bio research. Virtually all cells have a limit to the number of tiems they can split.)
I believe you're thinking of Henrietta Lacks [wikipedia.org] .

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Insightful)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201196)

Well that's just it, why does *science* need to be *political*? One thing they teach doctors early on is all of the things they can do "ethically", and they do this with engineers and the such as well. My question has always been "Why stop science because a bunch of people don't like it?". Science is science is science and will always be science. The Germans, though misguided in their science, were leaps and bounds ahead of us during World War 2, discovering new things at an astounding rate simply because they told their scientists that they didn't care, they just wanted it done, and they wanted it done yesterday.

So the most unethical regime in the history of mankind (IMHO) created the best science, enhancing what we knew in hundreds of different fields, pushing everyone else to the limit. Remember, it was actually German scientists who won us World War 2.

Even though this technology does have the ability to be used misappropriately, one would have to admit to him or herself that doing so in a scientific field is not good for the country and for science over all. With tremendous strength, comes tremendous responsibility, and I think the United States has shown more than anything that they're too afraid of responsibility to develop the strength scientifically, but if it's got uses as a weapon, we'll go to no ends to improve it.

Perhaps the researchers should apply for weapons grants, stating that the technology they develop will be able to help countless soldiers on and off the battlefield, returning them to war quicker than ever before. That'd probably stur the couldron a bit.

I just think it's stupid that people like Christopher Reeves has to die because we won't condone the research nessicary to keep these people alive. I mean, they've already shown us that being paralysed does nothing against intellegence (Stephen Hawking), what better reason do we need to research something as dramatically lifechanging as giving someone who's paralysed the ability to walk again?

My entire arguement is that Politics shouldn't showboat science as it's bitch. Science needs to happen for the good of the human race, while politics does everything possible to stand in the human races' way. Let the damned scientists work.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Insightful)

Grenaid (903830) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201356)

Right... Aside from inappropriate use of new technology, I suppose trying to change eye color with needles and dyes or doing sterilization experiments on people in concentrartion camps is fine as long as the goal is science. I suppose you have never been to see Auschwitz? Blue eyes good, brown eyes bad...

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201209)

Well, let's see, there IS the question of when life begins.

8:31:46, EST.

There's also a very valid concern about preventing trafficking in human tissue. Just as there are lots and lots of controls on organ harvesting and donations, there needs to be a way to prevent pregnancies simply for the sake of harvesting embryos to gain such tissue.

And the incredibly obvious future "no getting pregnant for embryos" law covers that nicely. Considering the difficulties and dangers in actually doing that, though, it will be a completely unnecessary law.

Think of how the Nazi and Imperial Japanese performed experiments on living people.

Oh, you're a troll. Sorry. I wish I'd noticed earlier.

There is no restriction on private investment into stem cell research. ... Whoo hoo? Yay for only being a little dumb? And I'll point out here that he said "without controversy," not "without the government forcing people not to research."

There are sources of human stem cells other than killing human embryos. Given the current belief that human embyonic stem cells cannot replicate indefinately, they are actually a poor source of the genetic material.

"They don't replicate forever, so we should use ones that have been replicating for a while."

Your post shows you don't really know much about this.

Are you even replying to the parent? 'Cause he didn't say anything that required knowledge.

(Sidebar: ... Virtually all cells have a limit to the number of tiems they can split.)

(Sidebar: Everyone knows that.)

Prior to President Bush's plan of 4 years ago, there was no Federal funding for this research at all. A lot of what you would be seeing in the common media is not scientific, it's political.

Whoo hoo, again! It could be slightly worse! Good 'nough, now let's get hammered!

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (2, Interesting)

Rothron the Wise (171030) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201213)

Well, let's see, there IS the question of when life begins. You can't have seen any discussion of embryonic stem cell research without encountered that aspect.

The Bush government is pro in-vitro fertilization, a practice which by design produces large amounts of unwanted embryos, blastocysts really, which are frozen down and eventually thrown away, since they can only survive for so long in a frozen state.

If your position is that human life begins at conception then I fail to understand how this practice is morally sound whilst abortion is not.
It's better to put these cells to good use methinks.

Only in the bible belt or Teheran :-) (3, Insightful)

BerntB (584621) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201249)

there IS the question of when life begins. You can't have seen any discussion of embryonic stem cell research without encountered that aspect.
Well, in the bible belt and in Teheran, there might be a discussion. :-)

I've never seen credible evidence that a person with a personality gets created before there is a working brain. Would love to be contradicted here with a few references to e.g. Nature? (-: Or even a few bible verses with claims that life start at conception...? :-)

I am, frankly, not holding my breath.

Now, someone might argue that a process is started at conception which would end up with a functioning human. The potential is critical. There are a few problems with that position:

  • When a fertile woman smiles back at me (-: it has happened :-), there is a potential for a new human
  • Soon, all our cells will be potential humans with a little "twist"...
  • Half of all conceptions ends soon with a spontaneous abortion. That means, according to the bible belt, that half of all people dies at an age of a few days. To be consistent, the believers should argue that half of all medical research should try to stop this mass death!
I could go on. (The potential argument is pathetically blurry and compare amateurs like Stalin and Hitler with tens of millions dying from spontaneous abortions... every year.)

Your correct (IMHO) point is that given the assumption that life starts at conception, the rest of the religious people's position is logical. My point is that they are quite easily described as fuckwits with the same basis as "Son of Sam" had for his world view.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201259)

Because I have karma to burn...

Monstrously irresponsible snake-oil statements like that made by John Whatshisname (yeah, he was even "my" senator, shows how much he did for NC) that if John Kerry was elected President quadraplegics woudl stand up out of their wheelchairs and walk again are...shall we say...far less than responsible.

The exact quote from John Edwards is, "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

I don't find anything particularly monstrously irresponsible about this quote. He doesn't imply that people will get up out of their wheelchairs a week or two after Kerry would have been elected. I think most people, like me, are smart enough to realize that curing spinal cord injury is a while coming.

However, personally, I'm convinced that if we put our collective ingenuity in medical research towards finding a cure for spinal cord injuries, we will get real and tangible results, as this article demonstrates. It's not a cure, but it sure is progress.

The election of John Kerry would not have necessarily accomplished this goal during his presidency, and I don't think that Edwards's quote was implying that it would. After all, John F. Kennedy said in 1961, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." Even if he had not been assassinated in 1963 and re-elected in 1964, his goal still wouldn't have happened while he was in office.

It is certain that the election of George W. Bush has hindered the goal of finding a cure to spinal cord injury. He has shut down a major source of funding in an area of research that, as we can see from this article, is directly relevant to finding a cure.

The really frustrating thing is the reason given for shutting down this funding—some misguided notion that an embryo is somehow morally equivalent to a human being. I find it interesting that most of these fundamentalists have no problem at all with killing highly complex organisms such as rats, monkeys, rabbits, and so on in the name of scientific research, but a clump of nondescript cells with no capacity for thought, feeling, or any sensation at all; a clump of nondescript cells with no past, present, or future; a clump of nondescript cells very similar to the kind that we wash off in the shower every day without even thinking; is somehow sacred.

What if these same fundamentalists had insisted that researching advanced rocket propulsion techniques in the '60's was too similar to building a Tower of Babel, attempting to reach to heaven? Would John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson have cowered to this weird religious-based belief and let the Russians unilaterally own space today?

I hope not, just as I hope that in the next election, we manage to get some leadership who is willing to stand up for science that can make our lives better instead of trying to push America further and further into a new dark age of technology because of religious fundamentalism.

Anwser to flaimbait. No $$ for abortions... (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201170)

Oh, that's right... the frozen embryos have souls or some such shit. Yes, this is a hateful post because I simply can't fathom why this scientific area can't be advanced without controversy in the US. I really, really don't get it. I'd love for somebody to explain it to me. Please!

Do you have a soul? Do you believe in God? To many people, their ethics are more important than science or cars or money. You might be able to tell me at what speed an object falls to the earth, but can you tell me why it falls? Something as simple as gravity? Science is observing events and trying to predict what will happen. Science does not purport to understand why something happens.

The fact that you refeer to soul and "some such shit" in the same sentance leads me to believe you believe you are right and everyone else is wrong, and that you should be the one who decides where my tax dollars are spent.

All that Bush did was listen to his constituents, who said they don't want their tax dollars being spent on embryos that came from abortions.

If there is a woman, who is pregnant and scared, and 50% of her wants an abortion but 50% of her wants the baby, what will happen if someone tells her- "Your abortion will be put to good use, we can find cures to diseases with your embryo". That might be the extra push that convinces her to get an abortion. Even though there are no gaurentees that there will be any breakthroughs.

Bush did not outlaw research with embryos. Bush just simply said that no government money will be spent on NEW embryos. There are still so many embryos frozen in university research centers that are grandfathered in, there will be no shortage of embryos for the foreseeable future. And if there are enough people who believe they can find curse using embryos, then there will be lots of money to be made, and perhaps these people can form a private research group.

Re:Anwser to flaimbait. No $$ for abortions... (2, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201230)

"Your abortion will be put to good use, we can find cures to diseases with your embryo". That might be the extra push that convinces her to get an abortion. Even though there are no gaurentees that there will be any breakthroughs.

Except nobody would ever say that. That's what pisses me off so much about your side. What kind of freaking monsters do you imagine doctors to be? "If you get an abortion, you get a lollypop... Come on. Do it, do it, do it. Sissy." There are way more than enough people getting abortions already to satisfy any research needs. You're still going to be throwing most of them out even if you could use them for government funded research. If it turns out we need thousands of babies for actual treatments, we can have this talk, but what you're imagining is just not going to happen.

Re:Anwser to flaimbait. No $$ for abortions... (5, Informative)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201240)

Skipping the theological mellodrama..

You might be able to tell me at what speed an object falls to the earth, but can you tell me why it falls? Something as simple as gravity? Science is observing events and trying to predict what will happen. Science does not purport to understand why something happens.

Um, science _does_ attempt to explain to the best of our ability why things happen. Is "gravity" not a perfectly valid answer to your question? If you want to recursively ask "Why?" to every explanation, then I challenge you to explain your faith and allow me to extend the same courtesy. I guarantee you will run out of productive statements long before I will.

The fact that you refeer to soul and "some such shit" in the same sentance leads me to believe you believe you are right and everyone else is wrong, and that you should be the one who decides where my tax dollars are spent.

Blah, blah, blah. Vica versa. Ad nausem.

All that Bush did was listen to his constituents, who said they don't want their tax dollars being spent on embryos that came from abortions.

Woah, Woah! Hold it right there. This is where you demonstrate a complete lack of understanding. Embryos that came from abortions? From the wikipedia...

Embryonic stem cells are stem cells derived from the undifferentiated inner mass cells of a blastocyst, an early stage embryo consisting of 50-150 cells. They are pluripotent, meaning they are able to grow into any of the 200 cell types in the body. Embryonic stem cells can be obtained from a cloned blastocyst, created by fusing a denucleated egg cell with a patient's cell. The blastocyst produced is allowed to grow to the size of a few tens of cells, and stem cells are then extracted. Because they are obtained from a clone, they are genetically compatible with the patient.

200 cells is not a fetus by any stretch of the imagination. Nor is a blastocyst a fetus. These is very much a lab created process and trying to apply your morality via rubber stamp doesn't exactly line up.

Re:Anwser to flaimbait. No $$ for abortions... (2, Insightful)

Otto (17870) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201344)

You might be able to tell me at what speed an object falls to the earth, but can you tell me why it falls? Something as simple as gravity? Science is observing events and trying to predict what will happen. Science does not purport to understand why something happens.

Actually, science is all about determining why just as much as how. Admittedly, how is usually the focus because until you really understand how, determining why is kind of tough.

All that Bush did was listen to his constituents, who said they don't want their tax dollars being spent on embryos that came from abortions.

Embryonic stem cells don't come from abortions. They've *NEVER* come from abortions. You stick your DNA into an egg cell, let it grow to a few hundred cells, and voila.

There'd be no point in getting stem cells from aborted fetuses, because those aren't *your* stem cells. They won't work in your body.

Bush just simply said that no government money will be spent on NEW embryos.

Which basically halts all government money for stem cell research. Those embryos will never do you or me a lick of good, because they're incompatible with both of us. Those were for *research*, not actual *use*.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201247)

It is because we haven't had time to adequately address the moral concerns such activity raises.

It was largely agreed at the end of the second world war that the human experimentation that went on in NAZI germany was wrong. This is despite the numerous real medical advancements that were made as a result of such experimentation. Most reasonable individuals agreed that the societal cost performing compulsory experiments on essentially random members of society was greater than the benefit of the resulting medical knowledge.

It has since been agreed that, to some extent, animal experiment is okay as long as certain moral guidelines are followed. This is because cruelty toward animals has a dehumanizing effect on the human participant (as evidenced by the fact that most serial killers got their start with animals).

This puts us in a tricky situation when it comes to embryos and cloning. On the one hand, it is well established that an embryo is not the same as a person, on the other hand, an embryo has the potential the become a living, breathing member of society. So where do you draw the line? If experimentation on embryos is not human experimentation, is is certainly the cousin of human experimentation.

I'm not saying that the cost is not worth the benefit, I am only saying that there is a cost, and that we need to decide how far down the path toward human experimentation we can go before the costs outweigh the benefits.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201304)

what I don't understand is how people see serious ethical issues in using some primitive frozen cells but then don't consider the countless mice (a fully developed creature with feelings and a certain degree of intelligence) that are tortured and killed for experiments like this in any way.

Really, I don't get it either.

Re:We're not persuing this as fast as we can becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201325)

I really, really don't get it. I'd love for somebody to explain it to me. Please!

Because I love Ayanami Rei.

ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (4, Informative)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201064)

There's far more involved than just regenerating some relatively simple structures like a rat spinal column when the goal is human spinal injury.

I've had a lamenectomy. It's a procedure where tissue has to be removed from between discs in the spine. In my case, I herniated the tissue during heavy squats (word to the wise from a lifetime power lifter, don't do squats, they're too dangerous.) In my case, the tissue was pushed through the fibrous outer sheath that holds the spinal column together. The only possible way to "heal" this would have been to somehow take all the pressure off that part of the body (prevent all muscle movement and stretch the body on a rack), push the tissue back inside then seal the fibrous outer sheath.

Would I pay for such an option? Yes. Is it possible? No. Would some form of simple application of stem cells allow my body to rebuild the missing tissue? Probably not. Not only is a human spinal column far more complex than that of a rat, so are human brains. The human body also lives far longer and the human body is more articulate.

This is nice news but it's just the start of what would have to be a long, long, long process. There's no way to have perfect regeneration of plant tissue yet. Thinking human tissue would be able to regenerate any time soon is silly.

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (3, Informative)

jeremychoi (903811) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201082)

there has been limited success in stem cell therapy in humans (last year in november). korean researchers helped a paralyzed woman recover some motor control of her lower limbs. I'm not sure how well it followed through though. i never followed up with it. http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200411/kt200411261 7575710440.htm>

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (4, Informative)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201113)

Yeah, I saw that, too. The key phrase is "some motor control" and there really hasn't been much said after that. "Some" could mean "almost none" and one case doesn't really prove causation. Mind you, I'm not trying to dampen the enthusiasm at all, I'm trying to be rational about this. There's a long, long, long way to go before we can heal spinal cords. We can't even make skin regrow after a burn or abrasion without it looking like a mess. Imagine how much more complex the spinal column is than skin...

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201332)

Actually, the skin is way, way, way more complicated than the spinal column is. Layers upon layers, each having their function. The spinal column is complex, but it's mostly uniform. Not a lot of structure there. The complexity is all in the operation of the individual cells and such, not in the architecture and layout of the thing.

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201109)

umm...

sigh...

I think you're missing the point. This isn't about regenerating bone/tisue, it's about the nerves in the back that run from your brain to your legs. If your spinal "cord" is severed, you can't move your legs. This isn't about discs, bones, or whatever you had done. It's about nerves, and potentially helping parapalegics and quadrapalegics.

And, just for the record, we experiment on rats, because they are so similar to humans. Or don't you think a rat has discs in it's back, or a fibrous sheath around it?

Man...help me out here. I'm trying to be polite, but jesus....it's called science. RESEARCH. Jesus...every fricking mammal has a spinal column...oh yes, we're so much more complex than a rat, it would never have any application to humans....

HELLO! HELLO! Man.....better tell every lab in the world to stop testing on rats, because if the rat drops dead from the experiment, it would tell us nothing.

They just made a freaking breakthrough in spinal cord regeneration, and you think it has no application, because it wouldn't cure a herniated disc. Can you walk? Then shut the hell up. This research isn't for herniated discs...it's for people in wheelchairs.

Jesus....this was so much more fun 20 years ago on BBSes, when I could really get a rage going when an idiot posted something...but mostly I just write out a lame response, and then never submit it...why bother? Will anybody learn anything? Will anyone care? Will the people posting on slashdot continue to get dumber? This post isn't helping, is it?

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201139)

It's not that they don't get smarter, it's just that there's an infinite supply of dickheads. Back in the BBS days you could be sure that there was only a small community of people who were connecting to that particular BBS and that they had a reasonable level of intelligence as it was pretty difficult for the average person to get onto a BBS. Neither of those two are true for Slashdot.

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201231)

From what I've seen stem cells are amazing, and could probably heal discs too.
Basically all you do is culture some stem cells and crudely put them around /any/ kind of damage and they just do their thing.
I think the problem with back injuries is that most surgeons want to put steel pins and other contraptions in you and you delay the procedure for as long as possible ebcause of potential injury to the spinal cord, however, with stem cells you don't have to cut somebody that much to introduce them. You would still have to be in bed for a week or so.
I mean, what about the guy that had a new jaw grown in his back:
"
A German who had his lower jaw cut out because of cancer has enjoyed his first meal in nine years -- a bratwurst sandwich -- after surgeons grew a new jaw bone in his back muscle and transplanted it to his mouth in what experts call an "ambitious" experiment.

According to this week's issue of The Lancet medical journal, the German doctors used a mesh cage, a growth chemical and the patient's own bone marrow, containing stem cells, to create a new jaw bone that fit exactly into the gap left by the cancer surgery.
"

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (5, Informative)

cbnewman (106449) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201123)

we're talking about two different things here. the OP (who is describing a discectomy, rather than a laminectomy) presumably did not have a spinal cord injury, rather a disease of the vertebral column (i.e. the bony support around the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots). in the case the OP describes, the nucleus pulposis of the intervertebral disc herniates out (either by mechanical stress or simply by aging) and impinges the exiting nerve root of a spinal peripheral nerve. we have been able to repair peripheral nerves for some time now. in the case of the research presented here, we're talking about growth/repair in the central nervous system. this type of repair was not thought to be possible throughout much of the 20th century. turns out we were mostly wrong.

while the cited article in this posting is a little light on details, this research is potentially novel for the reason that these researchers appear to have recovered function in an animal with a complete spinal cord transection. incomplete spinal cord injury (aka "crush") injuries are a different beast. for some time now, some degree of functional rehabilitation has been possible. the hope is that in humans, we will be able to culture the appropriate stem cell, provide the correct growth factors and achieve connection between the motor/sensory cortex and the peripheral nerve(s).

the problem is that until this point, we have not had very much success getting neurons in the central nervous system to grow across scar tissue and make appropriate connections to regain function.

in anticipation of a heated debate in this forum regarding stem cells etc, it's worth noting that the cells used in this study probably fall into the category of "adult stem cells" and not embryonic stem cells (the more contriversial of the two).

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201179)

There's far more involved than just regenerating some relatively simple structures like a rat spinal column when the goal is human spinal injury.

I'm not entirely certain, but I believe there's a Korean doctor, and possibly a Russian one, who's used stem cells to fix a human spinal cord injury. I remember it because he, the Korean doctor, admitted he didn't know why it worked, just that it did, which struck me as wonderfully honest.

Re:ok, but it's still a long way from being useful (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201218)

Well I can sympathize, but this has nothing to do with the kind of injuries we have.

My injury happened on a roller coaster, when it went around a corner, it broke a small piece of my spine and cut through the outer part of my spinal column. I was lucky to get off with nothing more than a gradually herniating disk and a whole hell of a lot of back pain.

Meanwhile, stem cell research is being done to (hopefully) allow for damaged nerve tissue to be regenerated, thus, allowing for disabled body parts to come back online and be functional.

Lastly, the option for our backs to be repaired isn't available yet, but I assure you there's research being done towards it as well. Thousands of people every year get disk injuries like ours, but they have nothing to do with the stem cell research being done. In fact, I've read booklets about the kind of therapy that you've actually suggested being applied (using a back brace and screws.. sounded terribly painful, but apparently it works for stretching limbs and I guess the scientists are trying to apply a similar solution here).

Stem cell research should continue for those people who are less fortunate than ourselves, the ones who can't walk, the ones who can't move their arms, the ones who are on external ventilators, people suffering from diseases like Stephen Hawking.

Sounds like progress to me, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201066)

Now all we need to make things really pick up steam... but it's not easy depending on the private sector to invest in unproven sciences and/or projects that won't guarantee a return on their investment. Should american voters turn to their governments and demand subsidy increases for industries involved in stem cell research ?

It won't matter what you say, what you write or how professional you sound on the telephone, your congressmen and representatives don't give a shit what you have to say. They have a guaranteed vote from their freakishly religious base.. They appease them first, then maybe, maybe, if you're really lucky, will listen to whats on your mind.

What we need is a bulldozer to run over the children of every republican congressmen (at the state and federal levels,) not enough to kill them.. just force them into a fucking wheelchair, permanently. Then we'll see some opinions change.. until then, these scum sucking bastards will keep on promising their hardcore religious base that they'll protect america from the insidious & godless liberal infiltrators, fuck science, fuck progress, and fuck you america -> I'm getting elected again!

Re:Sounds like progress to me, (5, Insightful)

dagr8tim (866860) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201150)

What we need is a bulldozer to run over the children of every republican congressmen (at the state and federal levels,) not enough to kill them.. just force them into a fucking wheelchair, permanently. Then we'll see some opinions change.. until then, these scum sucking bastards will keep on promising their hardcore religious base that they'll protect america from the insidious & godless liberal infiltrators, fuck science, fuck progress, and fuck you america -> I'm getting elected again!
What kind of fucking maniac are you? Your publically advocating the maiming of innocent children for what you preceve as the sins of the parents. You should have your spine severed somewhere between your brain and your body....no wait, it's already happened for you to make such a hateful comment. I'm all for progress, better life through science, and all that bull shit. But give it a rest. You wanna maim the people that are voting and deciding this bull shit on the government level, fine, I'm all for that. It's people like you that give the freaks in the religious faction all the ammo they need to push forward with this shit. Mod this down if you like, But the parent post needs to be modded down too.

Spinal vs. Embryonic stem cells? (5, Interesting)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201071)

Every other week or so there is some big success story regarding the regrowth of neural tissue using spinal stem cells, but hardly a word about embryonic stem cells. I understand that there is a ban on using government funds to pursue embryonic stem cell research, however I would like to know whether such research is taking place anywhere. And if it is, why aren't the dramatic results we see with spinal stem cells also being trumpeted by embryonic stem cell researchers?

There are many people who could ultimately benefit from this research, and it certainly shows much promise. I know several people personally who could stand to regain some quality of life if doctors could regrow nerve tissues in humans.

Are spinal stem cells better than embryonic stem cells at growing this type of tissue, or is it simply a case of too little money going into embryonic stem cell research?

Re:Spinal vs. Embryonic stem cells? (1)

SketcheeBoy (887732) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201088)

In this article, the stem cells were taken from embryos.

Re:Spinal vs. Embryonic stem cells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201121)

Although not necessarily using embryonic stem cells, a much more supportive attitude from the government has put S. Korea on the forefront of this technology. I wouldn't be surprised if Hwang Woo Suk [businessweek.com] is responsible for most of the major advances in the next few years.

Re:Spinal vs. Embryonic stem cells? (2, Informative)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201148)

Every other week or so there is some big success story regarding the regrowth of neural tissue using spinal stem cells, but hardly a word about embryonic stem cells. I understand that there is a ban on using government funds to pursue embryonic stem cell research, however I would like to know whether such research is taking place anywhere.

That is not 100% true. There is a ban on using government to fund research using new embryonic cells. When Bush signed the original law, he was trying to make a compromise between his constituents and scientific advisors. His constituents, mostly republican and religious people, are against abortions and using embryos which came from aboritions. They believe they have a right to express how their tax dollars are spent, and they don't want to support abortion. Scientists, of course, want to use these embryos. Bush came up with a pretty good compromise. Those embryos that were availabe before he signed the legislation would continue to recieve government funding for research. Bush was told there are enough embryos right now to continue research at almost all universities without loosing any governemnt funding. Perhaps in 5 years there will be a shortage, but by then there will be a new administration in the white house. I have not heard of one single instance of any professor at a major university who has said they don't have access to an embryo to do research.

About the first part of what you wrote, yes, it does seem like every other year there is a big story about an advance in growing of nueral tissue. I remember when Superman was alive (I think it was christophere reeves), he said he was close to finding a cure to his paralysis. But he eventually died. All the funding he provided and the spotlight he focused on spinal cord injures was not able to save his life. And he had a good 10 years or more of trying to find a cure.

The nervous system is too complex. I doubt we will ever have anything more than some motorized limbs. I doubt we will ever fully understand neurons. Not only is there the electrical component, but there is the chemical component at the synapse too. There is the question of thresholds and how a nueron remembers. Is it possible that even if we can replace a non-functioning neuron with a stem cell that will become a nueron, that this new neuron will not "fit in" with the surrounding neurons? Or are neurons like a heart cell, that you can have two cells that beat at different paces, but as soon as they touch, they beat at the same pace. Can a new neuron learn from an older one?

I think the REAL breakthroughs the next 20 years will be through genetic engineering. Instead of trying to replace a cell, I believe the true cure will be injecting healthy DNA in the correct cells nucleus and fixing the problem at the cause.

Re:Spinal vs. Embryonic stem cells? (1)

Iax (601232) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201187)

And the same people who are against abortions line up around the block for IVF, a process which destroys many more "babies" than any abortion doctor. For treatments/ect, I bet the doctors or scientists would much rather use the sorted and nicely labeled extras from IVF, rather then the mess thats left from abortions. Also if someone took a knife and shoved it in your spinal column I dont think its your DNA that is a causing a problem with your legs.

Re:Spinal vs. Embryonic stem cells? (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201275)

Actually that's not quite true. He only cut off federal funding for new lines. He has no moral problem with privately funded stem cell research. He is more of a capitalist then he is a christian.

Re:Spinal vs. Embryonic stem cells? (2, Informative)

James Youngman (3732) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201184)

Yes, in the UK.

See relevant web pages from the UK Medical Research Council [mrc.ac.uk] , the UK Department of Health [doh.gov.uk] , the NIBSC [nibsc.ac.uk] and Cambridge University's Stem Cell Institute [cam.ac.uk] .

Research in this area is also being conducted by the UK universities of Bath and Liverpool, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and Smith & Nephew.

stem cells (3, Informative)

jessejesse (903810) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201083)

I read today Senator Frist went against Bush and is now supporting stem cell funding and research. I really hope the American public can put enough pressure to get the White House behind saving American lives and repairing damage such as spinal cord injuries

I wish.... (2, Interesting)

markass530 (870112) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201102)

Ronnie were still alive, and say 30 years old so he could put George W. into a headlock until he submits and supports stem cell research. I'm republican, but bush's stance on this issues makes me fucking angry. Ignorant fuck. I think before someone can even be allowed to be against federal funding of stem cell research, they should have to care for someone with Alzheimer's for a week. As it stands I hope everyone who is against (even a little bit) stem cell research doesn't get Alzheimer's, but I hope every single person they care about does, and they have to watch the carnage.

Re:I wish.... (0, Troll)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201133)

I wish...you knew what you were talking about.

George W. Bush most certainly DOES support stem cell research, even embryonic stem cell research. His plan is the first federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Couching your FUD with a hollow "I'm a Republican" is a hollow sham.

There is absolutely no proof, whatsoever, that embryonic stem cells have any potential to reverse or prevent Alzheimer's.

Try to use your intellect, not your hatred.

Re:I wish.... (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201165)

His plan is the first federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

I call bullshit. Before he signed into effect the limitation that federal funding cannot be used to persue research in or aid new embryonic stem cell lines, there was no limitation on which types of research the money could go into. His new rules doesn't enable researchers to do anything they couldn't do before, it limits them on what they can do in the future.

Re:I wish.... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201171)

According to the National Geographic currently scientists see the following results from embryonic stem cell research:
  • Heart related diseases (stroke, etc..)
  • Cancer related diseases (leukemia, non-Hodgkin limfoma)
  • Joint related diseases (arthritis, etc...)
  • Parkinson disease
  • Type I. diabetes

Re:I wish.... (0, Troll)

markass530 (870112) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201174)

It wasn't hollow, I am a republican, and I hate liberal hippie assholes. George Bush supports bullshit stem cell research ,though half heartedly. In his own words http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/08/20 010809-2.html [whitehouse.gov] Animal stem cells. pfft http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?ne wsid=24906 [medicalnewstoday.com] The US president said he will veto any bill that backs embryonic stem cell research. The president is being a fucking pussy and is scared to piss of the religious right. I do not understand how he can have balls when it comes to Iraq, but not this issue. Also, as much as I treasure my intellect, I think I like my hatred a bit more. Thanks for caring though.

Re:I wish.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201183)

I wish...
I was a little bit taller.
I wish I was a baller.
I wish I had a girl who looked good,
I would call her.

Birth Defects? (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201110)

I wonder if something like this would work for birth defects like spina bifida and so forth?

Re:Birth Defects? (1)

theamazingflyingshee (900968) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201172)

It could do because then while the embryo is still in the womb the the stem cell forming the baby could be altered to fix the defects. But is this one step to taylor-made babies?

Re:Birth Defects? (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201245)

Well, i meant using it on children, recently-born babies, and adults

Possible use in Multiple Sclerosis (4, Interesting)

StandardsSchmandards (828326) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201115)

It is great news as it also may have implications for the large number of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients [thisisms.com] .

As you may already know MS is a chronic automimmune disorder [wikipedia.org] where your body attacks the protective sheath around nerve cells causing them to degrade slowly over time. It is not yet curable. This type of damage is smaller than if your spinal cord was ripped apart in an accident and thus it may be easier to repair.

If this therapy proves to be useful in MS it will help a large number of people and save billions for countries.

Jesus H. Christ! (0, Troll)

Frodo Crockett (861942) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201118)

Mod this whole article as flamebait!

Re:Cheese & Rice (1)

dagr8tim (866860) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201140)

Mod this whole article as flamebait! I totally agree, any possible useful scientific discussion by this article has been driven away by the flamebaiters. Alot of people on both sides of this issue are ignorant in their rhettoric.

this just in from marketing (5, Funny)

CloudDrakken (582681) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201127)

need to start making "I broke my spine and all I got was this aborted fetus" tees

Good news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201134)

A well known and liked guy in my town just had a bad mountain bike injury. He's the owner of the gym, and a guy who knew how to get the most out of his body, and encourage others to do the same. He has no feeling or movement from the chest down. He was to get married next month.

We have a renowned ski hill and last year another well known local suffered a spinal cord injury. A local yoga teacher, mother of two, no use of her legs.

This, obviously, really fucking sucks. I hope these people and others can soon benefit from this research.

Posting AC as to not whore the human interest story.

Snap! (1)

ShagratTheTitleless (828134) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201153)

I wonder if they take the time to sedate and cut the rats spines or if it's the old two hand crack.

Funny, (1)

Punboy (737239) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201155)

I remember seeing this on Eyes of Nye last night. Any coincidence this shows up the day after? Seems to me the news is somewhat old.

This brings up way too many political issues. (3, Insightful)

mongoose(!no) (719125) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201161)

I'll start with saying that it is good to see scientific progress, but is it possible to do this with adult / cord stem cells too? Second, everyone says that Bush is against stem cell research. He is only against federal funding to embryonic stem cell research. That doesn't mean he wants to ban it, well he does, but that is besides the point. All he ever did was say the Government can't support it. Third, other than this, I have yet to see an example of Embryonic stem cell research actually working and adult stem cells don't work, or where Embryonic stem cells actually work at all. If adult stem cells show more promise, and don't involve the taking of a human life (the reason this is all contriversial in the first place), why not use them. About the "how can we support a president who is against scientific progress" issue. It isn't that the pro-life people are anti-scientific progress, it is that they don't beleive science should be working against the betterment of humanity. At least they don't think killing for progress is right.

Re:This brings up way too many political issues. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201258)

Adults have stem cells in their bones - all you need is one cell to culture into a bunch of stem cell goo.
They are against /research/, which uses the easiest way to get stem cells - embryos, etc. The politicians are all about taking natural sources of stem cells, like circumsised baby cock, and throwing it in the trash rather than using it for research. If you possess a bunch of embryos due to the nature of your work then politicians want them /thrown in the trash/ because religious ppl and you don't see in shades of gray.
Stem cell research is Bad, mmmkay.

Who is "they"? (2, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201261)

Whoever "they" is, they are absoutely 100% ok with killing for progress. Especially if "they" happen to be certain Republicans in the executive branch of the American government.

We take human life all the time. We take it when we have people work in extremely hazerdous conditions - like mining, or in the old days, building bridges. We take it when we decide we need a regime change. We take it when we allow the sale of tobacco products, or alcohol. We take it when we allow people to operate motor vehicles. WE take it when we revolt against an oppressive government.

As a society, we routinely accept the sacrifice of human life when we believe the benefits to society outweigh the sacrifice, and sometimes even if not.

It is simply not logical to be OK with sacrificing american lives and spending billions of american taxpayer dollars blowing thousands of living, breathing, thinking, feeling, walking-around Iraqi children to little bits to potentially improve Iraqi society and at the same time have a panic of conscience at the suggestion that millions of federal dollars be spent sacrificing a few hundred embryos smaller than a pinhead that are going to be discarded anyway to potentially provide medical relief to hundreds of thousands of American citizens.

Re:Who is "they"? (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201320)

> to potentially improve Iraqi society I would really be very, very surprised if it DOES improve in the long term. Already, women can't leave the home without the burqa, lest fundamentalists attack them or throw acid on them. Say what you like about Sadaam, he discouraged that. There's no reason to suppose that it will suddenly turn into a democratic paradise; rather it seems to be going the way of Iran.

Question for the biologists (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201182)

How complicated is stem cell treatment?

Every time I read about it, I get the impression that the subjects are simply injected with stem cells and they magically get cured. Is it really that simple, or are there additional invonveniences, like unwanted tissue types, or surgery or drugs needed?

Re:Question for the biologists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201311)

In an experiment that was done in rats with a multiple sclerosis-like experimental disease, the stem cells were injected in their blood and they did find what they had to do auto-magically. This is exciting news for everybody with SCI (spinal cord injury). Too bad that government people and stupid religious people are healthy..

Re:Question for the biologists (1)

rsynnott (886713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201323)

Not, it's not just a case of "jam an embryo in there".

Why fund PBS and NPR and not fund stem cells? (1)

putko (753330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201214)

I can't fathom why the govt. funds PBS (e.g. Monty Python, Benny Hill), yet won't fund embryonic stem cell research.

The government funds NPR (radio typically enjoyed by a minority of Americans), yet won't fund something that might arguably benefit all Americans. Furthermore, the benefits of the funding go to private people, not the govt. itself (Australia is different in this way).

The inconsistent policies of the government are irritating; funding all or none, or perhaps using some market mechanism to decide what to fund -- all those would be more consistent than the current system.

Also, if you know how the research works, it is really ridiculous. A researcher has his pet interest. Over the decades, he pitches it as, "good for Star Wars missile defense", "good for internet" then "good for anti-terror" -- whatever it takes to get the money. That's really irritating.

Re:Why fund PBS and NPR and not fund stem cells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201226)

Because we have laws that part of the public airwaves has to be used for educational purposes.

I for one... (1, Flamebait)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201244)

...welcome our new soulless, embryo-munching overlords.

Re:I for one... (1)

HugePedlar (900427) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201299)

Flamebait? Oh right, I forgot to use <sarcasm> tags...

Frist's split with Bush on stem cells (2, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201254)

Snippings from this article [latimes.com] :

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) announced that he would support legislation allowing the federal government to finance research using a broader range of embryonic stem cells. His decision substantially raised the odds that the bill would win approval in Congress and face a presidential veto, which White House strategists had hoped to avoid. ... The announcement by Frist, a transplant surgeon who is considered a likely contender for president in 2008, contradicted recent signals that he would oppose the legislation, and word of his decision Thursday night caught his Senate colleagues and the White House by surprise. It also was an unambiguous sign that politics had tilted in favor of research advocates and against Bush and the social conservatives who are the core of his political base.

Frist said he would back legislation allowing the government to fund research using embryonic stem cells no matter when they were created. ... Catholic League President William Donahue called Frist "a hypocrite." In a written statement, Donahue said: "His change of heart has nothing to do with any scientific breakthrough.... What's changed is that Dr. Duplicity wants to be president."

Frist's stance appeared to put him closer to the mainstream of public opinion. In a May survey for CBS News, 58% of respondents said they favored embryonic stem cell research; 31% said they opposed it. ... One Republican ally of both Frist and the White House said Friday that Bush's position had proved impossible to sustain. The ally, who requested anonymity because of increasingly "raw" feelings in the party, said the president's position was not held by rank-and-file Republican voters. ... In Congress, Republican supporters of stem cell research said they were optimistic that Frist's support would persuade other Republicans to switch their position.


Commentary

I can't help but what what the political and scientific ramifications of Frist's recent actions. I wonder if Frist is really being confrontational with the White House and GOP, or could this be part of a plan to broaden Republican appeal...

Personally, I suspect the latter. The embryonic stem cell stance is one of the most-often criticized things used to criticize Republicans in general, and this could be a way of putting a damper on that criticism.

I think this will hurt Frist's chance of getting the GOP nomination, but if he gets that, it'll increase his chances for the actual 2008 election, assuming he can get people to forget about his silly remarks during the Schiavo case. I still doubt I'd vote for him myself, but I know many people would.

Re:Frist's split with Bush on stem cells (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201260)

I can't help but what what the political and scientific ramifications of Frist's recent actions.

Oops. Replace the second "what" with "will be."

Tessera, sera.

About time! (1)

CptTripps (196901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201277)

Super...now we can go help Christopher Reeve walk again!

What...

Oh...

Sorry...

Adult Stem Cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13201288)

Embryonic stem cells have never been used as an effective treatment.

Adult stem cells, the stem cells taken from parts of an adult person, have been used many dozens of times with wonderful results.

There is even some speculation by scientists that embryonic stem cells would actually cause cancerous growth that could kill the person it is trying to heal.

Why do people keep trying to bring up this embyronic stem cell research when adult stem cell research already has a proven and effective method?

(By the way, I'm liberal and not a "Pro-Lifer")

Cruelty is discusting (1)

pavo (70713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13201351)

We've got no business causing spinal injuries to animals, or any injuries for that matter. Test them on humans if humans are who they aim to benefit.
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