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Stem Cell Targeting Wins First Nobel of 2007

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the tweaking-the-blueprint dept.

Biotech 48

An anonymous reader writes "'Gene targeting,' which allows scientists to isolate stem cells in mice and reproduce genetically modified offspring, has won the Nobel Prize for medicine. Having allowed pathologists to better understand diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and cystic fibrosis for close to 20 years, the technology is just now getting its big day in the sun. From Nobel's full how-it-works: 'Their [i.e. ES cells] use as a vehicle for the transfer into the mouse genome of mutant alleles, either selected in cell culture or inserted into the cells via transformation with specific DNA fragments, has been presented as an attractive proposition. In many of these studies the use of pluripotential cells directly isolated from the embryos under study should have great advantages.'"

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48 comments

"isolated from the embryo" (-1, Troll)

Sub Zero 992 (947972) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903843)

Let's see, are we talking about a lump of meat here, or a living human being who was harvested for some rich bastard's benefit?

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20903859)

yea no kidding, the only Nobel prize this guy should've gotten is the Nobel Prize for BABY KILLING

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20903967)

How many people, both babies and adults, could be saved by this kind of research? I'll trade a clump of cells for the life of my child any day of the week thanks.

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (0, Flamebait)

Columcille (88542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20910207)

Your fingers slipped... I've corrected your post for you:

"I'll trade the life of some unknown human any day of the week, provided I can imagine it is nothing more than a mass of cells rather than a distinct human being in the early stages of development. Please exploit this unknown, innocent, defenseless life for my own benefit."

There, fixed. You can thank me later.

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (4, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903875)

It's a mouse, so neither. also, it sounds like they were harvesting cells using a non-destructive method, so the embryo survived after harvesting a few cells from them.

It's far more than stem cell harvesting (5, Informative)

mcg1969 (237263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903965)

Harvesting of embryonic stem cells constitutes only a small part of the process. The stem cells undergo genetic processing and are then injected into other embryos (blastocysts), which are implanted into a mother and grow into chimeras. When the chimeras reproduce some of their offspring contain only genetic material from the affected stem cells. THAT is the end result that they are looking for. I really don't think this process is likely to ever be performed on humans, so the ethical issues of human stem cells are irrelevant.

Re:It's far more than stem cell harvesting (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20908763)

The Bible forbids all stem cell research.

"Suffer not the stem cells to come to me." John 6:29

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (5, Funny)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903921)

Neither.
1. Meat being muscle, it's not that.
2. Living being is too vague a term to use here, so it doesn't really fit that...
3. The article discusses a mouse, so "human" is right out.
4. We're talking about a group of undifferentiated cells-- usually ones that would otherwise be destroyed.
5. The benefits are to poor, rich, athiest, Christian (except Christian Scientists), and the rest of humanity.
6. "Let's see" is incorrect, since you obviously didn't even glance at the article description, let alone its concents

You might have gotten the word "or" right, but it's not looking good.

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (1, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903991)

You keep shaking from that Parkinsons, buddy. I'll be feeding myself and walking. Enjoy!

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20909297)

Wow. That's sound just like something Jesus would say. I missed the part of the bible where Jesus mocked the cripples, I thought he showed compassion and healed them. Opps. My bad.

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (2, Insightful)

v_1_r_u_5 (462399) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904231)

your perspective will change significantly when you've been diagnosed with terminal cancer and offered an experimental treatment gleaned from this invaluable research.

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20906541)

...beacuse the most rational decisions are always made under duress.

Re:"isolated from the embryo" (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20927273)

your perspective will change significantly when you've been diagnosed with terminal cancer and offered an experimental treatment gleaned from this invaluable research.

Actually, probably not. When has a doctor ever told you anything at all about the origins of any medicine or treatment? Most doctors probably don't know much about such things, as it's not really relevant to treatment. Medical researchers would usually know, but they're not the ones that treat patients.

Anyway, people are pretty good about being hypocritical about such things. Most people would happily use a medical treatment for a problem, even if they knew it came from something that they had opposed years ago.

It might be interesting to read about a survey of what doctors know about the origins of drugs and other medical treatments. I'd predict that a small number of doctors would be knowledgeable on the topic, because they personally find it interesting. The majority might know about a few specific cases, but probably wouldn't know much about it in general, and would have an "I don't have time to study things that aren't job-related" attitude.

I'm not sure (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903853)

but that sounds like they are well on their way to creating Mighty Mouse.... He'll save us from Global warming, right?

Re:I'm not sure (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903949)

Last I read, they'd created regenerating mice, super-long-lived mice, and fearless mice. Combining the together... yup: Mighty Mouse :-)

Re:I'm not sure (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904167)

I sure am glad all these mice will live longer and have supernatural powers.....I just hope they are not angry with us about all the mice traps.........oh dear....

Re:I'm not sure (2, Funny)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905315)

regenerating mice

all the mice traps
I can see it now... you hear a snap! You run and discover a mouse severed in two, then the soundtrack from the terminator starts playing as the mouse slowly starts to melt together back into one cohesive and pissed off mouse.

Re:I'm not sure (0, Redundant)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905375)

you're scaring me! You've seen the mad ginne pig in the Alltel commercial! Hahaha

Re:I'm not sure (2, Funny)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904163)

He'll save us from Global warming, right?
And terrorists, too. Don't forget the terrorists (or the childrens).

Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20903865)

Oh wait.......

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (-1, Flamebait)

NEOtaku17 (679902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20903963)

Good thing we don't need the government to fund something to make progress on it.

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (5, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904041)

Good thing we don't need the government to fund something to make progress on it.

Actually, the US government DOES support this type of research. This was done with mice, not human embryos. Still, even it was human tissue being researched, the US Gov't would still fund research providing that it either used one of the existing stem cell lines or the stem cells came from a different source such as cord blood or adult stem cells.

You should really look this stuff up before you spout off like that.

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904159)

Please learn and understand the meaning of the word "contaminated" and the difference between "pluri" and "omni".

Facts not Left's strong point (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904197)

What is important is that their story fit "the narrative" not the facts.

You will almost always see their arguments skip right over logic and jump straight to emotion.

Any inconvenient truths go straight down their Orwellian Memory Hole.
Any thoughts they can't defend against get weeded out in their politically correct NewSpeak.

Is your hate politically correct hate?

Do you believe that racism is wrong unless you hate white people?

Do you believe that sexism is wrong unless you hate men?

Do you believe that sexual discrimination is wrong unless you hate heterosexuals?

Do you believe that religious intolerance is wrong unless you hate Christians?

Do you believe that freedom of speech involves censoring offensive non-Politically Correct speech?

Do you believe that DoubleThink is hard and that DoubleThink is easy?

Do you keep such an open mind that your brain fell out?

Are you a hypocrite and a bigot? Do your friends praise you for it and call you morally superior? Do you think that your bigotry makes you a better person than others?

If your hate is politically correct hate then The Left is the show for you.

It is shocking how well Orwell predicted tactics of The Left.

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (1)

enziarro (641783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904365)

Hopefully this will improve the image of stem cell research in the public eye. While the "NO MEDDLIN' WITH GOD'S WORK" crowd probably won't have an instant change of heart, this is still a start.

Cannibalism crowd (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904425)

I think it was more the cannibalism is icky crowd.

"Hey let us kill babies and use their bodies for use to live longer!"

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (1, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904733)

I don't know anyone who opposes stem cell research in general. I have not even heard of anyone who opposes stem cell research in general. The only thing I have heard is opposition to killing people in order to heal other people. That is how those who oppose embryonic stem cell research see the situation. They view human embryos as human. Therefore they consider embryonic stem cell research to be comparable to the medical research done by the Nazis (in particular Dr Mengele). You may disagree with their view of human embryos as human, but it does not advance the discussion to mis characterize them as the "NO MEDDLIN' WITH GOD'S WORK" crowd. If we are ever going to make any progress on divisive issues, we need to address where we disagree. If you don't believe that human embryos are deserving of the same legal protections as post natal humans, let's have that discussion.

Debate strategy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904977)

I see you have missed (or politely not mentioned) the The Left's main debate strategy: play the player not the ball.

Do NOT debate the issues; vilify your opponent.
If you can injure your opponent (reputation or physically), you have won the argument.

It is the old "What is a racist? A conservative who is winning an argument with a liberal." joke. And it is funny because it is true.

See The Left isn't comfortable with the facts. Too many inconvenient truths for them. So, they need to shut down debate.
Speech Codes at Universities. Their hatred of Fox News (full disclosure: I don't watch TV; DVDs for me). Name-calling (e.g. the Jesus Crowd, racist)(full disclosure: I am an atheist) anyone who disagrees with them.
It is all about shutting down the Marketplace of Ideas.

The Left is filled with very hatefull, narrow minded, bigoted people.
They are not interested in debate or a desire to "address where we disagree". They are interested in winning, and crushing their enemies. Their mantra is "compromise for thee, but not for me."
Why do you think average Leftist college kids heroes are mass murders like Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, & Mao? Why do you think The Left in the 60s worked so hard to empower the Khmer Rouge and create the Killing Fields? Millions died so the children of the 60s could feel morally superior. In the 20th Century, 250+ million died at the hands of the leaders of their communist utopias, and the New York Times wins Pulitzer Prizes for covering that up.

The Left isn't interested in debate; they are interested in Power.
The utopia of The Left is a boot stomping on the face of humanity ... forever.

Their reaction to debate is very similar to the classical narcissist's reaction to a threat.

Re:Debate strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20905517)

Amen brother! Oh, wait, you said you were an atheist. Sorry about that.

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905353)

The only thing I have heard is opposition to killing people in order to heal other people.

What, if any, is the difference between harvesting a liver/heart/kidney from a motorcycle accident victim and harvesting stem cells from aborted fetuses?

It's not like women are going to have extra abortions to support research!

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905573)

That is a valid question and certainly part of the debate. Many of the opponents of embryonic stem cell research would say that the difference is that one is an accident victim, the other a murder victim.

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (1)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20906303)

Alright then - why is that distinction actually relevant? I mean, I understand how some people would be afraid that rich people would have poor people killed for their organs...but doesn't that boil down to the same thing as the "if you fill out the organ donor card, the paramedics won't really try to save your life" hypothesis?

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 6 years ago | (#20909897)

Many of the opponents of embryonic stem cell research would say that the difference is that one is an accident victim, the other a murder victim.

Ok, but adult murder victims would also be harvested for organs, if processed in time. It's just that usually once the paramedics get there, all the organs are toast. Murderers tend not to call 911.

Motorcycle accident victims have the unique feature that they often go brain-dead from massive head trauma (especially in no-helmet states), leaving everything else intact (and alive). This makes them great for harvesting organs.. so much so that they're often called "donor-cycles". :)

By the same argument no one opposes abortions... (1)

hung_himself (774451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20908031)

No one opposes stem cell research - they just essentially stop such research by changing federal funding rules. I would WELCOME an honest assertion that the US government opposes embryonic stem cell research because embryonic cells are humans (because they are totipotent or have a soul or the bible says so...). If, the majority went along with that then I'd be fine with it as an informed moral choice made by the society we live in.

However, the reason we can't have that discussion is that the "NO MEDDLIN' WITH GOD'S WORK" crowd thinks that they would lose if they were honest and so wisely prefer to obfuscate - a strategy that, since we've already gone Godwin, some supporters would say was similar to that used by the Nazis (in particular Goebbels...)

Anyway, this prize was not about ES cells but about gene knockouts in a mammalian system (since this was already easy to do in bacteria, yeast and fruit flies).

Re:Glad the US govt has supoorted stem cell resear (1)

zildgulf (1116981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20908287)

Actually, the US government DOES support this type of research. This was done with mice, not human embryos.


Quite right. We certainly need government supported research to keep mice living longer and longer. That is the primary goal, right?....

Surprised it did not happen sooner (1, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904171)

As I said in my blog entry [utah.edu] about it ('bout 3:00 this morning when we heard about it), I am actually surprised it took this long as it would be hard to quantify how much science has been dependent upon Mario's work or even work that comprised prior Nobel Prize awards. Certainly my science going back to my dissertation has relied on transgenic techniques pioneered by Mario Capecchi and I owe much to him, but more importantly the doors for much discovery made in bioscience over the past several decades would simply not have been possible without Mario's pioneering work.

Re:Surprised it did not happen sooner (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20907747)

Mouse knock-out models have been paying my salary for the last 5 years, so I'm inclined to agree that it's about time.

Okay. But do you think you're the best scientist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20904281)

Oh, HELL no!! Who's picking this, man?! How the hell the Nobel Peace Prize for MEDICINE gonna go to ANYBODY but me?! That's ridiculous! My album went Gold in a day, babe! My album went Gold in a DAY!!

I ain't heard of NONE of y'all theories! But if the Nobel Peace Prize isn't going to ME.. the Nobel Peace Prize LOSES.. credibi -- [ expletive deleted ]

Wait for it... (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20904305)

Cue totally irrelevant, misinformed, and asinine stem cell blather in 5..4..3...

Oh, wait - I'm too late.

Party time. (0)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905165)

I have met Martin Evans as my mum knows him, plus he was born in my home town. I'll may be invited to the celebration party, something I think I won't be able to turn down.

Re:Party time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20908123)

Wow! You are TeH C00l!

Change Headline to "Knock Out Mouse Wins Nobel" (1)

bshell (848277) | more than 6 years ago | (#20905881)

This story is not about stem cells. It's about knocking out genes (mostly in mice) to figure out how what metabolic pathways certain genes control.

Re:Change Headline to "Knock Out Mouse Wins Nobel" (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20907717)

Do you see a popular buzzword in "Knock-out mouse models"? I didn't think so.

"Stem cells" it is.
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