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Stem cell center eyed at Harvard

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. macrumors P6


    Harvard University will soon launch a multimillion-dollar center to grow and study human embryonic stem cells, in what could be the largest American effort yet to circumvent the Bush administration's tight restrictions on the controversial research.

    The move by Harvard, one of the nation's top centers for biomedical research, marks a declaration of independence from the rules surrounding federal science funding and signals increasing frustration among American stem cell scientists. Embryonic stem cells, they say, hold tremendous promise to cure diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes. Yet President Bush, citing concerns about the use of fertilized human egg cells in research, sharply curtailed government support for the research in 2001.

    "Harvard has the resources, Harvard has the breadth, and, frankly, Harvard has the responsibility to be taking up the slack that the government is leaving," said Dr. George Q. Daley, who is involved in planning the initiative and is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital in Boston.

  2. macrumors 68040


    saw that on the news tonight also...
    will certainly make things intersting, both medically and ethically...
  3. macrumors P6


    My preference would be that they use stem cells from lines already created. They can also use from a fetus, placenta, and adults. I just think that fertilizing an egg to create life is wrong.
  4. macrumors 68030


    DROOL...Even more reason that makes me really, really want to go to graduate school at Harvard...WOOOW! That's awesome...Whoa...Nice.
  5. macrumors P6


    A Harvard scientist announced yesterday that he has created 17 healthy and scientifically useful lines of human embryonic stem cells and is prepared to give them free to hundreds of scientists.

    The new cells, described in a special report published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, more than double the number of useful embryonic stem-cell lines available to scientists. But Bush administration rules now in place will prohibit scientists from using federal money to do any research with them, or even use them in laboratories that receive federal funding.

  6. macrumors 604


    Stem Cells are great.

    Too bad we lost our edge when bush banned (partially) it.

    Gah, most of the research is in Isreal now, where people like Christopher Reeves can put his funding and get his spine working again, and thousand of people like him Stem Cells offer a solution, brain problems, spinal cords -- This could be the solution.

    I'm glad they are going against it.
  7. macrumors 65816



    I don't think they are going against anything. There was never a law that you couldn't create new lines of stem cells. Just that federal funds can't be used to research on the new lines.

    For those of us that believe life begins at conception, this is very disturbing.
  8. macrumors 68030


    If you're familiar with the way research in this country is funded, then you'll know that cutting off federal funding for a project is essentially the same as banning it entirely in most cases.

    And for those of us who believe that frozen vats of embryonic material that are eating dust might as well be used to improve the human condition, this is very encouraging. I can, however, understand your hesitation to accept this sort of research.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Go to it Harvard. Pooty on the Republican Taliban.
  10. macrumors 603


    Pooty, huh? well, i do agree, so i'll accept that. in fact, i'm going to try and use Pooty in a sentence today. :D

  11. macrumors 6502

    My little niece, very cute, occasionally calls people a pootyhead. Can not imagine where she learned it.
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  13. macrumors P6


    If it is private funding for the research then it is not in my name. They just need to find a way without using a fertilized egg. It would be tragic if the US would loose in preeminence in science.
  14. macrumors P6


    More controversy with presedential panel on stem cell research.

    Two scientists from President Bush's top advisory board on cutting-edge medical research yesterday published a detailed criticism of the board's own reports, and said the board skewed scientific facts in service of a political and ideological cause.

    The authors -- one is a member of the President's Council on Bioethics and the other was fired from the council over a week ago -- have accused the council's chairman, Dr. Leon R. Kass, of ignoring their scientific advice and refusing to include in the board's last report some information that would challenge Bush's restrictions on stem cell research.

  15. macrumors P6


    Report challenges blood stem cell role in rebuilding heart

    By Gareth Cook, Globe Staff, 3/22/2004

    One of the most spectacular biomedical findings of the past few years was called into question yesterday when scientists published evidence that they had failed to get stem cells in the blood to rebuild the heart.

    The work, reported in the prestigious journal Nature, appears to undermine a landmark 2001 study that gave many doctors and patients hope that medicine could overcome one of the nation's leading killers by finding a way to repair damaged heart tissue.

    The new report is also politically charged, since it undercuts a key premise of the Bush administration's limits on embryonic stem cell research. The Bush policy was built partly in the belief that adult stem cells, such as those used in the study, are almost as flexible as the more controversial embryonic cells. But the new findings are part of a wave of new, more rigorous research showing that many of those early claims for adult stem cells were wrong.

  16. macrumors 65816

    (Emphasis added.)

    I assume this must be a typo, wdlove? Surely no life can be created without egg fertilization. Did you mean in vitro fertilization to create life is wrong or did you mean that it's wrong to create a life only to kill it to achieve scientific ends?

    At any rate, I took a rhetoric class a couple years ago, and stem cell research was the subject we had to argue for and against in the papers we wrote for the class. Needless to say, I gained a great deal of familiarity with the issue. One of the most important facts I learned was that limiting ourselves to a small number of "legitimate" embryonic stem cell lines is very, very bad science. We need as much variety and diversity as possible. How, then, can we find more morally legitimate embryonic stem cell sources?

    I, too, believe that life begins at conception. On the other hand, I think an additional distinction between life and morally insignificant biomass can be made: life begins with conception in the mother's body. In other words, when an infertile couple has embryos fertilized in vitro and then stored for potential use, the frozen embryos are not autonomous human lives any more than sperm cells or egg cells by themselves in (or out of) the the body are. I don't recall studying the precise details of in vitro fertilization, but if I'm not mistaken, it requires harvesting many eggs and sperm cells and exposing many of one to many of the other in the hopes of producing at least a few viable embryos. Or maybe they deliberately make too many in case the mother's body naturally aborts some of them. At any rate, the end product is typically more embryos than any couple could ever dream of giving birth to. Does that make it wrong, therefore, to engage in a practice that will inevitably produce more embryos than can ever be nurtured to birth? Good people can disagree. I don't think it's wrong. Better to make a few born lives possible than none at all.

    Only those embryos placed in the woman's body can make any claim to a moral status equal to you or me. Therefore, the left over in vitro embryos ought to be legitimate sources of embryonic stem cells eligible for federally funded research. And for the sake of the common good, there ought to be federally-mandated exit-counseling for couples who decide not to use any remaining frozen embryos, telling them that they can donate the embryos for stem cell research.
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  18. macrumors P6


    Yes, I made a typo Awimoway, sorry. What I don't like is for scientist's to create life and then destroy. In your studies would the blood from the placenta be as beneficial?
  19. macrumors 65816

    No. If memory served me correctly, there simply is no decent substitution for embryonic stem cells.

    And I respect your viewpoint. My knee-jerk reaction is to say that lives aren't being destroyed, they're being saved. My wife has an aunt we are close to who suffers from MS, and what I wouldn't give to see her health turned around. But I respect what you're saying, and I understand that the end doesn't really justify the means. Opponents of embryonic stem cell research make a very powerful comparison between the argument that I have just made and the defense Nazi doctors used at Nuremberg to justify killing prisoners for research--lives may have been saved with the research but that doesn't make it any less reprehensible to kill defenseless people.

    I guess my point of contention is that some kind of proto-human life begins at conception, but I have a hard time saying that it is equal in moral worth or that it has the same potential to live outside the mother as, say, you or me. And that's why I have no qualms with using embryos that were never going to anything more than proto-humans and not actualized humans because the parents were never going to plant the fertilized seed. Perhaps a good analogy would be that it's wrong to chop down a 100 year-old healthy chestnut tree just for the hell of it. And you could make a case for it being just as wrong to dig up a germinated chestnut in the earth and throw it in the garbage just to be cruel to trees. But it is not as wrong to throw away a lone chestnut that was never placed in the earth, especially if it can serve a greater good then it should.
  20. macrumors P6


    I will agree that a couple has a right to choose in vitro fertilization. Then if all the eggs are not going to be used to destroy them is also very sad. The couple should be able to make the choice to donate the unused egg. That decision will be a private one. At least they would be used for something positive.
  21. macrumors 604



    You understand that every such program to donate fertilized but unused egg cells has become a horrible -- HORRIBLE failure?

    No one now a days want to adopt, rather even more so if they child hasn't been born yet...

    These programs to donate such cells never work, its like everyone saying they would rather adopt they allow people to have abortions, but then I never see some white middle class family adopting a minority crack-addicted baby.

    Sorry sorry sorry.

    This has never and will never work.
  22. macrumors P6


    I'm not sure what you mean that this has never worked? :confused:

    I do agree that there is a problem with minority babies. They have the highest unwed births, but the reasons are a political one.

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