Embryonic stem cells cure AMD

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by it5five, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #1
    Link

    British scientists have discovered a cure for age-related macular degeneration using embryonic stem cells. There are 14 million sufferers in Europe alone.

    I can only imagine where we'd be today if research using these stem cells wasn't banned for the last eight years in the US.
     
  2. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    I've known people who suffered and it was so sad watching it progress. It gives you a sinking feeling in your gut to think a cure could be available today.
     
  3. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    Ooh I'll have to read this paper. Needless to say if it's true and *if* it matures it will be one of the great medical breakthroughs. It'd be great to definitively cross AMD off the list of diseases out there.
     
  4. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030

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    However, given the highly successful research using adult stem cells, it won't take very long to do the same results using adult stem cells within a few years.
     
  5. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    Adult and embryonic stem cells aren't synonymous. Basic things like harvesting/growing enough adult stem cells is still a significant hurdle to their use. Although some factions are dead against embryonic stem cells, the fact remains that they will likely be better for some therapies whereas adult stem cells will likely be better for others. Utilising both for research and/or therapies will result in the greatest medical gain.
     
  6. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

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    They've also reversed the effects of muscular dystrophy in dogs with gene therapy.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/video/?vid=279
    http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/22327/

    It's exciting to see all of these advances in muscular disorders. A classmate of mine in high school had it, and I know there were countless times where he couldn't be a normal kid because his muscles wouldn't allow it.

    The research hasn't been banned. There was simply a mandate to prevent federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Obama rescinded this mandate, but the actual practice of it hasn't changed, IIRC.
     
  7. obeygiant macrumors 68040

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    Why? Are British scientists less apt than American scientists? :p
     
  8. Pittsax macrumors 6502

    Pittsax

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    Okay, the fact that they haven't cited an actual research article is troubling. Also, this was done in rats, not in humans. Big difference. Until I see the actual science behind these claims, I'm going to remain skeptical.

    As for the embryonic/adult stem cell issue, one of the big limits of adult stem cells is that they usually only make cells from the tissue they were harvested from. While there MAY be adult stem cells in the eye (I actually study them), we are a long way off from doing anything useful with them.
     
  9. BigHungry04 macrumors 6502

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    Stem Cells cured Advanced Micro Devices? Awesome! :D
     
  10. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

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    When was it banned?
     
  11. SactoGuy18 macrumors 68030

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    Interestingly, research done outside the USA on embryonic stem cells in South Korea and Europe didn't produce much until very recently. Meanwhile, I know of over 100 different medical therapies done with adult stem cells, including recent ones for Parkinson's disease.
     
  12. .Andy macrumors 68030

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    I'm sensing a theme with your posts SactoGuy. You deal with nothing more than vague generalities to try and present adult stem cells as superior across the board to embryonic stem cells. The reality of the research is very different to how you present it.....
     
  13. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    It is very exciting (splicing FTW!). and this approach is the real thing (although it's not gene therapy, it's antisense technology).
    The unfortunate part that it will work only for a fraction of patients because it is strictly dependent on the precise mutations they carry. obviously it starts with the most common genetic lesions, but moving to the rare ones might prove very difficult from an economical/regulatory point of view.
    At some point (soon) the FDA will have to change the way they work to accommodate the way new technology works and can/can't be tested.
     
  14. Eanair macrumors 6502

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    He at least has a review out. I know it's not an original research publication, which would be preferable, but at least it's something. Perhaps the article is in press? Though I assume the article would say that if it were true, with the name of the journal the article would be appearing in. *shrugs*

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...d=907668&md5=4995766c12dc44f006f817dca1f68d49

    Abstract:

     
  15. it5five thread starter macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    It was banned in all but name when the Bush administration cut off federal funding for the research. It was just another part of his anti-science agenda.
     
  16. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

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    In other words, it wasn't banned. While federal funding is important, there was nothing stopping private funding from going to the cause. Even state funding can happen, and it did.

    This is an extremely old blog post, but it gets the point across:

    http://www.reason.com/news/show/34993.html

     
  17. .Andy macrumors 68030

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    The problem is that it wasn't just about federal funding to drive the experiments. It was about federal funding fullstop. If you have a lab that was in the past partly set up with federal funding you couldn't do ESC research. If you had any equipment that was purchased with federal funding you couldn't do ESC research. You couldn't even send things like DNA for sequencing if the equipment was paid for by a grant. If you had any employees that were paid with fellowships or federal grants you couldn't do any ESC research. So in practice if you were ever a lab to be supported by federal funding ever (most labs), you were in murky waters no matter where the money came from to drive the experiments. In short to get into ESC research (or to continue it) one has to come up with the money to set up and staff and a whole new laboratory. Something that would run into many millions of dollars just to get it off the ground. The vast majority of research groups don't have that type of money. Or that amount of time. It was practically a ban on ESC research.
     
  18. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

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    That would just forestall the efforts (although by several years). Clearly, the states and private enterprise took the initiative to fill the gaps, it was just set back by several years because of all those things being grandfathered in, if you will. For practical purposes, it would have converted ESC centers to ASC centers I imagine (I'd be interested to see data on this). Still, I won't deny the strength of the impact it had.
     
  19. .Andy macrumors 68030

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    This is true unfortutely the nature of research makes the implications far more severe. Research is a collaborative effort. Very few scientists or research institutions work alone or can afford to work in isolation (both financially and productively). Lets take the very basic task of DNA sequencing or microarray analysis. Both require specialised machines and facilities and workers that cost many millions of dollars to set up and run. In most cases a researchers will send off such analysis to be done by centres that have been set up and supported with federal funding. They have a massive throughput and can keep the costs down. They can't be used. Hence for ESC all these facilities have to be replicated. The throughput will be smaller so it will be more expensive. It's just repolicating facilities and wasting money on additonal services that aren't actually required.

    In practice what it achieved was isolating stem cell researchers, costing countless millions of dollars that could be spent on actual research, and severly hindered progress. The whole idea of "It's OK as long as it's using private money" is in no way an ethical or moral position. All it is is political fence-sitting. It was a defacto ban that ultimately drove researchers off shore. Ultimately the only people to suffer are those who treatments will come too late.
     
  20. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    Actually, I believe that 'future' stem cell lines were banned from Federal funding.

    They had to make-do with the 21 lines being researched at the time. They were all adult lines, effectively prohibiting funding of embryonic cell lines.
     
  21. McGarvels macrumors 6502

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    Sorry SactoGuy, you're completely wrong. I've been working in the stem cell field for over 8 years now, first workign with adult HSC (Hematopoietic stem cells) for BMT (bone marrow transplants) and mostly in the embryonic stem cell field at the City of Hope in Duarte. I believe that what you are referring to are iPS cells. What you most likely don't know (almost guarantee actually) is that those "adult stem cells" are actually induced into pluripotent cells using retroviruses and activating genes (Oct 3/4 and others). Sorry, but there is no way that the FDA will ever allow any cells being induced using retroviral therapy. Not going to happen...ever. Trust me. As far as, hESC, there are several treatments that will be out there soon. Look up Geron. Enough said. and good night :D
     

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