Stem cell funding

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by trainguy77, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #1
    Anyone else investing in stem cell companies lately with the ban being lifted soon? I currently own some CBAI and STEM. :eek:

    Yours guys thoughts on the stocks?
     
  2. SteveMobs macrumors 6502

    SteveMobs

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    #2
    Interesting, have you done your homework?

    Seems like it'd be a really smart move if they lift the ban, they should go up.
     
  3. trainguy77 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #3
    We have already had some spikes in the past weeks. I have done a good bit of homework. I plan on selling STEM after the ban is lifted. CBAI is long term, depending on how the current dilution of shares works out. However, I think CBAI is a great stock just because it could become a multi billion dollar industry. Many years down the road mind you....:eek:
     
  4. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816

    bobfitz14

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #4
    as far as i know stem cell research helps find cures for type 1 Diabetes, which my brother has, so when i'm older i'll buy some:)
     
  5. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #5
    One thing I've always wondered about stem cell research from public funds: who holds the patents?

    If it's government funding, is it the government? :confused:
     
  6. trainguy77 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #6
    I always thought that it is held by the company that receives the funding. I am not to sure though. I am just speculating. :eek:
     
  7. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #7
    I think you could be right.

    It doesn't seem fair though. If the government ponies up money, it should get something out of it. After all, we all benefit from these cures; why should one company make all the money off of it?
     
  8. trainguy77 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #8
    Yeah this is so true.

    This is one reason I like the idea of investing in CBAI. If one stem cell company has a huge break threw. If its not the stock I picked I don't get to enjoy the spike. However, with CBAI most if not all stem cell research will require companies like CBAI.
     
  9. pooky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    #9
    If the funding is from NSF or NIH (which it most likely is), those grants are publicly available. Anyone with the ability and the interest can submit a proposal, which is reviewed, and, if deemed meritorious, funded. The government funds scientific research because it deems it to be in the public interest, and it the mission of the various funding agencies to see that the money is distributed. The funding is a one-way street - you don't have to pay it back, you don't have to produce any specific result, and you don't have to share any profits. You just have to attempt to do the research you said you were going to do, and publish the results if they are worth publishing.

    So yes, the government foots the bill, but it's a gift, with (essentially) no strings attached. It's one of many ways to ensure honestly in the system. Can you imagine, if the government had a share in the profits, what might happen? Might we see the IRS controlling scientific research? Or might we see funding of research only if it might be profitable? The private sector does this just fine; the government's role in this is to fund research for it's own sake. It is paid back eventually in the benefits the people (i.e. the government) gain from basic science.
     
  10. thebassoonist macrumors 6502a

    thebassoonist

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Location:
    Davis, CA
    #10
    I should definitely buy some stock! I have type 1 diabetes, too, and have been advocating for stem cell research for many years.
     
  11. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #11
    The problem is, these cures are more important than mere gains in "basic science." People will live or die by these discoveries, and they will also have to pay for them. Concentrating such large potential profits into a single company is dangerous.

    If you are concerned about the government having a hand in the distribution/targeting of new discoveries, that's fine. A rather simple solution is to eliminate the 20-year patent life for any discovery made possible by public funds. Instead, each company can have an exclusive right to distribute for a period equal to the percentage of non-public funds multiplied by the standard 20. That way we don't get monopolies, and the government doesn't get its hands in experimentation.
     
  12. pooky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    #12
    Are they? Without decades' worth of basic research into evolutionary theory, cell theory, genetics, cloning, molecular biology, etc., none of this work would be possible. I would argue that the gains in basic science are far more important. How many lives have been saved by PCR? Do we award patent rights for basic theory, as well? Should companies who innovate something using other work as a starting point (and everything using other work as a starting point) share their profits from that specific innovation with all of the authors whose work contributed to the basic framework? With all of their funding sources?
     
  13. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    #13
    I meant from a market and lives saved perspective they are more important.

    Basic discoveries/innovations do provide a good foundation, but no one's life has been saved to date because someone made a refining adjustment to evolutionary theory.

    The potential in stem cell research is different. Many lives can be saved if someone finds a viable route to implantation, and along with that, many dollars can be earned. It's only fair that if public funding was used to research a particular type of therapy, the patent life be shortened on a basis that is proportional to the amount of public funding used. That way we reduce biotech monopolies and give patients access to less costly treatments.
     
  14. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #14
    I've been out of the loop for the past few years on the progression of embryonic vs. non-embryonic stem cells. Is the favoring for embryonic cells due to their being easier to obtain, or is there some endemic difference between the two that causes the preference?
     
  15. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #15
    At this point, only ES cells have completely plastic cell fates, a requirement for the in vitro production of complex organs (i.e., with two or more cell types). AS cells have lots of heterochromatin that has to be remodeled to euchromatin in order to have this potential. There have been a few experiments that show this is possible, but nothing that has demonstrated it conclusively.
     
  16. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    The Mergui Archipelago
    #16
    Cave Man has hit the nail on the head as per usual. I'd like to add that you're right in a sense. Embryonic stem cells are still much easier to acquire than many types of adult stem cell. For example adult neuronal stem cells are exceedingly rare in the brain. But it should be stressed that the ease of attainment is just one aspect of why embryonic stem cells are attractive.

    Embryonic stem cells are totipotent - they can form cells of all the body's lineages (mesoderm, ectoderm, endoderm). So as Cave Man said they can form any cell type in the body, or multiple cell types from multiple lineages that are required to form an entire organ. They also have a very high prolferation potential. They can divide many, many times to provide a lot of tissue from a small amount of starting cells. Although this can provide plenty of material for experiments, organ formation, or for possible transplantation, it can be a downside as under some circumstances they can replicate uncontrollably in vivo and form tumours (teratomas). Another downside of embryonic stem cells for use in transplantation is that they're prone to rejection by the immune system (without some clever manipulation - i.e. cloning) as they're don't exactly match the recipient's tissues.

    Adult stem cells are usually committed to a specific lineage. That is that they're no longer totipotent, but instead pluripotent. Pluripotent means that they can form a limited number of cell types. They're still fantastic if you can use them for a targeted therapy. For example adult stem cells from the bone marrow have been used for decades for as transplants for people with haematological conditions. A downside of adult stem cells (to generalise) is that they're limited in their replication potential compared to embryonic stem cells. An upside is that if you're harvesting them from an individual, and then transplanting them back into that individual, is that they won't be rejected by the immune system.

    An active line of research is to overcome the intrinsic cons of each stem cell type. For example coaxing adult stem cells with growth factors/genetic manipulation to increase the proliferation capacity, or finding ways around the tissue rejection issues with embryonic stem cells.

    So embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, although similar in some characteristics, have many differing and unique pros and cons of which I've only covered a few. These differing characteristics change their suitability for different applications. They're not really interchangeable to the extent that is sometimes perpetuated or believed colloquially.


    edit: pooly and calboy I've enjoyed your conversation. I'm in two minds about the issues so it's nice to hear other people's opinions. I've got a few biological patents to my name and also benefit from government grant money. For things like publications I fully support them being open source if they were funded by public funds. However so far as my academic freedom I'd rather work without many restrictions (there's of course heaps already) on the way I utilise grant money or develop my intellectual property. Government grant money is such a complex and contentious issue.

    edit edit: there's no way I expect anyone to read that wall of text!
     
  17. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #17
    Thank you both for your excellent answers. I personally would love to see AS cells overcome their particular hurdles due to the inherent lack of rejection and the fact that no one can raise ethical/moral issues about their use. I can definitely monitor the developments in this field more informed now though.
     
  18. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #18
    So long as the AS cells are the patient's own, the chance of rejection becomes almost (but not quite) zero. There's a phenomenon called "maternal silencing" that can be compromised during chromatin remodeling. If those alleles are "unsilenced" then you have a likely rejection event to the regenerated tissues, even though they're the patient's own cells. What's a big unknown is how many genes can be maternally silenced.

    Believe me, there will still be people bitchin' about it. After all, if you completely remodel the AS cell's genome, you effectively have an ES cell that has the potential to become a human (i.e., cloning).
     
  19. trainguy77 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #19
    This is why I am hoping that Cord Blood does well as since they provide storage of adult stem cell but they can be retrieved so easily with no added pain at birth. Hopefully its an industry that takes off.
     
  20. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #20
    There is a clear difference between purpose here though. The purpose of an embryo is to become a human life. The purpose of a modified stem cell is to repair some form of damage to an already existing life. As long as cloning is outlawed, I can't see any logical objection here.
     
  21. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #21
    I don't dispute that, but many people will. One of the ways you can get chromatin remodeling of an AS cell is to transfer its nucleus into an enucleated egg (at least in mice). Voila! - You now have an ES cell that's from the patient. But the religious fundies think this is the same as ES cell work and are against it because it is a "human".

    Since when are "logic" and "religious conviction" synonymous? ;) To these people, if it can become a human, then it is a human and, thus, something that should not be done under any circumstances.
     
  22. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #22
    That's puzzling, because using the word "egg" implies unfertilized, and hence, not a human.


    As a person with religious conviction, I see no problem in maintaining logic in all scenarios. To take that to an extreme, all eggs in a woman can become a human, so each menstrual period would be a tragedy. There is a logical line of separation between unfertilized and fertilized. :D
     
  23. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #23
    The difference is this "egg" has two sets of chromosomes (diploid) and can now start to replicate and differentiate into an animal. This has already been done with mice (and a few other animals) several times.

    Nuclear transfer results in the functional equivalent of a fertilized egg, except that its a clone. This is the source of consternation for those who are against this technology. It is irrelevant to them if the intended purpose is to make a new liver (or any other organ) because this results in the production of a "human being".
     
  24. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #24
    I misunderstood, for I was thinking of a gamete and not remembering the transferred AS would have full genetic information.
     
  25. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #25
    Would you two please get a room. My head hurts. ;)

    But I will agree that, but for the Catholic church placing such emphasis on the male sperm, every menstrual cycle would require a very tiny coffin. If they were being true to themselves, that is.

    Sorry, I'm in a silly mood from this thread.

    If God had not wanted Man to achieve this level of sophistication He would not have made it possible.
     

Share This Page