STEM CELLS FOR DUMMIES

christian_new.jpgWhat is a Stem Cell?
A stem cell is an undifferentiated cell (i.e., a cell that has not yet specialized into a particular cell type, e.g., liver cell, pancreatic cell, or cardiac cell) with two unique capacities: the first, for rapid and prolonged self-multiplication into daughter cells identical with itself; and the second, for development and differentiation into specific types of cells such as liver and cardiac cells. Read

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Morning of the Stem Cell Revolution

christian.jpgImagine a day when patients suffering from tuberculosis could go down to a hospital and trade in their diseased windpipes for a brand-spanking-new model custom built from their own cells and live free of the disease.  Or where parents of congenitally brain damaged children could purchase a blood transfusion cocktail that would unlock the world of mental normality for their beloved children.  Or where heart-attack victims could receive cardiac injections of miracle cells that not only would heal their damaged heart muscle, but also stimulate new blood vessel growth in their hearts and reduce scar tissue from the injury?  Say ‘good morning’ to the stem cell revolution because that day has begun.  I should be more precise: the ADULT stem cell revolution HAS BEGUN.  Remarkably, these are not the dreams of some distant future but the treatments and possibilities opening before us right now. Read

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Pluripotent not Embryonic

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A collage of headlines covering Monday’s breakthrough in stem cell research, published in the scientific journals, Science and Cell, attempt to state what, to many, is not so obvious.   What we have found are pluripotent stem cells, equal to, but not to be confused with pluripotent embryonic stem cells.

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Ethical Alternative for Obtaining Embryonic-Like Stem Cells Gains Wide Support

A new proposal for obtaining embryonic-like stem cells has received the backing of a number of influential scientists and ethicists who are opposed to embryo-destructive research. They say the method, if successful, would bypass the creation of an embryo and would go straight to creating the stem cells themselves. The proposal could serve as an answer to the demands of those in the scientific community who have touted embryonic stem cells as a potentially revolutionary cure for a bevy of diseases while also answering the concerns of those who oppose embryo destructive research. Read

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Bills Dealing with Stem Cells, Bioethics up for Debate in Senate

An intense battle over stem cell federal funding and other bioethical issues is expected to take place in the Senate this week. Legislators will soon consider a bill that would overturn President Bush’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001. But alternative legislation is also expected to be introduced including one bill that would offer federal funding for research into ethical means of obtaining pluripotent stem cells. Read

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New Research Shows Possible Ethical Alternative to Embryo Destructive Research

The quest to find a moral means of obtaining embryonic–like stem cells took a giant leap forward this week when a team of scientists announced that they had successfully generated pluripotent stem cells from mice using a process know as altered nuclear transfer (ANT). Though some Catholic ethicists caution that in its present form the procedure may be immoral, even those ethicists are heartened by the news and say it shows that a morally acceptable version of ANT could be developed. Read

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