Embryonic Stem Cell Research Support from
Europe, China, South Korea, California
, JDRF
(Top Posts - Science - 022505)

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Feb. 25, 2005

Spain approves embryonic stem cell projects

Cordis News : http://tinyurl.com/6lctv
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Excerpts:

The Spanish government has announced that it
will give the go-ahead to four research projects
involving embryonic stem cells.

... chairman of the European Stem Cell Network
... will use stem cells to create insulin-secreting
pancreatic tissue to treat diabetes.

Another project ... is designed to help cure neuro-
degenerative diseases and especially Parkinson's
disease. The last two involve fine-tuning techniques
used to transform stem cells into other kinds of
cells and tissues.

...

There are currently only three other EU countries
that allow such research: Sweden, Belgium and the
UK.

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Feb. 21, 2005

China, South Korea Will Flaunt United Nations
Request to Ban Human Cloning
http://www.lifenews.com/bio713.html
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Excerpts:

The Chinese government opposes human cloning
for reproductive purposes but supports it to create
human embryos to be destroyed for their stem cells
for research.

"Therapeutic cloning opens up prospects for the
replacement of dead stem cells and will improve the
health of individuals and mankind as a whole," China
Daily quoted Wang Hongguang, President of the
China National Centre for Biotechnology Develop-
ment, as saying.

China voted with Belgium, Britain and other countries
against the UN proposal, which is expected to receive
a full UN vote in favor of it.

Chinese representative Su Wei claimed the wording
of the cloning ban was vague and said proponents
misunderstood the value of human cloning for re-
search.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Ministry of Health and Wel-
fare also said that the country would continue its em-
bryonic stem cell research.

"It is just a non-binding declaration and we have no
plan to review our policy of allowing therapeutic clon-
ing,'' the ministry's manager Kim Heon-joo said.

...

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Feb. 25, 2005

Pied Piper of stem cell research:
A Californian with high hopes
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/02/24/business/stem.html
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Excerpts:

Hans Keirstead might be the Pied Piper of stem
cells - and not just because he makes rats walk.
He also helped lure Californians to the polls last
autumn to approve spending $3 billion of the state's
money on embryonic stem cell research over the
next decade.

...

Keirstead, an assistant professor at the University
of California campus here, has been making para-
lyzed rats walk again, using a treatment based on
human embryonic stem cells. Next year he and his
corporate partner, Geron, plan to try treating people
who have recent spinal cord injuries, in what would
almost certainly be the first human trial of any ther-
apy derived from such cells.

"You've got a patient community out there that is
in desperate need," Keirstead said in an interview.
"If the treatment is safe, let's get it out there and
try it."

...

Keirstead, 37, emerged as one of the leading sci-
entific voices behind the movement that persuaded
California voters last November to approve a mea-
sure to sidestep national funding restrictions on
stem cell research. His supporters included people
with spinal cord injuries, most notably Christopher
Reeve, the wheelchair-bound actor who taped a
campaign ad citing Keirstead's research just before
he died in October.

...

Because embryonic stem cells can form any other
kind of cell in the body, scientists envision using
them to replace cells and tissues that have been
damaged by disease or injury.

The administration of George W. Bush has restricted
government-funded research to certain colonies of
stem cells, arguing that creating additional cells in-
olves the destruction of human embryos. But pro-
ponents of the research say the early embryos have
no feeling or consciousness and most of them used
in research are left over from fertility clinics and are
destined to be discarded anyway.

California's ballot measure was propelled by people
with diseases and their families and backed by big
contributions from some wealthy businessmen.

Robert Klein, a real estate developer who has a son
with diabetes, helped draft the ballot and put his
money behind the vote effort. After its passage he
was named chairman of the board that will oversee
distribution of the $3 billion.

Klein said it was "extremely welcome" that embry-
onic stem cell therapy was moving toward clinical
trials under Keirstead. But he said the public needed
to know in advance that, as with many new therapies,
the first trial is not expected to succeed. "It may take
several years, or many years, to refine," he said.

...

"Stem cells have already cured paralysis in animals,"
Reeve, the actor, said in the commercial he filmed,
which was broadcast after his death. He urged voters
to "stand up for those who can't."

...

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Feb. 16, 2005
http://www.hypeandhope.com/wt/page/index/it_1108594611
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Excerpts:

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF),
the world's leading charitable supporter of research
into type 1 diabetes and its complications, supports
today's efforts within both the U.S. Senate and the
House of Representatives to expand the Bush
Administration's current stem cell policy.

...

"The call for an expansion of the federal stem cell
policy reflects what scientists have learned since the
President's August 2001 announcement -- that the
current policy needs to be expanded to move this
emerging field of medical research forward as fast
as possible," said Peter Van Etten, President and
CEO of JDRF.

"Embryonic stem cell research has shown great
promise for understanding the basic biology of
disease, and may hold the key to new treatments
and therapies for a host of diseases including type 1
diabetes.

JDRF appreciates the leadership shown by the pro-
research Members of Congress who introduced
today's legislation and all of the cosponsors who
joined them. We are in full support of the goals pre-
sented in both bills, and we encourage other Sen-
ators and Representatives to do the same."

Embryonic stem cells are special cells that can
develop into every type of cell in the human body.
The stem cells are created from frozen embryos in
fertility clinics, donated by couples that no longer
want or need the embryo because they have fin-
ished with their fertility treatments.

If not donated for research, the frozen embryos
would otherwise be discarded.

In August of 2001, the Bush Administration an-
nounced that federal funding would be available
for limited embryonic stem cell research, on just
a few stem cell lines that were developed before
that date. Researchers are now saying that this
policy is hampering the advancement of science,
slowing the search for cures to a wide range of
diseases, and that President Bush should expand
it to allow access to additional stem cell lines.

...

JDRF (http://www.jdrf.org) was founded in 1970
by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes
-- a disease that strikes children suddenly, makes
them insulin dependent for life, and carries the
constant threat of devastating complications.

Since inception, JDRF has provided more than
$800 million to diabetes research worldwide.

More than 80 percent of JDRF' expenditures
directly support research and education about
research.

JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for
diabetes and its complications through the sup-
port of research.

...

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