Purchase the book Right to Recover

Right to Recover ~ Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America presents scientific facts that challenge readers to think for themselves rather than accept political or religious views on stem cell research.

www.nightengalepress.com


This book is available by request in bookstores nationwide.


RIGHT TO RECOVER is an Award-Winning Finalist in the Current Events: Political/Social of the National Best Books 2007 Awards. Amazon Best-selling book in biomedical category.


Friday, February 27, 2009

What About Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Mr. President?

It has now been over one month since President Obama was inaugurated. As someone who stands to benefit from the proper federal funding and oversight of embryonic stem cell research, I want to know why the President has yet to rescind the Bush administration restrictions of August 9, 2001 that were one of his signature appeasements to the Religious Right.
topic: Attack on Science

In the 2008 New York Presidential Primary I voted for Hillary Clinton. One of the deciding factors for me was her promise to rescind the Bush administration's onerous restrictions on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. At the time, then-candidate Obama was barely giving lip-service to the issue.

Although Obama eventually won the nomination, I soon became comfortable with his position on embryonic stem cell research. I was confident that shortly after his inauguration - perhaps within minutes -- that the August 9, 2001 restrictions would be history.

Or, so I thought.

It now seems that the president is now awaiting Congressional legislation that would fund the research. That may be well and good, but an immediate executive order rescinding the August 9, 2001 restrictions is still necessary. At the very least it would allow research laboratories more leeway in their current work.

As the The Baltimore Sun recently reported:

Little federal research has been conducted on human embryonic stem cells over the past eight years. In 2007, for example, the federal government allocated a mere $41 million to this research, compared with approximately $400 million invested by the states last year. The federal funding ban made it extremely difficult to attract young or new researchers to stem cell research, while prompting many established investigators to look elsewhere to conduct their work. The lack of progress in embryonic stem cell research has held back venture capital investment in this field as well.

The Sun previously reported that universities and other research centers are wary to begin this important work:

Researchers and their institutions are also hopeful that lifting the Bush administration's ban would end a logistical nightmare. Fear of violating the federal edict forced researchers to keep everything from pipettes to buildings paid for with federal dollars separate from anything and anyone involved with stem cell lines not approved for federal funding.

"It's going to make a huge difference," said Dr. Chi Dang, vice dean for research at the Johns Hopkins University's Institute for Cell Engineering. "Especially if I'm an investigator working on both types of cell lines, I have to be very careful. ... It's been a nightmare for some institutions."

Amy Comstock Rick, president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, one of the leading advocacy organizations for this research, was spot-on when she recently declared, "Time matters, and we would really like to see an executive order out of the White House rescinding the Bush policy."

The issue of stem cell research extends into a larger issue: freedom of conscience. And to stand up for embryonic stem cell research is often synonymous with standing up to both the Religious Right and their neoconservative backers.

In an earlier article I outlined what so upsets ultra-orthodox Catholics, hard-line evangelicals and neocons about this issue:

But the greater issue here is Modernity. Both Straussian-neoconservatives as well as ultra-orthodox Catholics rail against it. Their common opposition to hESC research is classic manifestation of such a belief. Value Pluralism is not acceptable, only submission by all to one selective version of "the truth." Embryonic stem cell research clearly interferes with this scenario because it begins to demystify science and in their eyes, removes the virtue of human heroism (something Eric Cohen has elaborated upon in his writings).

It is the very same obsession with modernity that leads this strident alliance to also lash out against feminism, reproductive rights and at times, evolution. So it is puzzling why President Obama is dragging his heals on this issue.

Is he still trying to be bipartisan on this issue? That doesn't seem to make sense since there is already such support for the issue. Even anti-abortion conservatives such as U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and John McCain have already expressed their desire to federally fund embryonic stem cell research.

One explanation I heard from a frontline stem cell activist that President Obama did not issue a rescission order on Inauguration Day simply because he did not want to throw sand in the eyes of the anti-abortion movement who would be holding their annual March for Life rally in the Capital on January 22.

Or perhaps the president has been listening too much to Rev. Rick Warren's tortured logic in opposition to this research? If so, it would be another example of this president needlessly bowing down to the Religious Right.

This past December I wrote, "The good news is that beginning shortly after noon on January 20, 2009 a presidential Executive Order will allow us to follow that admonition, despite what Pastor Warren or the Vatican may think." I earnestly believed that if Hillary Clinton would have issued an Executive Order on January 20, 2009 freeing embryonic stem cell research, so would a President Obama.

I was wrong.

To post comments click here.. http://tinyurl.com/cbuomp

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bowling for Breakthroughs

The Third Annual "Bowling for Breakthroughs" to benefit the Sabrina Cohen Foundation is right around the corner on March 5th at Lucky Strikes in Miami Beach. Pre-registering online is highly recommended to reserve your spot and lane in the bowling tournament. It is also mandatory to know what time you would like to play, whether at 7pm, 8pm or 9pm. Teams will bowl in groups of 6 and I'll need to know who's team you'll be on (whether you make up your own or randomly get placed). If you don't want to play but just attend, you can too

Please send all inquiries and RSVP's to sabrina@sabrinacohenfoundation.org

You can register online at
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://sabrinacohenfoundation.org%2Fdonations.html

Visit the event page with DETAILS on facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=40667514311&ref=nf

Looking forward to another fun night!
Sabrina Cohen

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Couples in US prefer to donate embryos for research, study finds

Duke University study shows that 41% of patients who finished fertility treatment consider donating embryos

The US debate over embryonic stem cell research centres on the sanctity of life.
But the couples who create the leftover embryos would rather they be destroyed in the course of scientific research than be given a chance at becoming babies, a new study from Duke University Medical Centre has found.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/6y3r64

***********************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stem cells drafted for war on wounds

A new programme at the US Department of Defense funds regenerative medicine to help wounded vets, but a surprising level of detail seems top secret

Cell-holding scaffolds might help regenerate faces of severely injured veterans

AFIRM, MITAs body armor improves, soldiers are less likely to be wounded by bullets. Explosive devices now account for more than 75% of injuries sustained by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike a bullet, which pierces a single spot, explosives tear away skin and muscle.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/69z554

***************************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com
Share/Save/Bookmark



Friday, February 20, 2009

Scientists Achieve Robust Repair Of Injured Heart Muscle

Researchers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC have been able to effectively repair damaged heart muscle in an animal model using a novel population of stem cells they discovered that is derived from human skeletal muscle tissue.

The research team — led by Johnny Huard, PhD — transplanted stem cells purified from human muscle-derived blood vessels into the hearts of mice that had heart damage similar to that which would occur in people who had suffered a heart attack.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/6xbh67

***************************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An About-Face on Stem Cells

New federal grants, less red tape likely with reversal of Bush ban.

One of Barack Obama's first acts as president is expected to be a reversal of the Bush administration's restrictions on federal funding for research on human embryonic stem cells.Maryland scientists say that's good news because it will uncork the nation's largest source of funding for promising medical research using hundreds of new cell lines, including many offering clues to the nature of genetically based diseases. Those cells are now off-limits for federal grants.

Read more here... http://tinyurl.com/66kyzs

****************************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stem Cell Dispatches from the Struggling State of Michigan

On November 4 of this year, Michigan voters approved Proposal 2, which repealed the state's ban on embryonic stem cell research.

In a state with one of the highest employment rates in the nation and an economy shattered by the collapsing auto industry, Proposal 2, which passed by a margin of 52.6 to 47.4 percent, quickly was embraced by scientists, entrepreneurs, and many citizens as a potential life saver.

Last week, Sean Morrison, who directs the University of Michigan's Center for Stem Cell Biology, told Crain's Detroit that "very quickly there will be an infusion of millions in grants to support research here."

Click here to read more.. http://tinyurl.com/5zktep

******************************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Obama plans to lift Bush's ban on stem cell research

U.S. President Barack Obama may soon issue an executive order lifting an eight-year ban on embryonic stem cell research imposed by his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

In an article by Reuters today, the reporter indicated that stem cells come from cells that must be extracted from human embryos. That makes it sound like these cells are being taken from the womb, and this simply is not true. I wish the media would clarify that these cells are being cultivated and stored in a laboratory, not a woman's body. 


Federal funding will not destroy any embryos. The cells used by scientists come from blastocysts leftover from in vitro fertilization. Those cells would have been disposed of anyway, unless they are adopted by another couple!  The freezer life of these cells are not eternal, so while we are waiting for a reversal, a decision is being made. We have decided that these cells are better off in the trash than they would be if used for research that could help millions of living human beings. A sad commentary for all of us--especially conservative pro-lifers.

The Bush Administration did not ban research on all blastocyst cells; just on the ones created after April 2001.  Therefore, Bush is not a hero for saving poor little embryos that were on the chopping block. Those cells are still being discarded. Instead, he delayed research that could have advanced science to a point where we could have seen cures for many illnesses by now.

Blastocysts created prior to 2001 used old technology and a limited cross-section of the population. Newer technology is easier to work with and represents better diversity. Obama's reversal of Bush's veto will still mean we are eight years behind schedule, and that people have had to suffer (and die) for a religious cause based on a misinformed opinion rather than scientific fact.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obama Can't Save Stem Cell Companies

In 2001, President George Bush hampered stem cell research by restricting government funding on embryonic stem cell research to the then-available embryonic stem cell lines. Today, there's a big buzz in the scientific community because President-elect Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order allowing federal funding for new embryonic stem cell research.

Unfortunately, that's not going to help existing stem cell companies and their investors all that much. Let me explain.

Click here to read more.. http://tinyurl.com/5ty6as

********************

For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Obama policy a lift for stem cell researchers

Stem cell research advocates have waited nearly eight years for the policy change President-elect Barack Obama has signaled he'll make in the early days of his administration: lifting the restrictions imposed by President Bush on federal funding for research on human embryonic stem cells.

Those limits, and earlier laws, have left stem cell labs hungering for support since the versatile human stem cells were first derived in 1998.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/66cegp

************************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Obama and the future of stem cell politics

Remember stem cell politics during the 2004 presidential campaign?

VP candidate John Edwards told a crowd that embryonic stem cell research would allow people like Christopher Reeve "to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again." In a speech at the Democratic convention, Ron Reagan Jr. predicted that cloning-based stem cell research would produce for each of us a "personal biological repair kit standing by at the hospital." Meanwhile, opponents of deriving stem cells from embryos lost no opportunity to proclaim equally miraculous powers for "adult" stem cells.

What a difference four years make.

To read more click here.. http://tinyurl.com/5jzpok

For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Call for a New Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Research Agenda

The incoming Obama administration will soon have the opportunity to reassert U.S. scientific leadership in two of the most exciting and promising fields of biomedical research—embryonic stem cell science and regenerative medicine. It’s an opportunity our nation cannot afford to miss.

In the 10 years since researchers at the University of Wisconsin first isolated and characterized human embryonic stem cells, scientific studies have repeatedly shown the vast potential these cells offer. As research tools they are already deepening our understanding of human development, health, and disease. And as therapeutic tools they show enormous promise for their potential to replace, reconstruct, or regenerate failing tissues and organs. In both cases, embryonic stem cells give patients the hope and promise of defeating diseases for which there is little or no hope today.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/5olysx

For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Share/Save/Bookmark



Sunday, February 8, 2009

Learn Science Behind Stem Cell Research

I have created a presentation about stem cell research and posted it on YouTube. It gives a basic overview of stem cells and shares the difference between a blastocyst and an embryo, the difference between fertilization, implantation, and conception, what to do about leftover blastocysts, a logical debate about why the controversy is needless, and why the US Government should fund all types of stem cell research.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Plan Now to Save Your Baby's Cord Blood

New parents have the option of storing their newborn's cord blood at a private cord blood bank or donating it to a public cord blood bank. The cost of private cord blood banking is approximately $2,000 for collection and approximately $125 per year for storage, as of 2007.

Donation to a public cord blood bank is not possible everywhere, but availability is increasing. Several local cord blood banks across the United States are now accepting donations from within their own states. The cord blood bank will not charge the donor for the donation; the OB/GYN may still charge a collection fee, although many OB/GYNs choose to donate their time.

Read more...

*********************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com

Monday, February 2, 2009

Time Magazine Front Cover Story on Stem Cells

Time Magazine published a cover story today on stem cell research. It's a good article, but their graphic Web exclusive in error shows embryonic stem cells being removed from a woman's womb at two weeks after fertilization. While those cells could be used, this is not the typical process for deriving cells used for research and treatment. The cells used for research are taken from blastocysts (2-5 days after fertilization) leftover from in vitro procedures. These cells have never been inside a woman after fertilization. These cells would have been discarded if not used for research.

It is this type of misinformation that gives fuel to the myth that embryonic stem cell research kills babies. This should be corrected in the media if we are ever to see the full benefit of what these cells can do. We already know they can cure spinal cord injury in a rat. Let's not hold up the research with any more false information like this.

Laboratory Stem Cell Development

Embryonic stem cell lines are cultures of cells derived from the epiblast tissue of the inner cell mass of a blastocyst or earlier morula stage embryos. A blastocyst is an early stage embryo—approximately four to five days old in humans and consisting of 50–150 cells.

Nearly all laboratory research to date has taken place using mouse blastocyst stem cells or human blastocyst stem cells. Both have the essential stem cell characteristics, yet they require very different environments in order to maintain an undifferentiated state. Mouse cells are grown on a layer of gelatin and require the presence of Leukemia Inhibitory Factor. Human cells are grown on a feeder layer of mouse embryonic fibroblasts and require the presence of basic Fibroblast Growth Factor.

Read more on Wikipedia...


*******************
For more information about stem cell research, please read Right to Recover, Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America. Available on Amazon.com