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.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Science Behind Embryonic Stem Cell Research

There are three types of embryonic stem cells: embryonic stem (ES) cells, embryonic germ (EG) cells, and embryonic carcinoma (EC) cells, but only EC cells that come from a tumor that occasionally occurs in a gonad of a fetus can cause cancer. Scientists do not inject embryonic stem cells without first programming or coaxing them into becoming the type of cell that is needed to do the job.

That is where embryonic stem cells differ from placental and adult cells. By being taken after the fetus is formed, placenta and adult stem cells have already differentiated by receiving the signals from the mother’s body as to what type of cell they should become. The thing about embryonic stem cells is that they have “plasticity” or the ability to become any cell in the body. Adult stem cells need to be brought back to a pluripotent state before they can be used for treatment.

Read more on the science behind embryonic stem cell research

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Miracle of Regenerative Medicine

Here is a link to a video showing the miracle of regenerative medicine.

Regeneration of cells

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxhi4Q8EDTU

Friday, April 24, 2009

Two year old girl can see for the first time following stem cell treatment

Two-year-old British girl Dakota Clarke can see for the first time after undergoing pioneering stem cell treatment in China.

Dakota, who was born blind, is the first British patient to undergo the new type of therapy.
The £30,000 treatment, which involves stems cells taken from an umbilical cord being fed into her forehead, has allowed her to see people, objects, colours and lights around her.

Read more on stemcelldaily.com.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CD34 Stem Cells from Cord Blood

Craig Cady, Ph.D. of the Neurophysiology Research Laboratory Biology Department at
Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois has successfully processed cord blood with a new device that isolates and purifies the most powerful stem cells (CD34 stem cells) from cord blood.

The first time he and his team used this device, they isolated a large number of CD34 stem cells from one cord blood sample. They are using a new cell culture solution that should cause the CD34 stem cells to grow and increase in number by about 200 fold. They are hopeful this will provide a tremendously large number of these powerful stem cells for experiments in changing stem cells into neurons. This would be a significant feat as it could open the door to help people suffering with Parkinson's disease.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Stem Cells are Making a Difference

Stem cell research and therapy is one of the latest medical technologies being researched and developed with great results. Stem cells are the cells that occur from the beginning of development and they provide the starting material for every tissue and organ in the body. Blastocystic stem cells are the earliest cells to form.

Here is a Web page that shares information on how stem cells are making a difference for many people with diseases such as cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injuries and blood diseases.

http://www.squidoo.com/Stem-Cells-2

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Adult Stem Cells Convert Into Embryonic-like Stem Cells, With Single Factor

ScienceDaily (Feb. 6, 2009) — The simple recipe scientists earlier discovered for making adult stem cells behave like embryonic-like stem cells just got even simpler. A new report in the February 6th issue of the journal Cell shows for the first time that neural stem cells taken from adult mice can take on the characteristics of embryonic stem cells with the addition of a single transcription factor. Transcription factors are genes that control the activity of other genes.

The discovery follows a 2006 report also in the journal Cell that showed that the introduction of four ingredients could transform differentiated cells taken from adult mice into "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPS) with the physical, growth, and genetic characteristics typical of embryonic stem cells. Pluripotent refers to the ability to differentiate into most other cell types. The same recipe was later shown to work with human skin cells as well.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/bas2fz

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mike Castle deserves credit for backing stem cell research

I found a great letter written by Phyllis Fink to the editor of The News Journal in Wilmington, DE, that I would like to share here.

We should all appreciate Congressman Mike Castle’s support for and work on the issue of embryonic stem cell research. He took this giant step in the face of opposition from his own party, believing that such research could bring results that would benefit all of us.

Those opposed to such research are entitled to their views. Yet those who have truly done their homework on this issue understand that there is room on the side of this research for people of faith as well as for people of pure science. It should be noted that many staunch conservatives like Nancy Reagan and Sen. Orrin Hatch have joined Congressman Castle in his support for this research. Additionally, polls have shown that a majority of citizens are in favor of this research moving forward.

Already the treatment for leukemia has been improved because of embryonic stem cell research. Scientists see in this research the potential for treating cancer as well as crippling neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, in addition to stroke, burns, heart disease and diabetes. Who among us would refuse treatment for any of these dread diseases because the discovery of such treatment was made possible by embryonic stem cell research?

Read more about Congressman Mike Castle

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lifting of stem cell ban underscores lost research

Paralyzed in a swimming accident, 27-year-old Jonah Shea feels relieved that President Obama has lifted restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.

But he says it will be a long time before the research is actually able to benefit spinal cord injury patients such as himself, and he attributes some of the lag time to Bush-era policies on embryonic stem cells.

"Am I jumping out of my chair happy? No," said Shea, who lost control of all muscles below his armpits except his biceps after diving into a sandbar off a Dennis beach in the summer of 2007. "Who wants to wait 10 years?"

Advocates of embryonic stem cell research say former President George W. Bush slowed scientific progress into a field that shows promise for helping patients with paralysis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's disease and other ailments.

Under the Bush administration, federal funding was available for research on 21 lines of embryonic stem cells that had already been created before August 2001. Obama overturned the Bush limitations by executive order on March 9.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/c94wh4

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program

This is a continuation of an article titled “A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program” written by Don C. Reed, Sponsor of Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, Founder and Co-Chair of Californians for Cures, and Vice President of Public Policy for Americans for Cures Foundation

SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

In California we have funded a solid beginning. We must build on that, in “synergistic cooperation” (Gibbons’ phrase) with the federal government, each side strengthening the other, and the same with other states across the land.

Ten thousand stem cell advocates developed Proposition 71; seven million Californians voted it into law; what we need now is more of the same.

Not every state wants or needs to be a California or New York, with major biomedical infrastructure employing hundreds of thousands of workers in excellent and good-paying jobs. But every state should at least have funding for regenerative research, and the freedom to do it.

As patient advocates, you and I are involved in a war against chronic disease and disability. And it is a war, make no mistake about that. Millions of lives are at stake, as well as the economies of every nation.

Our motivation is continual; for those who themselves are suffering, the pain and distress is a constant reminder. For we who have the luck of health, our loved ones must be fought for.

But ours is a war like none that ever was before. It is a very civilized combat.

We have two sides essentially throwing words at each other. We pound the keyboards for a while—argue, argue, argue—then rest, do some other chores for a while, and then come back to the computer, fight some more.

These are epic confrontations, on which the future of the world depends; yet, nobody is killed. There are no ruined families, no widows made, nor orphans, no silent graveyards, no white crosses on a hill.

In this war, we are fighting to save lives, not take them.

And when we win, there will be no reason for tears: save only those of joy.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program

This is a continuation of an article titled “A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program” written by Don C. Reed, Sponsor of Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, Founder and Co-Chair of Californians for Cures, and Vice President of Public Policy for Americans for Cures Foundation

WILL THERE BE MONEY TO PAY FOR EVERYTHING?

If the financial equivalent of Hurricane Katrina crashes down upon us, (and it did) we have only two choices: adjust, or let the program die.

First, every new grant comes with a proviso that the money will be provided if and when it is available. Some extremely worthwhile projects may have to be delayed a year. This is just a fact of economic life.

Our program depended on selling bonds.

If California cannot sell bonds, will we be able to keep the stem cell program alive?

Here is the official CIRM answer.

“CIRM’s Financial Commitments Are Secure… CIRM currently has significant cash reserves of $160 million, which can fund all existing commitments through at least September. The agency’s plans have always called for raising new capital on a cash-flow, as-needed basis. We expect the traditional bond market will open soon with resolution of California’s budget situation. To supplement this public bond market, CIRM is working with the State Treasurer’s office on a CIRM private placement of $200 million in general obligation bonds this year and $200 million again next year… The Agency intends to continue the planning and review needed to maintain its mission on schedule…”

The men and women of California’s stem cell program have taken up the gauntlet, accepting this new challenge.

They deserve the support and thanks of a nation.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program

This is a continuation of an article titled “A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program” written by Don C. Reed, Sponsor of Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, Founder and Co-Chair of Californians for Cures, and Vice President of Public Policy for Americans for Cures Foundation.

MODEL FOR THE COUNTRY

Look at the path that CIRM has laid down for cure: educating and supporting scientists, helping train their support staff, setting up loans for the companies that will risk so much to develop products for patients… this is something which should be shared, and imitated.

COMMUNICATION:

Next ICOC meeting you go to, look for a crew-cut, glasses-wearing individual with tremendous energy, listening to everything, hardly ever sitting still—this is Don Gibbons. Very often, he has the honor of being the voice of the CIRM.

A tough job indeed. For starters, he has to understand enough of the science to be able to translate it into people talk, enough legalese to do the same for those complicated aspects.

In addition to sharing information through public outreach, some of Gibbons’ projects include: updating the CIRM website, (major improvements just days away, btw) Town Hall Meetings (You MUST come to one of these—the first one was last week, and it was terrific—three outstanding scientists use people talk to share where their corner of the science is at—more info at bottom of page.

And what a message he has to share, as the CIRM’s influence grows, even leaping beyond the artificial boundaries of lines drawn on a map.

COOPERATING WITH OTHER STATES AND NATIONS:

“…no one state or nation (can) do this alone,” stated Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,”…collaborations…which bring together leading medical researchers from around the globe have a great potential in improving the lives of not only Californians, but all the people around the world.”

The CIRM has already made agreements for combined research with countries including Australia, Spain, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada, bringing in additional funds to the effort. Those countries have already committed over $200 million dollars to collaborative efforts with CIRM.

For example, Canada will be teaming with California to fight cancer.

There is more to come. California money must always be spent inside the borders of our state (as required by Prop 71 statute), but knowledge can and should be shared.

State to state cooperation will, increase our strength. Consider the example set by Dr. Dennis Clegg of UC Santa Barbara. Working with colleagues in Massachusetts, he found a molecule that helps embryonic stem cells multiply faster, while still maintaining their stability, vital characteristics for the large quantities of pure cells we will need for cure.

CALIFORNIA GOLD

It is not enough just to labor endlessly—everybody wants results. As President Alan Trounson puts it: “I tell my colleagues here at CIRM probably at least once a week: “We are in a hurry; we have a short time frame, and we need to get genuine cures to Californians.”

The opening page of the 2008 report shows the official motto of the CIRM: “turning stem cells into cures.”—Roman Reed. That is my son who wrote those words, in case you did not know—and that is our goal.

Success will come in careful reliable steps, and we are taking them right now.

We benefit from the leadership of chief science officer Marie Csete (pronounced chet-uh) an energetic little exclamation point of a person, and the indefatigable Director of Scientific Activities, Patricia Olson.

Do you know them? If you live in California, you should. Walk up and say hello to them at the next CIRM meeting.

Are they approachable? You bet. Here is an example.

There will soon be an autism workshop: for scientists only. This is fairly common, giving the scientists a chance to speak their own language, and interchange ideas—very important. BUT— such knowledge should be shared. So, seeing Dr. Csete at another public meeting (there have been about 150 public meetings so far) I asked her if there was a way to make the autism meeting more open, because there were literally millions of people interested in this all-too-common condition. She thought about it for a minute, and then said, there should be a transcript, print and video, and that could be made available on the web. (Something I forgot to ask was: could parents of autistic children send in questions to be asked of the scientists?)

That is how this program works. The decisions are made in public, and anyone who wants to get involved is welcome.

Come to the meetings; California wants you! (to find out when and where the meetings are, go to http://www.cirm.ca.gov/ and click on Meetings; it is up near the top of the page.

Already, CIRM scientists have authored more than 70 scientific publications, adding to the world’s understanding.

If you go to the meetings, you will get to hear Dr. Trounson talking about the latest breakthroughs in stem cell science. Such as:

Remember one huge difficulty with the new stem cell method, iPS, induced Pluripotent Stem cells, mainly that the use of viruses might cause cancer? At Scripps Institute, a scientist named Sheng Ding may have found a way around that obstacle, using “small molecules rather than viruses to carry reprogramming genes into cells, moving the iPS cells closer to being safe for clinical use.”

And speaking of genes, this miniscule marvels which turn body processes on and off, it is vital we know exactly which genes do what-- and Dr. Jean Loring and her team “published a database of gene expression profiles”, vital information for the sorting of cells.

(Both those scientists, by the way, received CIRM grants.)

Sometimes, a step in one area helps in another; look at the next two paragraphs.

First, If we can learn how healthy cells are turned into cancer cells, (as Dr. Wei Guo of UCLA did with blood cells), maybe we can learn how to do the reverse-- and turn cancerous cells back into healthiness.

Second, at Stanford, Dr. Emmanuelle Passegue showed that a “family of cancer-fighting proteins also helps blood-forming stem cells divide normally.”

As CIRM President Dr. Alan Trounson observed, “These two push-and-pull findings hold great promise for uncovering novel ways of treating cancer and preventing its spread.”

CIRM helped Dr. Catriona Jamieson of UCSD as she brought a new approach to fighting leukemia to human trials.

So much more: at Stanford, human embryonic stem cells were grown into “primitive cardiac tissue (which) repaired heart damage in mice”.

At UCLA, scientists matured human embryonic stem cells into T cells and inserted a gene—why does that matter? “Their eventual goal is to insert a gene that makes the cells immune to HIV/AIDS, then replace a person’s infected cells with the resistant ones…”

Yet there are still dark days ahead, much work to do, battles yet to fight—including financial ones.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program

This is a continuation of an article titled “A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program” written by Don C. Reed, Sponsor of Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, Founder and Co-Chair of Californians for Cures, and Vice President of Public Policy for Americans for Cures Foundation.

TRAINING NEW SCIENTISTS: CIRM RESEARCH TRAINING PROGRAM II

For too long, only scientists in their mid to late forties, folks who had their PhD’s for almost a decade, have been able to receive funding from the NIH.

But if we only fund scientists that far along in their career, how will the field grow? If young scientists cannot get grants, their options are limited. At best, they will work for other scientists, doing research directed by them instead of blazing their own trail; or, financial need may drive them out of the field altogether.

The very first project CIRM funded was training grants, to help new scientists into our field, an oasis of funding in what had been barren desert. Training Program II continues providing funds for these young men and women and their labs: allocating $40 million for this vital effort.

But even the greatest scientist cannot do his or her work alone.

TEAM ASSISTANCE: Generals are nothing without soldiers; even so, scientists rely on the assistance of trained professionals; where will they come from?

An educated and properly trained workforce is essential if our state is to retain its premier position and fully realize the medical and economic benefits from this emerging industry.”—joint statement, Senator Gloria Romero and Senate President Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg.

The “CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research Awards” program is designed to insure training exists for these incredibly valuable technicians: the workforce to make the miracles possible, perhaps becoming future superstars themselves– you never know where success in such a new enterprise may lead.

$17 million in these Bridges awards has been approved.

But what about the business side? The greatest stem cell idea in the world means nothing, if it is not translated into something real and usable: and that means biotech.

LOANS

“Our new loan program for biotech companies is meant to provide… support for institutions testing the safety and efficacy of possible therapies.”—Robert N. Klein, Chair, ICOC.

Developed by our new Vice-Chairman Duane Roth and Finance subcommittee Chairman Michael Goldberg, (and of course Chairman Klein, who is pretty much everywhere) the new loan program is for $500 million—and hopefully an additional $500 million in federal loan guarantees as part of the stimulus package.

Numbers that big numb my brain like novocaine at the dentist’s.

But wait, there’s more!

“That amount would be scaled up by recycling an additional $1 billion in repayment proceeds over the first decade of the program. In short, with $500 million in federal long-term guarantees and recycled principal repayments, interest and stock warrant revenue from borrowers, over $1.5 billion in additional resources could be added to the Proposition 71 portfolio.”—BK.

As I understand it (always an element of doubt about that) this would be astonishing.

Leveraging five hundred million in state dollars to two billion, perhaps even two and half billion, so that California got five times the value of its initial investment?

And, these loans are targeted: designed to answer an unmet and colossal need.

CLINICAL TRIALS

Taking just one new product from idea to pharmacy costs hundreds of millions of dollars, due to safety testing.

The time between basic research and clinical trials completion is called the “Valley of death” because so many products and companies die during that period. What an agony it would be to have a great cure for paralysis, for example, and then watch it fail-- for lack of money to pay for those tests.

The new loan program is designed to help turn the ideas of cure into products everyone can use: promising new medicines or therapies through the grueling cycle of tests, so they can be submitted to the FDA for approval.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hey, Dr. Oz! Placental stem cells are already being used to successfully treat Parkinson’s!

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Michael J. Fox predict the use of stem cells to treat Parkinson’s disease will begin in about eight years. ISCI founder Rita Alexander reveals true story about a clinic in Mexico that is already using placental stem cells to successfully treat PD.

Beloved actor Michael J. Fox has been living with Parkinson's disease for 18 years. Known in the early '80s as Alex P. Keaton on the hit show Family Ties, this Canadian-born actor went on to star in the blockbuster movie Back to the Future. Then, in 1991, something unexpected happened. Michael was diagnosed with a chronic neurological disorder called Parkinson's disease (PD). When his symptoms worsened and it became harder to disguise the shaking caused by the illness, Michael told the public about his battle. He also became an advocate for stem cell treatment, believing that it could someday put an end to suffering—his own as well as that of others.

Dr. Mehmet Oz appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in March 2009 with Michael J. Fox and used the human brain of a 50-year-old male to demonstrate how stem cells may help cure Parkinson's disease and other chronic illnesses. Dr. Oz showed a section of the brain where lines are not present in a person having Parkinson’s disease. He believes that stem cells could be placed in that area to regenerate the damaged brain; but he noted that scientists are single digit (8-9) years away from being able to treat Parkinson’s and diabetes using stem cells. He is wrong about the date. Placental stem cells are already being used to successfully treat Parkinson’s. More than likely, it is political red tape that keeps the treatment from being approved for use in the U.S. However, placental stem cells derived from placenta (afterbirth) have been used in Mexico and Europe to successfully treat a variety of conditions and diseases for over 25 years.

James Devlin is a resident of Hawaii, but his paradise became a nightmare 15 years ago when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Unwilling to accept the reality of continual mental and physical decline, he sought answers around the world to stop the disease from taking over his brain and his life. His symptoms were the standard Parkinson’s package including stiff muscles, decreased dexterity and coordination, insomnia, memory loss, confusion, and tremors in his arms which made it difficult for him to feed himself. Normal daily activities such as dressing, eating, and writing became increasingly challenging. James was prescribed a long list of medications to manage the increasing number of symptoms. Two and a half years ago, he found the road to recovery from PD at the International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI).

“When I first met Mr. Devlin, he was very stiff and rigid, battling constant tremors as he made his way through the airport,” said Rita Alexander, Executive Director of ISCI. “He returned six months after his first placental stem cell treatment, and he didn’t look like the same man. His body was relaxed, he walked with ease, the excessive tremors were gone, and a big smile replaced the vacant facial expression he had just a few months before.”

Today, after several stem cell treatments, James Devlin has been able to eliminate all Parkinson’s medication and spends his days surfing in paradise. “At 67 years old, I’ve had a 75 percent recovery and fully believe that with additional stem cell treatments I will be in complete remission soon,” declares Mr. Devlin. “I don’t want to think about where I would be today if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to find ISCI.”

Mr. Devlin’s response is not unusual for patients who are treated at the clinic in Mexico, where placental stem cell treatments have been given for cancer, cerebral palsy, dermatomyositis, diabetes, hepatitis C, HIV, immune deficiency, kidney disorders, multiple sclerosis, migraines, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's, retinitis pigmentosa, rheumatoid arthritis, spina bifida, and stroke. Unfortunately, not everyone is physically and financially able to travel to Mexico. That is why Rita Alexander started ISCI. “We wish many more suffering with Parkinson’s disease knew there were stem cell treatments that could change the course of their lives,” states Rita. “We want to help people access treatment that is already available and hope to bring the treatment to the U.S.”

About ISCI

International Stem Cell Institute was launched in April 2008 as a result of 18 years of stem cell treatment experience. The company is managed by Rita Alexander, a businesswoman with a desire to bring stem cell treatment to those who are suffering with a condition that has not responded to traditional medicine. ISCI assists with patient education, pre- and post-treatment support, travel logistics, and financial matters regarding treatment.

For more information about ISCI or to arrange a consultation or schedule an appointment, please visit http://www.istemcelli.com/.

Contact:
Rita Alexander
Executive Director
International Stem Cell Institute
770.231.3500
Rita@iStemCelli.com
http://www.istemcelli.com/

A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program

This is a continuation of an article titled “A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program” written by Don C. Reed, Sponsor of Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act, Founder and Co-Chair of Californians for Cures, and Vice President of Public Policy for Americans for Cures Foundation.

CIRM NEW CELL LINES AWARDS

After 8 years of being stuck with a tiny number of ancient stem cell lines, America desperately needs new ones--$25 million went to derive new cell lines. Some were disease-specific: allowing us, for the first time in history, to watch the development of Alzheimer’s disease in a Petri dish, instead of only seeing—too late—its devastating results on a person.

Other stem cell lines are needed to compare embryonic stem cells with the new kind of cells, induced Pluripotentiary Stem cells (iPS). As we struggle to find out if the new (iPS) method can be made safe for human use, or even as a research tool, we also need to know if it can really do the job.

And who will be allowed access to these new stem cell lines funded by CIRM?

These valuable biomaterials will be available to any responsible researcher working toward cures…

New buildings, new stem cell lines-- how about some new scientists?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Year in The Life of California’s Stem Cell Research Program

By Don C. Reed

Imagine that you and I are involved in a terrible war, against a relentless enemy which fully intends to kill us and all our families. But we are fighting back hard, and despite tremendous odds against us, we are beginning to win.

Suddenly good news arrives: reinforcements are on the way!

Should we respond by laying down our arms, to surrender?

President Obama’s reversal of the Bush stem cell restrictions is wonderful: a decision that will echo down the halls of history. But it is not victory. The Obama edict brings no guarantees of new stem cell funding. Those “extra” NIH funds you heard about? At best, they help make up for 5 years of flat-lined funding, when National Institutes of Health budgets remained stagnant, not even matching increases of inflation.

Now is the time to redouble our efforts, not relax them. Let me show you why. In the midst of all the economic gloom and doom, something shining has emerged in California: the beginning of a vastly better world.

Take a look at some highlights of what the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) did—with just twelve months of reliable funding, in 2008.

(You can verify the following amazements by going to http://www.cirm.ca.gov/ Scroll down the left side of the page, until you find a bright red picture of stem cells, click under that: 2008 report, download it for free.)

LABORATORIES: have you tried to find parking for your car at an overcrowded college campus lately? Imagine what a nightmare it is to find space for new stem cell laboratories, let alone equip them. Dedicated buildings are urgently needed.

But bricks and mortar costs a lot, and the last thing California wants is to spend precious research dollars on a bunch of unnecessary buildings. So, a limit was set: no more than 10% of the entire program’s cost, $300 million, could be used for facilities. But, that’s not much money. In today’s market, it would pay for only about three or four hundred homes: nowhere near enough for serious labs.

How did the CIRM meet this challenge?

They authorized $271 million on facilities (buildings and equipment)—and, to make sure we got the most possible bang for its buck, a special requirement. Any organization wanting a grant had to bring their own money as well.

This strategy brought in an additional $880 million dollars. Our $271 million in taxpayer money was leveraged (great word) into $1.15 billion dollars. Twelve major facilities will be built—and soon. All these buildings are contractually obligated to be up and running by the end of 2010.

And of course, we must not forget the stem cells…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stem Cell Research Could Cure Diabetes

By Greg Flakus

At the University of Texas Medical Branch, known as UTMB, in Galveston, researcher Larry Denner is working with stem cells that can be coaxed into becoming insulin-producing cells.

Peering into his microscope, Denner speaks enthusiastically about the progress they have made in growing stem cells in the laboratory.

"So we look at the cells here and we can tell just by looking at them under a regular microscope how they are growing," said Larry Denner.Such research is viewed with great anticipation by Type-One diabetes patients like Pamela Phelps.

Read more …

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bright Future Using Placenta Stem Cell Treatments

With the passing of legislation that will allow federal funding for newer cells that are easier to work with, represent more diversity, and have no mouse feeder cells to contend with, no doubt, science is closer than ever to a breakthrough for many cures.

The younger the stem cells are, the more flexibility they have. After 40 years in the lab, the more mature, differentiated adult stem cells have demonstrated safety and efficacy in all three phases of clinical trials and are considered as “standard therapy” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) treatments for nine conditions. These are: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, Aplastic Anemia, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplasia, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome-X1, and Thalassemia Major.

For the past twenty-five years, US residents have gone out of the country to receive placental stem cell treatment for ALS, cancer, cerebral palsy, dermatomyositis, diabetes, gangrene, hepatitis C, HIV, immune deficiency, multiple sclerosis, migraines, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's, retinitis pigmentosa, rheumatoid arthritis, spina bifida, and stroke. While placental stem cell therapy has not been approved for use in the U.S., it is benefiting people who are physically and financially able to travel to Mexico.

Now, just imagine what illnesses could be cured or treated with blastocystic stem cell research once these cells have the same funding and years of research as the adult stem cells! It’s an exciting time to be a scientist!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Basics of Placental and Cord Blood Stem Cells

The placenta is a temporary organ that accompanies pregnancy. It is implanted in the wall of the uterus, where it receives nutrients and oxygen from the mother's blood and eliminates waste from the fetus. The placenta also serves as a barrier that filters out some substances that could harm the fetus. The placenta is connected to the fetus via the umbilical cord which is, of course, the lifeline to the fetus. When the baby is delivered, the placenta is delivered afterward, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the afterbirth. This temporary organ contains placental stem cells which, like cord blood stem cells, can be collected only at the time of birth.

Placenta-derived stem cells are those stem cells that remain in the placenta after cord blood collection. The placenta is a particularly rich source of CD34+ hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells, similar to those found in cord blood. CD34+ cells can transform into many other cell types including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Stem cell transplants with a higher number of CD34+ cells have been associated with an improved rate of successful engraftment.

Read more…

Friday, April 3, 2009

Placenta Stem Cells Are Promising Healer of Our Time

In the search for stem cells, many sources have been used including umbilical cord, embryos, bone marrow, fat, and blood, but mainly from placenta, the most generous of all.

Methods of extracting stem cells are numerous, including one that is keeping placenta in a nutritional medium for a few days in order to maximize their harvest. Subsequently these stem cells are distributed to researchers and used in the treatment of many diseases.

Published results show substantial, and sometimes impressive, results using these cells -- but also the appearance of cancers.

Read more here.. http://tinyurl.com/dc4xmr

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Children's, UC ready for stem cell boost

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati are preparing for an expansion of stem cell research programs.

The federal government is implementing budget increases for biomedical research and easing restrictions on funding for embryonic stem cell research. As part of the economic stimulus bill just signed into law by President Barack Obama, the National Institutes of Health is receiving a $10.4 billion increase in funding for biomedical research.

Read more here... http://tinyurl.com/bvlyyh

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Adult Stem Cell Bill SB 73

Stem cell advocates and religious groups seemed to find a middle ground — at least for now — in testimony on a bill supporting adult stem cell research.

The legislation would create a program to coordinate and regulate adult stem cell research and seek funding and direct grants to institutions around the state.

Read the rest of “Stem Cell Fight Off to Friendly Start” by Jackie Stone (Associated Press Writer)