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packsaddle

Anyone remember Sputnik?

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This article is free but you have to register to read it: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/business/worldbusiness/17stem.html?fta=y

In summary, Singapore has become a national haven for molecular biology, stem cell research in particular. Scientists from the US, notably in the article the National Cancer Institute, and other institutions dependent on public funds, are leaving to take their research where the action is. This is partly because of the Bush administration refusal to publicly fund stem cell research beyond what has already been established as human stem cell lines. However, the recent announcement that stem cell lines can now be established without destroying embryos would seem to have met the objections.

Not so: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/26/opinion/26sat2.html?th&emc=th

The Bush administration and its political base still refuse to budge. Either way, scientific advances in biology are slowly slipping away from the US and to scientifically friendlier places. We get what we ask for - fair enough.

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Don't get me started Packsaddle.

As a family afflicted with type 1 diabetes, this issue hits real close to home.

Why is "HOPE" a four letter word with this administration?

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packsaddle,

I think CNN has a job waiting for you - Director of Drive-By Media. Your summary of that article shows you have the required skills in taking any news article and turning it into an anti-Bush rant.

 

"Lavish salaries and lofty titles have helped Singapore staff Biopolis with a roster of foreign luminaries."

 

"Singapore officials say they have spent 1.5 billion Singapore dollars ($949 million) on biotechnology since 2000 and have budgeted another 1.44 billion Singapore dollars more over the next five years to finance development of new therapies and drugs.

 

That is not much compared with the approximately $27 billion the National Institutes of Health spends each year. But it is spread among a much smaller crowd. While scientists working for government research institutions here say they are warned not to talk about money, they readily acknowledge that Singapores salaries exceed those they can earn in the United States."

 

Do you think any medical break-throughs in that country will not reach our shores?

 

Maybe you should have titled this thread "Anyone remember Sony?" We are just seeing the same thing that happened in the electronics industry. Can you not purchase any of the latest electronics developed in Japan? This is an economic growth and industry issue for Singapore, but you have tried to spin it as another anti-Bush issue.

 

I am starting to detect bits of foam in your posts; you might be rabid.

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Innoculated already, Brent. Fairly painless too. The stem cell issue is one that does indeed draw attention to the risks of subordinating intellect to ideology. You're right, in the global market we will eventually realize everything that so many have feared regarding reproductive biology. The patents will just go offshore with the jobs and some brain drain as well. And the research will continue anyway(translation: the affected embryos will also merely move offshore). Those who are afraid of the outcome of this research and support its limitation in the US will not succeed at all, but merely will cause the research to move to a place outside our control. This is beside the point, though.

 

Before now, it was possible that the objections to stem cell research were, indeed, based on the familiar concerns that we all read. But now, there has been a breakthrough that answers the supposed objections and concerns of the opposition, solves the fundamental (no pun intended) problem. Embryos would not be harmed and the cells used would be those taken anyway for other tests. And then.....

It is clear that the opposition wasn't based on what they said it was, but on something else. What the something else is, they haven't explained - now that the original objection has been swept aside.

I am not worried about the research. As I said, it will happen anyway, perhaps offshore, perhaps later. I am merely bringing the event to the attention of the forum. We are, after all, getting what we asked for. Or do you have a problem with that?

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I have a problem with misrepresentation.

 

If Bush allowed the expansion of the publicly funded stem cell line, those scientists and doctors would probably leave anyway. Money talks.

 

"Lavish salaries and lofty titles have helped Singapore staff Biopolis with a roster of foreign luminaries."

 

As for the objection to the process, you write "Embryos would not be harmed and the cells used would be those taken anyway for other tests." Funny, in the opinion piece, I read they are "using a process that should leave the embryo unharmed" Should leave? Sounds a lot different than "would not".

 

"Those who are afraid of the outcome of this research..." Who is afraid of the outcome? Conservatives? I never knew we were afraid of the outcome. I think conservatives are just realistic about the possibilities. Speaking of that, please tell us when these miracles are going to start? Maybe we should consult John Edwards.

 

 

 

 

 

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Brent, During the process of in-vivo fertilization, at the 8 to 10-cell stage, a cell (blastomere) is sometimes removed from the embryo for preimplantation genetic diagnosis. (I can only surmise that the recipient would likely decline this embryo if it was shown to be defective...makes sense, doesn't it?) Oops, that would be an abortion, wouldn't it? Along with all those other frozen, unused embryos that eventually are discarded with the trash - why is there no hue and cry to stop IVF? Answer: hypocrisy. (but that's another thread)

 

Anyway, this process is already happening and has been happening for the last 10 or so years. No regulation, out of control, too late.

The new advance can use THE SAME CELL that is removed for preimplantation genetic diagnosis...to begin a stem cell line. If you can figure out how this increases the harm to the embryo, over the risk that's already there in the established process, I would like to know.

This completely blows the stated objection (sacrifice of an embryo) out of the water. So what is your explanation for why the administration still stands in the way of federal funding for the research?

 

As for your other question regarding miracles: In case you missed that lecture, science doesn't engage in miracles. But in case you are thinking about the advances that stem cell research might provide in medical care, they can't happen without the research. Duh!

 

I do suggest, however, that you and all others who similarly feel very strongly about this issue should decline, in the future, all medical procedures that were derived from stem cell research. Things should pretty much take care of themselves after that.

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That process is happening in IVF, but I don't think it is being funded by the government. That is the objection - using taxpayer dollars to do it.

If stem cells are going to provide all these miraculous cures, there should be plenty of for-profit companies willing to put money into the research.

 

As for the miracles I mentioned, that is what Democrats are selling. I give you John Edwards: "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

According to Bill Frist, research related to spinal cord injuries does not involve embryonic stem cells but rather adult stem cells, "where the president has absolutely no restrictions, no limitations and there are about 140 treatments."

 

For the record, George Bush was the first president to approve federal funding for stem cell research.

 

Yes, we get what we ask for - realistic approaches or "snake-oil salesman" hype.

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GWB is the first president to fund limited stem cell research. That's because stem cell research started after he became president. Clinton, Reagan and Washington didn't have the chance.

Now for everyone who against stem cell research for religious principles...please be consistent and denounce all in vitro fertilization because it is impractical to implant all the fertilized eggs. The majority are flushed down the drain. OH! The humanity!

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Gern,

Oh, really!?

 

1960s - Joseph Altman and Gopal Das present evidence of adult neurogenesis, ongoing stem cell activity in the brain; their reports contradict Cajal's "no new neurons" dogma and are largely ignored

1963 - McCulloch and Till illustrate the presence of self-renewing stem cells in mouse bone marrow

1968 - bone marrow transplant between two siblings successfully treats SCID

1978 - haematopoietic stem cells are discovered in human cord blood

1981 - mouse embryonic stem cells are derived from the inner cell mass

1992 - neural stem cells are cultured in vitro as neurospheres

1995 - President Bill Clinton signs into law the Dickey Amendment which makes it illegal for Federal money to be used for research where stem cells are derived from the destruction of the embryo.

 

Hmmm... Bill Clinton... made it illegal to use Federal funds? Where is the outrage? How many cures could we have already if he hadn't banned the Federal money? packsaddle, looks like you have a new bad guy.

 

Care to revise and extend your comments?(This message has been edited by BrentAllen)

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Not to pick nits (or maybe I am) but most of the stuff "developed" at Sony wasn't developed at Sony at all. Sony only developed a system to mass produce the stuff cheaply - much like Henry Ford did for the Automobile. No one claims Ford developed the car but they certainly deserve credit for mass producing it and making it a household neccessity.

 

Inventions often attributed to Sony are remarkable in that most were developed here, in the US - with the exception of the High Definition Television. What is even more remarkable is that we tend to view these inventions as having been developed about the same time as we were able to purchase them - the reality is most were invented long before they became common household items. For instance:

 

The Digital Compact Disk was invented in the late 1960's by aa US inventor named James T. Russell. We now call it the CD - and most of us think it was invented in the late 80's when they were first being sold with music on them.

 

The Optical Disk - the foundation for what we call CD's and DVD's was first conceived in 1958 by US inventor David Gregg - he patented it is 1961 and 1969.

 

It should be pretty obvious that the invention of the disks also corresponded with the creation of players for the disks.

 

The Microwave Oven was invented in 1946 by US inventor Dr. Percy Spencer, who was working with radar technology for the military as an employee of Raytheon. Microwaves didn't start becoming common in US households until the late 1970's and early 1980's. Interestingly, much of our new technology was developed while scientists were working on technology for the military or NASA.

 

High Definition TV, that new-fangled modern television that's become hot news since the late 90's was invented by a British scientist names Sir Isaac Shoenberg in - are you ready for this? 1936!

 

Plasma TV? The first Plasma TV was developed by two scientists and a graduate student from Illinois - Donald Bitzer, Gene Slottow and Robert Willson (the student) in 1964.

 

Video Cassette Recording (VCR)? Developed by a US company named Ampex in 1956 - and has been the basis of modern television broadcasting since that time.

 

Let's not forget the latest development often attributed to Sony - the Digital Camera. The first Digital Camera was developed by a Kodak US employee names Steven Sasson in 1975.

 

What is correctly attributed to Sony is the portable cassette player commonly known as the Walkman, and the camcorder. It should be noted, however, that these developments piggy back on earlier technologies like the cassette tape developed by Philips and television video recorders developed by Ampex. It not really new technology they developed, only a new way of packaging it (what is a Walkman, after all, but a portable cassette player/recorder that many of us may still be familiar with - remember the rectangular box - with the record function removed?)

 

The long and short of it though is that it's often been US scientists at the forefront of new technological discoveries and new health discoveries over the past 60+ years or so - and the potential of lost opportunities regarding stem cell research in this country because of political pandering to a minority constituency (in this instance, public opinion strongly supports stem cell research) threatens to undermine what may be one of our greatest strengths - our intellectual and technological creativity. If the opportunities to do this research unhindered existed in the US, I doubt that all the money in the world would cause most US scientists to work in Singapore, a country not very well known for it's freedoms.

 

CalicoPenn

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Amen to Calico! I'm selfish: I have a ailment that will haunt me for the rest of my life. My son has one too, although different. We should do all we can to research cures for medical conditions within our own shores. I am guessing that US medical research breakthroughs outstrip those of other developed countries by a wide margin.

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Calico,

Whether Sony developed them, or brought them to market, it really doesn't matter. What matters is you can get them, correct? On the other subject, none of those inventions you mentioned involved embryos or the political or moral issues that go along them.

 

I just find it hard to believe that if those miraculous cures were just around the corner as Kerry and Edwards would have us believe, then the Mercks and Pfizers would be putting in more than enough research money. After all, there would be a huge financial reward for these cures, correct?

 

Anyone have any idea how much money the US gov't puts into cancer research? What % of the total? I didn't think the gov't was the main funding source for medical research, but maybe I'm wrong.

 

 

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Nice try Brent.

Stem cells have been around since Adam had em. The research we are talking about has only show the promise of curing horrendous disease since the 21st Century. Most of that is due to the mapping of DNA and the human genome. Cloning is a spinoff of this technology. Although cloning has been the topic of many sci-fi novels, it really only has been probable in the past few years.

BTW, Clinton is my least favorite president of modern times. He lied to the nation. If at the end of his term he banned this research, then I'm sure God has a special place (down under) for him when he's called home.

 

You still didn't answer my question on in vitro fertilization clinics. If there is no viable/practical use of the millions of embryos created annually and most are destined to the lab sink, shouldn't the outrage be at these clinics and not stem cell research?

 

Followup question...if a foriegn nation develops a cure for Parkinsons using embryonic stem cells, if your family suffered from Parkinsons, would you reject the cure for moral reasons?

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While I understand the "arguments" against stem cell research, I am fully in favor of it as a type 1 diabetic. I've been diabetic for 32 years now and am beginning to experience the issues related to it. I had laser surgery on my left eye this past Friday for diabetic retinopathy. They did my right eye about 3 weeks before that. These were not my first laser surgeries. I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol which will eventually lead to heart disease. Both are under control with medication and exercise, but still.....they are causing problems, just at a slower rate than if they were unchecked. I have very little feeling in the toes on my right foot due to diabetic nueropathy....nerve damage. I'll never be able to do Philmont or other such high adventure trips with my son because the strenueous activity will constantly lower my blood sugar and make me "shocky" unless I constantly stop the crew so I can eat a snack.

 

Brent, I consider myself conservative, but also a realist. You know there is the old joke about a liberal is just a conservative who hasn't been mugged yet. It cuts both ways. A conservative is just a liberal whose 14 year old daughter has not gotten pregnant yet. I'd give almost anything for a cure for diabetes and to be able to live a normal life. I'd love to get up in the morning and not have to check my blood sugar level then and throughout the day. I'd love to not have to juggle medicine, food and exercise each day, all day long. I'd love to not have my life expectancy shortened by about a decade. I'd love to do more than car camp. Until a cure is found, those things are extremely difficult for me to achieve. Possible? Yes. So is balancing on the top of a flagpole, but how long can you do it?

 

Politicians who stand in the way of funding stem cell research are standing in the way of a possible cure for my disease. They won't get my vote any more than a politician who is pro-choice will get yours. Live with a life threatening disease day in and day out and your reality tends to win out over the ideology very quickly.

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Gern,

Dolly, the first cloned mammal, was cloned in 1996, 10 years ago.

 

1995 was the end of Bill Clinton's term? Methinks you need to freshen up on your history. He was in his second year of his first term as President in 1995. 1993 - 2001.

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