Thursday, January 11, 2007

House passes stem cell bill on Jan. 11

On January 11, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill by a 253-174 vote bolstering embryonic stem cell research. Even though Democrats gained about 30 seats in the Nov. 2006 election, House embryonic stem cell research proponents have gained only 15 votes over the high-water mark of 238 in the prior GOP-controlled House. and they do not have enough votes to overcome a veto by President Bush (290 votes of 435 voting would be required for an override). Thus, this is flash without substance.

Proponents of the bill include Rep. James Langevin D-R.I., an anti-abortion lawmaker who is paralyzed from the chest down from a handgun accident that occurred when he was a teenager. The research, Langevin said, offers "tremendous hope that not only stem cell research might lead one day to a cure for spinal cord injuries but one day a child with diabetes will no longer have to endure a lifetime of painful shots and tests." Additionally, Dr. Robert Lanza, an embryonic stem cell researcher at Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (now headquartered in Alameda, CA to take advantage of Proposition 71), said that stem cell-based treatments could be just a few years away for eye and spinal cord injuries, but that a decade or more of research is needed before treatments might become available for diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's. IPBiz notes that "therapeutic" cloning through human SCNT, the holy grail for embryonic stem cell research, remains dead in the water following the uncovering of the Hwang fraud one year ago. Nevertheless, the AP wrote on Jan. 11: Scientists still say, however, that embryonic stem cells so far are backed by the most promising evidence that one day they might be used to grow replacements for damaged tissue, such as new insulin-producing cells for diabetics or new nerve connections to restore movement after spinal injury. [text from ANDREW TAYLOR of AP]

On other curious assessments of value, On Jan. 11, Six Flags sold three water parks and four theme parks for $312 million. On Jan. 10 (one day earlier), residents of a trailer park in Briny Breezes, Fl. voted overwhelmingly to sell their community to a developer for more than $510 million. Patent auctions fare even worse.


Blogger Lawrence B. Ebert said...

Bob Park wrote on WN on 12 Jan. 07:
The bill lifts the President's ban on using leftover stem cells from fertility clinics in research. (...)A Presidential veto will spare leftover embryonic stem cells from the indignity of saving human lives and allow them to be thrown in the garbage with their dignity intact.

IPBiz notes to Bob Park-->

on the science: Fertility clinics (e.g., those doing IVF) are in the business of handling eggs and embryos. They don't do stem cells, and thus don't have leftover embryonic stem cells to hand over.

on the politics: In 2001, Bush restricted federal funding to stem cell lines already in existence. Bush didn't ban the use of eggs/embyros; where do you think ACT got their material for their research?

Matthew Nisbet, a scholar at American University, wrote that the public still scores relatively low in both knowledge of the science and the politics involved, and Park's WN illustrates both points.

12:43 PM  

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