President Obama lifted the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell lines last spring, but hundreds of cell lines have remained locked away undergoing review. Now the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has finally deemed 13 embryonic lines ready for use, and could make a decision on 20 or more by Friday, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. law still forbids the use of federal funding to create or destroy embryos, but the new stem cell lines all come from private fertility clinics. Such clinics typically make many leftover embryos that would normally end up being thrown away.
Scientists have found that they can replicate such embryonic stem cells indefinitely in their labs, and can also turn them into any of more than 200 tissue types in the human body -- ideal platforms for repairing everything from heart tissue to spinal cords and brain cells. But controversy arose in past years due to moral concerns over destroying human embryos.
The NIH currently has 96 stem cell lines under review beyond the initial 13 approvals. Researchers say that they will submit another 250 for consideration, under new NIH regulations established this past summer.
U.S. researchers had chafed against the relatively few number of embryonic stem cell lines that they could use, even as scientists in other countries worked with no such restrictions. But they have still managed to accomplish small medical miracles in mice and other animals, such as creating embryonic stem cell patches to plug holes in the heart.
Scientists have also performed amazing feats with adult stem cells derived from body tissues, which don't require destruction of embryos. A U.S. team at the University of Wisconsin in Madison transformed human skin cells into eye cells. Australian scientists even managed to restore sight to the blind by using stem-cell-coated contacts derived from the other eye of patients.
U.S. researchers at Stanford University also helped pioneer a method of deriving adult human stem cells from fat, as opposed to skin.
Such scientific advancement might someday even ensure that researchers could solely rely on adult stem cells, rather than embryonic stem cells. Chinese scientists announced this past summer that they had created live mice capable of reproduction from mouse skin cells, a small but crucial step.
But for now, sit back and wait for the day when you snort stem cells to get your medical fix.
To become an instant expert on the stem cell debate, see our recent Essential Guide to Stem Cells feature here.
[via Associated Press]
They need to hurry up with the stem cells from other sources so that they can stop being impeded by all the red tape.
Thank you for providing unbiased coverage of a sensitive topic. Both sides covered professionally, with the alternatives listed.
We need more of this in the media. Its amazing how much I miss simple straight forward coverage of things now that almost the entire media has lost any hint of objectivity or integrity. They now seem to view the news like a politician, how to spin it to promote a political and social agenda, rather than just reporting the truth and facts. It wasn't that long ago expecting the truth from the media was the rule rather than an exception so this was a pleasant surprise.
I read some ware that they turned some animal stem cells back into an embryo. If all human lines spawned a child then that kid would still have been borne just a little later would that make people feel more comfortable with it? Of course I would abuse this to make an army of cloned female super solderer to help me take over the world - with there cuteness (^_^)
Back when this research started, before the government outlawed some of the research, the US was in the top rankings. Now we are near the bottom. That is what happens when the government gets involved in the medical field. lesson learned? No, lets reform medicare and turn that south too.
The last President Bush leaves a legacy of devastation. He started the war in Iraq not because there was a truly compelling reason, but because it was payback against Saddam Hussein for trying to have his dad, the first President Bush, assassinated. It was personal, but all of us paid for it, and now we are in a damned-if-we-do, damned-if-we-don't situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our entire economy may collapse due to his faux pas.
The stem cell matter is just another of his ugly legacies. He was forcing his twisted personal religious opinions on the entirety of the US, denying those suffering from a wide variety of afflictions any timely hope of cure or resolution.
Many Republicans want to point their fingers at Obama as if he were the one that caused the many crises we have now... on the contrary. He inherited the horrendous mess George Bush created, and is simply trying to clean up after him the best he can. I do not envy the task he faces.
The story touched in only the briefest way on the potential of stem cells. We cannot yet know the benefits we will reap from DNA, telomeres and a detailed understanding of genetics. One thing I am certain of: they will result in the dramatic increase in average lifespan of humans due to the decrease in the number of things that may kill us; and, as the bestseller boldly suggests, we may be able to "Live Long Enough to Live Forever".
Maybe Bush or the Freemazons Skull and bones Magistic 12 or what ever were the ones responsible for 911. They wanted this to happened they planed the whole thing.
any way if your against stemcell then you should not benifit from it.
We will soon create life "artifical life new animals" Wake up poeple we are Gods
I wonder if those advances with adult cells would have happened had scientist not been banned from the fetal cells.
As I look at history, the best science tends to come while under persecution (and the same can be said of the best theology).
Look at what came from NASA when they were forced to produce. Look at what came from Galeleo when the church was down on him.
Such limitations and persecutions for scientist to think outside of the box for solutions and to dilligently work to prove their ideas to a sceptical audience.
While limitation may do little to advance the steady drudgery of day to day science advancement, it is necessary for those leaps of inspiration and insite that drives man forward beyond stable progress.
Hurray! To moving forward once again!!! Never again must we give in to the type of ignorance typified by the likes of Bush, Palin, etc...
We must guard our future very dearly...
Jesus is really pissed about this.
He told me.