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June 11, 2007
Re "Skin cell is made to mimic stem cell," June 7 Now that we may have an unquestionably ethical alternative to cell reprogramming, is there any justification for continuing to support embryonic stem cell research? I can think of only two reasons why an individual or organization might continue to do so: unfamiliarity with or indifference to the ethical issues involved or the passion to see the routine destruction of the unborn person at every stage of development inextricably interwoven into the fabric of our society and culture.
January 23, 2012 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Two patients with vision problems who received injections of retinal cells made from human embryonic stem cells have seen marked improvement in their vision four months later, according to a preliminary study on the safety and efficacy of the pioneering treatment. The report , published online Monday in the journal Lancet, is the first to describe results of an actual treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells. The patients -- one with dry age-related macular degeneration and the other with a pediatric version of the disease called Stargardt's macular dystrophy -- were treated at UCLA over the summer.
August 20, 2008 | Karen Kaplan, Times Staff Writer
Scientists said Tuesday that they had devised a way to grow large quantities of blood in the lab using human embryonic stem cells, potentially making blood drives a thing of the past. But experts cautioned that although it represented a significant technical advance, the new approach required several key improvements before it could be considered a realistic alternative to donor blood. The research team outlined a four-step process for turning embryonic stem cells into red blood cells capable of carrying as much oxygen as normal blood.
November 21, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
For patients paralyzed by spinal cord injuries, Geron Corp.'s stem cell research was the shining hope. The biotech firm showered scientists with millions of dollars to develop a treatment to reverse spinal damage. The therapy was the first treatment derived from embryonic stem cells to be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for testing in humans. But last week, Geron abruptly pulled the plug on its pioneering trial and the rest of its stem cell business, including early work on treatments for heart ailments, diabetes and other diseases.
August 26, 2005
Re "State Fights Federal Bill on Cloning," Aug. 25 I applaud The Times for publishing an article that admits embryonic stem-cell research involves cloning human embryos. The article explained that advocates of stem cell research purposely avoid the label of cloning and use the technical term "somatic cell nuclear transfer." California voters were intentionally misled by advocates for Proposition 71 on this fact. The state must now face the possibility of a federal ban on all forms of human cloning -- including embryonic stem cell research.
April 14, 2007
Re "Facing certain veto by Bush, Senate renews debate on stem cell research," April 11 Listening to the Senate debate embryonic stem cell research, you would think that there has been no success in adult stem cell research. Actually, there have been more than 70 different successes in treating humans with adult stem cells, and none with embryonic stem cells. When pollsters ask people if they approve of stem cell research, of course the majority will agree because the pollsters don't specify which type.
April 25, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Researchers have developed a way to make embryonic-like stem cells by soaking skin cells in genetically engineered proteins, a new step toward using ordinary cells to treat disease. An international team led by Scripps Research Institute in California said Thursday that this was the safest method yet found to transform ordinary skin cells into what are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. They reported their findings -- from research using mouse cells -- in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
March 12, 2009
Re "Obama to reverse stem cell policy," March 7 For all who oppose President Obama's action to lift the ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, I propose the following: If you are against this policy, make it known in your medical records. That way, if you are afflicted with a condition that would otherwise be able to be cured because of embryonic stem cell research, you will be denied treatment. Put your health, life and well-being where your mouth is. I'll bet you'll have a change of heart if your life, or the life of a loved one, is spared because of this research.
April 15, 2007
Re "Researchers use stem cells to rein in Type 1 diabetes," April 11 The article highlights the potential of stem cells to treat Type 1 diabetes, but neglects to highlight the fact that this hope is found in adult stem cells, not embryonic ones. The stem cells used in this treatment were harvested from the patients' own bodies -- not ripped from tiny embryos. This experiment confirms again the promise of treatments and cures lies in adult stem cell research. To date, adult stem cells have been used to treat more than 70 diseases and conditions.
December 13, 2004
Re "Stem Cell Spending Fight Builds," Dec. 7: Dec. 7: Only in California would the argument over embryonic research be over how much revenue from potential royalties should the state receive from mankind's latest moral hiccup. Let us not forget the crux of this research lies in creating human life only to destroy it for very questionable gain. Despite the sad reality that some 70% of Californians voted for this scientific foray into evil, let us not forget how many other of man's mistakes were supported by the majority, be it abortion, slavery or the Holocaust.
October 20, 2011 | By Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times
As chairman and chief executive of her own company, Dr. Robin Smith is a significant player in the world of biopharmaceutical products and research. Self-confident, poised and well traveled, she is used to dealing with movers and shakers. But when she negotiated an agreement with her company's latest business partner, she didn't deal directly with the top executive. He is, after all, the pope. In an agreement that tends to elicit the response "Really?," the Vatican recently signed a $1-million compact with Smith's New York company, NeoStem, to collaborate on adult stem cell education and research.
October 6, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
For the first time, scientists have used cloning techniques — inserting genetic material from adult cells into unfertilized human eggs — to create embryonic stem cells. The advance, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature , moves scientists one step closer to their goal of developing therapies to treat maladies including diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, researchers said. In the world of stem cell research, the achievement marks an important step, but only a step.
July 8, 2011 | By Chris Woolston, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
Angina relief and an artificial windpipe. No doubt about it: Stem cells have had a big week.  But any time stem cells show up in the news, there’s bound to be a lot of controversy and misunderstandings. Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois published a study  showing that stem cell injections into the heart can help reduce angina attacks , presumably by spurring the growth of new blood vessels feeding the heart.  And Swedish doctors announced that they had given acancer patient a brand new windpipe grown in a lab using his own stem cells.
April 30, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — A U.S. appeals court cleared the way Friday for continued federal funding of research using human embryonic stem cells, a ruling that scientists hailed as a victory for medical progress. Stem cells from embryos are believed to hold great promise for treating hard-to-treat illnesses or conditions, such as Parkinson's disease or spinal cord injuries. But the research itself remains controversial because it makes use of cells from early-stage embryos. "I am delighted and relieved to learn of the decision," said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
April 29, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Taxpayer dollars can fund research involving embryonic stem cells, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled on Friday. Proponents of stem cell research applauded the decision, saying it would allow important research to move forward. But they also braced for future battles. "The fight for embryonic stem cell research in the United States is not over," said Dr. Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which uses state money to fund stem cell research, in a statement.
January 3, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
A therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells may help millions of Americans battle a common form of blindness. Advanced Cell Technology Inc. said Monday that it has received a green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin a clinical trial to test its therapeutic cells as a treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration. The company plans to enroll a dozen patients in a Phase I/II trial, which would primarily test the safety of the cells and whether they are well-tolerated by patients.
July 30, 2006 | ERIN CLINE, Times Staff Writer
Question: What are stem cells? Answer: Most cells in the body are committed to fulfilling specific functions, such as beating heart cells or insulin-secreting pancreas cells. Stem cells are not committed yet -- they are capable of becoming any number of cell types, depending on the biochemical signals they receive from their environment. Stem cells can also replicate indefinitely; other cells usually divide a limited number of times. Q: What are embryonic stem cells? A: Embryonic stem cells are from days-old embryos.
November 27, 2010 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Perhaps no scientist has had a greater impact on stem cell research than Dr. Shinya Yamanaka. While most of his colleagues were looking for ways to grow human embryonic stem cells into replacement tissues for treating patients, the Japanese researcher took the opposite approach and figured out how to rewind mature body cells to a flexible state in which they could again become many types of cells. His 2006 discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, paves the way for pursuing regenerative medicine therapies without the need to destroy embryos.
November 22, 2010 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Another therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells is headed for clinical trials. Advanced Cell Technology Inc. said Monday that the Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for its Phase I/II trial of retinal cells for patients with Stargardt’s macular dystrophy , a childhood version of macular degeneration. Up to 12 patients will be enrolled at several sites across the country, including the Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Ore., the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, and UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School in Newark.
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