May 17, 2013 |
A breakthrough in stem cell research has again raised the specter of human cloning. The discovery by a team at Oregon Health and Science University moves the world incrementally closer to that result, but its more immediate effect will be to spur efforts to regenerate healthy tissue for the injured and the ailing. Although it's reasonable to worry about where such a discovery may lead, those concerns shouldn't stop researchers from exploring the restorative properties of stem cells. The promise of stem cells is that they can develop into many different kinds of tissues rather than being locked into a specific cellular fate.
May 15, 2013 |
For the first time, scientists have created human embryos that are genetic copies of living people and used them to make stem cells - a feat that paves the way for treating a range of diseases with personalized body tissues but also ignites fears of human cloning. If replicated in other labs, the methods detailed Wednesday in the journal Cell would allow researchers to fashion human embryonic stem cells that are custom-made for patients with Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and other health problems.
April 10, 2013 |
Humans are on the cusp of discovering how the universe works on its biggest and smallest scales, Stephen Hawking said during a lecture Tuesday in Los Angeles. The renowned theoretical physicist made his name studying black holes, massive structures that anchor galaxies and whose gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. But on Tuesday, he delved into the world of microscopic cell biology to see first-hand how researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute are using stem cells to develop treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the disease Hawking was diagnosed with in 1963.
February 27, 2013
After years of resisting all criticisms of its operations, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is finally listening - a little. It spent $700,000 for an outside, high-level review that complimented the stem cell agency for funding an excellent portfolio of research projects, but also raised serious objections to the agency's structure, which the review said was likely to lead to financial conflicts of interest. The criticisms were nothing new - many of the same points have been made since the agency was created by Proposition 71 in 2004 - but the positive response by the chairman of the agency's board was. The governing board is now making changes to address some of the long-standing issues.
January 29, 2013 |
Compromise, defined as the art of getting part of a loaf when the whole loaf is out of reach, comes in many forms. But surely the strangest of all is what comes of trying to compromise with yourself. That's what California's stem cell agency is attempting to do. And judging from its record of pioneering new ways of funding and managing scientific research, you can rest assured that the results will be fraught with interest. What's at issue is how the agency's board wrestles with recommendations for changes in its membership and its authority over the spending of its $3-billion endowment in state bond funds (that's $6 billion, including interest)
January 25, 2013 |
Changes may be on the way at California's stem cell funding agency. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, came under fire in December when an Institute of Medicine report concluded that the agency was plagued by conflicts of interest. (See story in related items at left.) In response, CIRM's governing board on Wednesday endorsed a “framework” designed to address some of those concerns. Chief among the changes: Board members from universities and other research institutions who compete for CIRM funding would no longer vote on grants.