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Stem Cells

January 8, 2013 | By Joseph Serna
In rejecting a challenge to President Obama's policy to continue embryonic stem cell research, the Supreme Court wisely chose Monday to further vital research over the interests of competing scientists and religious groups. The court did not issue a decision. Instead, it rejected a petition to hear arguments in an appeal of a 2011 ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which decided the National Institutes of Health could continue embryonic stem cell research from lines derived from already destroyed embryos.
January 7, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has turned away a challenge to President Obama's policy of expanding government-funded research using embryonic stem cells that scientists say may offer hope for new treatments for spinal injuries and Parkinson's disease. The court's action brings a quiet end to a lawsuit that briefly threatened to derail all funding for such research.  A federal judge in Washington in 2010 ordered the National Institutes of Health to halt funding of the research, citing a long-standing congressional ban on spending for research in which “human embryos are destroyed.” But an appeals court overturned that order and ruled last year that the ban applied only to research which destroyed human embryos so as to obtain stem cells.
December 14, 2012
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the quasi-governmental agency authorized to spend $3 billion in taxpayer money on embryonic stem cell research, deserves praise for commissioning an independent study of its operations by a blue-ribbon committee of the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. But the $700,000 spent on the study - funded by donations - will be wasted if the institute's oversight board fails to heed the committee's criticisms, which echo the findings of the Little Hoover Commission and other groups over the years.
December 12, 2012 | By Michael Hiltzik
If you're betting that the California stem cell agency will spurn key recommendations of a blue-ribbon review panel that criticized its leadership and management structures, you might want to double that bet. Several board members showed overt hostility to the panel's recommendations during a public meeting today. The governing board of the agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, formally received the review report at its meeting today in Los Angeles. The Institute of Medicine, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences, was paid $700,000 by CIRM to conduct the yearlong study of the $6-billion state stem cell program.
December 7, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The board of California's stem cell funding agency is rife with conflicts of interest and should be restructured to improve the integrity of its grant-making process, according to a new report from independent experts convened by the national Institute of Medicine. The committee found that "far too many" of the board members are from organizations that stand to benefit from the $3 billion the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is supposed to dole out to researchers over 10 years.
December 6, 2012 | By Michael Hiltzik
The signs are not encouraging. On Thursday, a blue-ribbon committee of the National Academy of Sciences issued its report on its yearlong critical review of California's $6-billion stem cell program, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. The report will be formally presented to CIRM at a meeting Dec. 12. The review committee found that embedded conflicts of interest on the CIRM board "threaten to ... undermine respect for its decisions. " The lack of independent, disinterested members on a board made up mostly of officials of institutions in line to obtain CIRM grants or advocates for patients of specific diseases "erodes confidence" in the board's ability to handle its strategic responsibilities, the panel added.
December 3, 2012 | By Eryn Brown
In a small but hopeful step for researchers working on therapies to treat Parkinson's disease, a team in Japan has used stem cells harvested from bone marrow to restore function in monkeys with the debilitating condition. The cell transplants didn't cure the macaques, but did improve motor skills in the animals and appeared to do so safely, the scientists wrote Monday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation - suggesting that stem cells from bone marrow might someday be a useful source for treatments of Parkinson's in humans.
November 11, 2012 | By Kavita Daswani, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Here is a selection of some new offerings at the prestige end of the market, many predicated on exclusive ingredients and newfangled technology: Super Cream from 3LAB, exclusively at Barneys, joins that brand's high-priced roster but remains its most expensive launch to date. Co-founder Erica Chung attributes the $875 price to the cream's Intelligent Targeting Device technology, which is supposed to drive collagen and elastin to the cells that need it the most. The Bee Venom Mask from Heaven Skin Care became an overnight sensation when word came out that Kate Middleton, wife of England's Prince William, used it. Soon to be available in the U.S., the $560 Limited Edition Golden Bee Venom Mask contains a high concentration of bee venom, which is supposed to have something of a Botox effect on the skin.
November 6, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Stem cell therapy may help repair the hearts of patients who have suffered heart attacks, and, according to a new study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., it may not matter whether those stem cells come from the patient or a donor. For decades, common belief was that areas of the heart severely damaged by a heart attack could not be repaired. But the development of advanced cell therapies, in which stem cells or other cell types are injected into the damaged area, have provided new hope that interventions may be possible.
October 17, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
StemCells Inc. has a history not much different from those of dozens, even hundreds, of biotech companies all around California. Co-founded by an eminent Stanford research scientist, the Newark, Calif., firm has struggled financially while trying to push its stem cell products through the research-and-development pipeline. It collects about $1 million a year from licensing patents and selling cell cultures but spends well more than $20 million annually on R&D, so it runs deeply in the red. On the plus side, StemCells Inc. has had rather a charmed relationship with the California stem cell program, that $3-billion taxpayer-backed research fund known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
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