Curious - Stem Cell Research

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HurricaneKatt

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Hey guys,
Disclaimer:This is NOT a request for homework help, I am simply curious about what people's views are. I am not trolling either, just looking for a good discussion on something that really interests me.

So I am doing a research paper on stem call research and there's some pretty interesting stuff going on - some of the research articles were really intriguing. Stem cell research is a pretty debated topic as far as ethics go though, and a lot of people are against it (I believe that, for many people, it's right up there with abortion and the death penalty). What are your views? There's a lot of benefits to be taken from the research and its applications, and I think that we could save lots of lives with stem cell therapy. A lot of people don't think it's worth it though (religious reasons, etc). What are your thoughts? I am kinda curious to see what other aspiring docs and docs out there think since the research being done could directly affect us (i.e. available treatments, etc).

Here's some interesting links:

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/351/22/2276.pdf
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/355/12/1199.pdf
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/353/10/999.pdf
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/346/10/738.pdf


Look at what we've already done with bone marrow transplants: just imagine what we could do if we found more ways to unleash the potential of embryonic stem cells!

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A friend of mine was diagnosed a while back with a really rare genetic disease. One of the manifestations of it was loss of limb function in the legs and in one arm. After traveling to several different clinics in the country, she was given a stem-cell treatment just to see if it would work. She started getting function back in her limbs and is now able to walk and live on her own.
I am a massive supporter of stem cell research and am excited by the possibilities of what they can do for people. i only wish research efforts weren't so restricted
 
I definitely support stem cell research. I have no problem with people donating embryos from IVF that they will never use, so long as people aren't being paid for their contributions (that brings in all sorts of messy issues).

While I think the de-differentiation work on terminally differentiated cells is interesting, I really believe that using totipotent, pluripotent, and multipotent stem cells is crucial in developing clinical therapies.

Clearly, I'm a big supporter. :thumbup:
 
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Hey guys,
Disclaimer:This is NOT a request for homework help, I am simply curious about what people's views are. I am not trolling either, just looking for a good discussion on something that really interests me.

So I am doing a research paper on stem call research and there's some pretty interesting stuff going on - some of the research articles were really intriguing. Stem cell research is a pretty debated topic as far as ethics go though, and a lot of people are against it (I believe that, for many people, it's right up there with abortion and the death penalty). What are your views? There's a lot of benefits to be taken from the research and its applications, and I think that we could save lots of lives with stem cell therapy. A lot of people don't think it's worth it though (religious reasons, etc). What are your thoughts? I am kinda curious to see what other aspiring docs and docs out there think since the research being done could directly affect us (i.e. available treatments, etc).

Here's some interesting links:

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/351/22/2276.pdf
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/355/12/1199.pdf
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/353/10/999.pdf
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/reprint/346/10/738.pdf


Look at what we've already done with bone marrow transplants: just imagine what we could do if we found more ways to unleash the potential of embryonic stem cells!

ESCs might not be that big of a deal in a few years. By then, iPS cells might totally bypass the ESC ethical issues.

by the "potential of embryonic stem cells" do you also include the elevated risk of cancer? which studies have shown to be quite significant. just something from the other side thats all. :)
 
A friend of mine was diagnosed a while back with a really rare genetic disease. One of the manifestations of it was loss of limb function in the legs and in one arm. After traveling to several different clinics in the country, she was given a stem-cell treatment just to see if it would work. She started getting function back in her limbs and is now able to walk and live on her own.
I am a massive supporter of stem cell research and am excited by the possibilities of what they can do for people. i only wish research efforts weren't so restricted

What was the source of the stem cells? Not all stem cell therapy is derived from embryonic stem cells.

As far as I know, stem cells from sources other than embryos are not controversial.
 
What was the source of the stem cells? Not all stem cell therapy is derived from embryonic stem cells.

As far as I know, stem cells from sources other than embryos are not controversial.

i really don't know for sure. i really want to say it was called E-Stem, but i can't be certain.
 
I support :thumbup:
It's a complex issue but I think the US is missing out on ground breaking research opportunities with the current federal ban.
 
A friend of mine was diagnosed a while back with a really rare genetic disease. One of the manifestations of it was loss of limb function in the legs and in one arm. After traveling to several different clinics in the country, she was given a stem-cell treatment just to see if it would work. She started getting function back in her limbs and is now able to walk and live on her own.
I am a massive supporter of stem cell research and am excited by the possibilities of what they can do for people. i only wish research efforts weren't so restricted

Wow, that's awesome! Do you remember what the disease was?
Original Quote by: xiaoyi666
ESCs might not be that big of a deal in a few years. By then, iPS cells might totally bypass the ESC ethical issues.

by the "potential of embryonic stem cells" do you also include the elevated risk of cancer? which studies have shown to be quite significant. just something from the other side thats all. :)


They have an elevated risk of cancer, but the need for finding a match is also lowered, which means that more people can be helped immediately instead of having a long wait while a match is found. I don't know..I guess really it's up to the patient. Let them know that they can continue with whatever condition they have, or have stem cell treatment which may or may not help dep on the situation, and warn them of the risks of cancer. I think I'd rather live with a risk for cancer than loss of limb or organ function, because there's a chance you won't get it too...
 
^^To add to Kat's point: A perfect match is almost never found, except if you are lucky enough to have a twin or an autologous transplant.

To my knowledge, there is no current theoretical road block to make ESC-like cells in a test-tube (no fertilization and embryo harvest required). I believe this was done by growing fibroblasts transfected (stably, I believe?) with a few specific genes. They were able to grow into any tissue in the body just like ESCs.
 
I'm too lazy to go look it up, but there is a current study that is focused on manipulating ANIMAL stem cells to what we want for humans. I can't remember, but this point of the research is to eliminate the human-life factor when creating stem cells. Doing so would side-step any ethical issues.

Personally, I only have a problem with new embryos being the source of stem cells, but this new research could put an end to controversy.
 
I'm too lazy to go look it up, but there is a current study that is focused on manipulating ANIMAL stem cells to what we want for humans. I can't remember, but this point of the research is to eliminate the human-life factor when creating stem cells. Doing so would side-step any ethical issues.

Personally, I only have a problem with new embryos being the source of stem cells, but this new research could put an end to controversy.

Really? That sounds cool. I'd be interested to see the study. lol I wonder why we can't just take cells from say, one embryo, and then just clone them. Then we wouldn't have to keep using more and more embryos, and we could potentially grow an unlimited number of stem cells for transplants...unless of course I am missing something lol which is more than possible.
 
Two different, independent researcher groups were able to manipulate a somatic cell (the kind they can scrape from anywhere and is not controversial) into behaving like a genuine stem cell last year before Christmas. The term they have developed is on the tip of my (keyboard?), but I can't remember what they called it. It's very interesting and ends the controversy, so it looks like a mute point.

I'm surprised no one has heard about it.
 
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Ah yes... "reprogramming." Simple enough. This would completely eliminate the need for SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer). Very cool.

This is it:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/11/20/stem.cells.skin/index.html
and
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8805408/

Don't worry. I'm sure they'll find something else to argue about.

Haha of course they will. :laugh: That's really cool though, I hadn't heard of that! I just skimmed the articles though and it looks like, naturally, there's a lot of kinks to iron out before these reprogrammed cells are really applicable. Hopefully we'll figure it out soon, eh?
 
has anyone seen the video (I believe it was from Hopkins) with a mouse paralyzed in the hind limbs? It is treated with stem cells and then regains partial function of its legs. The clip demonstrates the vast therapeutic potential for stem cells.

If only the controversy of using embryos could be avoided... and I don't mean virus reprogramming, which has its own problems. The ethical issue needs to magically disappear.

Although I read a recent paper on using adenovirus to reprogram cells without actually incorporating DNA, which could avoid the issue of higher cancer rates in other viral reprogramming methods.
 
^^To add to Kat's point: A perfect match is almost never found, except if you are lucky enough to have a twin or an autologous transplant.

To my knowledge, there is no current theoretical road block to make ESC-like cells in a test-tube (no fertilization and embryo harvest required). I believe this was done by growing fibroblasts transfected (stably, I believe?) with a few specific genes. They were able to grow into any tissue in the body just like ESCs.


ESC-like cells have been made where they differentiate into different germ layers. However, if you read the studies -i.e. takahashi et al. there were several problems with this. The cells only resembled various layers without a true functional test, and the formed endoderm was only described as "gut-like" cells. Furthermore, the human fibroblasts had to be grown on mouse feeder layer which could result in contamination by mouse protein. The method was transduction not transfection, there is absolutely no way the FDA would approve of it. To the best of my knowledge, besides viral transduction, there has been no other way to introduce the foreign nucleic acids with significant results, which is one of the major setbacks at this point. Finally, of the genes that were transduced, at least one was a proto-oncogene. There are still many problems.
 
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has anyone seen the video (I believe it was from Hopkins) with a mouse paralyzed in the hind limbs? It is treated with stem cells and then regains partial function of its legs. The clip demonstrates the vast therapeutic potential for stem cells.

If only the controversy of using embryos could be avoided... and I don't mean virus reprogramming, which has its own problems. The ethical issue needs to magically disappear.

Although I read a recent paper on using adenovirus to reprogram cells without actually incorporating DNA, which could avoid the issue of higher cancer rates in other viral reprogramming methods.

Was it treated with embryonic stem cells or adult stem cells? If adult stem cells then =\
 
This stem cell stuff reminds me of an episode of Family Guy. Peter has a stroke (his whole left side is droopy, lol) from eating too many hamburgers so he goes to a "stem cell clinic" and walks out completely normal 3 seconds later. He's like, "Why the crap are we not using this!?"
 
This stem cell stuff reminds me of an episode of Family Guy. Peter has a stroke (his whole left side is droopy, lol) from eating too many hamburgers so he goes to a "stem cell clinic" and walks out completely normal 3 seconds later. He's like, "Why the crap are we not using this!?"

and that...is AWESOME!
 
ESC-like cells have been made where they differentiate into different germ layers. However, if you read the studies -i.e. takahashi et al. there were several problems with this. The cells only resembled various layers without a true functional test, and the formed endoderm was only described as "gut-like" cells. Furthermore, the human fibroblasts had to be grown on mouse feeder layer which could result in contamination by mouse protein. The method was transduction not transfection, there is absolutely no way the FDA would approve of it. To the best of my knowledge, besides viral transduction, there has been no other way to introduce the foreign nucleic acids with significant results, which is one of the major setbacks at this point. Finally, of the genes that were transduced, at least one was a proto-oncogene. There are still many problems.

Good to know. Tissue engineering is not my current field of study--I only dabbled in it a few years ago in a sizable research project. Even then, I focused on Autologous sources for cardiovascular tissue. The fact that this was viral transduction sucks. However, I'm not convinced that the FDA would never approve it as long as it was safe. Gene Therapy is one example where testing is still being done with different forms of non-infectious viral vectors (And yes, I know all about the bad press that Gene therapy has gotten in the past and also the differences between the two fields). If purused cautiously and safely I don't think the fact that a virus was involved would be the nail in the coffin for this technology.

About the mouse feeder layers: I remember reading about research being done where the possibility of removing the dependence on a mouse feeder layer was investigated. http://www.jbc.org/cgi/content/abstract/283/39/26468
There are probably better papers out there that I haven't read, but again, this isn't my field so I'm not that familiar with the literature. It's using an artificial feeder layer to grow mouse SCs (not human I know, but the theory is the same)

Anyway, I'm just replying because I'm optimistic! This will happen eventually, and it will be a good day when it's usable in the real-world. :)
 
embryonic stems cells will unlikely ever be a MAJOR therapeutic agent in the US because of all the ethical and religious crap. but there's always iPSC
 
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