Stem cell initiatives advance in US state legislatures

A number of American states are playing catch-up now that California stem-cell scientists have a US$300 million-a-year kitty for their research. In Washington state, the lower house has passed a bill endorsing stem cell research, after emotional pleas from both sides. In Massachusetts, supporters of embryonic stem cell research have formed a coalition to lobby the government. Recent polls there appear to show that most voters support the controversial science.

Harvard University has also approved cloning human embryos for research led by scientists Kevin Eggan and Douglas Melton. If Massachusetts legalises the research, their experiments will proceed. The Provost, Dr… click here to read whole article and make comments

New Zealand approves genetic testing of human embryos

The New Zealand government will allow fertility clinics to perform pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for serious inherited disorders. The National Ethics Committee on Assisted Human Reproduction says that PGD for non-medical reasons is forbidden, including sex selection or altering the genetic constitution of an embryo. click here to read whole article and make comments

BRIEFS: Alzheimer’s; awards; sex selection; IVF

Alzheimer's: Although most scientists believe that stem cell transplants are highly unlikely to treat Alzheimer's disease successfully, the body's own stem cells might be harnessed to repair the damage it does to the brain. Dr Mark Mehler, a neurologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York says that it might be possible to activate stem cells which already exist in the brain. click here to read whole article and make comments


Happy 150th!This is the 150th issue of BioEdge. Since 2001, we have grown from a handful of subscribers in Australia to many hundreds around the world, including Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Our readership is broad and varied: from politicians to professional bioethicists; from doctors to teachers. But they all seem to share an interest in the impact of technology upon the human person.

If you'd like to join the party, please spread the word and help us increase our circulation. We'd like to reach 3,000 by the end of 2005.… click here to read whole article and make comments

Groningen protocol” for euthanasing infants published in NEJM

Dr Eduard Verhagen (New York Times) The Dutch doctors at the centre of an international controversy about euthanasing infants with extremely poor quality of life have used the New England Journal of Medicine to publicise their ticklist for determining when doctors can legitimately kill children with their parents' consent.

Dr Eduard Verhagen and his colleague Peter Sauer, of Groningen University Medical Center, say that 22 cases of infant euthanasia have been reported to district attorneys' offices in the Netherlands over the past seven years, all of which involved severe cases of spinal bifida. Although… click here to read whole article and make comments

European Parliament slams UK for ignoring egg trafficking

The European Parliament has singled out Britain in a stinging condemnation of a growing trade in human eggs. It has also called for an explanation of why investigators from the HFEA, the UK fertility authority, recently found no evidence of exploitation at an IVF centre in Bucharest, the GlobalArt Clinic, even though Romanian authorities recently closed it. GlobalArt has been supplying eggs from young Romanian women to markets in the UK, Israel and the US. The EP resolution also pointed out that the HFEA has published a consultation paper proposing that women be paid ?1,000 for eggs -- which would… click here to read whole article and make comments

Gullible Russians exploited by stem cell hucksters

Even though no stem cell treatment -- adult or embryonic -- has been approved for clinical use in the US or Europe, Russians are flocking to clinic and beauty therapists offering quick cures and cosmetic therapy. The Associated Press even spoke with a 40-year-old gynaecologist from Perm who spent US$20,000 on useless embryonic stem cell injections to cure her multiple sclerosis. (The average monthly wage in Russia is $300.) A clinic in central Moscow is advertising injections of stem cells from aborted foetuses into thighs, buttocks and stomachs to help women get rid of flab and look younger.

Experts say… click here to read whole article and make comments

Indian tsunami survivors seek sterilisation reversals and IVF

A tsunami survivor in Tamil Nadu (AFP)An unexpected twist to the tragedy of tsunami survivors in Tamil Nadu is men and women asking for their sterilisations to be reversed. The state government announced this week that families who lost all of their children would be offered free reversals. A local NGO says that more than 600 women and 100 men were eager to take advantage of the offer. Couples whose daughters survived are not eligible, so some are using compensation payments for the death of sons to pay for the reversals.

Couples are… click here to read whole article and make comments

Pig stem cells could replace human organs

Another solution for the growing lists of patients needing organ transplants is embryonic stem cells from pigs, Israeli scientists claim. Previous experiments with pig stem cells have failed, but the Israelis have now discovered why. Apparently the stem cells need to be transplanted within a certain window of time or the procedure will fail. Pig liver cells work best when transplanted at 28 embryonic days while lung cells worked best at 56 days.

When embryonic pig cells are used, there appear to be fewer problems with rejection, although scientists still fear that there is a possibility of transmitting porcine endogenous… click here to read whole article and make comments

Women criticise California stem cell institute

As California's Institute for Regenerative Medicine, created after a state referendum last year, gears up for therapeutic cloning, questions are being asked about where it will obtain the huge number of eggs it will need for its experiments. "Payment to these women for their eggs, even if it is considered reimbursement, would create an economic inducement for women to put themselves at risk," says Marcy Darnovsky, associate director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland. "This would be especially true for poor and young women." Francine Coeytaux, of the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research, complains that "this new… click here to read whole article and make comments

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