Archive for the ‘stem cells’ Category

From UGA, ‘fracture putty’ to heal broken bones

Amazing stuff, from this morning’s Athens Banner-Herald:

Broken bones could heal in weeks rather than months with the help of a new stem cell-containing gel that University of Georgia researchers have developed.

“We have a long way to go, but we think it’s promising,” said stem cell researcher Steve Stice, who is working with large-animal surgeon John Peroni, a professor in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

The discovery — which the scientists call “fracture putty” — mixes stem cells derived from bone marrow with a gel that can be applied to fractured bones

Note that said stem cells are derived from bone marrow, not human embryos.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Company behind Atlanta study pulls plug on stem cell research

The California-based company behind a pioneering experiment at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta – studying whether human embryonic stem cells can be used to repair spinal injuries — announced Monday it would halt the research and focus on developing two cancer drugs.

Geron was the first company ever permitted to conduct embryonic stem cell tests on humans. From McClatchy-Tribune News Service:

Although the company has sufficient finances to cover its cancer-drug costs over the next 20 months without having to raise more money, it noted in a news release, “this would not be possible if we continue to fund the stem cell programs at the current levels.”

…Besides the spinal research, Geron had been studying human embryonic stem cells as possible treatments for such ailments as diabetes, heart disease and cartilage repair. The company said it would attempt to seek “partners” to continue the research and “will retain a core group of employees from its stem cell operations” through …

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Your morning jolt: Patient in Shepherd stem cell experiment is an Alabama nursing student

Six months ago, scientists announced that a partially paralyzed patient at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta had become the first to be infused with a drug made from human embryonic stem cells.

The Washington Post this morning identifies the patient:

Recently, rumors began circulating in Internet chat rooms that details about the closely guarded experiment were finally about to be revealed.

Now, a 21-year-old Alabama nursing student who was paralyzed from the chest down in a car crash in September has come forward to identify himself as the volunteer.

“I was the first patient,” Timothy J. Atchison of Chatom, Ala., said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday evening. “I’m doing well.”

Atchison, known as T.J. to his family and friends, was a student at the University of South Alabama College of Nursing when his car crashed on Sept. 25, which, Atchison noted, was the birthday of Christopher Reeve, the actor who suffered a devastating spinal cord …

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David Ralston puts his stamp on his House

One year after he rose to his position, Speaker David Ralston on Friday put his imprint on the Georgia House of Representatives, ousting two prominent social conservatives from their chairmanships, and installing his own choice to lead the House’s budget committee.

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House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge

You’ll remember that Ralston took office in the chaotic aftermath of Speaker Glenn Richardson’s resignation in late 2009. Ralston left most of Richardson’s leadership in place.

Twelve months later, with the state budget still in crisis, Ralston’s replacement of Ben Harbin, R-Evans, a former Richardson lieutenant, with Terry England, R-Auburn, as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee is the most far-reaching of his decisions.

But social conservatives within the GOP – those who give priority to issues such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research – are buzzing about the removal Bill Hembree, R-Winston, as chairman of the all-powerful Rules Committee, …

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Metro Atlanta is now ground zero in stem cell debate

Congratulations. You and the rest of metro Atlanta have just become ground zero in a national debate over the limits of science and, not incidentally, when life begins.

The fight will pit Georgia’s largest and most powerful education institutions — and not a few sympathetic business heavyweights — against the conservative Christian base of a Republican party that rules the state.

AP Photo/Advanced Cell Technology

AP Photo/Advanced Cell Technology

One side will insist that souls are at stake. The other side will argue that there are lives to be saved. And jobs to be had.

“In some ways we missed the whole [microchip] revolution, job-wise and research-wise,” Michael Adams, president of the University of Georgia said in an interview this week. “I think this is an opportunity. For the good of the country, the good of people’s health and the economic development of the state, we need to press forward.”

The cauldron has been bubbling at the state Capitol for several years. The last fight was in 2009, …

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Shepherd Center becomes site for first human trial of embryonic stem cell treatment in U.S.

Atlanta has just become the point where embryonic stem cell research meets a human being in the United States. From the Washington Post:

The first patient has been treated with human embryonic stem cells in the first study authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to test the controversial therapy.

A patient who was partially paralyzed by a spinal cord injury had millions of embryonic stem cells injected into the site of the damage, according to an announcement early Monday by the Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., which is sponsoring the groundbreaking study.

The patient was treated at the Shepherd Center, a 132-bed hospital in Atlanta that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries, Geron said. The hospital is one of seven sites participating in the study, which is primarily aimed at testing whether the therapy is safe.

Doctors will, however, also conduct a series of specially designed tests to see whether the treatment helps the patients. No additional information …

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Federal judge blocks expansion of embryonic stem cell research

Look for this to have repercussions in Georgia. Support for embryonic stem cell research is one of the key policy differences between Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Nathan Deal in the race for governor:

Washington — A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked Obama administration regulations expanding stem cell research.

The nonprofit group Nightlight Christian Adoptions contends that the government’s new guidelines will decrease the number of human embryos available for adoption.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that the plaintiffs are entitled to bring their lawsuit in the courts.

A federal appeals court had ruled that two doctors who were among those bringing the lawsuit, adult stem cell researchers James Sherley of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute and Theresa Deisher of AVM Biotechnlogy, had the authority to do so, prompting Lamberth to reverse a decision he made last October.

Lamberth said that the injury of increased competition that Sherley and …

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Asked if she’s ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice,’ Carol Porter picks none-of-the-above

As the weekend broke, Democratic candidate for governor DuBose Porter let it be known that he should be considered “pro-life” when it comes to the issue of abortion.

It was not unexpected news, and arose from a discussion of biotech research at the University of Georgia.

Carol Porter, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Carol Porter, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

But the House minority leader from Dublin is only one half of a political couple on the July 20 primary ballot. There remained the question of how the husband’s point of view would reflect on Carol Porter, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

On Monday morning, we asked the Carol Porter campaign whether she supported a woman’s right to an abortion.

On Tuesday, a long explanation, penned by the candidate herself, arrived via e-mail. The brief essay said many things, and even came with a footnote. But it did not answer the question.

And in a phone conversation, Carol Porter declared that hers was not just a …

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The jolt is back: Candidates for governor duck talk about science and jobs

Last month, Georgia Bio invited Democratic and Republican candidates for governor to a pair of forums, where they could express their views on science and economic development before an assembly of the state’s scientists, academics and CEOs of bioresearch companies.

The consortium of research and business interests scheduled two dates at Kennesaw State University: May 20 for Democrats, and May 27 for Republicans.

The stampede of candidates has been less than thunderous.

On the Democratic side, only three have agreed to attend: Attorney General Thurbert Baker, who last week declared biotech to be an essential part of his jobs program; former National Guard commander David Poythress; and Ray City Mayor Carl Camon.

House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter and former Gov. Roy Barnes have yet to commit, even though the KSU event is in Barnes’ backyard.

Response from the GOP side has been even weaker. Only former congressman Nathan Deal has agreed to appear.

Charlie Craig, president of …

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Your morning jolt: We’ll talk about embryonic stem cells this year, House speaker says

House Speaker David Ralston just finished a drop-by at a breakfast reception hosted by Georgia Bio, a consortium of academic and business interests engaged in life science research.

The group has been the primary opponent of legislation such as S.B. 169, a bill to put limits on embryonic stem cell research – beyond the federal regulations recently recast by the Obama administration.

The bill passed the Senate last year, but never made it out of the House Science and Technology Committee.

Ralston’s appearance at Georgia Bio was brief and budget-oriented. But afterwards, the House speaker was asked whether S.B. 169 would move this session. Ralston could have said that he was too concentrated on the state’s financial problems to think about such things.

He did not. Said Ralston:

“I think this is an important discussion. I haven’t taken a position on that bill, or this group’s work. I think that’s something we can bring people to the table [on] and have a positive discussion. …

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