Life Script by Nicholas Wade, Senior Science Editor for The New York Times

December 29, 2001 Recommendation: Nicholas Wade, Life Script: How the Human Genome Discoveries Will Transform Medicine and Enhance Your Health (Simon & Schuster; ISBN: 0743216059 Hardcover - 204 pages; 2001). See especially the Chapters 5 and 6 entitled, "Regenerative Medicine" and "The Quest for Immortality," respectively (pp. 119-163). These chapters discuss the topic of telomerase in cell culture.

Editor's Note: The Publisher's List Price for this book is $24.00, but you can purchase it through the Resources Section of this website at the price of $16.80, which is even better than the "Library of Science Book Club" price of $18.95.

The following three books are also likely to be of interest:

1. Mark Ridley, The Cooperative Gene: How Mendel's Demon Explains the Evolution of Complex Being (The Free Press, New York; 2001).
Mark Ridley is a zoologist at Oxford University (not to be confused with his fellow countryman, Matt Ridley, a Science Editor who also writes on the topic of genomics [ Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters]) who says that "evolution of complex animals on the Earth was by no means inevitable and is, in fact, rather counterintuitive." In comparing Dawkins' notion of the "selfish" gene, Ridley doesn't mean to say that Dawkins is wrong. It's just that Dawkins notion is insufficient to explain how life could have evolved from simple, one-celled organisms to complex, highly-organized living systems that walk on, swim in, or fly over the Earth. Somewhere between the bacteria and us primates perhaps at about the stage of simple microscopic worms God did have to "play dice" (under the constraints of Natural Selection). How to channeling photonic-energy into such complexity using a chaotic mechanism is not obvious... But the only thing that has kept humans from evolving into a still more complex life form is our genetic mutation rate. The complexity of a species is the result of an evolutionary equilibrium between the raw DNA-polymerase mutation rate which facilitates the process of speciation (note that the absolute number of mutations increases with the size of the genome and ours is 3 Giga base pairs) on the one hand and the correctional mechanisms like post- copy proofreading or editing enzymes and the invention of sexual reproduction (with diploid chromosomes and Mendelian Inheritance [dominant/recessive genes]) on the other.

2. Michael Ruse and Aryne Sheppard, Eds., Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness? (Prometheus Books; Amhurst, New York; 2001).
Ian Wilmut, the father of Dolly, has a good paper at the beginning of this collection.

3.Collin Tudge, The Impact of the Gene: From Medel's Peas to Designer Babies (Hill and Wang, New York; 2000).

CNN Posts Video Clip on Life Expectancy for Americans

December 27, 2001; 1:00 PM EST; ( CNN) For a Video Clip on American Longevity (displayed in a "player" of your choice, like QuickTime or RealPlayer), click on For Your Health Video .

As we reported on October 10th in a News Item below, overall, Americans are living longer these days than they have in the past. According to the CDC, in 1999, Average Life Expectancy = 76.7 years, while in 2000, Average Life Expectancy increased to 76.9 years.

Life Expectancy" Researchers are getting closer to finding the genes that may be responsible for longevity. By studying siblings who have lived well into their 90's and beyond, scientists have been able to pinpoint a region on Chromosome 4 that may contain genes that influence aging.

Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) Secretes TGF-alpha as Diurnal Clock in the Brain

December 21, 2001 In daylight, signals from the SCN in the form of Transforming Growth Factor Alpha (TGF-alpha) act on the cognate receptors in the hypothalamus to inhibit locomotion in hampsters (nocturnal rodents who don't want to be moving around in daylight when predators might see them more easily) and function as a circadian clock. How does the SCN get its input? From the retina? Is melatonin from the Pineal Gland involved?


1. Achim Kramer, Fu-Chia Yang, Pamela Snodgrass, Xiaodong Li, Thomas E. Scammell, Fred C. Davis, and Charles J. Weitz, "Regulation of Daily Locomotor Activity and Sleep by Hypothalamic EGF Receptor Signaling," Science, Vol. 294, No.5551, pp. 2511-15 (December 21, 2001).

2. Marcia Barinaga, "A Time to Rest: Clock Signal Identified," Science, Vol. 294, No.5551, pp. 2454-5 (December 21, 2001).

Gene Therapy for Sickle-Cell Disease in Rodents

December 14, 2001 The mutation that causes Sickle-Cell Disease, a single change in a single base of one of the human hemoglobin genes, was the first human disease-causing genetic mutation described at the molecular level -- but the complexity of the regulation of the affected genes has long stymied attempts at gene therapy. In the December 14, 2001 issue of Science, however, Pawliuk, et al. from Harvard University and MIT reported the use of gene therapy to correct Sickle-Cell Disease in not one, but two different mouse models of the disease. They accomplished their goal by putting an anti-sickling form of the globin gene and a number of regulatory elements into a modified viral vector similar to HIV-1, inserting the vector into blood stem cells, and putting these cells into mice whose own bone marrow had been irradiated. After a few months, the mice showed modified blood stem cells which resisted sickling, and no evidence of the transgene was seen in other cells from the mice. Mice treated with the transgenic construct showed improvement in a number of characteristic symptoms, including enlarged spleens. Several daunting hurdles remain -- notably the possibly problematic safety of an HIV-1-like vector, and the need to eliminate unhealthy stem cells from the patient's bone marrow, which currently can be done only by life-threatening radiation therapy or chemotherapy. But if these problems can be ironed out, as is noted in an accompanying news story by E. Marshall, one of the investigators in the study "believes it might be possible to begin clinical trials within a few years."


1. Robert Pawliuk, Karen A. Westerman, Mary E. Fabry, Emmanuel Payen, Robert Tighe, Eric E. Bouhassira, Seetharama A. Acharya, James Ellis, Irving M. London, Connie J. Eaves, R. Keith Humphries, Yves Beuzard, Ronald L. Nagel, and Philippe Leboulch. "Correction of Sickle Cell Disease in Transgenic Mouse Models by Gene Therapy," Science, Vol. 294, No. 5550, pp. 2368-71 (December 14, 2001).
2. Laura Johannes, "Modified AIDS Virus Is Utilized for Blood-Cell Disorder in Mice," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B4 (December 14, 2001).
3. "Sickle-Cell Cured in Mice Reported in Gene Therapy," The Los Angeles Times (December 17, 2001).
4. N. Seppa, "Gene Therapy for Sickle-Cell Disease?," Science News, Vol. 160, No. 24, p. 372 (December 15, 2001).

GRG Editorial: Let's Defuse the Rhetoric by Sharpening Our Vocabulary

December 7, 2001; As ordinary English has proven itself to be inadequate to facilitate the Congressional debates that will soon be under way in the U.S. Senate, the GRG would like to recommend the following terminology whenever speaking about the distinction between Human Therapeutic Cloning and Reproductive Cloning, as follows:

1. A preembryo shall henceforth be defined as a pre-implantation zygote, during the first approximately ten days following conception, i.e., the fertilization of an ovum (a haploid [n] female gamete) by a sperm (a haploid [n] male gamete). A zygote contains a full [2n] complement of chromosomes [22x2 + XY or XX = 46] in every cell; in particular, a preembryo will normally develop by successive mitotic divisions starting with a single diploid cell into a multicellular blastocyst first by forming a morphological ball and later by invagination, that will subsequently contain several hundreds if not thousands of cells (including a large number of undifferentiated pleuripotent embryonic stem cells that are fated to form the tissues of the fetus).
2. The term embryo shall be reserved exclusively for a post-implantation preembryo, that has begun the process of placentation (formation of a placenta within the wall of the womb) accompanied by differentiation into three fundamentally different types of tissues ( endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm), with neural streak formation, and the beginnings of organogenesis (formation of a spinal cord).
3. The term fetus shall be reserved for a prenatal post-organogenesis embryo that has developed mature limbs (with visible digits [fingers and toes]), a beating heart, and other distinguishable features of a human face (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and so forth).
4. The term baby (or if you prefer: neonate) shall be reserved for a post-fetus that has been delivered either vaginally or by C-Section and whose umbilical cord has been or will soon be severed from its placenta.
5. The term person shall be reserved for an embryo whose fate has been unambiguously determined to be a single individual (by ultrasound or other visual means for examination). Note that a preembryo's fate could be multiparous (as with identical twining [of homogeneous gender]), in which case there would be two or more persons derived from a single preembryo. Conversely, note that, occasionally, two preembryos (fraternal twins) may result in a single person (through chimera formation), but this spontaneous event is extremely rare in nature.

The purpose of this terminology is to obviate the absurd, emotionally-charged religious debates that arise from statements of the form: "People begin at conception." (sic), which is obvious nonsense (completely inconsistent with the facts of biology). One might just as well say that "People begin with eggs or sperm" or "People begin with a 'twinkle in the eye of a man' who detects a nubile woman crossing his path." At what arbitrary point should we wish to punish persons for being disrespectful to (sentient) human persons? Although we cannot be sure of the precise point, it seems to make the most sense, on conservative grounds, to consider that, since preembryos can never be persons by the definitions above, we can never penalize someone for "killing" a preembryo on moral grounds. In the same sense that one cannot be charged with the crime of "killing" a dead person, one cannot be charged with the crime of deconstructing or a "killing" a preembryo. Linguistically speaking, the object of the verb kill is required to be either a person or a living animal for the word to even make sense in English. Just as one does not normally speak of killing a plant or a microorganism, except metaphorically, one cannot speak about "killing" a cluster of undifferentiated cells that are not yet a person. [ Editor's Note: Although these distinctions may appear to be "preaching to the choir," I am certain that these issues will arise in the Congressional debates that are now scheduled for the beginning of 2002. -- Steve Coles.]

What do Germ Cells Know that Somatic Cells Don't?

It can now be argued that, although the senescence of somatic cells in our bodies appears to be immutable, our germ-line cells (eggs and sperm) are, by definition, what gives sexually- reproducing species like ourselves their continuity over many hundreds of thousands of years. So it seems that our germ cells "know" something that our disposable somatic cells do not. Discovering the molecular basis for the immortality of germ-line cells and how their clocks can be reset through the process of fertilization and embryogenic development may well be crucial to our ultimate understanding of the aging process itself. [Of course, we know that both old eggs and old sperm (although sperm are always freshly made, we are speaking here of sperm produced by older males) do age statistically over time (as is well known to gynecologists/andrologists who specialize in the diagnosis of infertility), since older gametes do result in a higher rate of congenital defects among those that are successful, despite the fact that there are many "hoops" that all sperm must swim through to demonstrate their virility and, among other things, outcompete the potentially contemporaneous sperm of rivals.] Once the winning sperm penetrates an egg during fertilization (no matter what the age of the male donor) resulting in a successful pregnancy, the gametes can together perpetuate the species without an apparent degradation in quality over subsequent generations (in other words, we are not successive copies from a Xerox machine, rendering the 10,000th copy essentially illegible due to the classic problem of accumulating errors, given a fixed signal-to-noise ratio); and this appears to be true for all sexually-reproducing species. [Note that the biological process speciation itself (without which Homo sapiens would never have evolved from other {lower) species on the preexisting phylogenetic tree) depends on a non-zero mutation rate during DNA copying (enzymatic post- editing of freshly synthesized DNA does bring the rate to within one error per billion nucleotide replications, which, albeit small, is still "non-zero") which can help to explain many forms of somatic pathology, like oncogeneis, for example.]

The "resetting of the clock" may have to do with the membrane depolarization of the egg's surface (very similar, we imagine, to the depolarization of a neural axon with sodium/potassium channels) that serves to inhibit competing sperm from attempting multiple penetrations (the so- called problem of polyspermy [Curiously, in some species, polyspermy is physiological and not pathological.]) except that the electrical charge runs over the spherical surface from one pole to the other rather than linearly, as with the case of an axon. Alternatively, there is also an accompanying calcium "tsunami" that travels through the interior of the egg's cytoplasm (assumed to be rather like a seismic wave that travels through rather than over the surface of the Earth) that may be responsible for this "resetting." It may demethylate the nuclear DNA, disrupt the nuclear membrane temporarily, so that the sperm's DNA can co-mingle with the egg's DNA, and may also do something to reset the maternal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), for all we know.


1. Joannie Fischer, "The First Human Clone: How American Scientists Made History by Creating Lifesaving Embryo Cells. The Breakthrough Promises Cures for Terrible Diseases," U.S. News and World Report, Vol. 131, No. 23, pp. 50-63 (December 3, 2001).
2. Michael West, "Three Revolutions: Recominant DNA, Genomics, and Genetic Programming," The Second Annual Conference on Regenerative Medicine (Washington, D.C., December 2, 2001).
3. Tanja Dominko, "Progress on Nuclear Transfer in Primates," The Second Annual Conference on Regenerative Medicine (Washington, D.C., December 3, 2001).
4, Eliot Marshall and Gretchen Vogel, "Cloning Announcement Sparks Debate and Scientific Skepticism," Science, Vol. 294, No. 5548, pp. 1802-3 (November 30, 2001). Prof. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University reportedly told Reuters News Service that "ACT's announcment has caused congressional staffers to scuttle backstage talks on reaching a compromise on the use of embryos in research."
5. Harold Varmus, "The Weakness of Science for Profit," The New York Times, p. A23 (December 4, 2001).
6. Gregory Stock, "A Tempest in a Petri Dish," The Los Angeles Times, p. M1, 6 (December 2, 2001).
7. Four Letters to The Times, "Brave New World of Cloning," The Los Angeles Times, p. B25 (December 8, 2001).
8. "Human-Cloning Claim Creates Controversy," Science News, Vol. 160, p. 342 (December 1, 2001). William A. Haseltine, Editor of the Journal of Regenerative Medicine in which ACT detailed its experiments, defended the work as the beginning of a long-term effort to make replacement cells and tissues for people. He said, "This is not a big step; this is just the first step."
9. Hillary Rosner "Body and Soul: The First Great Bioethics Debate Began 2000 Years Ago with a Clash Between the Scalpel and the Cross," Wired, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 90-91 (January 2002).
10. "Why Human Clones Won't Work Yet," Discover Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 1, p. 64 (January 2002).
11. "The Waiting List for Clones," Discover Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 1, p. 68 (January 2002).
12. Natalie Angier, "Defining the Undefinable: Being Alive," The New York Times, pp. D1, 6 (December 18, 2001).
13. Nicholas Wade, "Dr. William A. Haeltine: Apostle of Regenerative Medicine Foresees Longer Health and Life," The New York Times p. D5 (December 18, 2001).
14. Gretchen Vogel, "Germany Dithers Over Stem Cells, While Sweden Gives Green Light," Science, Vol. 294, No. 5550, p. 2262 (December 14, 2001).
15. Bryn Nelson, "Cell Therapy Hinges on Beating Rejection," The Los Angeles Times, p. S4 (December 31, 2001).
16. Reuters, "Monkey Embryos Grown from Eggs," The Los Angeles Times, p. A20 (December 3, 2001).
17. Reuters, "Monkey Eggs Grow Into Embryos in Experiment," The Washington Post, p. A7 (December 3, 2001).
18. Benedict Carey, Many Facets of Cloning Debate Are Accessible," The Los Angeles Times, p. S2 (December 3, 2001). For example, The Public Human Genome Project and the Human Cloning Foundation are two such sites.
19. Editorial, "Frontiers of Cloning," The Los Angeles Times, p. A20 (November 27, 2001).
20. Antonio Regalado, "Group Seeks Massachusetts Probe of Cloning Experiments' Legality," The Wall Street Journal, p. B6 (November 30, 2001).
21. Gautam Naik, "In Two Separate Studies, Human Stem Cells Are Used to Generate Brain Tissue in Mice," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1, B14 (December 3, 2001). Cites articles in Nature Biotechnology (2001).
22. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Senate Declines to Take Up Proposed Cloning Moratorium," The New York Times, pp. A1, 12 (December 4, 2001).
23. "GOP Effort to Force Action on Oil, Clonoing Collapses," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 6 (December 4, 2001).
24. Helen Dewar, "Energy, Cloning Fights Sidetracked: Fearing Defeat, Senate GOP Votes to Delay Showdowns," The Washington Post (December 4, 2001).
25. Abigail Trafford, "Second Opinion: Cloning Hysteria," The Washington Post, p. F1,11 (December 4, 2001).
26. Tom Graham, "Virginia Clinic is Mum on 'Success Rate'," The Washington Post, p. F6 (December 4, 2001).
27. "Many Costs to Bear: Women Who Donate Eggs to Infertile Couples Earn a Reward But Pay a Price," The Washington Post, pp. F1, 6 (December 4, 2001).
28. Aaron Zitner, "Cloning Advocates Fights the Clock on Capitol Hill: Bush Called Firm's Work 'Morally Wrong,' House, Senate Tried to Ban Procedure," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 20 (December 4, 2001).
29. Aaron Zitner, "Seven Senators Back Legal Human Cloning for Research," The Los Angeles Times, pp.A1, 23 (December 5, 2001).
30. Jill Carroll and Antonio Regalado, "Congress Urged Not to Enact Cloning Ban," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B9 (December 5, 2001).
31. "Scientist Makes the Case for Cloning," USA Today, p. 8D (December 5, 2001). Dr. Michael West says, "Therapeutic Cloning is Needed."
32. Stahler, "Political Cartoon," USA Today, p. 15A (December 5, 2001). Boy asks his Mother, "How can there be more than one Santa?" Mother answers Son, "Cloning Dear."
33. Denise Gellene, "Biotech Companies Trying to Milk Cloning for Profit," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, C1,4 (December 16, 2001). Infigen and ACT are suing each other over the terms of a confidential patent settlement. On the moral front, some livestock owners are deeply conservative and are uncomfortable with cloning. "There are people who think that this is something you don't taper with." Yet, according to one dairy farmer, Mr. Robert Schauf, in the Bible it says, "God gave man dominion over the animals, and God gave [scientists] the ability to figure [cloning] out. That's my feeling."
34. Gina Kolata, "In Cloning, Failure Far Exceeds Success," The New York Times, pp. S1, 4 (December 11, 2001).

Reliability Theory Can Be Used to Explain the Aging and Longevity of Species

December 7, 2001; For those less-mathematically-challenged anti-aging researchers, you may want to take a look at new paper by Leonid A. Gavrilov and Natalia S. Gavrilova, "The Reliability Theory of Aging and Longevity," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 213, No. 4, pp. 527-545 (2001). The Abstract of this article is already available at: in PDF format.

The article attempts to take a fresh look at the problem of aging and to provide new perspectives in the search for life-extending interventions. The full text of article will be available online at the Ideal Library after December 21st.

UK Bans Human [Reproductive] Cloning

December 4, 2001; London, UK; British lawmakers will ban human reproductive but not therapeutic cloning. The Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 was rushed through Parliament after a High Court decision that the government had no control over the use of embryos created by cloning.


ED, "UK Bans Reproductive Cloning," Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 20, No. 1, p. 9 (January 2002).

Click for more details .

ACT Clones Human Embryos Using Two Different Methods, One to the Six-Cell Stage

Dr. Michael West, CEO, ACT
November 25, 2001; Worcester, MA (AP) - - A Massachusetts company says it has made modern medical history by cloning a human embryo for the first time ever. Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts insists it's not aiming to create human beings, but rather to harvest embryos for stem cells used to treat disease. "Our intention is to make lifesaving therapies for a wide range of human-disease conditions," said Dr. Robert Lanza, ACT's President of Medical and Scientific Development. "Those include diabetes, stroke, cancer, AIDS, and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases," he said. Click on the photo of Dr. Michael West above for more details from CNN. Also, click for the Abstract of their preliminary seven-page paper published in the on-line E-Biomed: Journal of Regenerative Medicine. Finally, click for the next day's shocked reactions from around the world compiled by CNN.

1. Aaron Zitner, "U.S. Scientists Use Cloning to Create Human Embryos," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 12 (November 26, 2001).
2. Science File, "Stem Cell Studies' Bizarre Start," The Los Angeles Times, p. A10 (November 26, 2001).
3. Antonio Regalado, Laurie McGinley, Jill Carroll, and Gautam Naik, "Stem-Cell Researchers Make Cloned Embryos of a Living Human," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A8 (November 26, 2001).

Scientific American 2002

Click on the Image below for the text-only portion of this article

4. Cover Article, Exclusive Report, "The First Human Clone The Clone Makers Tell Their Story," Scientific American, pp. 44-51 (January 2002).
Regarding the distinction between Therapeutic and Reproductive Cloning, Dr. West stated in this article that "Due to potential health risks Reproductive Cloning is 'unwarranted at this time' and 'should be restricted' until the safety and ethical issues surrounding it are resolved."
5. Aaron Zitner, "2 Cloning Studies Could Mute Critics' Safety Fears: Callte in Tests Survivied at Rates Similar to Those Born Through Accepted Methods," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 48, 49 (November 23, 2001).
6. Antonio Regalado, Gautam Naik, and Jull Carroll, "Study Finds That Cloned Cattle That Live to Adulthood Are Normal: Research Could Play a Role as FDA Ponders Regulations; Some Question the Findings," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, 5 (November 23, 2001).
7. Gina Kolata and Andrew Pollack, "A Breakthrough on Cloning? Perphaps, or Perhaps Not Yet," The New York Times, pp. A1, 12 (November 27, 2001). Another article by Gina Kolata "Human Embryos Cloned: Cells Die Soon After," was reprinted in The Los Angeles Daily News pp. 1, 8 (November 26, 2001). Dr. Anthony Perry formerly with the University of Hawaii and who pioneered the "Honolulu technique" for cloning mice said, "Cloning is as much of an art as a science. Some people develop a feel for the work, while others, no matter how hard they try, never get very good at it. It requires fine hand-eye coordination and constant practice under the microscope." For example, he reportedly worked on his technique ten hours-a-day seven days-a-week for months before he got reasonably good. "If you stop practicing even for two weeks, you tend to get rusty," he said.
8. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Bush Denounces Cloning and Calls for Ban: New Research Puts Pressure on Senate to Act on a Divisive Issue," The New York Times, p. A12 (November 27, 2001).
9. Nick Anderson and James Gerstenzang, "Human Cloning Success Startles Lawmakers: Some Urge Quick Senate Debate on Issue; Others Call for Deliberations, President Sides with Foes," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 13 (November 27, 2001).
10. Michael Ramirez, Political Cartoon, Three White-Coated Mad Scientists Are Stabbing a Newborn Baby on the Alter of "SCIENCE," One Says, "You Lucky Guy You, We Are Sacrificing You to the God of Immortality," p. B11 (November 27, 2001).
11. Megan Garvey, "Cloned Embryo Use Is Debated: Scientist Involved in the Latest Advance Says He Sees [therapeutic cloning] as [Synthesizing Pharmaceuticals], Not the Creation of Human Beings," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A2, 16 (November 28, 2001). Dr. Jose Cibelli of ACT presented a report to the National Research Council yesterday in Washington, D.C. on their work on human therapeutic cloning. He said, "If cloning works properly, it will reset the 'clock.' Imagine having a brand new [healthy juvenile] immune system starting up in your 70s." However, others said, "That's just a fantasy." Cibelli reposted, "We haven't promised that people would live forever."
12. "The U.S. Senate Is in No Rush to Ban Cloning." Click for details from Associated Press.
13. Lead Editorial, "Far Cry from Frankenstein," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (November 28, 2001). "...But the researchers at ACT are not the evil Dr. Frankensteins that some legislators are making them out to be. As Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-PA) pointed out in a Congressional debate about cloning two months ago, "Some will say, 'But wait a minute, once you put [my] cheek cell into this empty cell and it divides, we have a soul.' ... That's ridiculous.""
14. Alexander M. Capron, "Stop, Think, But Don't Ban Cloning: A Moratorium Makes More Sense," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (November 28, 2001). "Genetic problems occur when an embryo gets its start through cloning rather than sexual fertilization... Rather than a flat ban [as the House of Representatives recommended last July], a five-year ... moratorium would allow further knowledge to be accumulated about mammalian cloning as well as serious, sustained reflection about the sort of world that human cloning could engender... Also, a moratorium should reassure researchers and patient advocates that if it becomes apparent that laboratory cloning is essential to achieving important therapeutic goals, that the door has not been forever closed." [ Editor's Note: See the GRG Editorial further down this page on March 5th, when we proposed essentially the same moratorium more than six months ago.]
15. Margulies, Political Cartoon, The New Jersey Record, reprinted in the The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (November 28, 2001). A patient says to his psychiatrist, "My parents always liked my clone better..."
16. Denise Gellene and Elizabeth Mehren, "Human-Cloning Firm Received Federal Aid," The Los Angeles Times, pp. C1, 12 (November 29, 2001).
17. "Human-Cloning Claim Creates Controversy," Science News, Vol. 160, p. 341 (December 1, 2001).
18. John Travis, "Dolly Was Lucky: Scientists Warn that Cloning is Too Dangerous for People," Science News, Vol. 160, No. 16, pp. 250-1 (October 20, 2001).
19. "Mouflon: A Rare Sheep Is Cloned from a Dead Donor," Science News, Vol. 160, No. 16, p. 252 (October 20, 2001).
20. Robert P. Lanza, Jose B. Cibelli, David Faber, Raymond W. Sweeny, Boyd Henderson, Wendy Nevala, Michael D. West, Peter J. Wettstein, "Cloned Cattle Can Be Healthy and Normal," Science, Vol. 294, No. 5548, pp. 1893-4 (November 30, 2001). 21. Eliot Marshall and Gretchen Vogel, "Cloning Announcement Sparks Debate and Scientific Skepticism," Science, Vol. 294, No. 5548, pp. 1802-3 (November 30, 2001).
Dr. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University told Reuters that the effect of this announcement was "to scuttle backstage talks among congressional staffers on how to reach a compromise on the use of embryos in research."
22. David Magnus and Arthur Caplan, "NAS Cloning Hearing Disappoints Participants," Science, Vol. 294, No. 5547, p. 1651 (November 23, 2001).
23. Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., "The Political Issue of 'Human Cloning'," (August 28, 2001), p. 4, 21st Century (Fall 2001).
24. Vicki Glaser, "Regenerative Medicine: Developments Pursued Despite Ongoing Political Debate," Genetic Engineering News, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 1, 42, 54, 59 (January 1, 2002).
25. John F. Wong, "Storm Clouds Brewing for Cloning and Stem Cells," Genetic Engineering News, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 47, 54 (January 1, 2002).
"Experts in the field of reproductive biology questioned the real motives behind ACT's Announcement, since they viewed it as non-innovative and merely as an act to gain notoriety... This was simply a ploy to create a media event and thereby attract new investors in its upcoming find-raising effort."

Stem Cell Therapy for the Heart

November 14, 2001; Anaheim, CA ( WSJ) Two recent reports at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association give credence to the hypothesis that autologous adult stem cells (harvested from the thigh) can be used to repair damage to heart muscle following an MI. Dr. Philippe Menache, a researcher at Hospital Bichat in Paris, reported on a trial of seven patients, while Dr. Serruys, supported by BioHeart, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale and Mt. Sinai Medical Center of New York, reported on one patient whose Ejection Fraction following treatment improved from 39 to 45 percent. Ref. Ron Winslow, "Gene Therapy in Heart Studies Shows Promise," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B7 (November 14, 2001).

Antioxidants Extend Lifespan of Genetically-Engineered Mice

November 6, 2001; As reported in the November 1st issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, Dr. Simon Melov at the Buck Institute in Novato, California has extended the work he did on nematodes to genetically engineered mice. Click for the Abstract and more details.

NIH Stem Cell Registry to Be Posted Within a Week

November 1, 2001; 14:50 EST ( The New York Times) The Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Registry, cataloguing human stem cells available to US researchers, should be available online to scientists and the public within a week, said National Institutes of Health (NIH) official Wendy Baldwin today at a Senate Subcommittee hearing. Scientists and advocates of stem-cell research have become irritated with the government's delay in posting the registry, noting that researchers cannot draft financing applications without the information.

Baldwin said the delays were the result of a national disruption of government after the September 11th terrorist attacks. She said the NIH expects to begin funding research early next year. She also told the subcommittee that "government representatives visited the ten laboratories in the five countries that developed the lines, to talk about making the lines available for research." "The registry is 99.9 percent done," said Baldwin. "We are crossing the t's and dotting the i's to make sure we have everything right before it goes up."

November 7, 2001; Click for the final Registry .

November 8, 2001 Refs.
1. Aaron Zitner, "Stem Cell Studies Vie for Federal Backing," The Los Angeles Times, p. A32 (November 8, 2001);
2. Antonio Regalado, "NIH Registry Sets Stem-Cells Eligible for U.S. Funding," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B2 (November 8, 2001);
3. Andrew Pollack, "New Work May Provide Stem Cells While Taking Baby From Equation," The New York Times, p. D3 (November 6, 2001). This third article speculates about the prospects for parthenogensis [embryogenesis without prior fertilization]. Although a parthenote [an embryo resulting from parthenogenesis] would normally be female because one must start by chemically or electrically stimulating an egg, the procedure could be designed to produce male parthenotes as well, by using techniques involved in therapeutic cloning by first enucleating the egg and reinserting chromosomes from an adult male nucleus or from two identical sperm [and even male/male pathenotes from two different sperm donors (or fathers)]. Dr. Michael West, CEO of Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, MA) was asked by the reporter if any of these speculations had been attempted in humans, but he tactfully replied that he "didn't want to discuss human experiments at this time, lest he jeopardize an upcoming publication in a scientific journal. [ Editor's Note: To my knowledge, no such experiments have been reported in the scientific literature as of this date, although, for other mammals, female parthenotes were first produced for mice and rabbits more than ten years ago, and, for frogs, parthenogenesis was accomplished in the 1950s at Oxford University in England.].

Curis Corp. Employs Adult Stem Cells

October 26, 2001 ( HMS Beagle) Curis Corp. of Cambridge, Massachusetts attempts to harness adult stem cells. Click for more details.

Puffer Fish Genome Sequenced

October 26, 2001( New Scientist) -- As reported last Friday at the International Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference in San Diego, the Fugu rubripes needs only 365 million BPs to encode its complete genome, one-eighth of the 3 billion BPs needed for the human genome. With less DNA to sift through, researchers hope to be able to find genes and other important DNA sequences in fugu fairly easily, and then apply what they-ve learned to hunt down genes in human DNA. Ref. The New York Times, p. D4 (October 30, 2001). Click on the photo Puffer Fish for more details.

Parkinson's Disease Slowed in Mice

October 25, 2001; As published in today's issue of Neuron, click for more details.

Senescent Cells May Be the Cause of Cancer in Mice

October 20, 2001, Berkeley, CA -- Dr. Judith Campisi, one of our speakers earlier this year, has just published a paper in the latest issue of PNAS with colleagues regarding the hypothesis of antagonistic pleiotropy for senescent cells with respect to cancer in mice. In other words, it is suggested that certain features of senescence may protect against cancer in early life but make things worse in old age. This hypothesis is certainly consistent with the observed exponential rise in the incidence of cancer starting at older ages. Ref. "Aging Cells May Promote Tumors Nearby," Science News, Vol. 160, p. 214 (October 6, 2001). Click for the Abstract.

AAAS Creates a New Website Devoted to Gerontology

October 19, 2001 (AAAS) Science Magazine has created a Virtual Journal for Gerontologists on one of their website pages. This Virtual Journal is a searchable database of more than 29,000 (and growing) Literature Citations and Abstracts relevant to the field of Aging. A finely-tuned computer-search algorithm selects articles of interest for inclusion. As the Editors prune and graft entries each week, the program learns to execute more effective searches. It is updated daily, and one can browse its content by subject, by journal, or by date.

The following text explains their Flower Logo... "In Chinese Buddhism, the Lotus or sea rose symbolizes both immortality and purity. The fruit, flower, and stalk of the plant represent the past, present, and future. In the SAGE KE logo, the flower is in full bloom. The bursting petals and leaves encircle a human face to illustrate life at its fullest potential pushing mortality to its limits. The design also embodies the notion of a pure existence, of living in the best way possible."

Dr. George M. Martin, Professor of Pathology, Adjunct Professor of Genetics, and Associate Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, University of Washington in Seattle,.serves as Editor-in-chief of this site. He has assembled a team of 38 professional to help, including some well-known names in the field...

Prof. Steven Austad, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho;

Dr. Judith Campisi, Head of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories;

Prof. Leonard P. Guarente, Novartis Professor of Biology, MIT;

Prof. Tom Kirkwood, Chairman of the Department of Gerontology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne;

Prof. Richard A. Miller, Department of Pathology and Associate Director for Research, University of Michigan Geriatrics Center in Ann Arbor; and

Prof. Phyllis M. Wise, Chairperson, Department of Physiology, University of Kentucky in Louisville.

Click on Science of Aging/Knowledge Environment for more details.

CDC Reports US Life Expectancy Rises Again in 2000

October 10, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, overall U.S. life expectancy at birth in the year 2000 has now reached a record high of 76.9 years. The number of infant deaths fell to 6.9 per 1,000 live births, down from 7.1 per 1,000 the year before. On the other hand, "a person who was 65 in 2000 is likely live another 17.9 years," according to the CDC report. The order of the leading killers in America has not changed: (1) heart disease; (2) cancer; (3) stroke; (4) respiratory diseases; and (5) accidents. Homicide, however, fell from 14th to 15th on the list swapped with Aspiration Pneumonia.

The rise in life expectancy in the last century has been dramatic. An individual born in 1900 could expect to live to be only a little beyond 47 years. The mortality data are obtained from death certificates by physicians, medical examiners, and coroners, and reported to state Vital Statistics Offices.

Refs. Marlene Cimons, "Life Expectancy Has Risen in U.S., Health Experts Say," The Los Angeles Times, p. A30 (October 10, 2001) and "Average U.S. Life Expectancy Has Risen to a Record 76.9 Years for Someone Born in 2000," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (October 11, 2001).

2001 Nobel Prize for Medicine Awarded

October 9, 2001; Drs. Leland H. Hartwell (University of Washington in Seattle [who went to CalTech in his early years]), Timothy Hunt (Imperial Cancer Research Fund of the UK), and Sir Paul M Nurse (Director General of the Fund in London, UK) have just won this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine for their pioneering work on the early protein signals that initiate the cell cycle (Cyclin-Dependent Kinase-1 [CDK-1]) that seems to occur in the cells of all organisms from yeast to mammals.

(AP) -- Cancer-cell pioneers Leland Hartwell of the United States and Britons Tim Hunt and Paul Nurse won the 2001 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine on Monday. "They share the prestigious $1 million award for groundbreaking research that could help find a cure for cancer, one of the biggest killers in the developed world," Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

The 70 billion cells that make up every human being must grow and divide to replace worn-out cells. Normally this process is steady and controlled, but cancer results when renegade cells start to grow and divide out of control. Hartwell, Hunt, and Nurse made breakthroughs in understanding how cells control their division, a stepping stone to finding out why some go haywire and turn into deadly tumors.

"This is the basic information on how cells divide vital information for future treatment of most sorts of cancer," Karolinska Institute Professor and cancer expert Ulrik Ringborg told a news conference. Hartwell discovered a class of genes that oversees the cell cycle. Hunt worked on special molecules that work like an engine for cell division, and he shed light on proteins that act like a gearbox to control the speed of growth. "This is a fundamental discovery important for anything that grows," said Anders Zetterberg, a Professor at Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital.


1. Robert Lee Hotz, "Seattle Geneticist WIns Nobel for Work on Cell Division," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 25 (October 9, 2001).
2. Lawrence K. Altman, "3 Share Nobel for Their Molecular Studies," The New York Times, p. A14 (October 9, 2001).
3. Gautam Naik, "American, 2 Britons Win Medicine Prize," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B15 (October 9, 2001).

The Human Body in IMAX Format

Developing Hand After Web Apoptosis
Discovery Pictures, the BBC (British Broadcast Corp.) Worldwide, TLC (The Learning Channel), NSF (National Science Foundation), The Science Museum of London, and the Maryland Science Center have produced a superb IMAX Movie entitled "The Human Body." See it in Los Angeles starting October 6th at the California Science Center near USC. See their website for details at .

Geron Develops Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Lines Without the Need for an Under Layer of Mouse "Feeder" Cells

October 2, 2001 ( WSJ, p. B6) After filing appropriate patents, Geron Corp. will publish in the next issue of Nature Biotechnology a means for growing Human Embryonic Stem Cells without having to use a layer of mouse cells ("feeder" cells) in the culture. Before it was solved, this obstacle would have prevented FDA approval of clinical trials of stem-cell based treatments in humans. Although Geron has managed to grow human stem cells in an organic medium free of mouse cells, the medium is initially "conditioned" by contact with mouse fibroblasts. Geron states that its world-wide patent filing on this new technique will position it to develop an industrial-scale production process for human stem cells.

Two Recent PNAS Papers on the Capacity of the Rodent Heart to Repair and Regenerate

G. Condorelli*, U. Borello [1], L. De Angelis [1], M. Latronico*, D. Sirabella [1], M. Coletta [1], R. Galli, G. Balconi [1], A. Follenzi, G. Frati*, M. G. Cusella De Angelis**, L. Gioglio**, S Amuchastegui, L. Adorini, L. Naldini, A.Vescovi, E. Dejana [1],[2], and G. Cossu [1],[3], "Cardiomyocytes Induce Endothelial Cells to Trans-Differentiate into Cardiac Muscle Implications for Myocardium Regeneration," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 98, Issue 19, pp.10733-8 (September 11, 2001).

* Secondary Medical School, University La Sapienza and Istituti di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS), Neuromed, 00100 Rome, ITALY;
Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107; USA.
Stem Cell Research Institute, Ospedale San Raffaele, 20132 Milan, ITALY;
[1] Department of Histology and Medical Embryology, University La Sapienza, 00161 Rome, ITALY;
[2] Mario Negri Institute, 20157 Milan, Italy; Gene Transfer and Therapy, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, Candiolo, 10100 Turin, ITALY;
** Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Pavia, 27100 Pavia, ITALY;
Roche Milano Ricerche, 20132 Milan, ITALY;
Fondazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (FIRC) Institute of Molecular Oncology, 20129 Milan, ITALY; and
[3] Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Insubria, 21100 Varese, ITALY

Edited by John B. Gurdon, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, and approved July 16, 2001
(received for review May 2, 2001)


The concept of tissue-restricted differentiation of postnatal stem cells has been challenged by recent evidence showing pluripotency for hematopoietic, mesenchymal, and neural stem cells. Furthermore, rare but well documented examples exist of already differentiated cells in developing mammals that change fate and trans-differentiate into another cell type. Here, we report that endothelial cells, either freshly isolated from embryonic vessels or established as homogenous cells in culture, differentiate into beating cardiomyocytes and express cardiac markers when cocultured with neonatal rat cardiomyocytes or when injected into postischemic adult mouse heart. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells also differentiate into cardiomyocytes under similar experimental conditions and transiently coexpress von Willebrand factor and sarcomeric myosin. In contrast, neural stem cells, which efficiently differentiate into skeletal muscle, differentiate into cardiomyocytes at a low rate. Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 and Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4, which activate cardiac differentiation in embryonic cells, do not activate cardiogenesis in endothelial cells or stimulate trans-differentiation in coculture, suggesting that different signaling molecules are responsible for cardiac induction during embryogenesis and in successive periods of development. The fact that endothelial cells can generate cardiomyocytes sheds additional light on the plasticity of endothelial cells during development and opens perspectives for cell autologous replacement therapies.

[3] To whom reprint requests should be sent at the [1] address. E-mail:

2nd PNAS Paper from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia

John M. Leferovich*, Khamilia Bedelbaeva*, Stefan Samulewicz*, Xiang-Ming Zhang*, Donna Zwas, Edward B. Lankford, and Ellen Heber-Katz*,**, "Heart Regeneration in Adult MRL Mice," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 98, Issue 17, pp. 9830-5 (August 14, 2001).

* The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104; and Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107; USA.

Communicated by Hilary Koprowski, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, June 29, 2001
(received for review April 20, 2001)


The reaction of cardiac tissue to acute injury involves interacting cascades of cellular and molecular responses that encompass inflammation, hormonal signaling, extracellular matrix remodeling, and compensatory adaptation of myocytes. Myocardial regeneration is observed in amphibians, whereas scar formation characterizes cardiac ventricular wound healing in a variety of mammalian injury models. We have previously shown that the MRL mouse strain has an extraordinary capacity to heal surgical wounds, a complex trait that maps to at least seven genetic loci. Here, we extend these studies to cardiac wounds and demonstrate that a severe transmural, cryogenically-induced infarction of the right ventricle heals extensively within 60 days, with the restoration of normal myocardium and function. Scarring is markedly reduced in MRL mice compared with C57BL/6 mice, consistent with both the reduced hydroxyproline levels seen after injury and an elevated cardiomyocyte mitotic index of [10 - 20] percent for the MRL compared with [1 - 3] percent for the C57BL/6. The myocardial response to injury observed in these mice resembles the regenerative process seen in amphibians.

** To whom reprint requests should be addressed. E-mail:

Nobel Laureate, Paul Berg Asks NIH to Implement Quick Approval for Federal Funding of Stem-Cell Research

September 14, 2001; Stanford, CA; Paul Berg, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Stanford University Medical School said in today's Editorial in Science that "It is especially critical for NIH to expedite the process of soliciting and evaluating requests for funding of this research. Delay in implementing the approval and funding process will only blunt what positive effect the President's action has. In the end, strongly grounded basic research, not rhetoric, will be essential to achieve the therapeutic promise of hES cells."


1. Paul Berg, "Progress with Stem Cells: Stuck or Unstuck?" Science, Vol. 293, No. 5537, p. 1953 (September 14, 2001).

2. Constance Holden, "HHS Inks Cell Deal; NAS Calls for More Lines," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5537, pp. 1966-7 (September 14, 2001).

Female Thymus Gland May Contribute to Women's Longevity

September 13, 2001; London, UK; Click for more details .

Scientists Successfully Transfer Gene from Jellyfish to Monkey

September 13, 2001; Madison, WI (AP) University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers put a jellyfish gene into a monkey embryo and got the foreign gene to work in the placenta -- a scientific first and a step closer to making a primate that's a true hybrid of two species. The goal isn't to make a monkey that swims, a fish that has fur, or some other freakish, science-fictional creature [ Editor's Note: I believe that the writer is searching for the word chimera]. Instead, researchers want to make hybrids because by swapping genes in an animal they can determine which genes cause or cure a disease, or whether altering or replacing a defective gene will help. For example, the UW team has been studying the placenta -- the clump of tissue that connects the fetus to the mother and nourishes it throughout pregnancy. By swapping genes, they hope to learn what causes miscarriages and a host of pregnancy complications.

The National Academy of Sciences Urges Increased Supply of Stem Cell Lines

September 11, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) The National Academy of Sciences has released a 71-page report today entitled Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine co-authored by the following:

Prof. Bert Vogelstein, M.D. (Chairman of the Committee on the Biological and Biomedical Applications of Stem Cell Research), Department of Oncology and Pathology at Johns Hopkins University
Prof. Barry R. Bloom, Ph.D., Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard School of Public Health
Prof. Corey S. Goodman, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley
Prof. Patricia A. King, J.D., a medical ethicist at the Georgetown University Law Center
Prof. Guy M. McKhann, M.D., a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University
Prof. Myron L. Weisfeldt, M.D., a cardiologist and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and
Prof. Kathleen R. Merikangas, Ph.D., School of Medicine, Yale University

that calls for the development of new embryonic cell lines and also boldly endorses therapeutic cloning as a potential means to overcome the immune rejection of stem cells when introduced into human beings with the aim of reversing age-related diseases. The Recommendation for Finding 7 (p. 38) states: "In conjunction with research on stem- cell biology and the development of potential stem-cell therapies, research on approaches that prevent immune rejection of stem cells and stem-cell-derived tissues should be actively pursued. These scientific efforts include the use of a number of techniques to manipulate the genetic makeup of stem cells, including Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT).

The Report goes on to state, "Public funding of research on human stem cells derived from both adults and embryos provides the most efficient and responsible means to fulfill the promise of stem cells for achieving medical breakthroughs." [ Editor's Note: The report was written and reviewed before President Bush made his announcement on August 9th and was not revised in response to his decision.]

The full report may be read in PDF format at the NAS website []. Audio files of the speakers' presentations from the Special Workshop on "Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine" held in Washington, D.C. on June 22, 2001 may be found at the workshop website at Workshop speakers included

Dr. Fred Gage, Ph.D. of the Salk Institute in San Diego, CA
Dr. Ronald McKay, M.D. of the NIH in Bethesda, MD
Dr. Tom O'Karma, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Geron Corp. in Menlo Park, CA
Dr. James A. Thomson, DVM, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and
Dr. Irving L. Weissman, M.D., of Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, CA.

See also Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Scientists Urge Bigger Supply of Stem Cells: Report Backs Cloning to Create New Lines," The New York Times, pp. A1, A16 (September 11, 2001); "Science Academy Report Cites Need for Additional Cell Lines," The Los Angeles Times, p. A8 (September 11, 2001); "More Stem-Cell Lines Need To Be Generated, Panel of Scientists Say," The Wall Street Journal, p. A16 (September 12, 2001); Editorial, "The Politics of Principles," Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 19, p. 789 (September 2001); Editorial, "US Deliberates on Embryonic Sem Cells, Cloning," Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 19, p. 791 (September 2001); Constance Holden, "NIH's List of 64 Leaves Questions," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5535, p. 1567 (August 31, 2001); and Gail Dutton, "Advancing Stem-Cell Research: Bioindustry Assesses Options in Wake of Presidential Ban on Establishing New Cell Lines," Genetic Engineering News, pp. 1, 70, 87.

[ Editor's: Note: The next official NAS Report on Human Cloning that was Chaired by Dr. Weissman (see review below on August 7th) is expected to be available by the end of October.]

September 10, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) During an interview on Friday on CBS's "The Early Show," First Lady Laura Bush offered the following observations about stem-cell research...

"I believe that the President has made a wise decision on stem-cell research and that there are enough stem-cell lines for meaningful study. Of course what people didn't seem to realize was that what he talked about was the Federal funding of stem-cell research. There's also private funding of stem-cell research that can go on concurrently," she said.

The Administration this week said fewer than half of the 60-odd colonies of human embryonic stem-cell lines approved for government-funded study are fully developed and suitable for research.

Fetal Tissue Safely Implanted into Human Spinal Cord

September 10, 2001; Gainsville, FL ( NYT) As published in today's issue of the journal Neurotrauma , Dr. Richard G. Fessler, formerly with the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida and now with the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch has grafted about a teaspoonful of fetal tissue into the spinal cords of nine human patients and used MRI evidence as a proof of safety for their technique. See Diane Chun, "Fetal Tissue Implanted Safely, Doctors Say," The New York Times, p. D8 (September 11, 2001). Click for more details.

Human Neural Stem Cells Inserted into the Developing Brain of Fetal Monkey

September 7, 2001; As reported in this week's issue of Science, Evan Snyder and a team at Harvard University Medical School have implanted human neural stem cells (derived from a 15-week old aborted fetus) into the ventricles of the developing brains of embryos in three pregnant Bonnet (Old World) Monkeys by means of a needle guided by ultrasound visualization. One month later, following delivery by C-section with the mothers returned to their colonies in tact, the neonates were sacrificed and their brains stained and sectioned for histological examination. The grafted human Neural Stem Cells (hNSC) appear to have been successfully integrated into the morphogenetic program of the developing primate host brain.

This leads to the conclusion that NSCs can migrate through the large expanse of a primate cerebrum, not merely through the much smaller rodent brain as had been shown before. This suggests that integration must be a fundamental stem-cell property limited only by the available terrain and the concentration gradient of chemokine messengers in the local tissue micro environment. [ Editor's Note: Later on, this property will have implications for stem-cell replacement therapy in diseases that are characterized by extensive pathology throughout the architecture of brain tissue, like in Alzheimer's Disease, for example.]

Ref: Vaclav Ourednik, Jitka Ourednik, Jonathan D. Flax, W. Michael Zawada, Cynthia Hutt, Chunhua Yang, Kook I. Park, Seung, U. Kim, Richard L. Sidman, Curt R. Freed, Evan Y. Snyder, "Segregation of Human Neural Stem Cells in the Developing Primate Forebrain," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5536, pp. 1820-24 (September 7, 2001).

HUPO (HUman Proteome Organization) to Meet in San Diego in January 2002

Click for more details.

Only 24 or 25 of the 64 Cell Lines Approved by NIH for Federal Funding May Be Available

September 6, 2001; Washington, D.C.( CNN) In testimony before Sen. Kennedy's Subcommittee yesterday Secretary Tommy Thompson reported that only 24 or 25 of the 65 advertised cell lines may be currently available. The other 40 or so populations are in an earlier stage of development but could yield additional approved lines before Federal funding begins in 2002. Refs. Aaron Zitner, "Stem Cell Distribution Deal Told," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, A8 (September 6, 2001); "White House Cuts Estimate of Available Stem Cells," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 2, 24 (September 6, 2001); Aaron Zitner, "Stem Cell Research Quandary Greets a Returning Congress: Lawmakers Reacting to Bush's Funding Limit, Say They Will Try to Overturn It If It Is Too Restrictive," The Los Angeles Times, p. A11 (September 4, 2001); and Kevin Sack with Gustav Niebuhr, "After Stem-Cell Rift, Groups Unite for Anti-Abortion Push," The New York Times, pp. A1, 17 (September 4, 2001).

Senate Panel to Air Doubts on U.S. Stem Cell Plans

September 6, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP and Reuters) A key senator will question on Wednesday whether there are as many usable colonies of human embryonic stem cells as federal officials have said. The question will be raised at Congress' first hearing on the promising field of medical research since President Bush restricted Federal funding for it -- a decision that has drawn congressional fire.

Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is scheduled to testify at Wednesday's hearing, being held by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Congress had already started a month-long recess on August 9th, when Bush announced in a televised speech that he would allow taxpayer money to be used for the first time to support limited research involving human embryonic stem cells. These primitive master cells harvested from embryos can transform themselves into virtually any cell type.

Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward Kennedy, who chairs the Senate Committee, will say in a statement that many in the scientific community are concerned that the President's restrictions "will delay development of cures for dread diseases for many years at the cost of countless lives and immeasurable suffering." A draft of the statement was provided to Reuters.

Bush said in August that Federal funds could be used only for research involving stem cell lines -- colonies of the versatile cells derived from a single human embryo -- existing at the time of his announcement.

All Blood Lines Derived from Single Bone Marrow Stem Cell

September 5, 2001; Madison, WI (AP) Drs. Dan S. Kaufman and James A. Thompson of the University of Wisconsin have announced the full pluipotency of bone marrow stem cells in culture. See "Lab Creates Human Blood Cells," The Los Angeles Times, p. A11 (September 4, 2001); Antonio Regalado, "Scientists Produce Blood Cells from Stem Cells, The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B2 (August 4, 2001); and Nicholas Wade, "Team Says It Coaxed Human Stem Cells to Produce Blood," The New York Times, p. A17 (September 4, 2001). Click for more details.

Caloric Restriction May Provide Early Benefits

September 4, 2001 ( CNN Headline News) -- Prof. Stephen R. Spindler, Ph.D., Chairman of Biochemistry at UC Riverside, Co-Founder of LifeSpan Genetics of San Jose, California has just published a study on mouse gene expression under caloric restriction to be published in next week's PNAS saying that "after only four weeks on the diet, the mice had a more youthful gene-expression profile in 70 percent (19 out of 27 genes) of the relevant genes affected by CR." Click for more details.


1. Susan Okie, "Low-Calorie Diet Given to Mice May Be Key to Longevity in Humans," The Los Angeles Times, p. S6 (September 10, 2001).

2. Laura Hohannes, "Dieting May Slow Aging, Study Suggests," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B2 (September 4, 2001).

3. CNN Headline News (Tuesday, September 4, 2001; 7:30 AM PDT).

Longevity Gene(s) Found on Chromosome 4

August 29, 2001; Cambridge, MA ( CNN; WSJ; LA Times; Times of London; AP) -- Today's issue of PNAS swings the pendulum of longevity away from the environment and toward genetics. Refs. Thomas H. Maugh, II, "Gene Study Seeks Secret of Long Life," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1,14 (August 28, 2001); Robin Fields, "For Many, the Romanticism of Living for a Century Gives Way to the Reality," The Los Angeles Times, p. A14 (August 28, 2001); CNN-TV (Monday, August 27, 2001; 805 AM PDT; TRT = 2 minutes); and Laura Johannes, "Age-Old Quest -- Can the Kahn Siblings Help Scientists Bottle Secret to a Long Life? Harvard Team Makes Progress in the Hunt for a Gene that Controls Longevity," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1,4 (August 27, 2001). Click for the Abstract as well as other stories.

More Refs. on Stem-Cell Research in August

1. August 25, 2001 ( Reuters Health and The Boston Globe) "Harvard to Become Supplier of Embryonic Stem Cells" through Boston IVF, an organization of fertility clinics.
2. August 24, 2001 ( Reuters Health) "Bush Says 50 Stem Cell Lines 'Ample' Despite FDA Restrictions"
3. "Mystery Surrounds Fertility Clinic Tied to Stem-Cell Lab in India" The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, B4 (September 7, 2001).
4. Jonathan Rauch, "Sure You Can Clone Mozart, but You Can't Reproduce Him," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (August 20, 2001).
5. Debora Vrana, "Investors Divided on Stem Cells," The Los Angeles Times, pp. C1, C8 (September 1, 2001).
6. "Mix of Stem Cells with Mouse Cells is Obstacle, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, p. A26 (August 24, 2001).
7. Aaron Zitner, "Scientists Try Unfertilized Eggs as Source of Stem Cells," , pp. A1, 20 (August 12, 2001).
8. Charles Ornstein, "Donor Stops Big Payment to Stanford: Angered by the Bush Policy on Stem-Cell Research, Technology Mogul Jim Clark withholds $60 million of the $150 million He Pledged for Biomedical Studies," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, A2, B1, B10 (September 1, 2001).
9. Cartoon, Newsweek, p. 13 (August 20, 2001).
10. Cartoon, The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 29, 2001).
11. Cartoon, The Los Angeles Times, p. B19 (August 18, 2001).
12. Denise Gellene, "Stem-Cell Product Still Eludes Research Firms," The Los Angeles Times, p. C1, C13 (August 26, 2001).
13. Jill Carroll and James VandeHei, "Mouse Cells in Stem Lines May Limit Use," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A3 (August 24, 2001).
14. Mark Oppenheimer, "Cloning and the Cult," The Wall Street Journal, p. W13 (August 24, 2001).
15. Antonio Regalado and Meera Louis, "Ethical Concerns Block Widespread Patenting of Embryonic Advances," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, B4 (August 20, 2001).
16. "Stem-Cell Talks Begin Today Between the Government and the University of Wisconsin," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B4 (August 21, 2001).
17. Carl T. Hall, "Abortion Fores Gave Birth to Bush Slogan: Stem-Cell Policy Speech Used Idea of 'Snowflake,'" The San Francisco Chronicle, p. A11 (August 20, 2001).
18. Carl T. Hall, "The Forgotten Embryos," The San Francisco Chronicle, pp. A1, 11 (August 20, 1001).
19. Tom Abate, "Georgia Firm Could Test Geron-Wisconsin Stem-Cell Advantage," The San Francisco Chronicle, pp. D1, D4 (August 20, 2001).
20. Question on Number of Stem Cell Lines," The New York Times, p. A12 (August 21, 2001).
21. Sarah Lueck, "Wisconsin Shows Stem-Cell Quest Can Become a Juggernaut," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A18 (August 23, 2001).
22. Antonio Regalado and Jill Carroll, "Stem-Cell Pack Is Expected to be Reached between U.S., Holder of Important Patent," The Wall Street Journal, p. B4 (August 21, 2001).
23. Marlene Cimons, "Scientist Offers Free Cell Lines," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, A8 (August 25, 2001). [Prof. Douglas Melton, Chairman, Cell and Molecular Biology Department, Harvard University.]
24. Tim Friend, "Free Stem-Cell Lines Will Be Offered to Researchers," USA Today, p. 10D (August 22, 2001).
25. Editorial, "Send in the Clones?" U.S. News & World Report, pp. 12, 16, 80 (August 20/27, 2001).
26. Laura Johannes, "Embryo Donors Ask: What Now?" The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, B4 (August 17, 2001).
27. "US to Name Facilities with Stem Cells for Study," The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, p. A13 (August 27, 2001).
28. Benedict Carey, "Get Up-to-Date on National Stem-Cell Debate," : The Los Angeles Times, p. S2 (August 27, 2001).
29. Andrew Pollack, "Obscure Biotech Company Becomes Big Player in Stem-Cell World," The New York Times, pp. C1, C8 (August 28, 2001). [CyThera of San Diego, CA]
30. Five Letters, "Stem-Cell Players, Lining Up," The Los Angeles Times, p. A18 (August 28, 2001).
31. Denise Gellene, "Group Sues Geron over Stem-Cell Lines," p. C3 (August 15, 2001).
32. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Suit Seeks to Expand Access to Stem Cells," The New York Times, p. C2 (August 14, 2001).
33. Antonio Regalado and David P. Hamilton, "Geron Is Sued over Control of Stem Cells," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A3 (August 14, 2001).
34.Antonio Regalado and Jill Carroll, "NIH Names Developers of Stem-Cell Lines Eligible for Funds, Sparking New Questions," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A3, A6 (August 28, 2001).
35. Nicholas Wade, "List of Stem-Cell Researchers Shows Hand Had Been Tied," The New York Times, p. A10 (August 28, 2001).
36. Aaron Aitner, "NIH Identifies Stem-Cell Sets OK'd for Funds," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, A10 (August 28, 2001).
37. " BreasaGen of Australia has offered stem cell line free-of-charge to researchers subject to a license agreement for any future eclinical applications," "Your Health," CNN- TV (Saturday, August 25, 2001; 12:40 PM PDT).
38. Denise Gellene, "Biotechs Fall on Stem-Cell News: Shares Drop as Companies Try to Reassess Their Status in the Wake of Bush's Decision," pp. C1, C2 (August 11, 2001).
39. Four Letter, "Stem Cells: Politics or Principles?" The Los Angeles Times, p. B19 (August 18, 2001).
40. "The Vatican Warned that Experimentation on Human Embryos Could Spawn a New Form of Slavery," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (August 30, 2001).
41. Chris Adams, "Congress Braces for Vigorous Debate on Bush's Stem-Cell Funding," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1 A10 (August 31, 2001).
42. Robert Frank, Veronica Brooks, and Antonio Regalado, "A Stem-Cell Line in Singapore Lab Nears a Payoff," The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, B4 (August 31, 2001).
43. Michael D. Lemonick, David Bjerklie, and Andrew Goldstein, "Cloning: Humans May Have It Easier," Time Magazine, pp. 56-7 (August 27, 2001).
44. Editorial, "US Stem Cell Policy Comes Under Fire," Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 19, No. 10, p. 893 (October 2001).
45. David P. Hamilton, "Wisconsin Foundation Escalates Stem-Cell Battle with Geron," The Wall Street Journal, p. B8 (October 31, 2001).

Prof. Leon Kass of Chicago Will Chair President Bush's Council on Bioethics

August 17, 2001 ( WSJ) The National Bioethics Advisory Commission created by then President Bill Clinton in 1995 and which was stocked with ethicists, physicians, scientists, lawyers, and business representatives, had issued its own series of reports on stem-cell research and cloning some time ago, consistent with the prior Administration's position. However, we are now told that "this Commission's Charter, which expires in October, will not be renewed," according to White House sources yesterday. This means that Dr. Kass's Commission will effectively succeed its predecessor when it is formed. In the past, Dr. Kass has been an outspoken opponent of human cloning for any purpose. Moreover, he has argued against prolonging life indefinitely. "I think we make a huge mistake if we try to push the life expectancy out to 150 years or longer," he said. [ Editor's Note: We hope that the new Council on Bioethics will have more representative points of view amongst its members.] See Chris Adams, "Bioethics Appointee Says He Is No Indoctrinator ," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1 (August 17, 2001); Laura Johannes, "Embryo Donors Ask: What Now?," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1 (August 17, 2001).

CAMR's Editorial on President Bush's Stem-Cell Research Decision

August 16, 2001; As most of you know, President Bush announced his decision regarding Federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research on August 9th, in a live televised address to the Nation. We are very pleased that President Bush recognizes the potential of embryonic stem cell research to lead to a cure for diseases and conditions, such as juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, heart disease, ALS, and spinal-cord injuries, and that his decision will allow some research to begin with Federal funds. We are, however, concerned about the limitations that President Bush has placed on this research.

In particular, President Bush announced that more than 60 embryonic stem-cell lines are in existence and that under a new Federal policy, these already-existing lines will now be available for Federally-funded research. This number of existing stem cell lines comes as a surprise to top researchers, who were aware of only ten such lines.

The President's announcement that there are more than 60 of these lines has been validated by the NIH. If that is correct, this would be good news. However, we have major concerns that need to be satisfied including the following:

1. Are these 60 lines of good quality? Are they viable and robust?

2. Will these privately-owned lines be available to researchers in our country without restriction, so that any and all necessary avenues of research can be pursued that may lead to a cure?

CAMR and the scientific community are asking these questions now of the Department of Health and Human Services and the NIH, and the results of this inquiry will determine CAMR's position regarding the President's decision.

This issue will also remain a subject of debate in Congress. In upcoming weeks and months, members of Congress on both sides of the issue will examine whether legislation is needed that would change the President's policy. We will keep you posted regarding these developments, as well.

President Bush's announcement was an important first step in the campaign to ensure that embryonic stem-cell research goes forward, and we appreciate his careful review of the issue.

Thank you for your dedication to this campaign your grassroots advocacy efforts were very effective in bringing about this initial result. We appreciate your help and will continue to update you about CAMR's future activities.

Bush Threatens Stem Cell Veto

August 15, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) President George W. Bush on Monday threatened to veto any legislation seeking to broaden his guidelines for federal funding of controversial research involving cells from human embryos. Bush said the policy he outlined last week in a nationally-televised address reflected "what I think is right for America. And any piece of legislation that undermines what I think is right will be vetoed." "I'm not going to change my mind," said Bush, who spoke to reporters as he began the second week of his month-long vacation with a round of golf near his ranch in Crawford, Texas. "There's going to be people who have got all kinds of opinions," Bush added. "I gave mine, and I gave it to the country, but mine is a policy."

In a nationally televised address last Thursday, Bush first outlined his policy for Federal funding of research on stem cells, which scientists believe can be used to treat ailments ranging from chronic burns to Alzheimer's in new life-saving ways.

1. Nicholas Wade, "Stem-Cell Studies Advance in Britain: Fewer Limits and Less Discord Than in the United States," The New York Times, pp. A1, 14 (August 14, 2001);
2. Frank Bruni, "Bush Says He Will Veto Any Bill Broadening His Stem-Cell Policy," The New York Times, pp. A1, 14 (August 14, 2001);
3. Antonio Regalado and David P. Hamilton, "Geron Is Sued Over Control of Stem Cells," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 3, 8 (August 14, 2001);
4. Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Suit Seeks to Expand Access to Stem Cells," The New York Times, p. C2 (August 14, 2001);
5. Denise Gellene, "Group Sues Geron Over Stem-Cell Lines," The Los Angeles Times, p. C3 (August 15, 2001);
6. Bloomberg News Wire Service, "Geron in Stem-Cell Settlement Talks: University Group Had Sued Firm to Keep It From Exercising Exclusive Control Over Certain Cell Types," The Los Angeles Times, p. C2 (August 17, 2001).
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) of Madison, WI is suing Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, CA over the alleged expiration of exclusive-rights options on various cell lines. WARF wants to distribute cell lines to other academic researchers while Geron insists that any clinical application of the cell lines must be licensed from them directly.
7. George F. Will, "Extremism in the Pursuit of Science Is No Vitue," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 14, 2001);
8. Robert Scheer, "Stem the Tide of Research? Fuhgeddaboutit," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 14, 2001);
9. Michael Ramirez, "Political Cartoon: Aid: No Mr. President, We Cannot Harvest Saddam Hussein's Stem Cells... President: How About Tom Daschle?," p. B21 (August 11, 2001);
10. Michael Ramierez, "Political Cartoon: Man with Three Arms Says, 'And We almost Guarantee, One Out of Ten Clones Will be Normal, maybe,'" The Los Angeles Times, p. M5 (August 12, 2001);
11. Editorial, "One Decision, More to Go," The Los Angeles Times, p. B20 (August 11, 2001);
12. Isadore Rosenfeld, "Parkinson's Sufferers Hang in There!" Parade Magazine Sunday Supplement to the Los Angeles Times, pp. 12, 13 (August 12, 2001);
:The most promising breakthrough, though controversial, appears to be gene and stem-cell therapy, as well as the transplanting of fetal cells that make dopamine."
13. Denise Gellene, "Biotechs Fall on Stem-Cell News," The Los Angeles Times, p. C 1,2 (August 11, 2001);
14. Aaron Zitner and Edwin Chen, "Stem-Cell Decision Doesn't Quell Debate," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 12 (August 11, 2001);
15. Frank Bruni and Katharine Q. Seelye, "Bush Gives His Backing for Limited Research on Existing Stem Cells," The New York Times, pp. A1, 16, 17 (August 10, 2001);
16. Editorial, "President Bush Waffles," The New York Times, p. A22 (August 10, 2001);
17. Letters, "When Life Begins in a Free Society," The Los Angeles Times, p. B21 (August 11, 2001);
18. Aaron Zitner, "Scientists Try Unfertilized Eggs as Source of Stem Cells," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 20 (August 12, 2001);
Michael West, CEO of ACT in Worcester, MA, said "Using proteins found in egg-cell protoplasm, it may be possible to prompt adult cells, such as skin cells, to revert to stem cells similar to those in embryos."
19. Eric Cohen, "Bush's Stem-Cell Ruling: A Missouri Compromise," p. M2 (August 12, 2001);
20. David P. Hamilton, "Geron Is on Top of the Stem Cell, but Wall Street Isn't Sold," The Wall Street Journal, pp. C1, 2 (August 13, 2001);
21. Ronald Brownstein, "Bush Won't Budge on Stem Cell Position, Health Secretary Says," The Los Angeles Times, p. A9 (August 13, 2001);
"Sens. Harkin and Kennedy will hold hearings next month to explore the effectiveness of the 60 cell lines, among other questions."
22. Letters, "Bush's Decision on Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. B10 (August 13, 2001);
23. Bart Kosko, "Bush's 'Slippery Slope' Could Drag Roe Backward," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (August 13, 2001);
"It's useful to view life using Fuzzy Logic; Life no more begins all-or-none at conception than outer space begins exactly 100 miles up."
24. Charles Ornstein, "Stem-Cell Controversy Stirs Emotions Among Those with Chronic Diseases," The Los Angeles Times, p. B1 (August 13, 2001);
25. Antonio Regalado, Jill Carroll, and Laura Johannes, "Scramble Over Stem Cells," The Wall Street Journal, p. B1, 4 (August 13, 2001);
26. Gautam Naik, "Britain Moves to Establish First Embryo Stem-Cell Bank to Supply Unlimited Lines," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1, B1, 4 (August 13, 2001);
27. David Hamilton and Antonio Regalado, "Biotech Industry Unfettered but Possibly Unfulfilled, p. B1, 4 (August 13, 2001);
28. Steve Johnson, "Rather Defends Remark After Stem-Cell Segment," The Los Angeles Times, p. F7 (August 14, 2001);
[ Editor's Note: I received a message on my daily newswire service downloaded to my beeper on Monday afternoon, August 13th that a reporter at Newsweek Magazine found evidence that the President actually made the policy decision, which he reported in his Thursday night Address-to-the-Nation, one month ago (rather than one day before [on Wednesday], as reported by White House Staff the next day [Friday]) which is consistent with my own hypothesis explained in the third paragraph of the August 9th news item below. We will take a look at Newsweek and let you know the detailed basis for this speculation in a future news item.]
29. James P. Pinkerton, "Quality-of-Lifers Will Need Quantity-of-Lifers," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 15, 2001);
" Newsweek reports in its latest issue that the President had made up his mind to proceed with Federally-funded stem-cell research back in early July. Indeed, the magazine asserts that while the NIH suggested proceeding with just 30 cell lines, the White House upped it to 60. Why? Newsweek suggests that Bush wanted to empower enough stem-cell lines so that he wouldn't have to confront the issue again."
30. Robert S. McElvaine, "Cloning Aside, It Still Takes Two to Tango," The Los Angeles Times, p. B15 (August 16, 2001);
31. Editorial, "Bush's Soft Spot," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (August 15, 2001);
"... he is signaling compromise. The fist was his decision on the funding of stem-cell research. Now the Administration is taking the soft road on an important case..."
32. Paul Conrad, "Political Cartoon, But on the Other Hand [Man with two heads holds a science book on Stem-Cell Researdch]," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 15, 2001);
33. Danziger, "Political Cartoon, Stem Cells are like way cool. I mean let's say I hit a huge-O tree and paralyze my brain. I go home and stick some stem cells in my ear, and in a couple of weeks I'm back on the road.. [Man, driving a convertible sports car, to a woman], " The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 15, 2001);
34. Letters, "Use Private Funds for Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. B16 (August 17, 2001);
35. Matthew Miller, "Don't Sell Short the Newly Spun W," The Los Angeles Times, p. B16 (August 17, 2001);
"Unlike liberals who see the stem cell debate as further proof that Bush is a 'front man,' I see it as proof that Bush can reflect and grow. Now if only Bush would turn these newfound muscles to the ways America values the born, not just the unborn."
36. Donald Kennedy, "Editorial: Enclosing the Research Commons," Science, Vol. 294, p. 2249 (December 14, 2001).
"August's Executive Order on stem-cell research promises to transfer a major public program into the proprietary sector. That's where things may be headed; stay tuned."

Bush Aides Send Mixed Signals on Stem-Cell Debate

August 14, 2001; Please click for more details from AP.

White Paper on a Strategy for Engineering Negligible Senescence (SENS)

August 12, 2001; Click for the draft version of the SENS Working Group White Paper on Aging. This article will be published in a future issue of The New York Academy of Sciences.

Bush Announces Limited Federal Funds for Embryonic Stem-Cell Research

August 9, 2001; 8:00 PM CDT; The Western White House; Crawford, TX; While at his ranch, President Bush announced in an 11-minute television address to the nation that he will, after all, provide Federal funds for research on embryonic stem cells derived from up to 60 cell lines world wide that are currently in propogation. [ Editor's Note: The exact number of cell lines that will be available to NIH researchers is still doubt. There may be as many as [10 - 30] lines in the US whose genetics are well characterized, while the remainder are abroad in Australia, Asia, and Europe and are highly questionable. Furthermore, many cell lines are proprietary to private companies. Which ones could be made available to NIH researchers without sharp restriction on therapeutic application or paying an exorbitant amount of money for licensing fees must be resolved. The NIH has been tasked to create a Registry of Stem Cell Lines. Dr. Thomas O'Karma, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, CA was interviewed this afternoon at 3:40 PM PDT on CNBC-TV to discuss his company's role in the distribution of embryonic stem cells. The entire stem-cell-company sector took a sharp rise yesterday on Wall Street (on the rumor) and a sharp fall back today (on the news). Then again, greed-driven day-traders never seem to have any allegiance to the subject matter (fundamentals) of what they trade in, are they? Only the up-tick action (technical trading).] See Harold Varmus [Director of the National Institutes of Health from 1993 to 1999 and now President of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center] and Douglas Melton [Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard Medical School], "The Stem-Cell Compromise..." The Wall Street Journal, p. A14 (August 14, 2001).

Dr. Leon R. Kass, M.D., Addie Clark Hardinig Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the College of the University of Chicago and author of numerous books, including one opposing cloning, has been tapped to chair a Council of scientists, bioethicists, and religious leaders to sort out the remaining issues on behalf of the NIH. See Bret Stephens, "... And the President's New Ethicist," The Wall Street Journal, p. A14 (August 14, 2001) for more details on Dr. Leon Kass.

See for a copy of the full text of the President's remarks. Also, from this website, you can watch the short video clip of the President in a window using a Real Player. [ Editor's Note: One does not really have to buy the "Gold Version" of the Real Player for $19.95, which is not needed to watch the video; the free-ware version is quite adequate.] Another interesting observation is that White House Director of Communications, Karen Hughes, spent 45 minutes in a news press conference with reporters that was carried live on CNN and C-SPAN this morning (10:08 AM PDT after nearly an hour delay) just explaining the President's thought processes and answering reporter's questions on why the decision was made the way it was [who knew and when did the know it] and how it was kept so secret. [It wasn't leaked to the press until about an hour before the announcement, which is very unusual for this sort of emotionally-charged decision.] Another interesting observation is that Newsweek [See the July 3rd News Item below] had it right quite a while ago. The three intervening events did not make things appear promising: (1) The President's visit to the Pope; (2) The House of Representatives Proposed Ban on any sort of Human Cloning; and finally (3) The Three Ring Circus at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Anyway, all's well that ends well. And we are now off to a good start.

August 10, 2001; 10:30 AM EDT; The National Press Club; Washington, D.C., As might be expected, there were individuals and groups on both sides of this issue that were dissatisfied with the leadership exhibited by the President -- from scientists who said "Bush didn't go far enough" to religious fundamentalists who said "He went too far." A consortium of some [but conspicuously not all] of the Pro-Life Community said this morning: "The sinister light of perverted science is burning brighter today." [President, Family Research Council], "We now have a new culture of death." [Bay Bachman, President of American Cause]; "The sanctity of human embryonic life has been compromised." [Lori Cole, Executive Director of The Eagle Forum]; and "It is a morally abhorrent practice to create embryos during IVF that are destined to be placed in permanent "suspended animation" or subsequently disposed of." [Nigel Cameron, Dean of the Wilberforce Forum].

Refs. See Janet Hook and Ronald Brownstein, "Bush OKs Limited Stem-Cell Funding," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 19 and Aaron Zitner and Edwin Chen, "President Steers a Middle Course on His Most Sensitive Policy Issue So Far, Saying He'll Allow Some US-backed Studies that Don't Destroy More Human Embryos," pp. A1, A18, Megan Garvey, "New Medical Frontiers Give Panel Chief Pause," p. A20, Paul Conrad, "Political Cartoon: In the Beginning God Created Blastocyst," p. B15 (August 10, 2001); Laurie McGinley, Jeanne Cummings, and Antonio Regalado, "Bush to Allow Limited Stem-Cell Funding," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 3 and "Stem-Cell Issue Entangles Science and Policy," pp. A1, A10 (August 10, 2001).

Celera Genomics to Map Mosquito Genome

August 9, 2001; Bethesda, MD ( WSJ) The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of NIH has contracted with the Celera Genomics Group to sequence the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, responsible for transmitting malaria to humans. The sequence is about 1/12th the size of the human genome and will be completed by next Spring for about $9 million.

Bring on the Clones -- Cloning Forum at National Academy of Sciences

August 7, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) As the probability of -- and the hysteria surrounding -- human cloning increases, a U.S. science panel today opened a meeting on human cloning at which two groups of scientists were poised to defend their controversial plans to provide couples with cloned babies. "The panel meeting was called to focus on scientific research that may shed light on the safety of human cloning," said Prof. Irving Weissman, a Stanford University Medical School biologist and Chairman of the Panel. There are fears that human babies produced through cloning could have serious congenital defects. Prominent among the planned speakers was Dr. Severino Antinori of Rome, who has told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that he plans to begin human cloning this November in an unnamed Mediterranean country, using 1,300 American and 200 Italian couples as research subjects. Dr. Brigitte Boisselier also announced plans to create cloned babies for couples. See Aaron Zitner, "Researchers Defend Human Cloning Plans," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 14 (August 8, 2001); Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Despite Warnings:, 3 Vow To Go Ahead on Human Cloning," The New York Times, pp. A1, 12 (August 8, 2001); Antonio Regalado and Laurie McGinley, "Would-Be Cloners of People Face Barrage of Critics," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 2 (August 8, 2001); Patt Morrison, "Just Send In No-Clones, Then Send Out the Checks," The Los Angeles Times, p. B3 (August 8, 2001); Letters, "Fears of Biotech Color the Debate," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (August 8, 2001); Madison Shockley, of USC's Anneberg School for Communication, "We're All God's Creatures Even If Cloned," The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (August 8, 2001). Click for more details..

Cloning Announcement at National Academy of Sciences Tomorrow

August 6, 2001; Atlanta, GA (CNN) Tomorrow at 1:00 PM EDT in Washington, D.C. Dr. Panos Zavos, a former University of Kentucky infertility researcher, will announce his plans to clone 200 human babies starting in November. See Aaron Zitner, "Team Claim It Will Clone Humans," The Los Angeles Times, p. A13 (August 7, 2001) and Antonio Regalado, "Scientists Convene to Discuss Future of Human Cloning," The Wall Street Journal, p. B7 (August 7, 2001) [An NAS Report is to be published this Fall; There will be 19 presentations; The Sessions were hosted by Dr. Iving Weissman, Ph.D., from Stanford University Medical School.] Click on Dr. Zavos's photo for more details...
Dr. Panos Zavos, Ph.D.

Man Reconsiders Cloning of His Son

August 6, 2001, Charleston, WV (AP) Mr Mark Hunt, an attorney who lost his ten-year- old son in 1999, has withdrawn his support from Dr. Brigitte Boisselier of the Raelian Movement due to a loss of confidence. [On August 7th, the press revealed that Mr. Hunt invested $500,000.] See "Man Reconsiders on Cloning Dead Son," The Los Angeles Times, p. A10 (August 6, 2001).

LA-GRG Editorial on 'Personhood'

August 4, 2001; We are very sad to report that we have discovered on the Internet the ramblings of a woman who might otherwise be called the "Resident Philosopher of Absurdity." Her paper
"When Do Human Beings Begin? 'Scientific' Myths and Scientific Facts"
Dianne N. Irving, M. A., Ph. D.
Professor of Philosophy
Dominican House of Studies
Washington, D.C. 20017
American Bioethics Advisory Commission,
A Division of American Life League, Inc.
(before August 18, 2000)

states that "'Personhood' begins when the human being begins -- at fertilization. 'Personhood' properly refers to the NATURE or KIND of organism whether or not its capacities of 'sentience' or 'rational attributes' are actively being exercised or not. It is not some groups' idiosyncratic 'yuk factor' idea. It is the only definition of 'personhood' in the history of philosophy that matches the objective empirical facts of Biology 101. The consequences of foregoing reality for whatever reason are perfectly clear."

Click for the GRG response to this diatribe.

Scientists Attempt to Create Embryos Directly From Stem Cells Using a Form of Cellular Reprogramming

August 3, 2001; In Congressional testimony last Wednesday, ACT of Worcester, MA stated that it had filed a patent on Cellular Programming. PPL Therapeutics, PLC of SCOTLAND has reported some degree of success in their Virginia laboratory following a nearly $2 million expenditure from a US Government contract last October. In a February press release they reported that they had transmuted a cow's adult skin cell into a beating heart cell. Most intriguing is a recent report from an Irish biotech startup in Dublin called TriStemGroup. This company claims to have turned cells from a human blood sample into their embryonic counterparts in six hours. Scientific journals, however, have so far refused to publish the findings. See Gautam Naik and Antonio Regalado, "Scientists Seek Methods to Create Stem Cell Without Using Embryos," The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1,4 (August 3, 2001); Laurie McGinley and Antonio Regalado, "New Theory Could Roil Stem-Cell Debate," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B4 (August 3, 2001) [In this article, we learn that Dianne Irving, a biologist who now specializes in philosophy and bioethics and is a consultant to the American Life League{See the CNN story below}, has written a position paper that suggests that individual stem cells may have the potential to become "whole embryos." Dr. Paul Berg, a Nobel Lauriate and Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University, called the paper "utter nonsense/" Does any of our readers know how to get a copy of this paper? Please contact us, so we can review it ourselves.] Also, see Michael Ramirez, "Political Cartoon: Playing God with Fetal Parts," p. M5 (August 5, 2001). Finally, See Laura Minges, "Will Stem Cell Research Help or Harm the Disabled?," The Los Angeles Times, p. B19 (August 5, 2001) [Laura, who is herself a victim of Cerebral Palsy, argues that disabilities are no excuse to prematurely eliminate people who are born with congenital afflictions, using a prenatal diagnosis of some sort to abort them before they are born. They, after all, have a right to live too. I hate to sound patronizing to someone with a disability, but I believe we all have a duty to expose flawed reasoning whenever it appears. It reminds me of the paradoxical statement made by a congenitally deaf person that "deafness is a superior state compared with the 'hearing state' on the grounds that 'silence had greater degree of acoustic purity'."] A much more reasoned piece appears on the next day's Op-Ed page. See Daniel C. Maguire, Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University, "Listen to the Many Voices on 'When Life Begins'," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (August 6, 2001).

Pressure on President Bush as He Tries to Make Big Decision About Stem Cell Research

August 3, 2001; Dr. Michael West was on CNN earlier this morning debating some of the issues that the House of Representatives deliberated for two hours before their vote on Tuesday afternoon. Click for more details. [ Editor's Note: If you don't think the anti-science forces aren't organized, you should check out one of the most slick and professionally done websites I've ever seen, as done by the National Right to Life Committee at . They have a complete tally of how each Congressman voted, which is one mouse-click away from the top. It's clearly not a one-person operation like this website is. By the way, we really need your support on this issue; see how you can help by clicking on the "Contact Us" Button on the left.

Japan Approves Stem Cell Guidelines

August 2, 2001; Stem Cell research guidelines won approval by a Japanese cabinet panel. They would allow labs to begin deriving the cells from human embryos fertility clinics would otherwise discard, but ban human [reproductive] cloning. See The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (August 2, 2001) and Dennis Normile, "Japan Readies Rules that Allow Research," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5531, p. 775 (August 3, 2001)..

Embryonic Stem Cells for the Heart

August 2, 2001; Today's Journal of Clinical Investigation describes Israeli work with stem cells targeting heart disease. Click for more details.

House Bans All Forms of Human Cloning

Tuesday, July 31, 2001; 6:30 PM EDT (C-SPAN) -- The US House of Representatives has just passed HR2505 by a majority of 265:162 to ban all forms of human cloning not only human reproductive cloning but also human therapeutic cloning. The law, if passed by the Senate and then signed by the President, would also ban the import of embryos or other products of conception from foreign countries. Penalties for violation of the law would include ten years in prison and no less than $1 million in fines. An amendment to make an exception for medical research was defeated.

See Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Tangled Issues: Human Cloning and Stem Cells," The New York Times, p. A1, 17 (July 31, 2001); Megan Garvey, "House Approves Strict Ban on Human Cloning," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 12 (August 1, 2001); Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "House Backs Ban on Human Cloning for any Objective," The New York Times, pp. A1, 11 (August 1, 2001); Laurie McGinley, "House Votes to Prohibit Human Cloning," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 2 (August 1, 2001); Editorial, "Fearsome Biotech," The Los Angeles Times, p. B14 (August 2, 2001); James P. Pinkerton, "Banning Research Will Knock Us Out of the Race for Cures," The Los Angeles Times, p. B15 (August 2, 2001); Antonio Regalado, Laurie McGinley, and David Hamilton, "Vote to Criminalize Human Cloning Gives Researchers, Investors Pause," The Wall Street Journal, p. B1, 4 (August 2, 2001) [Dr. Peter Mombaerts, a scientist at the Rockefeller University in New York who has cloned mice, estimates that "fewer than three dozen researchers in the U.S. truly understand the possibilities inherent in cloning research." Furthermore, this ban, if it ever becomes law, is likely to have some unintended victims, particularly new fertility techniques such as 'egg reconstruction.' Dr. Michael West, CEO of ACT in Worcester, MA said that they have applied for a patent on a process called "ooplasmic transfer," which is, in effect, the reverse of therapeutic cloning. By dribbling the soupy liquid inside an egg on top of an adult cell, 'like water balloons,' it seems that it might possible to dedifferentiate that adult cell into its embryonic state." { Editor's Note: This sounds like a "sledge hammer" approach compared to the sort of "scalpel" type of approach that we could achieve once we have a detailed map of the human proteome and have cataloged all of the embryogenic specialization tissue- communication molecules. But remember that it is not really enough to know what the communication/tissue-specialization factors are. Their concentration might be just as important as their makeup in "instructing" cells about their respective fates. It is already known, for example, that when one doubles the concentration of a particular immune cytokine in the thymus gland that blank T-helper cells can be "educated" to differentiate into a totally different type of white blood cell. So there is not a simple one-to-one correspondence between the complete table of cytokines and the table of cell types. It is much more complex than that.}] Click for more details from CNN .

August 1, 2001 (UPI) President Bush commended the House on its Cloning Ban. The House on Tuesday voted to ban human cloning and to prohibit the practice of cloning human embryos for medical research.

Stem Cells Help Type-I Diabetes

July 31, 2001 (WSJ) As reported in today's issue of the journal Diabetes, Israeli researchers at the Israel Institute of technology and the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa found human embryonic stem cells can grow into insulin-producing cells. The lab findings, printing to future transplant treatments, are sure to fan a U.S. stem-cell debate. See Geeta Anand, "Scientists Turn Stem Cells into Insulin Producers," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 2 (July 31, 2001); ( Reuters) "Stem Cells Are Used to Produce Insulin," The New York Times, p. A11 (August 1, 2001); and Thomas H. Maugh, II, "Israeli Study Creates Insulin- Producing Cells," The Los Angeles Times, p. A11 (August 6, 2001).

House of Representatives Supports Stem-Cell Research

July 28, 2001; See "202 in House Urge Stem Cell Funds," The Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group, p. A12 (July 28, 2001); Laurie McGinley, "House Speaker [Dennis Hastert] Opposes Federal Funding of Stem-Cell Research Using Embryos," The Wall Street Journal p. B6 (July 30, 2001); Editorial, "Healthy Sibling Rivalry," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (July 21, 2001) ["One sign of conflict within the Administration is in the debate over stem-cell research, which has pitted White House Officials against each other."], Letters "Ethics and Embryos," The Los Angeles Times, p. D4 (July 31, 2001), and John F. Wong, Ph.D., Chairman, SciFin, Inc. Los Angeles, CA, "Politics and Science Converge on Stem Cell Studies: Private-Sector Research May Boost Biotech Market," Genetic Engineering News, Vol. 21, No. 13, pp. 51, 53, 77 (July 2001). Click for more details.

Stem Cells May Help in Brain Repair

July 27, 2001; PM; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- Brain disorders may be corrected in the unborn using stem cells, scientist say in a study. The report comes as President Bush weighs Federal policy on funding embryonic stem cell research. An experiment with monkeys offers the promise of allowing damaged brains to be repaired during gestation, according to the study in the journal Science today. The researchers say that human neural stem cells injected into the skulls of three unborn monkeys became an integral part of the developing brains of the animals. "The study means it may be possible to use stem cells to repair a damaged brain before a child is born," said Dr. Curt R. Freed, a researcher at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "The clinical implications are potentially profound," said Freed, a co-author of the study. In effect, the injected cells became an active, participating part of the young brain. Click for more details.

An Anti Hairy Cell Leukemia Drug Tests Remarkably Well

July 26, 2001; Boston, MA In Today's New England Journal of Medicine, oncologists from the NCI at NIH report that BL22 performed remarkably well. BL22 is murine anti-body fragment with a bacterial toxin attached that is specific for HCL cells. 11 of 13 patients, untreatable by normal chemotherapy, were completely free of the disease after two years of followup. See "Cancer Drug Tested on Rare Leukemia Raises Doctors' Hopes," The Wall Street Journal, Section B (July 26, 2001). Click for more details.

Human Embryo Stem Cells Restore Motion to Rodents Paralyzed by Lou Gehrig's Disease

July 25, 2001; Baltimore, MD; Based on work done at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. John D. Gearhart presented unpublished work involving 120 mice and rats suffering from a condition similar to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in a dramatic video clip to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and Sen. Pete Domenici (R, NM). See Scott Hensley, Antonio Regalado, and Laurie McGinley, "Stem-Cell Test Restored Motion to Paralyzed Mice," The Wall Street Journal, p. A3 (July 25, 2001).

Applera to Catalog SNP's over the Next Year

July 24, 2001. Applera (Norwalk, CT) will spend $[70 - 80] million over the next 12 to 18 months on this project. Genaissance Pharmaceuticals of New Haven, CT; Perlegen Sciences (spin off of Affymetrix, Inc.); and DNA Sciences of Freemont, CA are competitors. See Scott Hensley, "Applera to Catalog Genetic Variations," The Wall Street Journal, (July 24, 2001) and Andrew Pollack, "Race Under Way to Winnow Down Genetic Data," The New York Times, pp. C1, 15 (July 24, 2001).

Adult Stem Cells for Kidneys

July 24, 2001; Click for more details.

Autologous Stem Cells Used to Repair Heart Muscle Post MI

July 23, 2001; Hamburg, GERMANY; Click for more details.

Pope, Bush Discuss Embryo Research

July 23, 2001; Castel Gandolfo, ITALY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II urged President Bush to bar using human embryos for medical research, saying Monday that "America has a moral responsibility to reject actions that devalue and violate human life." Bush said later that he was not surprised by the Pope's admonition and will take it into consideration as he makes his decision on whether to allow Federal funding for such research. "He's sent a consistent word throughout the (Catholic) church and society that we ought to take into account the preciousness of life," Bush said. Bush made his comments at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The 81-year-old pontiff and Bush met behind closed doors at the Papal Summer Residence Castel Gandolfo in the foothills South of Rome. Bush said John Paul did not raise the subject of stem- cell research during their private session, but focused on foreign policy and Bush's meeting Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Gretchen Vogel, "Stem-Cell Research: NIH Review Outlines 'Enormous Promise'," Science, Vol. 293, p. 413 (July 20, 2001);
Gretchen Vogel, "Rumors and Trial Balloons Precede Bush's Funding Decision," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5528, pp. 186-7 (July 13, 2001);
Richard Boudreaux and James Gerstenzang, "Pope Urges Bush to Reject Human Embryo Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1,4 (July 24, 2001);
Jim VandeHei, "Pope Urges Bush to Bar Experiments on Embryos," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 20 (July 24, 2001);
Alessandra Stanley, "Bush Heaers Pope Condemn Research in Human Embryos," The New York Times, pp. A1, 8 (July 24, 2001);
Nicholas Wade, "Grappling with the Ethics of Stem Cell Research," The New York Times, p. D3 (July 24, 2001);
Letters from Joanne Hedge and Joshua Belsky, "Cloning Pets Diminishes Both Animal and Man," The Los Angeles Times, Section B (July 25, 2001);
Sarah Lubeck, "House Panel Votes to Ban Human Cloning," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B7 (July 25, 2001); The House voted to criminalize any human cloning. The Weldon Bill wil now move to the full House;
Paul Conrad, "Other Than That, Your Eminence, What Are Your Thoughts about Stem-Cell Research," Political Cartoon showing President Bush skewered by a Papal Crucifix, The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (July 25, 2001);
Paul Conread, :The Creation of Stem-Cell Research," The Los Angles Times, p. B15 (July 27, 2001);
John Balzar, "No Steam Over Stem Cell," The Los Angeles Times, p. B15 (July 27, 2001); "Surely we cannot argue over each new development, like we have been doing with stem- cell research all the way to the White House, without overlooking 10,000 other important scientific biological issues";
Jeremy Rifkin, "Will Companies Hold Control of Life Made in a Petri Dish?," The Los Angeles Times, p. B11 (July 23, 2001); Mr. Rifkin seeks to call our attention to Geron and ATC as the really dangerous private-sector companies;
Jeremy Rifkin, "Odd Coupling of Political Bedfellows Takes Shape in the New Biotech Era," Second of Two Parts, The Los Angeles Times, p. B13 (July 24, 2001);
Jack Germond, "Bush Can't Please All Republican Factions," The Los Angeles Times, pp. M1, 2 (July 22, 2001); Germond says, "Of all the issues on the table today, the most politically dangerous is the debate over Federal funding of stem-cell research"; and
the Pope is said to have made a passionate plea to President Bush to ban embryonic stem-cell research, saying "this is one of the great moral questions of the new century." CNN-TV "Special Report on Stem-Cell Research" (10:00 PM EDT; July 23, 2001).

[ Editor' Note: In his Congressional testimony last week, Mr. Richard Doerflinger, spokesman for the US Conference on Catholic Bishops, began his prepared remarks saying, "This research is illegal, immoral, and unnecessary." It is our view, of course, that he was wrong on all three counts. But the really fundamental problem with his testimony was that it was predicated on the assumption that removing stem cells from an embryo (thereby killing it) is the same thing as "killing a person." So I began to wonder "where the person in the embryo might be hiding?" that we might kill it, and I think I found him. Click for the hidden person.]

Unraveling the Secrets of Human Longevity -- New Website from the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago

July 22, 2001; Click for the new website at the Center on Aging .

Dr. Leonid Gavrilov has just received an Independent Scientist Award from the National Institute on Aging, and future website development will be based on an NIA Five-Year Grant to the Center on Aging.

New NIH Center for Bioinformatics

July 20, 2001; Click for more details.

Bush to Decide on Stem-Cell Funding In Due Course

July 20, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- President Bush said Thursday he would decide the thorny issue of whether to allow Federal funding of stem-cell research in due course, but the decision would not be a political one. "I will make an announcement in due course, when I'm ready," Bush said from a summit in Europe. "And it doesn't matter who's on what side of this." His comments come a day after the Senate's only physician, who also is a close ally of President Bush, added new momentum to the drive for federally financed medical research with embryonic stem cells. Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Wednesday he "opposed abortion but felt compelled to support research that could save lives." The senator -- who has often transformed the President's views into Senate proposals -- also proposed several limits to the new funding. Namely, he'd limit the number of sets of cultured stem cells to come from a single embryo. See also, "Bush Won't Be Pushed Into Stem Cell Choice," The Los Angeles Times, p. A21 (July 20, 2001); Teresa Watanabe, "Religions Divided on Stem Cell Issue," The Los Angeles Times, p. A1, 20, 21 (July 21, 2001). Click for more details.

An interesting source for news items on stem-cell technology can be found at .

NIH Report -- Stem Cells: Scientific Progress and Future Research Directions

NIH Stem Cell Cover
July 18, 2001; A new 200-page NIH Report entitled "Stem Cells: Scientific Progress and Future Research Directions -- Opportunities and Challenges: A Focus on Future Stem Cell Applications" (June 19, 2001) is now available for download from the Internet.(20 MB worth of data). Clicking on the image of the report cover above will take you to their website. Click for details from Associated Press on Sen. Bill Frist's (R- TN) testimony and the NIH Report.

At President Bush's request, the NIH delivered a report to the White House yesterday to be released today that states that research on both embryonic and adult stem cells is needed to answer questions about the medical promise of these cells. But the Report, which doesn't make a policy recommendation, also says that adult stem cells -- whose use is not at all controversial -- don't seem to be as able as embryonic cells are to specialize into different subtypes of cells or tissues.


The makings of future news headlines about tomorrow's life saving therapies starts in the biomedical research laboratory. Ideas abound; early successes and later failures and knowledge gained from both; the rare lightning bolt of an unexpected breakthrough discovery this is a glimpse of the behind the scenes action of some of the world's most acclaimed stem cell scientists' quest to solve some of the human body's most challenging mysteries.

Stem cells what lies ahead? The following chapters explore some of the cutting edge research featuring stem cells. Disease and disorders with no therapies or at best, partially effective ones, are the lure of the pursuit of stem cell research. Described here are examples of significant progress that is a prologue to an era of medical discovery of cell-based therapies that will one day restore function to those whose lives are now challenged every day but perhaps in the future, no longer.

Other References:

1. Aaron Zitner, "Bible Guides Senate on Stem Cell Studies: Debate on Controversy Focuses on When an Embryo Becomes a Life," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 16 (July 19, 2001). [ Editor's Note: I was up last night past 1 o'clock in the morning recording C-SPAN- TV Congressional testimony provided by Dr. Michael West, CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, who lectured his opponents with stories from the Bible (the Tower of Babel and "When I was a child, I spoke like a child...") I rather suspect that, although his opponents may enjoy quoting from the Bible themselves, they don't like to have the Bible quoted back to them. Therefore, it is unlikely that any compelling arguments were made that would change the minds of the opponents. On an unrelated matter, one of the Senators asked Dr. West his estimate of how much money was being invested in stem-cell research by the private sector in this country, and Mike replied that, between the two companies currently supporting this area in a significant way (presumable Geron and ACT), the combined total might be $10 million per year. It should be pointed out that these same Senators are used to dealing not with millions but with billions of dollars in the context of other Federal Government appropriations, making this issue appear, from their point of view, to be a "tempest in a teapot," in terms of the amount of time it was consuming.]
2. Antonio Rgalado, "Stem-Cell Report by NIH Fuels Debate Between Backers, Opponents of Funding," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B2 (July 19, 2001).
3. Anuj Gupta, "The Personal Sides of the Stem Cell Debate: Advocates and Opponents of Embryonic Research Make Their Cases on the Hill," The Los Angeles Times, p. A10 (July 18, 2001).
4. Laurie McGinley, "Influential GOP Senator William Frist, M.D., Supports Stem-Cell Research, The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, A20 (July 18, 2001).
5. Laurie McGinley, "Senator Trent Lott Now Opposes Federal Funds for Embyryonic Stem-Cell Study," The Wall Street Journal,, pp. A1, A20 (July 17, 2001).
6. Antonio Regalado, "Top Researcher of Stem Cells To Move Abroad," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, B8 (July 16, 2001). [Dr. Roger Pedersen of the University of California in San Francisco will leave the US to go to the University of Cambridge, UK, where public funding of embryonic stem-cell research is more readily obtained.]
7. Aaron Zitner, "Uncertainty Is Thwarting Stem-Cell Researcher," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 11 (July 16, 2001).

Egg Donation Long, Hard Process

Christy Oglesby

July 14, 2001 (CNN) -- Women received $2,500, while men got $50. . Both provided the seeds of life that yielded embryos for a scientific study on stem cells at a Virginia medical school. The disparity in compensation is indicative of the invasiveness and time-consuming nature of oocyte, or egg, donation. Recent news of Virginia scientists creating embryos specifically for research put bioethics, stem cells, and gamete donation back in the headlines.

But while many understand semen donation, egg donation remains a mystery to most. The process involves injections, ultrasound, and anesthesia to remove the eggs, and entails three steps -- (1) ovary stimulation; (2) patient monitoring; and (3) extraction. Women who donate eggs take a combination of hormones and drugs for up to two weeks to stimulate egg development and suppress the normal ovulation cycle, so that the egg release is prevented until doctors are prepared to retrieve them. Becky Chrisope of the San Diego Fertility Center in California said the staff teaches donors how to give themselves daily hormone injections to stimulate ovarian follicles. The number of days women take the hormones depends on the effect.

Monitoring Developments

Doctors try to strike a balance between spawning egg development and preventing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which causes ovary enlargement and abdominal pain. That requires daily donor monitoring with blood hormone tests and vaginal ultrasound. As follicles develop, the amount of estradiol estrogen they secrete increases. The level of the hormone indicates how the ovaries are responding to stimulation. The ultrasound tests generally begin about a week into the donation cycle and continue regularly to assess how the follicles are developing. In the case of the embryonic stem-cell research project, female donors had vaginal ultrasound exams daily after day seven.

Retrieval and Risks

Once ultrasound indicates that eggs are mature enough for extraction, doctors administer human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone, to trigger ovulation. About [35 - 36] hours later, doctors, directed by ultrasound to determine which follicles have matured, use a minor surgical procedure to extract egg-containing fluid from ovaries.

Physicians use general or local anesthesia to minimize discomfort during the egg-retrieval process, which takes about 30 minutes. Donors schedule follow-up visits about four weeks after the procedure. In addition to the possibility of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, potential risks from the procedure and the hormones include the development of cysts on the ovaries or abdominal swelling. Doctors say both are temporary and go away shortly after the onset of a normal menstrual cycle.

Genaissance: 14 Haplotypes Per Human Gene

July 13, 2001; In today's issue of Science On-Line, Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of New Haven, CT published that they have found an average of 14 different haplotypes of each gene in human beings. In many cases no single haplotype is in the majority, an important fact for physicians to consider when they are developing drugs that interact with a particular gene. Click for more details.

Parthenogensis/Cloning in Monkeys

July 13, 2001; Worcester, MA (WSJ) Dr. Michael West, CEO of Advanced Cell Technologies, Inc. has just revealed that his company created monkey embryos known as parthenotes (with DNA from the mother only) and have derived stem cells from them. Their next step will be human eggs. ACT already recruited 60 women egg donors aged [21 - 35] years at $4,000 each and stored their eggs in preparation. They have a blue ribbon Ethics Advisory Board that approved their methodology. After that, they will be doing nuclear transfer. "We haven't done nuclear transfer with human eggs," Dr. West says, "but we will soon." See Antonio Regalado, "Ethicists, Bodyguards Monitor Scientists' Efforts to Create Copy of Human Embryo," The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, 4 (July 13, 2001) and Gautam Naik, "Stem-Cell Research is Forging Ahead in Europe," The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, 4 (July 13, 2001).

Parthenogensis/Cloning in Mice

July 12, 2001; Canberra, AUSTRALIA (AP) -- Dr. Orly Lacham-Kaplan at the Institute of Reproduction and Development at Monash University in Melbourne has done the equivalent of what heretofore had only been done in frogs at Oxford University years ago. See "Sperm-Free Fertilization," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5529, p. 423 (July 29, 2001). Click for more details

July 24, 2001); Adelaide, AUSTRALIA BresaGen, Ltd. says it has isolated stem cells from human embryos, bringing to four the number of groups world-wide that have publicly announced having done so. See "Australian Firm Isolates Stem Cells from Embryos," The Wall Street Journal (July 24, 2001).

A Compromise for Federal Funding of Stem Cell Research

July 9, 2001; The American Society for Cell Biology, the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, conservative Catholic philosophers, and other lobbyists have proposed a way out of the dilemma: The White House would allow the NIH to fund research on the ten or so embryonic stem-cell lines already developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and others, while not destroying any new embryos. This would allow research to go forward while stifling complaints by religious fundamentalists. See Laurie McGinley, "Stem-Cell Research Stirs Passionate Debate and Changing Politics," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 30 (July 9, 2001). See also, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Reserved Scientist Creates an Uproar with His Work on Stem Cells," The New York Times, p. A10 (July 10, 2001) for a brief biographical sketch of Dr. James A. Thomson (42) of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The location of his laboratory at the WiCell Research Institute (funded by Geron) is still secret.

More References:

1. Rep. Constance A. Morella (R-MD), "Stem-Cell Research Needs United Support," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5527, p. 47 (July 6, 2001).
2. Edwin Chen and Aaron Ziner, "Bush Mulls Stem-Cell Issue," The Los Angeles Times, p. A21 (July 13, 2001);
3. Laurie McGinley, "Nancy Reagan Urges GOP To Back Stem-Cell Studies," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B2 (July 12, 2001);
4. Aaron Zitner, "Embryos Created for Stem Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times , pp. A1, 10 (July 11, 2001);
5. "Embryos Are Used From Human Donors to Make Stem Cells," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B8 (July 11, 2001);
6. "Cloning of Embryos for Research Raises Ethics Questions," The Wall Street Journal, p B2 (July 12, 2001).
7. Susan E. Lanzendorf, Catherine A. Boyd, Diane L. Wright, Suheil Muasher, Sergio Oehninger, and Gary D. Hodgen, Jones Institute for Productive Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, "Use of Human Gametes Obtained from Anonymous Donors for the Production of Human Embryonic Stem-Cell Lines," Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 76, No. 1, pp. 132-7 (July 2001); Click for Abstract.
8. Antonio Regalado, "FDA Warns Reproductive Clinics to Stop Using Fertility Technique," pp. A1, B2 (July 11, 2001). By the way, since May 1997, The St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ has conducted 30 ooplasmic transfers in which mitochondria from the eggs of younger donors appeared to rejuvenate the eggs of older women that was subsequently fertilized by sperm from their husbands, resulting in 16 live births. This greater than 50 percent success rate is much higher than the traditional rate of about 30 percent at even the best IVF Clinics. The only concern is that the babies have genetic material from three parents (remember that mitochondria have unique mtDNA). [ Editor's Note: Inherited mitochondrial pathologies are extremely rare.] But, does the FDA have the legal authority to prohibit this sort of IVF research, which they've never done before? Stay tuned.

It's Official: The FDA Is to Monitor IVF Clinics

July 12, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- Fertility clinics will come under closer scrutiny by the FDA, with plans under way to require the clinics to register and to get federal approval for some medical procedures. An FDA letter was sent last week to remind fertility clinics that some procedures used to help childless couples will require federal approval and oversight. A new fertility treatment that helps older women have children prompted the letter. The letter went to several clinics that have been increasing the chances of older women to have children by injecting into their eggs the fluid removed from a younger woman's eggs. The treated eggs are then fertilized with sperm and a resulting embryo is implanted. The technique, in some cases, has led to the transfer of DNA from the younger woman; some children born from the process have genes from three people. [ Editor's Note: Please be more precise -- Nuclear-DNA triple- mosaic or only young/old maternal mtDNA mosaic?]

9. July 11, 2001; Click for more news from CNN.

10. July 12; 2001; Click for more news from AP.

11. July 12, 2001; Editorial, "The Real Pro-Life Decision," The Los Angeles Times, p. B14 (July 12, 2001).

12. Mary Tyler Moore and Christopher Reeve, Op-Ed Piece, "Seize the Promise Held by Stem Cells," The Los Angeles Times , p. M5 (July 15, 2001).

13. "Do You Copy?" Wired Magazine, p. 74 (August 2001).

14. July 12/13, 2001; (NPR) Stem Cell Research: An NPR Special Report

The debate over stem cell research is gaining visibility, as President Bush is expected to announce soon whether his Administration will permit federal funding for research using cells from human embryos. The pressure surrounding the decision has been intense: The NIH, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, and a growing number of Republican lawmakers all urge the president to pay for research. But others inside the White House oppose the funding, saying research on cells derived from human embryos is unethical and should be banned.

Many scientists are convinced that studying these cells will reveal a wealth of knowledge about the basic biology of human beings, and could lead to treatments for a variety of disease. So even without Federal support, embryonic stem cell research will proceed -- but at a much slower pace.

July 12, 2001; Washington, D.C. (NPR) -- On National Public Radio's All Things Considered, Mr. Joe Palca interviewed Dr. Michael West, CEO of Advanced Cell Technologies, Inc. of Worcester, MA on their attempt to create cloned human embryos from which to harvest stem cells. Click for the audio feed using a RealAudio Player. ( Editor's Note: It's a little tricky to get the audio started, but it does work if you keep playing with it.)

July 13, 2001; Washington, D.C. (NPR) On National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Mr. Joe Palca asked whether the FDA really has the authority to regulate cloning? As above, click the "audio" link above.

What Can You Do About Stem Cells?

July 12, 2001; If you wish to communicate with the White House, your Senators, or your Congressmen as to your support for Federal funding for Embryonic/Adult Stem-Cell Research, please click

Who's Who in Gerontology

July 7, 2001; Click for the link.

MIT Researchers Find Genetic Instability in Stem-Cell Cloning

July 6, 2001; As reported in today's issue of Science, gene activation may be capricious in stem-cell reproductive clones (but not necessarily therapeutic clones). Even though the genes themselves appear to be normal (without evidence of mutation or chromosomal abnormality), the chemical messengers that orchestrate the sequence of gene activation during embryogenesis may fail randomly compared with IVF mouse or even normal mouse development as far as implantation, placentation, or final development to adult mice is concerned.
[ Editor's Note: Identifying these chemical messengers (and their exquisite timing) will shed light on a process that has been uncovered in just the last two years in the haphazard manner of a Sorcerer's Apprentice without having the full vocabulary of magic words, let alone all the correct incantations. However, one of the things that gives us the confidence to go on with our search is the almost certain knowledge that when God (the Sorcerer) created His molecular infrastructure, He almost certainly did not build it with us in mind (i.e., our anthropic desire to discover how it works and no consideration was given to whether He should litter the path to understanding with clues of variable levels of difficulty, in the manner of a puzzle designer). Thus, there are unlikely to be any "gotcha's" waiting to snooker us whenever we get close to the end. The problem of figuring out how this "tinker toy" works is undoubtedly going to be hard, but it is unlikely to be deceptive. And there is a difference.]
See Robert Lee Hotz, "More Doubt Cast on Cloning Safety," The Los Angeles Times , p. A26 (July 6, 2001). Click for more details.

Presidential Decision on Stem Cells by the End of July

Dr. John Gearhart
July 3, 2001. By last December, Dr. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD (with the support of Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, CA) figured out how to turn human embryonic stem cells into ten different kinds of differentiated adult cells, including heart muscle, skin cells, and killer T cells from the immune system. As of last week, they achieved 110 kinds of specialized cells. [ Editor's Note: There are only 220 histological cell types in the entire human body, which means that in six months they have gone through roughly half of them and are rapidly cataloging the complete family of stem-cell-differentiation-signaling molecules.] Dr. Thomas Okarma, CEO of Geron, went on to add that "We have the technology to make infinite quantities of literally all cellular tissues in the body." The GRG hopes that proof of this accomplishment will be published in the scientific/medical literature soon.


1. Aaron Zitner, "Possible Stem Cell Compromise Cited by Bush Catholic Advisors," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, A19 (July 8, 2001).
2. Robert Pear, "Move in G.O.P. to Block Study of Embryo Cells: Three in House Urge Halt to Aid, But Party is Split," The New York Times, pp. A1, 10 (July 3, 2001);
3 "House GOP Urges Bush to Keep Stem Cell Ban," The Los Angeles Times (July 3, 2001);
4. "Senator Seeks Support for Stem Cell Research," The Los Angeles Times (July 2, 2001);
5. Dr. Joseph Antin, M.D., Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School interviewed on Lou Dobbs "Money Line" CNN-TV (Monday, July 2, 2001; 3:30 PM PDT; TRT = 4:25 min);
6. "Bush Remains Undecided, But the Public Favors Embryo Research," The Wall Street Journal, p. A1 (June 29, 2001);
7. Gretchen Vogel, "Bush Grapples with Stem Cells, Cloning," Science, Vol. 292, No. 5526, pp. 2409-10 (June 29, 2001);
8. Sharon Begley, et al, "Cellular Divide," Newsweek, pp. 22-31 (July 9, 2001). For more details, click on the Newsweek image Newsweek to link to their website. You may especially wish to take a look at their "History of Cloning from 5,000 B.C. to the Present" which is not featured in the hard-copy Edition. Also, when you visit their website you can take advantage of the opportunity to register your opinion interactively on "Where do you stand on Stem Cell Research?" using their on-line poling capability. [When I tried it, there were 77 percent in favor; 15 percent opposed; and 8 percent undecided, out of a total of 3,315 votes cast thus far.]

More Refs:

1. Rudolf Jaenisch and Ian Wilmut, "Don't Clone Humans!" Science, Vol. 291, p. 2552 (March 30, 2001);
2. Marjorie Miler, "Britain Proposes Law Against Cloning of Humans," The Los Angeles Times, p. A10 (April 20, 2001);
3. Aaron Zitner and Stephanie Simon, "Reprogramming of Genes at Core of Cloning Debate," The Los Angeles Times, p. A31 (April 22, 2001);
4. Nicholas Wade, "Grants for Stem Cell Work Are Delayed," The New York Times (April 24, 2001);
5. Laurie McGinley, "GOP Lawmakers Seek to Ban Cloning of Humans Funded Privately or by U.S." The Wall Street Journal (April 26, 2001);
6. Aaron Zitner, "Diabetes Study Fuels Stem Cell Funding War," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 29 (April 27, 2001);
7. Nicholas Wade, "Scientists Report Two Major Advances in Stem-Cell Work: Debate Likely to Heat up, Advances Come as Bush Weighs Arguments of Researchers and Foes of Abortion," The New York Times, pp. A1, 12 (April 27, 2001);
9. Gautam Naik, "'Therapeutic Cloning' Holds Promise of Treating Disease," The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, B3 (April 27, 2001);
10. Ronald Brownstein and Aaron Zitner, "Compromise in Works for Embryo Cells, The Los Angeles Times, p. A14 (June 28, 2001);
11. Aaron Zitner, "Group's Human Cloning Efforts Hit FDA Snag," The Los Angeles Times (June 30, 2001);
12. Jeffrey L. Fox, "US Biotech Policy Issues Remain in Limbo," Nature Biotechnology , Vol. 19, No. 6, pp. 496-7 (June 2001);
13. Editorial, "Miracle Cures and Embryonic Science," Nature Biotechnology , Vol. 19, No. 4, p. 287 (April 2001).

Refs. on Stem Cells in Adult Adipose Tissue

1. Thomas Maugh, II, "Fat May Be the Answer for Many Illnesses," The Los Angeles Times , p. A1, A20 (April 10, 2001);
2. Denise Grady, "Fat Is Good Source of Stem Cells, A Study Says," The New York Times, p. A13 (April 10, 2001);
3. Antonio Regalado, "Scientists Say Embryo Research Is Needed Despite Fat Finding," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, B3 (April 27, 2001);
4. Patricia A. Zuk, Min Zhu, Hiroshi Mizuno, Jerry Huang BS, J. William Futrell, Adam J. Katz, Prosper Benhaim, H. Peter Lorenz, and Marc H. Hedrick, "Multilineage Cells from Human Adipose Tissue: Implications for Cell-Based Therapies," Tissue Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 211-228, DOI: 10.1089/107632701300062859 (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., New York; April 2001);

Partial Table of Diseases that Could Potentially Benefit from Successful Stem Cell Therapy Applications

June 25, 2001

1. Type-I Diabetes (using Pancreatic Islet [Beta] Cells)
2. Parkinson's Disease (using Dopaminergic Neurons)
3. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) [Lou Gehrig's Disease]
4. Huntington's Disease (HD)
5. Alzheimer's Disease (AD)
6. Spinal Cord Injury
7. Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
8. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
9. Macular Degeneration (MD)
10. Tay-Sachs Disease (TSD)
11. Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) and Heart Attack
12. Stroke (Brain Attack)
13. 3-rd Degree Burns
14. Hepatitis/Cirrhosis of the Liver
15. Osteoarthritis (OA)
16. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
17. Scleroderma
18. Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE)

Sources: NIH Stem Cell Primer (May 2000) and NIH Stem Cell Achievements (April 26, 2000). Remember that this beautifully-composed material on stem cells was written by stodgy government bureaucrats, not by self-interested marketing hotshots.

Bush Administration Opposes Therapeutic Cloning

June 21, 2001; Washington, D.C. The Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Claude Allen, testified yesterday in a congressional committee that the Bush Administration supports a bill sponsored by Reps. David Weldon (R-FL) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) that would make it a Federal crime to create a cloned human embryo for any purpose whatsoever, including therapeutic cloning and not just reproductive cloning. Apparently, the Administration fears that "any application of the technology would open the door to cloned human babies." And this ban would extend to the private sector and not just to Federally-sponsored researchers at NIH or elsewhere. Although influential religious conservatives have described human reproductive cloning as "immoral" or "morally repugnant," these groups have not had a chance to influence the sort of therapeutic cloning research that might lead to cures for Parkinson's Disease, Spinal Cord Injury, Alzheimer's Disease, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Stoke, Cancer, and many other age-related ailments for which it is estimated that 100 to 150 million people may benefit. Although adult stem cells have proven value, it is the embryonic form of stem cells that have the greatest promise for humankind.

It is unclear whether the criminalization of this research could be made retroactive ("grandfathered"), since otherwise, if not passed quickly, the law could become moot (particularly if work is conducted off-shore where it couldn't be prosecuted) because it is certainly the case that a cloned human baby will be born soon, making the "crime" a fait accompli before it becomes illegal. There are several well-financed and knowledgeable groups working at secret locations toward the goal of human reproductive cloning both in this country and abroad, and it is only a matter of time before one of them is successful. Indeed, one of them is likely to achieve some degree of success by the end of this year. So far, veterinary researchers have successfully cloned sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, and mice (but not, to our knowledge, rabbits, horses, rats, dogs, or cats). OB/GYNs working at IVF clinics are familiar with the fact that human eggs are little different from other mammalian eggs.

Last week, Reps. James Greenwood (R-PA) and Peter Deutsch (D-FL) introduced another bill that would bar human reproductive cloning but leave the door open for the creation of embryos for research purposes, providing that such a research embryo was destroyed in just a few days (and never implanted in a surrogate mother). This is consistent with the enlightened policy being adopted in the UK (but conspicuously not under consideration in either Germany or France).

In a separate but related debate, the Bush Administration must still announce its decision on whether to allow Federal funding of research that employs stem cells from non-cloned human embryos, embryos that are currently stored in IVF clinics and will otherwise be destroyed in time. This decision is expected to be announced in mid-July. The Secretary of HHS, Tommy G. Thompson, an abortion opponent and former Governor of the state of Wisconsin, argues that [therapeutic stem cell] research is "very important." However, he does not have final authority over this matter, and those in the White House who are privately beholding to religious fundamentalists are likely to overrule Mr Thompson, if they have any say about it. Stay tuned.

June 25, 2001; Washington, D.C. In a related development, Senator Trent Lott, the Senate's top Republican, said that he sees "great potential" for controversial research that uses stem cells from human embryos.

See Antonio Regalado, "Bush Administration Says It Opposes Cloning of Human Embryos for Research," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, 4 (June 21, 2001); Aaron Zitner, "Bush Administration Backs Complete Ban on Human Cloning," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1,19 (June 21, 2001); as well as Aaron Zitner, "Heart Association Chills Embryo Studies," The Los Angeles Times, pp. A1, 14 (June 21, 2001); Letter to the Editor, James Underdown, Executive Director, Center for Inquiry West, Los Angeles, "Heart Assn. Withdraws from Embryo Research," The Los Angeles Times, p. B12 (June 21, 2001).

World's Oldest Living Person is now an American Woman

June 6, 2001; Click on Centenarians in the frame on your left to find out more about Mrs. Maud (Davis) Farris Luse born on January 21, 1887 and who is now 114 years old.

Why Is This Woman in Trouble?

June 6, 2001; Click on the image to find out. This website about the elderly in our society is brought to us by The Reason Police. Although the GRG does not endorse the opinions represented on this politically-incorrect site, we do wish you to be aware of them.

FDA Mulls Regulating Cloned Animals

June 6, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- The government is deciding whether to regulate cloned livestock and wants assurances that the animals' meat and milk are safe and that the technology doesn't harm the animals or the environment. A study by the National Academy of Sciences of the technology's safety is due early next year. The FDA will use the results to decide whether cloned animals will require government approval before they are sold for food. Biotech companies have been asked to keep the livestock out of the food chain until the agency finishes its review. As a practical matter, however, industry experts say it will likely be years before cloned farm animals or their progeny are ready for food use. The cattle and pigs that have been cloned so far are either for breeding or medical uses. See Antonio Regalado, "Cloned Livestock Mustn't Be Eaten Yet, FDA Warns," The Wall Street Journal, pp. B1, B4 (June 5, 2001).

Cloned Cow Dies in Tennessee

June 5, 2001; Knoxville, TN (AP) -- The third cow cloned from adult cells born in the United States was found dead in a pasture, and researchers don't know how it died. Born nine months ago, Millie, short for "Millennium," also was the first clone of a Jersey cow, a top milk- producing breed, and the first using standard cell-culturing techniques. Millie had been out in a pasture at the University of Tennessee's Experiment Station in Knoxville. It was found dead there early Monday. "Except for a slight variation in the size of a kidney, the cow showed no visible signs of abnormalities," said veterinary pathologists Philip Bochsler and Malcolm McCracken, who performed the autopsy.

Blueprint Worldwide, Inc. To Compile a Public Database on Human Proteins

May 30, 2001; IBM has partnered with MDS of Toronto, Canada. Each has contributed US$ 2.9 million to create a "Public Human Proteomics Catalog and Annotated Database" accessible through the Internet. Dr. Francis Ouellette will lead Blueprint. Meanwhile, Myriad Genetics, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Hitachi, Ltd., and Oracle Corp. have joined to launch a separate $185 million effort to map protein-protein interactions. See Antonio Regalado, "IBM and Others are Financing a Public Database on Proteins," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B2 (May 30, 2001).

See also Oliver Morton's "Gene Machine: IBM's Blue Gene: One Million GigaFlop Processors in a Single Box," Wired, Vol. 9, No. 7, pp. 149-159 (July 2001). This is the story of how IBM expects to solve the "protein-folding problem," one of the next so-called "Grand Challenge" problems for computational biology. They plan to spend $100 million for a Supercomputer with a 100x increase in speed over today's machines.

Animal Genome Size Data Base on the Internet

May 4, 2001; Zoology Graduate Student, Gregory, T.R. (2001). Animal Genome Size Database. There are over 2900 vertebrates and invertebrates, from sponges to Homo Sapiens. Ref. Science, Vol. 292, No. 5518, p. 815 (May 4, 2001).

Study Shows Bone Marrow Stem Cell Versatility

May 4, 2001; Boston, MA (AP) -- Some surprisingly versatile bone marrow cells can transform themselves into building blocks of lungs, intestines, skin, and probably most other parts of the body, raising the possibility of a rich and accessible source of spare parts, new animal research suggests. The findings are the latest in the fast-moving field of stem-cell research, which almost weekly produces fresh insights into the elusive cells the body uses to build and repair itself. The blood, the brain and many other regions of the body have their own specialized stem cells that can make replacement cells when existing ones are damaged or die off. However, the emerging research shows that some of these stem cells are amazingly adaptable, able to generate an assortment of seemingly unrelated types of cells. The latest of these is a marrow stem cell that investigators say is the closest adult cell yet to the primordial stem cells found in embryos. Click for more details.

Disappearing Stem Cells, Disappearing Science

(Excerpt from an Editorial in Science}
Irving L. Weissman, Department of Pathology, Stanford University Medical School and
David Baltimore, President, California Institute of Technology

"...Plainly, scientists alone should not make the decisions about the ethical conduct of their work or about its social applications. It is appropriate that governments, with appropriate public input, define the societal interest in particular lines of research. But in making those policies, the state should minimize purely political considerations and be mindful of the separation of church and state. The wrong action here could close the door to an important avenue of scientific and clinical discovery. The state should not be the barrier to the translation of these potentially revolutionary therapeutic opportunities into real medical advances."

Ref. Science, Vol. 292, No. 5517 (April 27, 2001).

See also a Letter to the Editor, "Ethical Reasons for Stem Cell Research," by Messrs. Robert Lanza, Jose Cibelli, and Michael West of ACT, Inc. (Worcester, MA) and Elliott Dorff, Carol Tauer, and Ronald M. Green, Science, Vo. 292, No. 5520, p. 1299 (May 18, 2001) in which they state that "According to data supplied by the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics approximately 3,000 Americans die every day from diseases that in the future may be treatable with ES-derived cells and tissues."

Bush OKs Outlawing Human Cloning

March 29, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- Scientists called human cloning ethically risky and likely to produce deformed babies, even as researchers who plan to move forward defended their plans Wednesday before a congressional panel. The White House said President Bush would sign a Federal law outlawing such research. Members of Congress appeared eager to send him the legislation, saying that "even if the scientific and safety issues could be overcome, ethical issues remain." Clones are created when the genetic material from a single cell is injected into an egg cell that has had its genes removed. The resulting baby is like an identical twin born years later. While mainstream scientists are unanimously opposed to human cloning, at least for now, two groups of scientists have promised to move ahead within the next year or two. They defended their plans before the Commerce Oversight Subcommittee, likening their work to early efforts at In Vitro Fertilization. Cloning, they said, "can help infertile couples who want a biologically-related child." See Editorial, "Bar Would-Be Human Cloners," p. B8, The Los Angeles Times (March 28, 2001), Aaron Zitner, "Lawmakers Propose Human Cloning Ban, Alien Order Notwithstanding," p. A22, The Los Angeles Times (March 29, 2001), and Antonio Regalado, "Human Cloning Attempt Is Opposed in Hearing," pp. A1, B5, The Wall Street Journal (March 29, 2001).
May 15, 2001; The UK will soon introduce legislation banning the practice of human reproductive cloning according to an article in Genetic Engineering News... See Sophia Fox, "Law to Prohibit Human Reproductive Cloning," Genetic Engineering News, Vol. 21, No. 10, pp. 30-31 (May 15, 2001). The UK may therefore become the first country to prohibit human reproductive cloning by law, and the government is now calling for other countries to follow suit. Human embryo research in the UK is governed by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, which grants licenses for specific areas of embryo research and already prohibits human reproductive cloning. However, the development of new genetic technologies, combined with the recent go-ahead in the UK to introduce regulations permitting human embryo cloning for therapeutic stem-cell research, has fueled public fears that genetic advances could lead to the creation of "designer babies."
See also, Eric Cohen, "The Politics of Cloning: We Must Soon Make Tough Decisions about How to Regulate the Genetic Revolution. But in the Debate Over Creating Human Life, Traditional Alliances Are No Longer Relevant," The LA Times, pp. M1, M6 (Sunday, June 3, 2001). Eric is a former Managing Editor of The Public Interest and a Resident Fellow at the New America Foundation. He states, "Stem cells and cloning, however significant, are only the beginning... The mapping of the human genome raises the prospect of not just new genetic therapies for disease but genetic enhancements, or so-called "germ-line interventions," that would affect all future generations. Eventually, the line between therapy and enhancement may become too difficult to draw -- with genetic backwardness one day becoming the social equivalent of disease, and genetic equality becoming the next social egalitarian crusade."
See also Louis M. Guenin, "Morals and Primordials," Science, Vol. 292, No. 5522, pp. 1659-60 (June 1, 2001). Dr. Guenin is a resident philosopher in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the Harvard Medical School. He boldly takes on the Catholic Church's position regarding "Zygotic Personhood" by defining the notion of an epidosembryo and then quoting Aristotle's Historia Animalium (583b, Vol. II, p. 109 in the Britannica Great Books series; c. 335 B.C.) in which the notion of hylomorphism (the correspondence of form and matter) permits one to conclude that an embryo without neural tissue (before five weeks) cannot have a soul, and therefore cannot be conscious, and therefore cannot be a person for purposes of the "duty not to kill." This line of argument makes one appreciate the "debt of gratitude" that we owe to our founding philosophers. Also, see follow-up letters David Munn and Louis M. Guenin, "Moral Issues of Human Embryo Research," Science, Vol. 293, No. 5528, p. 211 (July 13, 2001).

Prof. Michael C. Brannigan, Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics, La Roche College, Pittsburgh, PA, "What If We Assign Moral Status to Human Embryos?" Genetic Engineering News, Vol. 21, No. 12, pp. 6, 68 (June 15, 2001).
Click for more details.

University Presidents Urge Federal Funding of Stem Cell Research

March 27, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- More than 100 university presidents have asked President Bush to maintain Federal rules that permit funding for limited embryonic stem cell research. In a letter sent Monday, 112 university leaders called discovery of such cells "one of the most promising biomedical developments in years." They said the research holds promise toward finding cures for Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, and spinal cord injuries. At issue are stem cells, the building blocks for all human tissue. They can be derived from aborted fetuses, fertility clinics' discarded embryos, or from adults. All types are under intense study, but embryonic stem cells have generated the most scientific excitement because they appear to be the most flexible. Many anti-abortion groups oppose such research, and Bush has signaled that he may block Federal money from financing it. Instead, he wishes scientists to focus only on adult stem cells. Click for more details.

Chimpanzee Genome To Be Sequenced

March 19, 2001; Click on the chimp Smiling Chimp for more details.

Secretary Thompson Troubled by Government Ban on Stem Cell Research

March 7, 2001; Washington, D.C.; Can the Secretary get ahead of the President on this issue? Click for more details .

GRG Editorial: Ban Human Reproductive Cloning for Five Years

March 5, 2001; Los Angeles, CA; Click for proposed moratorium on human cloning attempts for at least five years. Ref. Aaron Zitner, "Funds for Embryo Research Won't Quell Debate," p. A5, The Los Angeles Times (March 15, 2001) and Robert P. Lanza, MD; Arthur L. Caplan, PhD; Lee M. Silver, PhD; Jose B. Cibelli, PhD; Michael D. West, PhD; and Ronald M. Green, PhD, "The Ethical Validity of Using Nuclear Transfer in Human Transplantation," JAMA, Vol. 284, p. 3175 (December 27, 2000). See also, Louis Roccanova, Patricia Ramphal, and Phililp Rappa, III, "Mutation in Embryonic Stem Cells," and Calvin B. Harley, Jane S. Lebkowski, Melissa K. Carpenter, and Thomas B. Okarma, "Response: Evidence that the Expansion of Human ES Cells for Therapeutic Use Will Not be Hampered by Genetic Mutation Has Been Published in Three Sets of Studies," Science, Vol. 292, No. 5516, pp. 438-440 (April 20, 2001).

Celera and Baylor to Sequence the Rat Genome

March 1, 2001; The Celera Genomics Group of Rockville, MD and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX will share an NIH grant award of $58 million to sequence the Rat Genome. This joint effort represents a turnabout in the relationship between the public and private gene-sequencing efforts. The ability to compare homologies between the mouse and rat with the human sequence should be very informative. See Andrew Pollack, "Celera Will Join a Rival in Rat Genome Project," The New York Times (March 1, 2001); Scott Hensley, "In Odd Pairing, Celera, University to Map Rat DNA," The Wall Street Journal, pp. A1, B1, B6 (March 1, 2001); and "Private/Public Rat Genome Consortium Formed," Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 19, No. 4, p. 299 (April 2001).

DiGeorge Syndrome Gene Isolated

February 26, 2001; Three separate groups have independently discovered the defective gene that causes DiGeorge Syndrome, which affects about one in every 4,000 children. The disorder has a broad range of symptoms, including facial abnormalities, heart defects, immune system malfunction (T-cell), and learning disabilities. The severity also varies widely. Some victims die soon after birth, while others have symptoms so mild that they are virtually unnoticed.

Researchers have long known that DeGeorge Syndrome is caused by the deletion of a segment of Chromosome 22. But that segment contains several genes, and researchers were not sure which one was responsible. The teams report in the March issues of Cell and Nature Genetics and in the March 2nd Nature that the most important gene is called " Tbx1," one of the so-called " T-box" genes that control development. Removing this gene from mice, the teams reported, "produces the most important symptoms of DiGeorge Syndrome."

Chromosome 22 is particularly unstable and prone to deletions. Another deletion in the chromosome is one of the major causes of congenital heart defects. See Thomas H. Maugh, II, p. S3, The Los Angeles Times (February 26, 2001).

Report on the AAAS Annual Meeting

February 18-19, 2001; San Francisco, CA; Drs. Francis Collins, Director of the International Public Human Genome Project, and Craig Venter, CEO and Chief Scientist of The Celera Genomics Group, gave special invited lectures on consecutive evenings at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Annual Meeting. For a review of this meeting, click on Dr. Philip Ableson's picture,
Dr. Ableson, 87 years old
past Editor-in-Chief of Science, who had the honor of doing the introductions.

Mouse Genome is Largely Completed

February 13, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- Scientists say they have largely deciphered the genetic code of the mouse, a step toward providing a vantage point to better understand the biology and diseases of people. Celera Genomics of Rockville, MD, said Monday that "its data covered more than 99 percent of the roughly three billion "letters" in the mouse code, called its genome. That's about the same genome size as people have. "While Celera has largely determined the order of the letters, it hasn't yet counted up the genes or defined other features," Celera Vice President Mark Adams said an an interview. Scientists have several reasons to want the sequence of the mouse genome in hand One is to help them use mice in lab experiments to find out about human disease. The mouse code can also help scientists understand the human genome, he said. "Comparison between the two helps to separate out the parts that are functionally important from the parts that are less so," Paigen said. Dr. Eric Lander of the Whitehead Institute Center for Genomic Research in Cambridge, MA, said "such comparisons should help scientists find DNA regions that regulate the activity of genes, and figure out the control circuits." "It will probably take comparisons across the genomes of [3 - 5] species to do that," he said. Adams said "the mouse genome should also help scientists understand differences in how diseases behave in mice and people." "That might provide insights that lead to treatments targeting the spread of cancer, for example," he said.

Just 26,588 Human Genes

February 11, 2001; Celera Genomics announced today that there could be as few as 26,588 plus another 12,731 possible protein-coding genes in the Human Genome (similar in size to the mustard weed plant genome), not the 100,000 or more that experts believed there were for a decade until just last year when it became clear for the first time that that estimate was too high. Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute said, "On one level, it's a blow to the pride of our species: How can we hold our heads up if we have only a few more genes than a worm? But what it does tell you is that our complexity arises from some other source, and we will now have to start looking for it." By the way, the public program predicts a number of human protein-coding genes in the range of [30,000 - 40,000], which is consistent with the above estimate. Another interesting finding is that certain genes, like the [113 - 220] genes that appear to have been derived as a block from bacteria, are tightly clustered and contain virtually no junk DNA. In other words, they were inherited as a single module. Another curious fact that derives from a comparison of the mouse and human genomes is that there are only about 300 genes that appear uniquely in the human genome that are not in the mouse genome. In other words, all mammals have essentially the same genome; it's the expression that counts.

Refs. Aaron Zitner, "Humans Need Fewer Genes Than Thought to Survive: Researchers Studying the Human Genome Will Report on Lower Numbers, Multiple Roles, and Other DNA Mysteries," pp. A1, A44, The Los Angeles Times (February 11, 2001), Aaron Zitner, "'Whole-Genome Shotgun' Missed Its Mark: Celera Head J. Craig Venter Had Big Plans for His Mapping Technique. But It Didn't Work," pp. A44, 45, The Los Angeles Times (February 11, 2001), and Nicholas Wade, "Genome Analysis Shows Humans Survive on Low Number of Genes," .pp. A1,30, The New York Times (February 11, 2001). Scott Hensley, "Celera's Genome Anchors It Atop Biotech: Companiy's 'Book of life' Spawned Better Reviews Than Public Project's," pp. A1, A3, A4, The Wall Street Journal (February 12, 2001), Antonio Regalado, "Whitehead's Lander Kept Public Sector in Gene Race," p. B12, The Wall Street Journal (February 12, 2001), and Roie Mestel, "Tiny Disparities in Human Genes Go a Long Way, Studies Find," pp. A1, A20, The Los Angeles Times (February 12, 2001).

Science and Nature to Publish Human Genome on February12th

February 1, 2001; Prof. Donald Kenedy, Editor-in-Chief of Science, announced today that the Human Genome ( Celera-Genomics version) peer-reviewed papers will be published on the AAAS website on February 12th -- The hard copy version (48 pages) will arrive in the mail a few days later. See also, Scott Hensley, "Celera's Human Genetic Code to Go Online," p. B7, The Wall Street Journal (February 8, 2001). It is rumored that the publicly-funded (NIH/International version) Human Genome will be published in Nature on or about this same time.

February 8, 2001 ( Editor's Note: This just in from Nature) Human Genome Exclusive: Where were you the day it was published? February 15th sees Nature's publication of a series of breakthrough papers (62 pages) on the sequencing of the human genome. In acknowledgement of the importance of this breakthrough, this issue of Nature will be available free-of-charge on the Nature Genome Gateway: after 3 PM GMT (11 PM PST) on Monday, February 12th -- several days in advance of the print publication. [ Editor's Note: On the very same day of the Science website publication. Now, would you consider this a coincidence, or what?]

Stem Cell Stance Alarms Scientists

January 31, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- Scientists and universities are increasingly worried because the Bush Administration apparently will block federal financing of promising medical research using certain master cells. Stem cells are the building blocks for all human tissue, and scientists say research with them could lead to revolutionary therapies for diseases from Alzheimer's to diabetes. They can be derived from aborted fetuses, fertility clinics' discarded embryos, or adults. All are under study, but embryonic stem cells generate the most excitement because they appear the most flexible. Anti-abortion groups oppose fetal and embryonic stem cell research. Friday, President Bush said he prefers adult stem-cell research, signaling he may move to block the other types. Federally-funded scientists can't touch human embryos, but privately-funded scientists have replicated embryonic stem cells in cell culture.

Click on "Stem Cell Issue Brief" for information organized by the American Society of Cell Biology regarding a Petition to then President-Elect Bush. Click for more details about Johns Hopkins University's new Institute on Stem Cell Biology.

Abiomed, Inc Gets Approval to Begin Artificial Heart Studies

January 30, 2001; Danvers, MA (Dow Jones Newswires) -- Abiomed, Inc. (ABMD) received permission from the FDA to begin the initial clinical trial of its AbioCor Permanent Replacement Heart. In a press release today, the company said the implantable artificial heart is intended as a destination therapy for end-stage heart-failure patients who are at risk of imminent death, are not transplantable, and cannot be helped by other available therapies.

The Investigational Device Exemption granted by the FDA allows for the implantation of the AbioCor in the first five patients of the clinical trial. Success of the trial will be based upon periodic review of the survival of AbioCor patients and their quality of life as measured by a variety of assessment instruments previously validated for end-stage heart failure patients. The device has been tested extensively in cows. The battery power-source, however, is external. Ref. MSNBC-TV 2:45 PM PST 3-minute interview with Company CEO, Dr. David Lederman.

Alternative to Stem Cell Therapy

January 26, 2001; Sheffield, UK (Nigel Hawkes of the The London Times) -- British scientists have developed a way of using immortal human cells to repair bone and renew the brain. The method offers an alternative to stem cell therapy which they believe will work better and will raise no ethical issues. Normal cells divide only a limited number of times before they die, but the new technology, developed by Dr. Bradley Stringer of Sheffield University and Dr. George Foster of Cardiff University, cancels out this process, enabling an unlimited number of cells to be generated from the original source. Clinical trials of the new bone repair material could begin within [12 - 18] months at Sheffield University, with a possible treatment for Parkinson's Disease to follow [1 - 2] years later. The cells are not stem cells -- research into which was approved by the House of Lords after a debate on Monday -- but specialized cells that can be multiplied indefinitely in vitro.

House of Lords OKs Embryo Cloning

January 23, 2001; London, UK (AP) -- The British House of Lords approved a proposed change to government regulations Monday that makes Britain the first country to effectively legalize the creation of cloned human embryos. See Laurie McGinley, "Britain Stirs Stem-Cell Research Debate," p. A1, B11, The Wall Street Journal (January 24, 2001). Click for more details.

Stem Cells Tested for Lou Gehrig's Disease Model in Monkeys

January 23, 2001; Washington, D.C. (AP) -- Researchers from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Yale universities have reported promising early signs in the first monkeys treated with stem cells for a model of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Click for more details.

Cloned Ox, from Rare Species, Dies

January 12, 2001; Des Moines, IA (AP) -- An endangered ox called an Asian gaur, named Noah, cloned and gestated in the womb of a cow in a scientific first, was born Monday at TransOva Genetics in Sioux Center, IA, but then "died from a common disease (Dysentery) on Wednesday," scientists reported today. Scientists claimed bittersweet victory in the experiment that used technology they hope can be used to shore up the numbers of endangered animals. It was a project that united the technology of cloning and with that of an interspecies birth. Noah was the first animal to gestate in the womb of another species and survive through the late stages of fetal development. For reference, five other cows that became pregnant with cloned gaur fetuses spontaneously aborted the fetuses. [Editor's Note: However, we are pleased to report that Bessie, the surrogate cow is just fine. Ref. CNN-TV Science and Technology Week in Review (Saturday, January 13, 2001; 10:45 AM PST)]. Also, see p. A9, The Los Angeles Times (January 13, 2001) and "Rare-Animal Cloning Hits Stumbling Block in Baby Gaur's Death," pp. A1, B11, The Wall Street Journal (January 15, 2001). Click on the image of a gaur for more details from AP, CNN, and WSJ.

First Germ-Line-Altered Primate

January 11, 2001; Portland, OR (AP) -- As will be reported in tomorrow's issue of Science, researchers have created the world's first genetically-modified primate, a baby Rhesus monkey whose name ANDi stands for "inserted DNA" spelled backward. "Born in October, the male monkey carries a tiny extra bit of DNA in a gene introduced as a marker that can be seen under a microscope because it glows green," researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) said. Researchers hope they now can introduce other genes in Rhesus monkeys that could trigger a host of human diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis,, or HIV, allowing experiments to block them at the genetic level. See ABC-TV "Good Morning America" on Friday, January 12, 2001; 7:45 AM PST for some great animation of the transgenic process, Thomas H. Maugh, II, "Healthy Monkey is Genetically Engineered by Oregon Researchers," pp. A1, 3, 28, The Los Angeles Times (January 15, 2001) and Antonio Regalado, "First Genetically-Altered Primate Is Produced by Oregon Scientists," pp. A1, B6, The Wall Street Journal (January 12, 2001). Click on the image of ANDi for more details from Science, CNN, and AP.

Not all Stem Cells Are the Same

January 6, 2001; As described in the January issue of Nature Immunology, researchers at the University of Toronto have identified both "short-term" and "long-term" repopulation stem cells. Click for more details.

News Items for the Year 2000

Click for News Items from 2000.