Tipping Point for Embryonic Stem Cells?

first_imgAt any time, courts could rule on whether funding of embryonic stem cell research can continue or must be halted.  Whichever way a decision is rendered, whether by Judge Lamberth on the legality of the NIH guidelines, or by the Court of Appeals for DC, the issue will probably wind up before the Supreme Court.  Passions run high on both sides.  A crusader for adult stem cells, profiled in Nature this past week,1 was surprised by how many scientists support her antagonism to the use of human embryos for research.  More on that later; first, some news highlights:Cooling the flame:  Science Daily told how adult stem cell therapy can reduce inflammatory damage from stroke.  “We are seeing a paradigm shift in the way some types of stem cells may enhance recovery from stroke,” an excited researcher at the University of Texas said.  The adult stem cell therapy appears to dampen inflammation involving the spleen.  This new treatment holds promise to “improve clinical care, reduce long-term health care costs, and improve the quality of life for millions of people.”iPS momentum:  PhysOrg reported that researchers at Harvard and Columbia have demonstrated that “many iPS cells are the equal of hESCs in creating human motor neurons, the cells destroyed in a number of neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s.”  Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) are a form of adult stem cell that does not involve the destruction of embryos (11/20/2007), as in human embryonic stem cells (hESC).  The article says that iPS cells meet the “gold standard” of pluripotency.  In addition, new methods are speeding the tests for pluripotency of iPS cells.Hearty iPS:  Another story on PhysOrg highlighted research at Stanford that shows iPS cells can generate beating heart cells that carry a genetic defect under study, allowing “for the first time to examine and characterize the disorder at the cellular level.”ESC economics:  PhysOrg also discussed the current disarray of patent laws surrounding stem cell lines, data, and treatments.  Some scientists warn of a potential “stifling effect of widespread patenting in stem cell field.”  Bioethicist Debra Matthews (Johns Hopkins) said, “Pervasive taking of intellectual property rights has resulted in a complex and confusing patchwork of ownership and control in the field of stem cell science.”  Although the article was unclear whether the dispute includes adult stem cell research, it mentioned one recommendation being “a centralized portal for access to existing databases, such as the UK Stem Cell Bank and the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry.”Mixed bag:  Another article on PhysOrg discussed the new Massachusetts Medical School Human Stem Cell Bank, which opened with seven high-quality stem cell lines (5 embryonic, 2 iPS, with more to follow), and how they are being preserved in liquid nitrogen and made available to researchers around the world.  The article mixed these two sources of stem cells with no mention of ethics: e.g., “The Registry includes information on the derivation, availability and characteristics for more than 1,200 hESC and iPS cell lines developed in over 22 different countries, including more than 200 cell lines with genetic disorders.”Sex cells:  Parthenogenetic stem cells are taken from reproductive cells (03/12/2005).  Lacking the full complement of chromosome pairs, they might contain a good or bad copy of a gene implicated in a disease like tuberous sclerosis or Huntington’s disease.  Science Daily discussed how work at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is constructing good embryonic stem cells from parthenogenetic cells.  “These single-parent/patient-derived embryonic stem cells can theoretically be used for correction of a diverse number of diseases that occur when one copy of the gene is abnormal,” a research at the hospital said.“The Crusader”With the decision by Judge Lamberth last September prohibiting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (09/03/2010) still under an injunction (09/26/2010), researchers and bioethicists are waiting to see what the next court ruling will bring.  Nature published the story of “The Crusader,” Theresa Deisher, one of the two remaining plaintiffs who won in the September case.1  Reporter Meredith Wadman presented Deisher in a fairly positive light as an intelligent, confident, persistent, self-sacrificing, hard-working PhD in cell biology, respected by her enemies, a Roman Catholic who “once shunned religion for science” but regained her faith when realizing that fetuses were not just “clumps of cells,” but human beings (cf. 11/07/2002).    Deisher’s politics in college were “very left-wing,” after she ditched her mother’s religious faith.  “I was in science, and science was much more interesting than religion,” she said.  “I encouraged a couple of friends to have abortions.”  Her return to faith came by degrees: first, the sight of an adult cadaver preserved in formalin made her realize that a fetus preserved in a jar only looks “alien” because of the preservation method.  Second, she encountered first-hand the passions of those bent on researching human embryos; “And the vehemence with which colleagues resisted ‘made me open my eyes’, Deisher says, to the very real – and, she says, unscientific – passions that can infect defenders of scientific orthodoxy,” Wadman wrote.  “Science, she reasoned, was not so objective after all.”  Third, Deisher’s growing antipathy to embryonic stem cell research got an emotional kick when speaking to Republican state lawmakers in Washington state in 2007.  “One of the other speakers was a mother who had adopted a frozen embryo from a fertility clinic,” Wadman continued.  “The resulting child, a girl then four years old, stood beside her.”    Deisher sold her house and used her retirement savings to start an institute for the advancement of adult stem cell therapies.  She is not, thereby, antagonizing scientists by opposing them through the political process; when asked, she reluctantly signed on as a plaintiff in the lawsuit that resulted in Lamberth’s ruling: “It is frightening to speak out,” she said; “I don’t care for the notoriety.”  Instead, her AVM Biotechnology company seeks to provide positive alternatives: “The company’s mission, in part, is to eliminate the need for embryonic-stem-cell therapies and enable adult-stem-cell companies to succeed by developing, for instance, drugs that promote stem-cell retention in target organs,” It is also working on alternatives to vaccines currently produced using cell lines derived from fetuses that had been aborted decades ago.”  Unlike the institutes in California that have $3 billion in taxpayer-approved bonds at their disposal, Deisher runs her company in a dormitory with five unpaid staff.    A lot rides on the court’s next move.  If the court agrees with Deisher, Wadman ended, “it will shut down hundreds of human-embryonic-stem-cell experiments once more – possibly for good.”  One of the most interesting things Deisher learned from the lawsuit – indeed, the “biggest lesson,” Wadman called it – was, in Deisher’s words, “how many scientists are against [human-embryonic-stem-cell research].  I did not know that. I did not expect the level of support and encouragement that I have received.”1.  Meredith Wadman, “The Crusader,” Nature 470, 156-159 (Feb 9, 2011) | doi:10.1038/470156a.That Nature would print this story about Deisher is an encouraging sign that the momentum may be turning away from embryonic stem cell research.  Nature used to wield its editorial pen against the opponents the way it does against creationists, calling them ignorant moralists standing in the way of progress (02/11/2005, 09/27/2004).  Dr. Tracy Deisher certainly does not fit that description, nor does Dr. James Sherley, an adult stem cell researcher at Boston Biomedical Research Institute, the other remaining plaintiff in the lawsuit.  For sure, Wadman snuck in enough jibes about Deisher to titillate Nature’s leftist readers (calling her a “bundle of contradictions,” pointing out that she never applied for a NIH grant, pointing out that she studies the “pernicious” and “disproven” hypothesis that autism might be triggered by vaccines, quoting people who call her “polarizing,” remarking in a callout box that “she’s kind of the Sarah Palin of stem cells,”), but she gave Deisher a lot of room to respond, too.    What was not said may be more telling.  Wadman did not point out any benefits of embryonic stem cells over adult stem cells.  She did not quote any leading ES researchers making a good case for cutting up embryos.  And she did not even attempt to defend ES research on ethical grounds.  Instead, she gave Deisher space to make two striking blows: (1) that many scientists are opposed to human embryonic stem cell research, and (2) that hESC researchers are not driven primarily by concern for the sick.  Researchers prefer to work on ES cells because they are convenient, Deisher argued; their science “is not about helping patients and it’s not about advancing the common good.”  Instead, she argued, “There is no commercial, clinical or research utility in working with human embryonic stem cells.”  That anecdote about the four-year-old girl born from a frozen embryo added emotional clout.  Here was a darling human being – obviously a great deal more than a clump of cells.    These are signs that embryonic stem cell research is losing its hype-driven public mandate (cf. 01/02/2011).  After all the promises, it has produced no cures (while adult stem cell research is on a roll; see 11/18/2010 starting from initial promise in 01/24/2002).  It is superfluous, now that iPS technology is its equal, without the ethical qualms.  Its credibility has been marred by fraud (12/16/2005), while others worry about future abuses (10/21/2004; cf. 04/22/2004 and 07/30/2001 on eugenics).  Opponents within the scientific community are becoming more bold.  And it is hanging by a thread, waiting for the next court ruling that might end its federal funding for good (double entendre intentional).  But why should it get federal funding in the first place?  If the promises were credible, commercial and charitable support would be overwhelming.  That ES researchers have to lean on the government dole is a sign it is not commercially viable.    Is this subject relevant for Creation-Evolution Headlines?  Maybe not directly, but one’s view of the origin of life and humanity has direct bearing on ethics.  The stem cell controversy of the past decade has been a direct outgrowth of competing views on the significance of human life.  If an embryo is “just a clump of cells,” then playing with those clumps because of their convenience or the temptation of a Nobel prize has no ethical consequences.  But if human life was created by God, it never loses its sanctity from conception to burial.  It will affect how we view a fetus in a jar, a plasticized body in an exhibit, an Alzheimer’s patient in a nursing home, a woman considering an abortion, the direction of scientific research.  It’s where the rubber of worldview meets the road of scientific practice.(Visited 40 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

AirAsia’s Vietnam plan faces stiff competition.

first_imgKuala Lumpur-based AirAsia is having another tilt at a joint venture in Vietnam that will pit it against the well-established operations of Jetstar Pacific and VIetJet. Wholly-owned AirAsia subsidiary AirAsia Investment Limited signed an agreement on March 30 week with Gumin Company Limited,  the  Hai Au Aviation Joint Stock Company and their owner Tran Trong Kien to establish a budget carrier in the fast-growing market.The budget carrier will own 30 per cent of the joint venture which plans to start flying in 2018, subject to Vietnam’s often difficult regulatory process.Vietnam’s aviation market has been growing at a healthy clip and Bloomberg estimates the growth is three times the rate in other Southeast Asian countries.Government statistics show there were 52.2 million air travellers in Vietnam in 2016, an increase of 29 per cent year-on-year, with 28 million flying domestically. The International Air Transport Association has predicted there will be 112 million new passengers in Vietnam over the next two decades.This is AirAsia’s third attempt to get a foothold in Vietnam as part of its strategy to establish an Asian network and the CAPA Centre for Aviation believes being late to the market will make the job more difficult.  “ AirAsia was initially partnered with VietJet Air but the partnership was dissolved prior to VietJet commencing operations in late 2011,’’ CAPA said.“The market has since more than doubled in size, and Vietnam has emerged as Southeast Asia’s fastest growing market. “While there is further growth potential, the LCC incumbents VietJet and Jetstar Pacific have first mover advantage, and infrastructure constraints could make it difficult for any new entrant to establish a significant presence.”AirAsia will also need to overcome regulatory hurdles.”Known for publicity stunts involving bikini-clad girls, VietJet launched in 2011 as Vietnam’s first privately owned “new age” carrier and publicly listed earlier this year.It operates almost 40 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft to about 60 domestic and international destinations with ports in Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Myanmar. It hopes to have a fleet of 200 aircraft by 2023 and last year placed an order with Boeing for 100 737 MAX jets with a list price of $US11.3 billion.Jetstar Pacific launched in 2008 and now flies to 16 domestic and international destinations with a  fleet of 10 Airbus A320 aircraft. It has plans to expand its fleet to 30 A320s.Australia’s Jetstar Group owns 30 per cent of the airline while Vietnam Airlines, which is also a codeshare partner with Jetstar,  owns the remainder.Jetstar’s Australian long-haul operations will move in May to reconnect with its sister airline when it resumes flights to Ho Chi Minh City.Starting May 10, Jetstar will operate Boeing 787 Dreamliner services three times weekly from Melbourne and four times weekly from Sydney.Jetstar Group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka in January described Vietnam as one of the fastest growing holiday destinations in South East Asia.“Vietnam has the potential to become as popular as Bali or Thailand for Australian travellers,” Hrdlicka said. “Vietnam is well known for its rich culture, vibrant cities, beaches and cuisine, and travellers can take advantage of the wide range of experiences the region has to offer.“We expect our low fares and direct flights will generate even more demand for holidays to Vietnam.’’Jetstar International first flew to Vietnam from Australia a decade ago.last_img read more

Match moments in India vs England World Cup tie

first_imgWith more than 600 runs scored in the day, there were bound to be centuries galore and that’s what showed by in prominence at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.First India’s batting maestro added another feather to his cap by becoming the only batsman to score five centuries in World Cups. And the way he scored it deserves a standing ovation. Initially, he took his time at the crease, got into the groove and then let loose a flurry of strokes. The end result was a fast-paced ton.Sitting on 98 at the end of the 24th over Tendulkar hit a four on the first ball of the next over off Tim Bresnan to complete his century which came off 103 balls.Tendulkar went on to score 120 off 115 ball decorating his innings with 10 fours and five over the fence shots.Then it was the opposition captain Adnrew Strauss to show his batting prowess. He too completed his century to help England put 338 on board – the same number of runs as India’s. The end result – a tied matchStill, the most important part was played by India paceman Zaheer Khan. First he broke Strauss-Ian Bell partnership by scalping Bell and then claimed Strauss as well to bring India back in the game. This in a way was a turning point of the game.Man-of-the-MatchEngland captain Andrew Strauss piped India’s Sachin Tendulakr for the Man-of-the-Match award.Not only did he bat superbly under pressure but helped his team sail past a massive 339-run target – the highest successful chase by a team in World Cup history.advertisementlast_img read more

10 months agoCardiff attacker Aron Gunnarsson: We’re in good position

first_imgCardiff attacker Aron Gunnarsson: We’re in good positionby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCardiff City attacker Aron Gunnarsson insists they can recover from their home thrashing by Manchester United.It promises to be a difficult season for Cardiff as they fight relegation but Gunnarsson says they must take the positives and the biggest one of that they are not in the drop zone for Christmas despite the United defeat.Gunnarsson said: “Especially away from home, we need to start picking up points away from home. We’ve obviously been good here at home apart from today.“We need to keep going but looking at the table, at Christmas time, we’d have taken the position at the moment but we need to build on that and stick together even though this loss was tough to take.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

ESPN Announces This Year’s Theme Song For The College Football Season

first_imgESPN PlayoffESPN PlayoffIf you’re constantly tuned in to ESPN during pigskin season, you’ll likely see the network’s college football promo commercials dozens, if not hundreds of times. The Worldwide Leader, much to the dismay of many, uses the same song for every bit. By the end of the year, you’ll know every word.So which song will you know every word to this year? According to Chris Fowler, who used to host College GameDay before giving up the job to Rece Davis last year, this year’s song will be “Collider” by the X Ambassadors and Tom Morello. The X Ambassadors are an alternative rock band from Ithaca, New York. Morello, of course, was the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine.Here’s the video for the song, if you’re so inclined. It was released on August 1st.As a huge Tom Morello/Rage Against the Machine fan, this makes me happy: new ESPN CFB anthem w/X Ambassadors https://t.co/0ipVtmRM4y— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) August 3, 2016Last year, the tune was “History” by Lauren Alaina. In 2014, it was “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy.The X Ambassadors were formed in 2009 and released their first full-length album in 2015. The band is comprised of four members – Sam Harris, Casey Harris, Noah Feldshuh and Adam Levin.ESPN will kick off its college football coverage in 2016 in Sydney, Australia. Hawaii and California are set to meet at ANZ Stadium on Friday, August 26. The Rainbow Warriors and Golden Bears will meet a week before all other teams.College football’s opening weekend will feature a number of important games, so expect to see a number of promos. In the first few days of the season, we’ll get to see Kansas State vs. Stanford, Oklahoma vs. Houston, UCLA vs. Texas A&M, LSU vs. Wisconsin, Alabama vs. USC, Florida State vs. Ole Miss, Texas vs. Notre Dame and Auburn vs. Clemson.last_img read more

Rail joint cracks led to Saskatchewan potash train derailment TSB

first_imgWINNIPEG – An investigation has concluded that cracks in a rail joint ultimately led to the derailment of a freight train carrying potash east of Saskatoon last fall.A Transportation Safety Board report says the cracks made the rail joint weak and it ruptured under the weight of the Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) train.Some 37 cars derailed just west of the Rural Municipality of Blucher on Sept. 15.The report says many of the derailed cars spilled potash, but no dangerous goods were involved and no one was hurt.About 760 metres of track was damaged or destroyed.The TSB says all required track inspections had been performed, including three in the previous year that showed some minor defects not needing immediate attention under CP maintenance standards.The train had just passed through a switch at Blucher when the crew felt the locomotive dip and heard a banging sound. An engineer applied the brakes to slow the train and four seconds later an automatic emergency brake was activated.Half a rail joint was recovered during cleanup and had “rail-end batter on the east-end rail head and fatigue cracking in the joint bars.”Potash consists of minerals containing potassium and is used as an agricultural fertilizer.last_img read more

The Patriots Are Almost Certainly Not Going 160

When do we get to stop jabbering about the Patriots? Last winter, the New England Patriots marched through the playoffs and won the Super Bowl. Then we spent all spring and summer worrying about whether their quarterback, Tom Brady, had knowingly deflated footballs — and then we had to start the conversation over again when his four-game suspension was overturned. And now that football is actually being played, the Pats are still on everyone’s minds: At 3-0, with the NFL’s second-best SRS rating,1SRS is the Simple Rating System, Pro-Football-Reference.com’s way of adjusting a team’s average scoring margin for the strength of its schedule. (The upstart Falcons are No. 1.) they’ve started so hot as to inspire speculation about another 16-0 season.But the Patriots media frenzy may have finally swallowed itself when Skip Bayless was asked on Tuesday’s “First Take” about New England’s chances of going undefeated and said it was “extremely probable” that the Patriots would go 16-0.We touched on this during a segment of our sports podcast, Hot Takedown (Pats chatter begins at the 7:00 mark), but the notion that it’s “extremely probable” for any team to go 16-0 after three weeks of the season was too absurd for us to confine our dissent to a podcast.Let’s get this out of the way: It’s extremely improbable that New England will win each of its remaining 13 games. According to our Elo ratings (a system for estimating each NFL team’s strength at any given moment), New England has only a 4.4 percent probability of navigating the rest of its schedule without a loss. In other words, if you played out 100 versions of the 2015 season, the Pats would fail to go undefeated in about 96 of them. Bayless is holding out for our real-life timeline to be one of the four leftovers.It’s easy to see why the Patriots are so unlikely to win out. They aren’t even favorites in all of their remaining contests — Elo says there’s a 53 percent chance they lose to Denver on the road in late November. And among the games in which they are favored, they’re far from guaranteed victors. Nine teams have a greater than 20 percent chance of knocking them off — there’s a 42 percent chance they don’t even emerge from their bye week and make it to 4-0 against the Cowboys on Oct. 11. (Granted, Elo is unaware that Dallas will be without QB Tony Romo for that game, but a Romo adjustment would still leave New England with roughly a one-third chance of being upset.)This year’s Patriots team is really good. Through three weeks, the 2015 edition has a slightly better Elo rating (1698) than the 2007 version that went 16-0 had (1697) at the same point in the season.2If this sounds contrary to what I said at the 9:05 mark of this week’s Hot Takedown, it’s because I goofed. There I was referring to the fact that, in the subset of our Elo simulations where New England went 16-0 this season, its final Elo rating of 1820 was slightly lower than the 1832 mark the Pats had after the 2007 regular season. But that’s all down the road — as of now, three weeks in, the 2015 Patriots’ Elo is slightly higher. But the 2007 Patriots were arguably the best team in pro football history (to the extent such a thing exists), and they still required a great deal of luck in close wins in the second half of their schedule.It’s very hard to go undefeated, which is a big part of why streaks capture our imagination. If it were as easy as Bayless seems to think it is, we wouldn’t care as much. Read more: The Best NFL Teams Of All Time, According To Elo read more

Pallotta has a good feeling for the second leg

first_imgAS Roma president James Pallotta, who became famous for his fountain dive after the beat Barcelona in the previous round, has shared he has a good feeling for the second leg of the semi-final clash with Liverpool.Despite the fact that the Italian side suffered a huge 5-2 upset away in the first leg, Pallotta doesn’t seem bothered by troublesome past but seems to believe in the bright future.Top 5 Atletico Madrid players to watch in next week’s UCL Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 With the Champions League about to start, we need to start talking about the Top 5 Atletico Madrid players to watch in the competition.Atletico…However, this is not out of nowhere – Roma already overcame a 4-1 deficit in the quarter-final clash with Barcelona in order to proceed to the semi-finals – they won 3-0 at home, which was the main reason why Pallotta was seen celebrating in Rome’s fountains.I have good feelings for tonight , we’ll see, another bathroom in the fountain? No, tonight the have kept the fountain closesd, perhaps they also close the Colosseum …” Pallotta shared, according to Calcio Mercato, just hours before the decisive game starts.last_img read more

ONeill pleased with teams display in disappointing draw

first_imgRepublic of Ireland head coach Martin O’Neill insists he is proud of his team’s display, despite a disappointing draw against Denmark.The Irish hosted Denmark in only their second game of the group in the UEFA Nations League after losing their first game to Wales and were greeted by jeers after the draw with the Danes.O’Neill said, according to IrishMirror: “We had pockets of possession and I thought we had a feeling we could do something with it but we wanted to create more than we did.”“I thought we started the game well but we allowed Denmark dictate things possession wise.”“And while they didn’t cause us that many problems, they had more of the ball and we were chasing it. But when we kept the ball much better in the second half.”Meanwhile, the former Aston Villa manager praised Cyrus Christie who played in an unfamiliar role, tucked into midfield with Matt Doherty making his competitive bow at right wing-back.Emile Heskey, LiverpoolReport: Former Liverpool striker Heskey reveals all George Patchias – September 10, 2019 Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey reveals all in his new book.In Heskey’s new book “Even Heskey Scored,” serialised in the Guardian, the player talks,…“I thought Cyrus was terrific and I’ve a lot of faith in him. He is athletic and strong and he keeps himself in great condition.”“I thought Sisto might cause us problems and Cyrus was usually the first one out to deal with him and he also had a great shot on goal.”Doherty who plays his club football with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League, winning the PFA Player of the Month award.And O’Neill said: “There was a lot of expectation on him as he’s doing well with Wolves and is getting used to the Premier League. He didn’t do too badly.”But O’Neill was not crying foul about Shane Duffy’s late penalty appeal, stating: “I think it would have been harsh on them. He has touched him, but I don’t think it’s a penalty.”last_img read more

Klopp provides an injury update on Trent AlexanderArnold

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed they are taking assessing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fitness on a daily basis ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester UnitedThe English full-back was forced to withdraw in the closing stages of Liverpool’s decisive Champions League victory against Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday night.Arnold remains a doubt for this weekend’s clash against United at Anfield with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez definitely out.“With Trent, it’s not as serious as it is with the other two boys, but of course it is absolutely not top-class news, that’s clear,” said Klopp on the club website.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“It was unlucky as well, especially with Joel; the last second of the game. When you asked me in the press conference I had no idea about it because I had to go doing different stuff pretty much immediately and I didn’t see him on the pitch because I spoke to Carlo [Ancelotti].“The rehab has already started pretty much, the same for Joe.“Trent, we have to see. For him, it is day by day how we judge it. It’s not cool but as long as we still have enough players, it is our job to always find a solution for it – and we will have a solution for the weekend, but of course, it is not perfect.”The German added that full-back Nathaniel Clyne has been back in training for the last four days and is set to return from injury.last_img read more