Stem Cell Institute Hits Jackpot…With Adult Stem Cells

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is rejoicing. For “the first time … research by a CIRM-funded Disease Team has resulted in an Investigational New Drug (IND) approval from the FDA, a critical step in testing promising therapies in patients,” says Dr Ellen Feigal, of the CIRM. “It’s a reflection of the initial progress being made in advancing scientific discoveries towards potential therapies for patients.”

What went unsaid is that this approval is for treatment with adult stem cells, not human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). But the CIRM was established with a US$3 billion bond issue to deliver cures through hESCs.

Wesley J. Smith, a bioethics writer and stern critic of the CIRM, was scathing in his comment: “That its first, and so far only, big success came from the very approach its mendacious backers earlier disdained, is just too rich an irony to overlook.”

The CIRM was also in the news this week with an announcement that its work towards a cure for HIV was about to go to human trials. However, this does not use hESCs either, but rather blood stem cells.

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Michael Cook likes bad puns, bushwalking and black coffee. He did a BA at Harvard University in the US where it was good for networking, but moved to Sydney where it wasn’t. He also did a PhD on an obscure corner of Australian literature. He has worked as a book editor and magazine editor and has published articles in magazines and newspapers in the US, the UK and Australia.

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