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POLITICS: Stem Cell Clone Ban Coming?

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posted on Feb, 21 2005 @ 04:13 PM
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Since the 1950's, scientists have known that stem cells can make cancerous cells healthy, just by touching them. The technology has remained in the private sector, protected by Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights. Part of the technology calls for cloning stem cells, to treat diseases like cancer. Last fall, the USA blocked a UN resolution that would have prevented human cloning, but allowed therapeutic cell cloning. Now, the issue is back on the table. An international all-inclusive cloning ban will prevent stem cell therapy technology from becoming Open Source, and block stem cell therapy from being covered by insurance.


 



www.wired.com
The United Nations has called on countries to ban all forms of human cloning "incompatable with human dignity." The American religious right claims victory, but others say the declaration is the result of political maneuvering influenced by pressure from the United States.

Researchers want to use cloned human embryos to develop disease-specific stem cell lines that could teach them how to interfere with the progress of diseases, or to create cell therapies.

American scientists (say) ...Politics in America ...have inappropriately influenced not only stem cell research and cloning science, but also reports on climate change, endangered species policies, fisheries energy and many others.

The politicization of science policy in the United States has become a contentious issue in the past several years, with groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists criticizing the Bush administration for favoring political interests over scientific results. Now, that trend seems to be making international inroads.

U.S. delegates to the United Nations supported a treaty to ban all cloning starting in 2002. After nearly two years of negotiations, the U.N. shelved attempts to agree on a treaty and instead delegates opposed to cloning pushed for a non-binding declaration as a compromise.

Cloning bills in the United States have languished in Congress for years for the same reasons the United Nations could not agree on a ban: Legislators have been unwilling to separate therapeutic cloning (also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer) from reproductive human cloning, which would produce a baby who is a genetic copy of an adult.

The United States is becoming notorious in the eyes of other countries, Gottfried said, as a nation that has allowed ideology to become a premise for science. ...Scientists are already leaving the country and graduate students are less uninterested in studying in the United States, he said. ..."This is an oversight issue and Congress should really be handling it."



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Scientists have been working with stem cells for over 50 years in the public domain. Which means work in private clinics has been going on longer. Much has been learned over the past half-century of stem cell research. For example, it is known that stem cells from different sources have specific strengths and limitations, and only embryonic stem cells can promise to do the really hard jobs.

The first and only stem cell transplants to become available to ordinary people were 'bone marrow' transplants for leukemia. The technology was developed in the 1950's and absolutely confirmed in the 1960's - but insurance companies did not want to cover it, so they claimed it was experimental. It took about 30 years of hard fighting to force insurance companies to acknowledge that transplanting stem cells from bone marrow to treat leukemia was NOT an experimental treatment.

Here's a quick and dirty look at the public history of stem cell research.


1. Scientists have been working with stem cells for over 50 years.

Note: "Fibroblasts" are connective tissue stem cells.


* [Effect of human umbilical cord extracts on growth of in vitro culture of embryonal fibroblasts.] C R Hebd Seances Acad Sci. 1955 May 16;240(20):2018-20. LASFARGUES E, DANIEL P, DELAUNAY A. PMID: 14390784

* [Effect of human serum of benign tumor patients on fibroblasts cultivated in vitro.] Rev Soc Argent Biol. 1950 Apr-May;26(1-2):1-7. SACERDOTE de LUSTIG E, MANCINI RE. PMID: 14781570

* [Effect of human cerebrospinal fluid on the fibroblast in vitro.] Rev Soc Argent Biol. 1951 Jun-Jul;27(3-4):114-7. SACERDOTE DE LUSTIG E. PMID: 14900760

* Stimulating effect of nucleoprotein fraction of chick embryo extract on homologous heart fibroblasts.Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1953 Jun;83(2):390-5. KUTSKY RJ. PMID: 13064279

* [Studies on growth promoting substances of embryonal extracts in fibroblasts cultures.] Biochem Z. 1953;324(3):195-203. BAYERLE H, BANDIER J. PMID: 13126131



2. Researchers have been transplanting stem cells for over 50 years.

* The development of variations in transplantability and morphology within a clone of mouse fibroblasts transformed to sarcoma-producing cells in vitro. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1954 Oct;15(2):215-37. SANFORD KK, LIKELY GD, EARLE WR. PMID: 13233880



3. The link between stem cell mutations and cancer was recognized over 50 years ago.

* [A case of stem-cell sarcoma of the reticular connective tissue of the endometrium.] Arch De Vecchi Anat Patol. 1956 Jun;24(2):789-805. TARTARINI G. PMID: 13363603

* Transformation of normal human fibroblasts into histologically malignant tissue in vitro. Science. 1956 Mar 23;123(3195):502-3. LEIGHTON J, KLINE I, ORR HC. PMID: 13298708

* Further evidence favoring the concept of the stem cell in ascites tumors of rats. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1956 Mar 14;63(5):818-30. MAKINO S. PMID: 13314436

* Transformation of normal human fibroblasts into histologically malignant tissue in vitro. Science. 1956 Mar 23;123(3195):502-3. LEIGHTON J, KLINE I, ORR HC. PMID: 13298708

* The cytopathogenic effect of the Rous sarcoma virus on chicken fibroblasts in tissue cultures. Bull Johns Hopkins Hosp. 1955 Sep;97(3):248-65. LO WH, GEY GO, SHAPRAS P. PMID: 13284471

* [Morphology and evolutive possibility of the fibroblast in various inflammatory conditions.] Arch De Vecchi Anat Patol. 1955 Aug;23(2):501-24. MIGNANI E. PMID: 13283689

* [Stem-cell leukemia.] J Radiol Electrol Arch Electr Medicale. 1951;32(1-2):119-20. BRU, POUTANSANT, PLANEL. PMID: 14841727

* Reticulo-endotheliosis or stem-cell leukemia; a case report. Conn Med. 1949 Dec;13(12):1128-33, illust. EVANS TS, CIPRIANO AP, FERRELL EH Jr. PMID: 15397554

* Production of malignancy in vitro. XII. Further transformations of mouse fibroblasts to sarcomatous cells. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1950 Oct;11(2):351-75. SANFORD KK, EARLE WR, SHELTON E, SCHILLING EL, DUCHESNE EM, LIKELY GD, BECKER MM. PMID: 14795191



4. Cell transformation works both ways; just as stem cells can mutate and turn cancerous when exposed to chemical and other pathogens or infectious agents, mutated or cancerous stem cells can revert back to normal when exposed to normal stem cells - a fact recognized over 50 years ago. But huge quantities are needed to outnumber the cancer cells, which is why cloning is required.


* Transformation of carcinoma cells into fibroblasts. Acta Unio Int Contra Cancrum. 1956;12(4):459-60. BUENO P. PMID: 13381572

* The effect of aminopterin and partial exsanguination transfusion on a case of acute stem cell leukemia; a case report and review of the literature on these two procedures. Ann Intern Med. 1950 Jan;32(1):123-8. ROSS RT, SCHOEMPERLEN CB. PMID: 15404131

* The effect of serum ultrafiltrate on cultivated mast cells and fibroblasts from human skin. Science. 1954 Jan 15;119(3081):99. ZITCER EM, KIRK PL. PMID: 13122039

****************


My research suggests that stem cell therapies have been offered in exclusive private clinics since the early 1950's, at least. The technology appears to be very advanced now, and has been modified and applied in the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) industry for example.

The reason stem cell therapies are not generally available is because the research and technologies are privately owned as Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights - the cost of licensing is prohibitive. It's called an "economic barrier."

The current push for stem cell research seems mainly designed to bring the technology rights more into the public domain, and to make stem cell therapy accessible to everyone, not just the chosen elite.

Low level versions of stem cell therapy are now becoming more available to the general public. If you look on the right side of pages on threads for stem cell therapy here, you will see ads for stem cell therapies and cell therapies. A few years ago, several international exclusive clinics were listed as stem cell therapy providers - the information posted was general, and prospective 'clients' had to provide a financial report to prove eligibility. As far as I can tell, people are offered access to levels of therapy within their "budget," if they qualify at all. Unfortunately, my links stopped working after I posted them on the net.

But whether or not we support stem cell research, stem cell therapies have been offered for decades in exclusive private clinics - and always will be, no matter what we do or think. Even if stem cell cloning is banned internationally, there always will be private clinics out of the law's reach.

Last year, cancer was the #2 killer in America. The statistics said 1 in 2 American men would get cancer, and 1 in 3 women. This year, cancer overtook heart disease. Cancer is now the #1 killer in America. But stem cell therapy promises to cure cancer.

Most of the "stem cell debate" is entirely synthetic. It's all about money - and the fact that insurance companies don't want to cover the costs of treatment, even though it works.

An international ban on stem cell cloning simply will prevent the technologies from going Open Source, and protect insurance companies from having to cover the costs of stem cell therapies. And that's all it's meant to do.







Related News Links:
www.nzherald.co.nz
www.biomedcentral.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
POLITICS: Bush Seeks U.N. Support for Stem Cell War
Stem Cell Research - your opinions
SOCIAL: Stem-Cell Research
SCI/TECH: U.S. Still Silencing Scientists

[edit on 21-2-2005 by soficrow]

[edit on 21-2-2005 by soficrow]




posted on Feb, 21 2005 @ 09:41 PM
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Soficrow
As usual, an excellent post! This is an important issue that got run over by the war in Iraq. During the 2000 election, I was sure stem cells and human cloning would be the defining issue of Bush's tenure as president.

I think they probably will push this ban through, but actually it's a little late. Pandoras box has been opened, and now they're trying to close it. We have the secret of eternal human life and perfect health, and it's being kept secret for greed..simple, myopic greed. How typical, how very human.

It's our own fault, like usual. We nurtured their superiority complex with our own inability to handle our affairs. Now to figure out how to go about cleaning up the mess..

It really is too late for them to do anything about it though. They will make it illegal, form task forces and committies, but it's far too late to stem to tide. No pun intended.
Researchers will pull the shades and continue on with their work, pausing only occasionally to glance over their shoulder.

I'm not entirely comfortable with the technology myself, because I see life as a cycle that must have a beggining, a middle, and an end. Without the whole story, the meaning cannot be known, I really believe that.

However..that being said. Arbitrary limitations on advancement are to be avoided at all costs. I would like to live to be a thousand years old, maybe more. I would like my children to be healthy and strong despite any genetic faults I might have passed on to them. I would like to explore the limits of this new frontier, despite the risks. I'm not sure if we're meant to have this knowledge, but I suspect we are.

We (America) have been struggling with cancer a great deal, more so than nearly every other country (with the exception of some former Russian republics and parts of India) a strange sort of condition it is. Cancer is life unbound, it's one of only two types of cells that I know of capable of theoretically infinite reproduction. It really is a miracle of sorts. We might not even need stem cell cloning to realize the dream of the fountain of youth. Cancer may be the key to unlocking the mystery of our cellular clock to keep it well oiled, maybe even turn it back. All other cells are limited by the number of times they can replicate, it's called the Hayflick limit if I'm not mistaken. If we could utilize the cancer mechanism to spur the growth of other cell types, we'd be in business.

The problem is, cancer forgets what sort of cell it's making, so it produces useless, but reproductively active cells that continue to grow but serve no physiological purpose. If we could only remind the cancer cells what they're supposed to be, we could transform them from deadly to helpful.

I think this is a hard debate to orchestrate, because it takes place on different planes for different people. For some this is a moral issue, for others it's simply business, for still others the issue is made more urgent and personal by their fear of death. Obviously there are a lot of agendas that need to be reconciled before progress can be made.

I can't really participate in the 'moral' debate, since the morality in question is essentially an ancient control mechanism. God said don't do this, God said don't do that, don't eat pork, don't work on Sunday, don't have sex with yourself or members of your own gender; these are all rules designed to strengthen the relgion and keep people alive and breeding, they have nothing whatsoever to do with quality of life or expanding the human consciousness. How can you argue with people who place more importance on a dusty book than they do on their own family, their own mind..scary. I would also like to point out that stem cells from cord blood bypass all the religious rhetoric and is pretty much unassailable from a scriptural point of view.

All these prohibitions, has anyone stopped to think what their root might be? Why aren't you supposed to get tattoos or eat pork? Maybe it has something to do with the spread of disease back in biblical times. Why aren't you supposed to masturbate or have sex for purposes other than procreation? Maybe it was a measure designed to increase the flock.. Why aren't you allowed to keep your money for yourself, the wealthy certainly do.. Why aren't you allowed to think for yourself? Because someone is thinking for you.

That's pretty much the end of the ethical conflict in my humble, secular opinion. I can however participate in the debate surrounding the science. Some scientists claim that they're afraid to use stem cells because stem cells cause cancer. Well that's too bad, I guess you'll have to try them on me first.
If I don't have cancer from cigarettes, Canadian forest fires, copious amounts of Mountain Dew, gamma rays, or any of the millions of other carcinogens I roll around in on a daily basis, I'm not going to get it from stem cells. And If I have cancer, what have I got to lose?

The realm of science is not the government's business. They really shouldn't care, it's an issue of patients rights and private research dollars, not anything having to do with the constitution or the bill of rights. Stem cells have nothing to do with interstate or international trade. They have nothing to do with the minting and distribution of money, nor do they have any relevance to national security. Government had a purpose for which it was designed, they have exceeded their authority for far too long and should be dealt with accordingly.

The government needs to put on the pointy hat and sit in the corner in time out. The next time we need a million or so 'brown people' murdered to facilitate the pumping of hydrocarbons, we'll reinstate their authority.

One way of dealing with this situation would be to make insurance illegal. I have no problem with that, and it wouldn't really hurt the individuals, only the companies involved. The whole concept of insurace is ludicrous to me, it's just like the casinos, the house always wins. They don't win every single time, but they always come out ahead. Insurance rates have been used as an excuse for far too long. First it was seat belts, then it was smoking, now it's my unborn fetus!

A legal note: Shouldn't any stem cells cloned be the property of the child they belonged to? In the case of abortions the rights would immediately revert to free use. I think that's a fine system, because it curbs abuse. No scientist would be tempted to clone his child and patent the result. Anyone could use their patented line of stem cells that came from their cord blood, they could market and liscense their own genetics as they saw fit. There should never be a legal context in which one being has ownership of another. If that were allowed, we would have defacto slavery, and sexual/physical abuse would be even more rampant than it is already. After all, nobody can tell Random Scientist X what to do with his property.

Perhaps the best way to fix this problem and others like it would be to change copyright law rather than make special exemptions for biological patents, or try to change peoples minds. It would be best for all parties involved, I think, if there was a ten year limit on exclusive ownership of any patent or trademark. Ten years is enough to make a hell of a lot of money off something as revolutionary as a cancer treatment/fountain of youth, but not so long a period of time that millions of people have to die waiting to get the treatment they need. If you're already a millionaire, what is the lure of becoming a billionaire? I can't fathom that sort of insatiable appetite. It seems so alien to me. Isn't the fate of humanity more important?

The truth is, eugenics is back, and we're going to have a hell of a fight on our hands if we ever want a decent and fair society. The rich will keep getting treatment, and the poor will continue to suffer and die, until we realign our priorities as a species. Sometimes I think an alien invasion would be the best thing that could happen to this world. I don't think we'd be having this discussion, about limiting science, if ray guns were lighting up the sky over DC.

I hope we can talk more about this issue, it will probably be the single most important advancement made by our generation. The first cloned human will usher in a new era of mankind, I look forward to seeing that..

Followed shortly after by the apocalypse.



Edited to add this: I want to check out some of those studies you mentioned and compare them to info from the past couple of years. Maybe we can get down to the nitty gritty of how and who. Those who were working in the 40's and 50's most likely mentored the new crop, or at least influenced them. There are some interesting personalities working in the field, and the actual progress is, in many cases, phenomenal. Theory has always allowed for all kinds of whacky things, but we're actually at the trial stage of several major breakthroughs (+50 years added to lifespan in next 15 years. This stuff never seems to make the news, the local rags focus on the kitten-up-a-tree stories and the national publications are strictly war/sports/entertainment (well, they're all entertainment, but you know what I mean, gossip and star talk and that crap). Many newspapers country wide are fully 50% car ads, of all things, advertisements for combustion driven chariots, vroom vroom.

Also keep in mind, people would still need to have all their vitamins and minerals, which they don't. Most cancer is probably attributable to a chronic vitamin or mineral deficiency. We should probably focus on that first, as a society. Food, Water, Air, Shelter, Health, Education, in that order.

[edit on 21-2-2005 by WyrdeOne]



posted on Feb, 21 2005 @ 10:04 PM
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I suspect there is a chance of underground cloning. People who will still want it and will pay a lot for it.

Human cloning can bring about some very bad things. It will stop adaptability. It will cause many deformed babies. It can allow disease to kill clones or maybe non-clones.

In my opinion.
Just because we can do it doesn't mean we should. Humanity is advancing in knowledge faster than our experience can handle right now.



posted on Feb, 21 2005 @ 10:54 PM
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First of all, WyrdeOne, excellent post. In the past few days I have seen a couple of examples of your voice and


To add a short comment on the morality of stem cell research.......That's all for the public. As sofi mentioned, there will always be private clinics because big money isn't going to sit around not taking advantage of medical advancements. The public is force fed morals and ethics through religion and, oddly enough, entertainment; Art imitates life and vice versa. As such, there news and there awareness is going to incorporate the question of good vs. bad............that is how they were trained to think.


Also, keep in mind that as a "new" technology, immediate applications into the lower classes isn't feasible. The glowing trend seems to be solving all of our ills with prescription medications that really only work to alter our mood and thusly our attitudes. A breakthrough physical therapy that would make obsolete the billions of dollars in our pharmaceutical companies, not to mention the undermining of a gross amount of our health professionals? I don't think so. It isn't just about the money in this case. It's about how our social hierarchy is set up. The lower classes don't think for themselves and the officials set in place to make functional their lives usually only regurgitate information and practice.

And finally, remember that California did just pass the stem cell research proposition. I believe it is about 3 billion dollars for research. The U.N. can bellyache all they want, for it to get back to the citizenry of California is not only going to take a while, but won't hold any weight for the spoon fed liberals of this fine state(my home, as much as I wouldn't mind punting it). Stem cell research is here to stay, but as with everything, integration into viable application for all of society is going to be slow and steady.



posted on Feb, 22 2005 @ 12:23 AM
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Originally posted by Umbrax
I suspect there is a chance of underground cloning. People who will still want it and will pay a lot for it.

Human cloning can bring about some very bad things. It will stop adaptability. It will cause many deformed babies. It can allow disease to kill clones or maybe non-clones.

In my opinion.
Just because we can do it doesn't mean we should. Humanity is advancing in knowledge faster than our experience can handle right now.



I agree with you Umbrax, humanity does often advance its technology without fully grasping the ramifications. Remember the story of Icarus, the boy who flew too high with artificial wings. The sun melted the wax that held his wings together, and he fell to earth.

Part of the beauty of the human condition is the reckless abandond with which we chase our dreams. It's not as safe as balance, but it's less pitiful to fall to earth than to never have flown. I love balance, don't get me wrong, but stasis is unhealthy. The best way to maintain balance without the problems of stasis: wild swings in alternating directions. That's humanity in a nutshell. We evolve faster when teetering on the brink of destruction, more people die and more people thrive, fewer are stranded in the limbo of mediocrity.

They will keep the cultures going of the ones they already have, while secretly harvesting more for private, exclusive use, while new laws criminalize those individuals who wish to live forever without kneeling at the feet of tyrants. It's old story, that now requires the entrance of a hero. I imagine one will show up any day now, if he/she isn't here already.

That's usually the way things go with our species. Has anybody else noticed that? I mean on one side of the globe children have nothing to eat, and are being eaten by flies. On the other side of the globe, people are tapping plastic and transmitting thoughts across undersea cables, all for the purpose of debating whether or not to pursue promising research into the fountain of life! What a world we live in!

But in the end you're absolutely right Umbrax, we're teetering on the edge of godhood, and we need to be especially careful. Too much power in inexperienced hands usually ends badly. However, lessons must invariably be learned from mistakes, and chances are we'll get another swing at the same curve ball later in the game. (assuming we're not all dead by then) I want make a "please don't kill me lord smiley" ducking and covering from a lightning bolt. heh Just for an occasion like this.


MemoryShock
Thank you for your generous compliment, I appreciate it.

Religion was the tool of choice for a good long time, it worked well to control the peasants for a long, long time. Eventually religion gave way to science, and politics, and now those seem to be the main elements used to control people. Republican and Democrat might as well be cults, they seek to inspire the same sort of rivalry, they use the same mind control, personality cult techniques. Media saturation makes it impossible for the average person to get a breath of fresh air.

I actually got nervous when California started discussing that legislation. I took it as a sure sign that there would be a civil war in the country. I'm wrong of course, it was a miscalculation on my part, people are too lazy to go to war, but it will be an issue. Unless of course, California conveniently sails away after a major seismic event..perhaps after a prediction of the event by some religious figure set to take the helm of the country? It's a scary thought, but plausible considering the debate on stem cells is really just lip service for the benefit of the 'moral majority' (more like vocal, over-represented minority in my opinion).

They have the technology, they'll continue to develop it no matter what laws get passed (they have a habit of ignoring little things like laws) and Joe Public will be none the wiser. No matter what happens, they plan on living forever, and I would bet they won't share that gift with just anybody. We may get an extra 10 or 20 years so we can slave longer in their sweatshops and gas stations, but we'll all still be chronically disabled.

Maybe, best case scenario, just maybe they do want what's best for all of us. They just had to lie, cheat, steal, and murder to achieve the lofty goal of immortality for everyone. I find it hard to believe, but I've heard stranger. There is one problem with this however. If they were really okay people, why would they persecute holistic medicine providers and lie about nutrition requirements?

Given all the evidence I've seen, just over the last four years, the people who have been clinging to power for forty years or more in some cases are unwilling to let go. Power junkies are no different from heroin junkies, the only difference is power is a more addictive drug. All the same rules apply when dealing with power junkies. They will do anything to get their fix, anything. How do you know when a junkie is lying? The lips are moving. How do you know when a politician is lying? The lips are moving. It's not a coincidence that these two jokes are so similar. I honestly think they need therapy, maybe in addition to a firing squad.



posted on Feb, 22 2005 @ 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
the debate on stem cells is really just lip service for the benefit of the 'moral majority' (more like vocal, over-represented minority in my opinion).

They have the technology, they'll continue to develop it no matter what laws get passed (they have a habit of ignoring little things like laws) and Joe Public will be none the wiser. No matter what happens, they plan on living forever, and I would bet they won't share that gift with just anybody. We may get an extra 10 or 20 years so we can slave longer in their sweatshops and gas stations, but we'll all still be chronically disabled.




It'sa true - we're worried about curing diseases, while the people who own the technology are looking at immortality.







Given all the evidence I've seen, just over the last four years, the people who have been clinging to power for forty years or more in some cases are unwilling to let go. Power junkies are no different from heroin junkies, the only difference is power is a more addictive drug. All the same rules apply when dealing with power junkies. They will do anything to get their fix, anything. How do you know when a junkie is lying? The lips are moving. How do you know when a politician is lying? The lips are moving. It's not a coincidence that these two jokes are so similar. I honestly think they need therapy, maybe in addition to a firing squad.





...I know FMD appeared in the early 1900's - by 1940, Linus Pauling had studied the immune system's response - by 1949 Eugenics scientists had discovered telomeres, and the race was on for curing cancer and finding immortality. ...I can just imaging Dubbya at his Grandaddy's knee learning all the secrets and plans....



.



posted on Feb, 22 2005 @ 03:48 PM
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i have nothing agenst stem cell research but as long as ther not making women give up ther fetuses i dont think ther is anything wrong with it so



posted on Feb, 22 2005 @ 05:30 PM
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This kind of legislation just takes science away from the people...

It's all about money - and the fact that insurance companies don't want to cover the costs of treatment, even though it works. It's about the 'chosen elite' keeping knowledge for themselves.

...and it will take us straight back to the dark ages.







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