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Smith, 2010

Created By: Josh Husen

Abstract

The rise of the Christian Right and the pro-life movement over the last fifty years has transformed US politics in general, and the Republican Party in particular. Its seemingly all-pervasive influence on contemporary US politics has commanded much social scientific attention. (1)However, policy debates over embryonic stem cell research during the Presidency of George W. Bush exposed deep, moral fissures amongst American conservatives. As one of the most recent ‘hot button’ issues in America's culture wars, embryonic stem cell research appeared to energize the under-studied moderate wing of the ‘Grand Old Party’ (GOP), which belatedly emerged to challenge what often seems like a homogeneous and monolithic Christian Right. This paper argues that during the 109th United States Congress, moderate Republicans identified in embryonic stem cells a powerful entity around which to mobilise themselves as a set of otherwise diverse interests. This enabled them to imagine a political future for themselves in which they could successfully challenge the hegemony of the Christian Right in grassroots Republican Party politics. In states like Missouri, however, which fought a referendum on embryonic stem cell research in the 2006 midterm elections, it could be argued that emboldened GOP moderates overplayed their hand. Furthermore, a fully-formed GOP moderate counter-movement to the Christian Right failed to materialize as centrists and moderates were amongst the first to lose their seats when the Democrats reclaimed Congress at the 2006 midterms.

Category: spring 2011 | Comments: 0 | Rate:
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Payne, 2010

Created By: Josh Husen
Comment: Stem Cell Research and Cloning for Human Reproduction: An Analysis of the Laws, the Direction in Which They May be Heading in Light of Recent Developments, and Potential Constitutional Issues

I. Introduction
 
(1)  The world is continuously changing before our eyes. New scientific and technological developments are constantly being made. Not surprisingly, these changes usually occur well before the law is ready to respond and accommodate them. One of the most recent developments that will soon be pushing the limits of the law is in the world of science.

Researchers around the world have been independently working to see if they can unlock the secrets to the development of reproductive cells. Ultimately, the research teams are hoping to learn what causes stem cells to differentiate into sperm and egg cells. (2)One way this is significant to the legal world is that it may affect the configuration of reproductive rights. By learning what causes stem cells to differentiate into reproductive cells, scientists can help people have genetically related children. This could ultimately mean that, in the not-too-distant future, people who were previously unable to have genetically related children may be able to do so. These developments are somewhat controversial because they involve embryonic stem cell research. Additionally, some of these developments involve cloning techniques through nuclear transfer. Because of the employment of these potentially controversial techniques, their use for reproductive purposes may be prohibited in the United States. This Comment will briefly discuss the various methods being studied and how they relate to cloning and stem cell research, followed by a discussion of how the legal arena in the United States may be affected. This discussion will include current ...
 
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Waldby , 2006

Created By: Josh Husen
(1)Umbilical cord blood has proved an effective substitute for bone marrow in the treatment of blood disorders, and most nations in the developed world have public programmes for the harvesting and storage of cord blood for allogenic transplantation. (2)Private cord blood banks have sprung up alongside public banks, offering parents the opportunity to bank their child’s cord blood for later personal use. Private cord blood banking has been largely condemned by bioethical and medical professional bodies, on the grounds that the likelihood of any particular individual needing a cord blood transplant is very low, and that public, redistributive banking is a more efficient use of resources. This article investigates the appeal of private cord blood banking in the face of such condemnation, and the social norms implied in public and private cord blood banking. It locates cord blood banking in the field of regenerative medicine, and considers the two different models of biological regeneration implied in public, gift-based banking and private, autologous banking. In the first case, regeneration of sick bodies is an effect of social redistribution and intercorporeal generosity between citizens. In the second, regeneration is promised by the retention of cord blood as a form of personal property. The private cord blood account appeals to certain neoliberal norms of entrepreneurial embodiment, acting as a kind of asset or venture capital invested in the future of biotechnological innovation.
Category: spring 2011 | Comments: 0 | Rate:
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Bhatia, 1998

Created By: Josh Husen
A newly discovered class of human hematopoietic cells with SCID-repopulating activity

The detection of primitive hematopoietic cells based on repopulation of immune-deficient mice is a powerful tool to characterize the human stem-cell compartment. (1)Here, we identify a newly discovered human repopulating cell, distinct from previously identified repopulating cells, that initiates multilineage hematopoiesis in NOD/SCID mice. (2)We call such cells CD34neg- SCID repopulating cells, or CD34neg-SRC. CD34neg-SRC are restricted to a LinCD34CD38 population without detectable surface markers for multiple lineages and CD38 or those previously associated with stem cells (HLA-DR, Thy-1 and CD34). In contrast to CD34+ subfractions, LinCD34CD38 cells have low clonogenicity in short-and long-term in vitro assays. The number of CD34neg-SRC increased in short-term suspension cultures in conditions that did not maintain SRC derived from CD34 + populations, providing independent biological evidence of their distinctiveness. The identification of this newly discovered cell demonstrates complexity of the organization of the human stem-cell compartment and has important implications for clinical applications involving stem-cell transplantation.
Category: spring 2011 | Comments: 0 | Rate:
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anonymous, 2009

Created By: Josh Husen
 Introduction: What are stem cells, and why are they important?

(1)Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.

(2)Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics. First, they are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity. Second, under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. In some organs, such as the gut and bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues. In other organs, however, such as the pancreas and the heart, stem cells only divide under special conditions.

Until recently, scientists primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells from animals and humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic "somatic" or "adult" stem cells. The functions and characteristics of these cells will be explained in this document. (3) Scientists discovered ways to derive embryonic stem cells from early mouse embryos nearly 30 years ago, in 1981. The detailed study of the biology of mouse stem cells led to the discovery, in 1998, of a method to derive stem cells from human embryos and grow the cells in the laboratory. These cells are called human embryonic stem cells. The embryos used in these studies were created for reproductive purposes through in vitro fertilization procedures. When they were no longer needed for that purpose, they were donated for research with the informed consent of the donor. In 2006, researchers made another breakthrough by identifying conditions that would allow some specialized adult cells to be "reprogrammed" genetically to assume a stem cell-like state. This new type of stem cell, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), will be discussed in a later section of this document.

Stem cells are important for living organisms for many reasons. In the 3- to 5-day-old embryo, called a blastocyst, the inner cells give rise to the entire body of the organism, including all of the many specialized cell types and organs such as the heart, lung, skin, sperm, eggs and other tissues. In some adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle, and brain, discrete populations of adult stem cells generate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease.

(4)Given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as diabetes, and heart disease. However, much work remains to be done in the laboratory and the clinic to understand how to use these cells for cell-based therapies to treat disease, which is also referred to as regenerative or reparative medicine.

Laboratory studies of stem cells enable scientists to learn about the cells’ essential properties and what makes them different from specialized cell types. Scientists are already using stem cells in the laboratory to screen new drugs and to develop model systems to study normal growth and identify the causes of birth defects.

Research on stem cells continues to advance knowledge about how an organism develops from a single cell and how healthy cells replace damaged cells in adult organisms. Stem cell research is one of the most fascinating areas of contemporary biology, but, as with many expanding fields of scientific inquiry, research on stem cells raises scientific questions as rapidly as it generates new discoveries.

Category: spring 2011 | Comments: 0 | Rate:
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wichterle, 2010

Created By: Josh Husen
Neurodegenerative diseases represent a growing public health challenge. Current medications treat symptoms, but none halt or retard neurodegeneration. The recent advent of pluripotent cell biology has opened new avenues for neurodegenerative disease research. (1)The greatest potential for induced pluripotent cells derived from affected individuals is likely to be their utility for modeling and understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative processes, and for searching for new treatments, including cell replacement therapies. However, much work remains to be done before pluripotent cells can be used for preclinical and clinical applications. Here we discuss the challenges of generating specific neural cell subtypes from pluripotent stem cells, the use of pluripotent stem cells to model both cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous mechanisms of neurodegeneration, whether adult-onset neurodegeneration can be emulated in short-term cultures and the hurdles of cell replacement therapy. Progress in these four areas will substantially accelerate effective application of pluripotent stem cells.
Category: spring 2011 | Comments: 0 | Rate:
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