Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, September 04, 2006
Yet more links!
Stem cells: the story behind the headlines - Review in the Medical Journal of Australia, September 2006
"Elizabeth Finkel, a distinguished science journalist with a strong background in embryology, has written an intriguing account of the stem cell story... For those interested in human stories in science, this is a very good read with great human achievement and political drama. It is also one of the best accounts of the scientific achievements with stem cells to date and of the basis for arising ethical issues... Elizabeth Finkel’s book makes clear that it is an area of very considerable promise, and I commend this riveting account to all who have an interest in the area.
Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Monash University, VIC
Cloning has a good side. Let's talk about it - The Age, opinion:
"Now is the time for a serious debate on cloning in Australia - for at least two reasons. The laws on stem cells and cloning are being reviewed and the public has only until September 9 to send opinions to federal court judge John Lockhart's committee. And cloning is already literally on our doorstep. In May, Woo Suk Hwang and his colleagues at Seoul National University showed just how easy human cloning can be. But public debate has been strangely absent."
Tim Flannery, Elizabeth Finkel and Jack Dann on science writing - The Book Show, Radio National:
Time to debate stem cell research? - Late Night Live, Radio National:
Transcripts hopefully coming soon!
Therapeutic cloning: birth pains of a new science - Cosmos Online:
"The role of government then is not to take sides but to arbitrate. Instead of a sledgehammer ban, the law should be crafted into a fine regulatory tool. Where there was wide community consensus, as in the repugnance towards cloning for reproductive purposes, the report said the ban should remain. But where the community was divided, as it was over the potential medical benefits of therapeutic cloning, the brick wall should be replaced by a hurdle. Individual research projects should be evaluated on a case by case basis, by ethics committees and a government licensing committee."
Stem cell debate reignited
"We’re not talking about copying people, we’re talking about copying their cells. if you for instance had type one diabetes what we would hope to be able to do is take one of your skin cells, and if we imaged that everyone of your cells is running a program, what is doing the programming, is like a little hard disk inside the cell called the nucleus. We can reboot that little hard disk back to it’s original operating program where it could run all programs, so we would take that skin nucleus, and we would inject it into one of your own eggs whose own nucleus had been removed and now that the contents of your egg would reboot your skin nucleus and it would start developing as if it were a little embryo clone of you, a very primitive little embryo clone of you."
The Lockhart Review
Here's a link to a PDF containing some comments made to the Lockhart review:
"Embryonic stem cells are capable of building human organs. And across the world researchers are trying to train them to do the job. They also raise extraordinary philosophical issues; like whether extracting them from a test-tube embryo is tantamount to dismembering a baby. For hordes of ethicists, the issue continues to provide much grist for the mill. But what is really extraordinary about the issue of embryonic stem cells, is that for the first time in my memory; it's the public that has to make a decision on the direction in which science should go."
Stem cells and cloning - The Science Show, Radio National:
"Dear Prime Minister. Thank you for opening a window of opportunity to discuss the Lockhart review on stem cells and cloning at the July meeting of the Council of Australian Governments. Justice Lockhart's review is a guide to navigating the troubled waters where science, religion and politics converge, a whirlpool that our society will need to navigate for decades to come."
Open minds are crucial in the debate on stem cell research - Sydney Morning Herald:
"Three months on, and the Government has yet to respond to the report and there are real concerns it will never see the light of day. This report, with its 54 recommendations, should not be buried. The debate needs to be had, and for starters Lockhart's report lays down the ground rules for a fair and rational debate."
Some article links
"Stem cells. Two words that spark furious, emotive debate, inspire rafts of restrictive legislation and give rise to headlines screaming about Frankenstein science. But what exactly is so frightening – or fascinating - about these tiny, innocuous organisms?"
The Health Report on Radio National:
"Well we have our own issues getting somatic cell nuclear transfer going with an extensive government review by the late Justice Lockhart having supported somatic cell nuclear transfer under specific conditions. Melbourne based scientist and journalist Elizabeth Finkel's been trying to find out what's happening with the review."
We must decide what to do on stem cells - The Age:
"What is the potential of this technique? Imagine Mary, a child with leukaemia, needs a bone marrow graft to replace her diseased cells. One of her skin cells would be cloned to generate a primitive embryo. The cloning technique involves inserting the skin cell's nucleus - which runs the genetic program for skin - into a donated human egg that's own nucleus has been removed. Being inside the egg resets the program of the skin's nucleus to "embryo". Several days later embryonic stem cells will be extracted; a process that will halt all further development. Not only are the extracted cells capable of regenerating Mary's bone marrow (or any tissue of her body), they are a perfect immunological match, meaning Mary won't have to take drugs to prevent her body rejecting the healthy marrow. This matched graft would significantly raise Mary's odds of survival. At present 10 per cent of patients die from their bone marrow grafts because of a mismatch."