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June 01, 2005

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Stem cells are about jobs too, and not just for high-level researchers. When they were picking the site of the stem cell facility here in CA, there was a story about the kinds of jobs it would generate, especially a technical level job that would be open to Community College grads with special training. They were going into the high schools to talk up science and math ed to help young people get prepared in this area.

David Brooks' recent column about education as the class divide was corny but had a real grain of truth.

And from Washington state:

But while transportation took center stage this session, on a personal level, proposing and fighting to keep her Life Sciences Discovery Fund alive was perhaps Gregoire's biggest personal victory. She was able to earmark for biotech research the $350 million bonus she won for the state because of her leadership in the national tobacco settlement.
Dino Rossi, Gregoire's GOP opponent in the (continuing jumped-the-shark drama of a) Governor's race branded her Life Sciences initiative a Stem Cell program, and campaign feverishly against it ... while refusing to disclose his personal views on embryonic stem cell research.

From Massachusetts:

In Massachusetts, the Legislature overrode Gov. Romney's veto of a bill giving state health officials regulatory controls over the research. Previously, researchers had to seek the approval of the local district attorney. Gov. Romney, a Republican, vetoed the Massachusetts bill last week because it allows the cloning of human embryos for use in stem-cell experiments -- a practice Gov. Romney said amounts to creating life in order to destroy it. Gov. Romney has said he supports research using either adult stem cells or cells extracted from leftover frozen embryos from fertility clinics. The new Massachusetts law bans cloning that results in a baby, but that practice is already prohibited under federal law.

from Illinois:

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, 63, a conservative representing the San Diego area, says he wants to have a heart-to-heart talk with President Bush soon about embryonic stem cell research. He wants to change the president's mind.

One of 50 Republicans who voted for a House bill last week that would expand federally funded stem cell research using discarded embryos, Cunningham said Bush should drop his threat to veto the measure. Embryonic stem cell research potentially "is the future of medicine," he said, holding promise to cure many diseases.

Stronger GOP support for expanded embryonic stem cell research reflects a political shift on the issue that puts Bush and the White House in a defensive position. Polls indicate 60 percent of Americans favor such research, and Republicans are sharply split on the question.

>In America, we have probably one of the most genetically diverse populations on ... Earth," Senator Specter said. "We need hundreds of cell lines" to better understand how disease occurrence and outcomes may differ among ethnic and racial groups, he said. <

Meanwhile in Korea

>South Korean cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk said Wednesday he plans to open a stem cell bank by the end of the year to help speed up the quest to grow replacement tissue to treat diseases.

The bank would consolidate current stem cell lines in one research location. To treat a patient, researchers would look for a cell line that provides a close match to a patient's immune system, Hwang said in an interview with The Associated Press. It would resemble the process now used in finding donors for organ transplants.<

If better off Americans are thinking that if worst comes worst they could hop a plane to Korea for treatment they may find that unless they happen to have Korean roots the chance that they will find a match in the cell bank is small. On the other hand if some of the vast number of extra frozen embryos in American clinics were made available to this bank Americans would probably have more benefit from such a cell bank than members of other gene pools.

HEY! Don't forget POLAND -- and ten other members of the ScanBalt BioRegion, which

... encompasses 11 countries and 85 million people ... 60 universities and more than 870 biotech/life science companies [and] networks between universities, biotech/life science industry, hospitals and other important actors ...

The ScanBalt development region (in the opinion of ScanBalt)

... could become world leading within stem cells research ... stem cell researchers from all the ScanBalt countries gathered in Funen, Denmark with the aim to discuss and form a common framework of cooperation.

Reid on Frist:

And he says this about Bill Frist: “I like him, but he hasn’t been in government very long. He’s a doctor, and doctors have a little different outlook on life. Being a senator is about the art of compromise… And if anyone feels that compromising is unethical, or immoral, then they should get in some other business - because that’s what we do.”

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