We are a national patient advocacy organization that supports public funding of stem cell research. This research has the potential to remedy or cure Alzheimer's, juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's, MS, ALS, spinal cord injury, and many other illnesses and injuries.

SCAN is sponsored by the Genetic Policy Institute.

Many of our postings over the past year have been written by stem cell research advocate Don Reed. His blog is www.stemcellbattles.com.

We'd like to hear from you. Feel free to And remember, stem cells are for everyone!
If You Can’t Win on the Science, Take ‘Em to Court
Category: General — By: on August 29, 2010

By Jonathan D. Moreno | Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Imagine a bizzaro universe in which Bush administration officials have to explain why they were so intent on paying for human embryonic stem cell research that they violated federal law to do it. In that same alternate reality, a court rules that none of the embryonic cell lines used by medical scientists for 10 years could continue to be applied to important research.

If your credulity hasn’t already been strained to the breaking point, now imagine that you’re a scientist who went to his or her lab this morning not knowing if you could continue your work on, say, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s or diabetes, work that was funded by the National Institutes of Health months ago that you were doing just yesterday. These are all plausible inferences that could be drawn from a United States District Court judge’s August 23 decision.

Welcome to the real world. (Read on …)

One Small Step for Embryonic Stem Cells
Category: General — By: on August 29, 2010

By Jonathan D. Moreno | Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

In our shrill political climate let’s celebrate the quiet passing of a science milestone.

Last week the Food and Drug Administration gave its first approval for a clinical trial of an embryonic stem cell treatment. Embryonic stem cells are special because they can grow, or differentiate, into any kind of human tissue. Many believe they hold great promise for treating a wide range of diseases and disorders, from Alzheimer’s to cancer to spinal cord injuries to blindness.

The FDA had put the application from biopharmaceuticals company Geron Corp, which produced the cells, on clinical hold after some mice given the treatment developed tiny spinal cysts. But another animal study found no cysts. The testing will involve patients with recent spinal cord injuries, who will receive infusions of embryonic stem cells that have been differentiated into cells that can produce myelin, the coating that conducts electrical impulses in the spine. (Read on …)

2010 World Stem Cell Research Summit
Category: General — By: Raymond Barglow on June 1, 2010

Turns out that the next stem cell research summit will be held in Detroit!

That’s appropriate, since Detroit is suffering through economic hard times and stem cell research provides good jobs, and will lead to even more good jobs when it leaves the laboratory and becomes the source of new medical technologies. This annual meeting brings together the diverse community of people worldwide who support the research, ranging from the scientists themselves to industry leaders, funders and philanthropists, patient advocates, and educators. Their shared aim: to review the current state of the research and chart the future of regenerative medicine. As well, the summit fosters international collaboration that can really move this life-saving effort forward. You can find out more at: www.worldstemcellsummit.com

“We are delighted to bring the 2010 World Stem Cell Summit to Detroit,” said Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute. “Michigan is fast becoming a biotechnology hub. Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University all have world-class researchers and outstanding facilities dedicated not only to fundamental stem cell research but also to translating lab work into effective treatments and cures.”

I remember Bernie from our "First International Stem Cell Action Conference" held in Berkeley back in ‘04. He has contributed so much to our cause over the years. Check out his organization: Genetics Policy Institute.

Gene Silencing and Stem Cells
Category: General — By: Raymond Barglow on May 1, 2010

Scientists continue to study so-called "induced pluripotent stem cells," which are like embryonic stem cells, but appear not to have the same regenerative potential.   This is from a forthcoming article in Nature, summarized by Sue McGreevey at Massachusetts General Hospital:

Better understanding of mechanisms involved should improve reprogramming of embryonic-like cells.

Scientists may be one step closer to being able to generate any type of cells and tissues from a patient’s own cells. In a study that will appear in the journal Nature and is receiving early online release, investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine (MGH-CRM) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), describe finding that an important cluster of genes is inactivated in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that do not have the full development potential of embryonic stem cells. Generated from adult cells, iPSCs have many characteristics of embryonic stem cells but also have had significant limitations.

"We found that a segment of chromosome 12 containing genes important for fetal development was abnormally shut off in most iPSCs," says Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, of the MGH-CRM and HSCI, who led the study. "These findings indicate we need to keep improving the way we produce iPSCs and suggest the need for new reprogramming strategies."

Although iPSCs appear quite similar to embryonic stem cells and give rise to many different types of cells, they have important limitations. Several molecular differences have been observed, particularly in the epigenetic processes that control which genes are expressed, and procedures that are able to generate live animals from the embryonic stem cells of mice are much less successful with iPSCs.

(Read on …)

State Stem Cell Agency Launches On-line High School Curriculum
Category: General — By: Raymond Barglow on March 1, 2010

State Stem Cell Agency Launches On-line High School Curriculum- A Key Tool for Training Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s High-Growth Jobs

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency, has launched an on-line stem cell education portal. The extensive set of course materials and activity resources will help high school and other educators prepare the youth of California to join the fast-growing biotech economy and help that sector find the workers its leaders say are already in short supply.

“The launch of this new education portal brings us a step closer to ensuring California has a workforce with the educational and technical training needed to fill positions in the stem cell and biotech industries of the state,” said Senator Gloria Romero, Chair of the Senate Education Committee.  “We know that a solid education today is our best chance for economic recovery in California tomorrow.  By providing teachers and students with the resources they need to be prepared for the jobs and industries this state has and will have, we can secure a prosperous economic future built on California’s ingenuity and innovation.”
(Read on …)

Michigan Stem Cell Alert
Category: General — By: Raymond Barglow on January 19, 2010

We’re posting this message on behalf of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR):

Tomorrow in the State of Michigan, the Senate Health Policy Committee will consider a package of 6 bills that, if passed, will severely restrict stem cell research within the state.  If you have grassroots in the state of Michigan, we ask that you share the information below with them and ask them to oppose Senate Bills 647-652 by calling or e-mailing Senate Health Policy Committee members as well as their own Senators.

Last November, after significant debate, citizens of Michigan voted to pass Proposal 2,  legislation which modernized Michigan stem cell laws and brought hope to the millions of children and adults living with these devastating illnesses and injuries across our state and beyond..   Passage of Senate Bills 647 – 652 would redefine the regulations voted on in Proposal 2, and would place significant restrictions on this critically important research.
(Read on …)

CHRISTMAS EVE IN THE STEM CELL WORLD: December 24, 2009
Category: General — By: Don Reed on December 24, 2009

An act of personal kindness can mean so much, can’t it? One touched me the other day. My printer was jammed—a sheet of paper wedged inextricably– I could only get little pieces out. Life without a printer? I knew mine was getting increasingly ancient, and would have to be replaced, sooner rather than later– but times were tight financially. What to do, what to do? I had just bought a new re-filled second-hand cartridge and the people who sold it to me seemed nice… so I called them up and told them—and they were nice enough to say bring it over. They spent 45 minutes taking the printer apart—and freed the rollers. That’s why I am giving a free Christmas plug to CARTRIDGE WORLD, owned by Dominique Woon, at the Gateway Shopping Center, Fremont CA 94536 Ph. 510-790-2023, Email fremontcw@yahoo.com Christmas moments.,, I was talking to New York scientist friend, Mark Noble the other day, and the conversation was just getting to the point when I would ask him for another favor. (Read on …)

FOUR HORRORS: Stroke, Diabetes, Blindness, ALS– and How Embryonic Stem Cell Research May Defeat Them
Category: General — By: Don Reed on November 4, 2009

Before I met the monster on the road, I had been on my way South to Los Angeles for the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC). This was an especially important meeting at which the big disease team grants would be decided, as much as $20 million each, loans or grants. Some projects would go forward, others would die. My cell phone rang. Pulling off the freeway and fumbling through my suitcase (keep ringing, keep ringing!), I found the phone, opened it, recognized the numbers on the screen. Dr. Hans Keirstead…. I dreaded what the voice might say. He had a project in question: a way to use embryonic stem cells to fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy: important not only to the children who suffer and die from this terrible condition, but to the entire field of research. (Read on …)

2009 World Stem Cell Summit Exceeds All Expectations
Category: General — By: Don Reed on October 7, 2009

“Breathes there a man with soul so dead, that never to himself hath said, “this is my own, my native land…?”—Sir Walter Scott. High on the side of the Hilton Hotel is a glass-walled bridge connecting to the Baltimore Convention Center: crossing it was like walking on plush carpets through the sky. The 2009 World Stem Cell Summit was housed in three ballrooms, each big enough to host its own convention. High ceilings? You could buzz a plane around in there! Surrounding the ballrooms was a collection of stem cell displays: biomed companies, exhibits from colleges, states, nations—and a changing set of science posters, each one deserving of a conversation with the scientist standing beside it. (Read on …)

AMERICA’S STEM CELL PROGRAM THREATENED BY LAWSUIT
Category: General — By: Don Reed on September 14, 2009

A lawsuit is being brought against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins, and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as well as the NIH and HHS as public agencies. The suit attempts to block the new stem cell research Guidelines, and to end federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Here is my layman’s understanding of the case. First, the Plaintiffs, and why they feel they have “suffered irreparable damage” by the new Guidelines, and claim standing in the case: Dr. James L. Sherley and Dr. Theresa Deisher are adult stem cell researchers, who allege they will be injured financially if limited federal dollars are diverted to embryonic stem cell research, resulting in less funding for their area of specialization. Nightlight Christian Adoptions describes itself as a non-profit which “protects human embryos conceived through In Vitro Fertility procedure”. They claim injury through decreased number of embryos available for “adoption” from the new stem cell guidelines; they claim guardianship of Plaintiff Embryos, (some portion of roughly 440,000 in storage at present, plus more in future), describing said blastocysts as “minor persons”. (Read on …)

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