Friday, July 04, 2008

CIRM Grants not as Advertised to Voters

This is an interesting analysis on a Nature blog on how the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine is spending money taken out of the hides of Californians. In addition to spending hundreds of millions of borrowed taxpayer dollars to build the plushest buildings, designed by the world's most exclusive architects, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine isn't funding human cloning. From the story:

The California scientists most likely to receive state grants for making new cell lines were those who proposed comparing embryonic stem cell lines and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines. Overall, thirty-two percent of all grant applications (16 of 50) were funded. Four of the five grants that proposed comparisons got funds. The unfunded grant application crossed into less favored categories, as it also proposed making lines from parthenotes and through nuclear transfer. None of the grant applications that sought to make cell lines using human oocytes were funded. Two proposed cloning through nuclear transfer, one proposed stimulating unfertilized eggs to divide into parthenotes, and one application proposed using both methods.

Success rates for grants proposing the derivation of only ES or only iPS cells were each 33%, but there were twice as many grants for iPS cells. That’s astounding considering that the grant program was announced in October 2007, a month before the first publications that human cells could be successfully reprogrammed.

The lack of cloning grants--to be celebrated--wasn't due to ethical concerns, but the egg dearth:
Also called therapeutic cloning, SCNT involves inserting the nucleus from one cell into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. Then the egg is stimulated to grow into a blastocyst, which would be destroyed to collect the innermost cells from which embryonic stem cells can be derived. Though harvesting these inner cells is the typical way of creating embryonic stem cells, it hasn’t worked yet for SCNT in humans, a failure blamed on an insufficient number of eggs for the attempts required to generate healthy blastocysts.
As we've written here at SHS before, the drive has already begun to enable researchers to pay women to risk their health via egg procurement so that scientists can play with human cloning experiments. But if we hold tight on the egg issue--and given the advances of IPSCs--which are being funded by CIRM even though it is also eligible for federal funding, we may yet allow a robust regenerative medical sector to develop without throwing ethics and decency into the trash compactor.

12 Comments:

At July 06, 2008 , Blogger Dark Swan said...

So Wesley how far into private industry do you think the government should interfere to prevent adults from doing business in a manner that potentially is a health risk?

Or is this not an issue of health risk and merely a concern that science is arming itself with more eggs for research?

 
At July 06, 2008 , Blogger Don Nelson said...

"Science arming itself" is the right choice of word. These mad scientists are arming themselves for a deeper assault on human life. I hope the egg dearth remains and keeps these mad scientists in white lab coats from doing any more damage to the sanctity of life. Too bad we don't have the Brownback-Landrieu bill in place so we can fine them into bankruptcy and/or put them in jail for the maximum of ten years.

 
At July 07, 2008 , Blogger viking mom said...

The government should be obliged to "interfere" when there is human risk.

And note - the hints of LEBENSBORN here - the young women here are to be the egg farms.

I (and my sister in law) WENT thru infertility---

You are typically dosed with various drugs (which LATER they are finding may cause problems which I was NOT told about when the drugs were offered)

What of in vitro fertilization?

In order to get a large amount of eggs the women are SUPER BLASTED WITH DRUGS.....!

 
At July 07, 2008 , Blogger Dark Swan said...

The government should be obliged to "interfere" when there is human risk.

From your POV do you want government to regulate window washers, stunt men and taxi cab drivers, or any other job with some type of risk? If not, why not?

You think bigger government should make your adult decisions for women because they aren't capable of calculating risk without govt supervision?

What exactly would you have the government determine for these women? After all the methods of extracting the eggs are govt approved, so what then....?

Orwellian.

 
At July 07, 2008 , Blogger Jeremy said...

Dark Swan - Economics is the way that society allocates scarce resources. Since the allocation of scarce resources affects all in the society, the government does have a vested interest. The degree of that interest is a legitimate and on going debate that should occur all the time as change is inevitable.

Human Eggs are an incredibly scarce resource for research purposes, but they are also much more than that. Economics cannot speak to moral issues. Economics does not make moral judgments. That is why societies and cultures create moral frameworks and impose moral values on trade.

Using our human reason and our moral foresight, we have looked at what we think would happen if we let human organs become a marketable commodity and we have rejected it.

 
At July 08, 2008 , Blogger Dark Swan said...

That is why societies and cultures create moral frameworks and impose moral values on trade...and we have rejected it.

Im not sure what your point is, but society has not rejected egg donors for medical research. It happens everyday.

 
At July 08, 2008 , Blogger Jeremy said...

I said marketable commodity.

 
At July 08, 2008 , Blogger Dark Swan said...

Human Eggs are a marketable commodity. Women profit from their eggs to be used in Medical Research.

Im not sure what youre disputing here..

 
At July 08, 2008 , Blogger Jeremy said...

Dark Swan,

You say.."how far into private industry do you think the government should interfere to prevent adults from doing business in a manner that potentially is a health risk?"

Our government has a legitimate interest in protecting the health and welfare of its citizens. We have a heavily regulated public health system, heavy regulation of environmentally harmful chemicals such as lead and asbestos, and a ban on buying/selling human organs.

These laws are in effect precisely because the person doing the selling is often ill informed and faces all the risks with only a very small part of the "benefit". An earlier post on this blog deals with what can happen re: egg donation.

You say that "women profit" but I would argue that simple profit is not a compelling reason to allow companies to externalize the health risks that come with egg procurement, or even organ selling.

The people most likely to sell their body parts are very often those least able to understand the totality of future risks or access the court system for compensation when the process goes wrong.

Thus, our government has decided that protecting those most at risk for exploitation by corporations is worth the drag it might cause on the speed of research. So in answer to your question, the government is legitimately able to go so far as to ban any and all practices undertaken by private or public entities which will/may significantly harm its citizens.

 
At July 09, 2008 , Blogger Dark Swan said...

our government has decided that protecting those most at risk for exploitation by corporations is worth the drag it might cause on the speed of research.

Where? Women can still donate eggs for money.



the government is legitimately able to go so far as to ban any and all practices undertaken by private or public entities which will/may significantly harm its citizens.

So in your world the government should ban adults from any risk averse behavior, Im glad your Orwellian Utopia is not reality.

 
At July 09, 2008 , Blogger Jeremy said...

Where? Women can still donate eggs for money.
I was addressing your implied argument that the government should not regulate (or ban) the selling of human eggs.


So in your world the government should ban adults from any risk averse behavior


Read what you quoted again. I said it was a legitimate function of government. I did not say that the government SHOULD in all cases. That is why we have a process for making laws, to figure these things out.

Im glad your Orwellian Utopia is not reality.
Off topic, but it is reality. There are all sorts of laws regulating commerce and trade. Most of these are an unquestioned fabric of our society.

 
At July 09, 2008 , Blogger Dark Swan said...

addressing your implied argument that the government should not regulate (or ban) the selling of human eggs...
our government has decided that protecting those most at risk for exploitation by corporations is worth the drag it might cause on an the speed of research.


I never implied that the government should not regulate the selling of eggs. I questioned the extent of govt regulation in commerce that has known risk. The reason being is that Wesley promotes an absolute ban on selling human eggs en route to the nanny state.

I believe I understand his motivations for this are grounded in his belief of HE.. But what I read instead turns to ulterior arguments , such as donor safety, which rings hollow.

The pro-life agenda isn't standing in line to save coal miners from emphysema due to occupational hazard, or picketing for marine merchants, (insert other dangerous work here) but when it comes down to fighting for their political cause they will adopt any angle they can to refute the freedom to donate eggs. It's just more manipulation of secondary issues in order to advance the primary agenda. Which is a strategy, just not a very genuine one.


Off topic, but it is reality. There are all sorts of laws regulating commerce and trade. Most of these are an unquestioned fabric of our society.

Indeed off-topic, but I'd hate to think of the trade agreements like CAFTA NAFTA AND GATT imposed on Americans by global banking systems are the "unquestioned fabric of our society". These trade agreements have pulled the rug from underneath an industrialized labor force that created the fabric of our grandparents society. I question that!

 

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