Friday, April 17, 2009

Stem Cell Guideline Draft Issued 4/17/09

Will this be enough for Parkinson's Disease?

By now most of us have heard, seen or read the news that President Obama lifted some but not all of the federal funding restrictions on embryonic stem cell research in Executive Order 13505 entitled Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells on 3/09/09. And while there are some glitches which scientists aren't thrilled about, the draft version of the guidelines were issued today.

First off the only research allowed would be those in vitro fertilization (IVF) discards from fertility clinics provided there is informed consent on file. The oddity here is that some of the older stem cell lines which President Bush had approved might very well not be eligible for lack of that consent.

In addition, human embryonic stem cells derived from sources other than human reproductive purposes "including somatic cell nuclear transfer, parthenogenesis, and/of IVF embryos created for research purposes" will not be allowed under the Guidelines.

The sad thing is that be restricting the stem cells to the discards, federal funding may not be available for the new stem cell lines which may be needed for diseases such as Parkinson's disease. Which means that use of stem cells derived from those non-IVF embryos could not be used, cloned or "genetically customized for a potential recipient" per an AP release. This does not mean that private companies cannot conduct research with their own financing, it simply restricts use of federal monies.

Nonetheless, there are ten billion stimulus dollars waiting for proposals to be submitted. According to the NY Times, the NIH has twenty approved proposals on the runway waiting for the July 2009 guideline finalization...which of course is subject to change. Once the official-until-changed guidlines are published we'll put up the Federal Register link.

Meanwhile here is a link to the draft version issued 4/17/09:

Only time will tell if the limitations will limit the future of PD stem cell research.

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