Saturday, August 05, 2006

Oops: Bush approved stem cells don't work

Gov't-approved neural stem cells carry abnormal gene expression:
Neural stem cells grown from one of the federally approved human embryonic stem cell lines proved to be inferior to neural stem cells derived from fetal tissue donated for research, a UCLA study has found.

Researchers from the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at UCLA coaxed cells from the federally approved line to differentiate into neural stem cells, a process that might one day be used to grow replacement cells to treat such debilitating diseases as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. However, the neural stem cells expressed a lower level of a metabolic gene called CPT 1A, a condition that causes hypoglycemia in humans.
Stem cells derived from donated embryos had normal gene expression, so the problem is not methodological. There's a decent chance that every one of the federally approved stem cell lines has some genetic disorder, and arbitrarily restricting research to those lines, given their many problems, is simply cruel.