>University of California at Irvine is teaming with an Orange County fertility clinic to create new unethical, destructive embryonic stem cell lines from human embryos.
This is the same site that brought us the scandalous embryo switching in the mid-1990’s. Are we supposed to believe that the informed consent and accounting will be any better this time around? Or any better than what we saw in South Korea? Especially since we know that destructive researchers are competing with those same fertility clinics for oocytes?
They’re going to use both healthy and diseased embryos that are “left over” after their parents achieve their purpose of having one of the embryos grow to a baby in their previously empty arms. Those embryos will be grown for 5 days or so, and destroyed in order to obtain stem cell lines that the researchers say they plan to give away, “free of charge.”
From the “Today@UCI”:
Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release
UCI scientists to generate new embryonic stem cell lines
Lines to be made available free-of-charge for research
Irvine, Calif., May 16, 2006
A research team led by UC Irvine neurobiologist Hans Keirstead will generate up to five new human embryonic stem cell lines to be used for research into treatments for spinal cord injury and diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. The lines will be the first developed at UCI.
Keirstead, co-director of UCI’s Stem Cell Research Center, and Gabriel Nistor, a scientist in his laboratory, will derive the new lines from surplus embryos donated by couples undergoing fertility treatment at West Coast Fertility Centers in Orange County. Embryo donations will be made with the informed consent of donor couples and under a procedure approved by UCI’s Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee. Once the lines have been created and tested in labs at UCI, Keirstead plans to make them available to researchers worldwide free of charge.
“Generating new stem cell lines is an essential next step in the progression of stem cell research toward the development of new research tools and treatments for human disease,” said Keirstead, associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology. “We are committed to making these lines available to the scientific community so that other researchers may join us in our pursuit of better therapies for devastating diseases.”
Keirstead will work with Dr. David Diaz, West Coast Fertility Centers’ medical director, to use novel techniques for developing the new lines, as well as freezing and preserving the lines after they have been created. The techniques for freezing and preserving lines were developed at the clinic for the preservation of embryos.
Stem cells are the “master” cells that give rise to each of the specialized cells within the human body. During organ and tissue development, these cells transform into a particular specialized cell, such as a heart cell or a liver cell, when prompted by their environment or by their internal genetic programming. If researchers can control the processes directing stem cell transformation, they may one day be able to use these cells as a source of healthy replacement cells for tissues damaged by disease or injury. This work has been the subject of Keirstead’s recent research.
New embryonic stem cell lines are derived from three- to five-day-old embryos produced during fertilization treatments. The excess embryos are often frozen indefinitely or discarded as medical waste. Donors must give permission before these embryos can be used for research purposes.
Keirstead will make lines not only from healthy embryos, but also from embryos known to harbor genetic abnormalities. Stem cells derived from these lines can be used as cellular models of human disease that may help scientists better understand these genetic diseases.
And from Gary Robbins of The Orange County Register:
UC Irvine and an Orange County fertility clinic are teaming up to create at least five new lines of human embryonic stem cells, becoming one of the few groups in the country to try to produce fresh lines for the study of everything from spinal cord injuries to Parkinson’s disease.
Using private money, the University of California, Irvine, will try to produce new lines from surplus embryos that people donate through West Coast Fertility Clinics, which has offices in Fullerton, Fountain Valley and Irvine.
If successful, the team will donate cells to scientists around the world who are studying the so-called master cells that have the potential to become any one of the more than 200 cells in the body. Researchers say it might be possible to program these cells to cure or treat disease and some injuries.
The team will be led by UCI neurobiologist Hans Keirstead, who will attempt to create the lines from healthy embryos and those with genetic abnormalities.
“We want to expand the genetic diversity of the cells we study,” said Keirstead, co-director of the UCI Stem Cell Research Center. “Creating new lines is challenging. But our lab has six years of experience in stem cells and we believe we can do this.”