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Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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  1. Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research SameerDamle Lilian Ngobi November 18, 2010

  2. Overview • Human Embryonic Stem Cell (HESC) Overview • Stem Cell Research Debate • HESC Research Stances • Graduate students • Case Study: Dr. Hwang Wook-Suk • Pharmaceutical companies • Case Study: Advanced Cell Technologies • Politicians • 2010 Supreme Court Case • Religious leaders • Conclusions http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Human_embryonic_stem_cells.png

  3. Stem Cell Overview • Cells with ability to differentiate into many type of cells • HESC: obtained from embryo in its early stages, can differentiate into more than 220 types of cells • Adult Stem Cells: found in differentiated tissues, can differentiate into some type of cells • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: cells that have programmed pluripotent properties • Provides fundamental information about complex processes taking place in human body (how different organs are developed) • Can lead to cell based therapies

  4. HESC Controversy • Health care cost reduction vs. value of human life • Many religious ideologies liken HESC research to abortion • Facts concerning scope of research often tailored according to specified interests • Some results of HESC research projects fabricated for publicity or obtained via scientific misconduct • Controversy related to the means of acquiring HESCs • Advertisement against HESC Research • Advertisement supporting HESC Research

  5. HESC Stance: Graduate Students • Goals • Produce meaningful and distinct results • Collaborate with others and disseminate ideas • Dilemmas • Pressure from advisor(s) • Competition with others conducting similar research • Pressure from funding sources

  6. Case Study: Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk • Dr. Hwang and his team announced that they created a HESC with the somatic cell transfer method • Claimed to create cell line from 242 eggs • Published results in Science • Became a national celebrity • Released another study the following year where a cell line was created from 185 eggs • Cloned a dog …………….WOW! So what is HE doing now? Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (2010, November 9). Hwang Woo-Suk. Retrieved November 12, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hwang_Woo-suk

  7. Case Study: Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk (cont.) • After a University of Pittsburgh professor distanced himself from Dr. Hwang, public discovered that eggs obtained illegally • Resigned from all official posts • Both of his Science papers declared to be fabricated • Dismissed from position at Seoul National University • Dr. Hwang and five of his collaborators indicted on charges of fraud, embezzlement and breaching bioethic laws http://cache2.asset-cache.net/xc/56440089.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF878921F7C3FC3F69D929FD3D6E8E24F8AD364C22B2D1FB70AA98F5F157B300AB4DD349C6E7E4E2CE924510

  8. HESC Stance: Pharmaceutical Companies • Goals • Successfully bring new drugs to the market • Dynamically differentiate discoveries compared to other pharmaceutical companies • Dilemmas • Pressure to make a profit • Competition between companies to release next big drug • Desire to prove scientific merit to the community • Allure to fabricate results

  9. Case Study: Advanced Cell Technologies • Advanced Cell Technologies (ACT) announces that they are the first to report successful cloning of a HESC in Journal of Regenerative Medicine • Attempted to clone HESC using different techniques with varied results • Failed attempts to replicate alleged results by other scientists

  10. Case Study: Advanced Cell Technologies (cont.) • Resulted in ban on human cloning by House of Representatives • Undermined credibility of scientific community • Adversely affected public opinion http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/antenna/stemcelldebate/images/mouseembryo.jpg

  11. HESC Viewpoints: Politicians • Goals • Improve welfare of constituents they serve • Reduce healthcare costs • Dilemmas • Individual and/or political party beliefs fundamentally agree/disagree with HESC research direction • Influence of lobbyists and supporters

  12. HESC Viewpoints: Politicians (cont.) • Supreme Court Decision (August 2010) • Los Angeles Lieutenant Governor Race (2006)

  13. HESC Viewpoints: Religious Leaders • Goals • Fulfill respective deity’s will • Help society to live according to pre-determined morals/rules • Dilemmas • Many religious leaders concerned about welfare of followers • HESC research viewed in same light as abortion • Crossroads with scientific discoveries

  14. HESC Viewpoints: Religious Leaders (cont.) • Anti-HESC Research http://www.stmatthewsnj.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2006/08/Picture%202.png

  15. HESC Viewpoints: Religious Leaders • Pro-HESC Research http://anonymouspond.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/stem-cell-cartoon.jpg

  16. ……And Now Some Facts

  17. $174 Billion Amount of money spent on diabetes-related costs in 2007

  18. 100,000 Number of people in the US who die annually from Alzheimer’s disease

  19. $500 Million - 2 Billion Average cost of drug discovery and development for a pharmaceutical company

  20. Conclusion • Regardless of the stance, lives need saving and costs to society must be reduced • Stem cell research, no matter its source, needs to occur in an ethical manner that does not endanger any involved parties