In her first post-election speech last week, House Speaker Nanci Pelosi laid out the top priorities for the next Congress, which includes a bill to “relax federal restrictions on stem-cell research.” Jennifer Lahl says it best:
OK, so California is broke.
The U.S. economy is in the tank.
And a top priority of the new Democratic Congress and Presidency is to spend more money on embryonic stem cell research? What planet is she on!
Seriously. Even before the current financial downturn, commercial investors were steadily pulling their own money out of start-up companies experimenting with human embryos or just simply not funding them to begin with:
Venture capital investment in biotech startups — which includes stem cell developers — has fallen more than 65 percent to $443 million in the most recent quarter, from a high of $1.3 billion in late 1999. (ht Jivin J)
This is largely due to the serious doubts that ESCs will ever become commercially viable and the fact that private investors don’t much care to put their money into a losing venture – no matter how “hopeful”. But not the Federal Government! They don’t care how unethical, unnecessary or unproven it is or how many trillions of dollars in debt we are as a Nation…WE MUST KEEP HOPE ALIVE! After all, false hope is better than no hope at all, right?
Boy. Anybody who thinks that this debate will slowly fade away due to the lack of progress in even coming close to treating a single patient should think again. Not only are our lawmakers still obsessed with it, but this ap article reveals where ESC research is likely headed, and it’s not in the dumpster where it belongs:
But there may be other investors waiting in the wings [you know, besides U.S. taxpayers]: drugmakers.
Roughly $24 billion worth of drugs are expected to lose patent protection next year, leading to generic competition for a wave of blockbuster products launched in the 1990s. With massive cash reserves, large drugmakers have begun turning to stem-cell technology as a possible way forward.
Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, is scheduled to open a new research center this month in the U.K. to research stem cells to treat nervous system disorders. The New York-based company plans to hire 60 scientists for the effort over the next two years.
I have mentioned this before, the real future of ESC research is in pharmaceuticals. Watch out when these two industries get together…
*ESCR/Pharmaceutical case-in-point: A study published in the Nov. 6 online journal Cell Stem Cell, reports that scientists have supposedly made human brain tissue from stem cells derived from human embryos. While scientists are hopeful that this will lead to some regenerative therapy, the report adds that,
the tissues could also serve as “a mini organ” for use in studying the cause of the Alzheimer’s disease and developing vaccines
According to the report, the brain tissue has been made using IPS cells as well.