[Homestead] Chinese stem cell rsearch to defeat leukaemiia cancer
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Mon Feb 7 08:40:28 EST 2005
Fortunately Bush has no veto power over other countries and U.S. States
with better morals than his superbriber-driven stem-cell knee-jerks.
7 February 2005
Science and Development Network
*Green light for China's first stem cell therapy test*
4 February 2005
[BEIJING] Chinese scientists have been given approval to conduct the
country's first clinical trial using human stem cells, the Ministry of
Science and Technology and Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday (1
Although the number of scientists working in stem cell research
worldwide is growing, most studies are still at the pre-clinical stage.
The researchers, at the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Medical
Sciences, are investigating the use of stem cells to treat leukaemia, a
form of cancer affecting blood cells.
Stem cells are 'unprogrammed' cells in the human body, which have the
ability to develop into bone, muscle, or other types of specialised
cells. Scientists are trying to harness this capability for use in
transplantation and to treat diseases.
The researchers have already tested the method by injecting stem cells
into rats, pigs and monkeys with leukaemia. The results showed that the
stem cells boosted production of blood cells — a process that takes
place in the bone marrow — and reduced the likelihood of leukaemia
returning by more than 60 per cent following bone marrow transplantation.
Zheng Bin, a scientist on the project, told SciDev.Net that the results
suggest the technique could be used to help human leukaemia patients. He
added that the treatment might also reduce the chances of leukaemia
patients rejecting transplanted marrow by boosting the ability of the
patients' own marrow cells to tolerate it.
The first phase of clinical trials, which will test the safety of the
treatment on 30 healthy people, will start next month and last for three
months. The participants will receive stem cells taken from the marrow
of healthy adults.
If the phase I trial is successful, the second stage — tests in
leukaemia patients — is likely to be launched this year, said Zheng.
Scientists at the academy are also investigating the use of stem cell
therapies for other conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and
Stem cells can be used for reproductive purposes as well as therapeutic
ones. Although legislation on the use of stem cells has yet to be
finalised, most scientists and governments are opposed to reproductive
techniques. Zheng said that one of the project's ethical guidelines was
to uphold the right of marrow donors to be informed about the type of
stem cell therapy their donation was to be used for.
Zhang Mu, chief of the biodrug section at the China National Centre for
Biotechnology Development, said at a news conference this week that the
team's work is a major breakthrough, and that in stem cell research
China is keeping up with developed countries.
The Chinese government has been pushing for more research into stem
cells. Its national technology programme — called the '863 programme' —
invested 40 million yuan (US$4.8 million) in stem cell research between
2001 and 2005.
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