[Homestead] Chinese stem cell rsearch to defeat leukaemiia cancer

tvoivozhd 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
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	Science and Development Network


News 	*

*Green light for China's first stem cell therapy test*
Jia Hepeng
4 February 2005
Source: SciDev.Net

[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 
liver failure.

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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