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Stem Cells

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Life Everlasting.

“The scientists joined old and young mice for five weeks and then examined them. The muscles of the old mice had healed about as quickly as those of the young mice…The young mice, on the other hand, had effectively grown prematurely old.”

Take that, Van Helsing: Per PBS’s NOVA, research increasingly suggests that transfusions of young blood hold the secret to slowing or reversing aging. “We can turn back the clock instead of slowing the clock down,” said Dr. Toren Finkel, director of the Center for Molecular Medicine at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.”

(Unless, of course, it’s all about the jellyfish.)

Rolling the Clocks Back.

[T]his new method changes everything. To start with, it uses normal adult blood cells from the patient, so there’s not need to keep umbilical cords in storage. It also doesn’t use any virus reprogramming, so it’s completely safe. It’s also very efficient: researchers successfully transformed about 50 to 60 percent of adult blood cells into embryonic stem cells that can then be turn into any type of cell—a heart muscle cell, a bone cell, a nerve cell, anything.

By way of Dangerous Meta, researchers figure out a way to manufacture embryonic stem cells without an embryo, thus clearing the path for future research in that direction unhampered by abortion politics. “The discovery could be the key to cure the incurable – from heart attacks to severed spinal cord to cancer—and open the door, some day, to eternal youth.

A Taste of Their Own Medicine.

As they prepare to take back the House for the first time in twelve years, the Dems look to freeze out any GOP involvement in legislation, at least for the first few weeks. “House Democrats intend to pass a raft of popular measures as part of their well-publicized plan for the first 100 hours. They include tightening ethics rules for lawmakers, raising the minimum wage, allowing more research on stem cells and cutting interest rates on student loans.”

Crushed at the Stem.

As y’all probably know by now, Dubya — so eager to exploit and enlargen executive power in other arenas — vetoed his first bill in five years yesterday, when he decided to capitulate to the sad remnants of his base, set back medical science a few more years, and nip stem cell research in the bud once again. While Dubya said the bill would have forced “American taxpayers…for the first time in our history…to fund the deliberate destruction of human embryos,” he made no argument for criminalizing fertility clinics, where similar embryos get tossed away unused every day. “‘If that’s murder, how come the president allows that to continue?’ asked Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). ‘Where is his outrage?’ Harkin called the veto ‘a shameful display of cruelty, hypocrisy and ignorance.‘”

Stem the Tide? / Burns & DeWine.

“‘What Democrats want to do is gin up their turnout in the suburbs and divide Republicans, and right now they may do that’ said Jennifer E. Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. ‘This is the first real wedge issue Democrats have had with Republicans.‘” According to the NYT, congressional Dems think they may have a winner in November with the stem cell issue. And, also in election news, polls suggest the once-highly vulnerable Abramoff flunky Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) may be shedding the taint of Casino Jack, while potentially beatable Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) looks to do the same with Donald Rumsfeld.

Physician, Heal Thyself.

Bucking the Dubya trend, Bill Frist comes out for expanded federal stem cell research. Evidently, Catkiller‘s 2008 gurus decided he should hype his M.D. and/or tack moderate — which is probably a mistake…the GOP moderates will likely stick with McCain, while the fundies may now look to Sam Brownback or some other winger freakshow as their primary hopeful. But, hey, the right thing is the right thing, even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

From Stem to Stern.

On the Sunday shows, Republican Senators Arlen Specter and Sam Brownback go toe-to-toe on stem cells. “Brownback questioned ‘what it does to the culture of life’ when government approves performing research on the embryos, which he considers ‘young human life.’ Specter shot back, asking what it does ‘to the culture of life when you let people die because there are medical research tools which could keep them alive?’” For what it’s worth, Specter believes the Senate has the votes to override a Bush veto, even as Boss DeLay erroneously invokes various world religions to keep the House in line.

Stems and Thorns.

With the nuclear detente and Priscilla Owen now on her way to a judgeship, congressional attention turns to stem cell research. With the right-wing fundies already on the warpath over the loss of GOP nukes, how will they respond in the unlikely event of Dubya’s threatened veto getting overridden?

Dubya Stems the Tide.

In the face of growing bipartisan support (and withering hopes for Social Security privatization) in Congress, Dubya declares he will veto a bill easing stem cell restrictions. In five years, Dubya has never used the veto before…but of course he’s always ready to answer the bell when the right-wing fundies come-a-knockin’.

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