Jennifer Lake's Blog

March 9, 2011

The Culture of Organs

                     

Watch this presentation by Dr. Anthony Atala on growing and printing organs, with an “inkjet” that uses cells!http://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_atala_printing_a_human_kidney.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2011-03-08&utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&utm_medium=email

Midway through the delivery onstage, the doctor appears to remove a newly made kidney from solution but “Reports in the media that Dr. Anthony Atala printed a real kidney at the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., are completely inaccurate. At the conference, Dr. Atala used a new type of technology to print a kidney-shaped mold and explained how one day – many years from now – the technology might be used to print actual organs.” http://www.wfubmc.edu/Research/WFIRM/Media-Reports-on-Kidney-Printing-Inaccurate.htm

The “printed” kidney got Dr. Atala’s audience to its feet, forgetting for the moment perhaps, the already amazing “biomaterials” able to provide structural scaffolding for new cells to grow on. He called them “smart biomaterials” in the first minutes of this show. Take away the Big Finish and Atala’s applications are in substance what the “Cheeseburger In Paradise” article is expressing. This is lab-grown meat with a twist, or I should say, a pulse.
https://jenniferlake.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/cheeseburger-in-paradise/
In a reality of Virtual Organs, can Virtual Humans be far behind?
 Curiously Dr. Atala invokes the name of Alexis Carrel, author of The Culture of Organs along with co-author Charles A. Lindbergh who befriended Carrel in 1929 :
“In 1929, the interests of two prominent people intersected. Charles Lindberg’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth Morrow, was left with severe disease of the heart valves after acute rheumatic fever. Lindberg asked her doctor why her heart could not be repaired by surgery. When told that the heart could not be stopped long enough for surgeons to work on it, Lindberg questioned why a mechanical pump could not be used for circulating the blood while the heart was stopped. A physician friend introduced him to Carrel. Lindberg asked to become a volunteer assistant in Carrel’s laboratory and work on the perfusion pump. By 1935, the pump was able to keep the thyroid gland of a cat alive for eighteen days. Cells of that gland were then successfully transferred to tissue culture. Time magazine’s cover of July 1, 1935 pictured Carrel and Lindberg with their ‘mechanical heart’.” http://www.chilit.org/WARREN1.HTM
Alexis Carrel is best known for his career (1906-1939) at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research where he gained a reputation as a philosopher-mystic, operating in his darkened experimental surgery lab in long black robes, isolated from the normal interaction of his scientific fellows. The same year that Time put him on the cover, Carrel published Man, The Unknown.
Carrel wrote, “The natural fate of all civilizations is to rise and to decline–and to vanish into dust. Our civilization may perhaps escape the common fate, because it has at its disposal the unlimited resources of science. But science deals exclusively with the forces of intelligence. And intelligence never urges men to action. Only fear, enthusiasm, self-sacrifice, hatred, and love can infuse with life the products of our mind. The youth of Germany and Italy, for example, are driven by faith to sacrifice themselves for an ideal–even if that ideal is false. Perhaps the democracies will also engender men burning with the passion to create. Perhaps, in Europe and in America, there are such men, still young, poor, and unknown. But enthusiasm and faith, if not united to the knowledge of the whole reality, will remain sterile. The Russian revolutionists had the will and the strength to build up a new civilization. They failed because they relied upon the incomplete vision of Karl Marx, instead of a truly scientific concept of man. The renovation of modern society demands, besides a profound spiritual urge, the knowledge of man in his wholeness.” [p1]
  …”None of the dogmas of modern science are immutable. Gigantic factories, office buildings rising to the sky, inhuman cities, industrial morals, faith in mass production, are not indispensable to civilization. Other modes of existence and of thought are possible. Culture without comfort, beauty without luxury, machines without enslaving factories, science without the worship of matter, would restore to man his intelligence, his moral sense, his virility,and lead him to the summit of his development.” [p299]
…”We must be freed from the universe created by scientists with their marvelous intelligence. We stand in awe before the great expanse of the material world, but it is too narrow for mankind… We know that we have a wider expanse that transcends the physical.”
   Alexis Carrel left a legacy that defies casual perusal –he appears in Man, The Unknown to be indoctrinated with the “negative eugenics” of his time, however, as a (very late) latecomer. Three decades earlier, while Cold Spring Harbor’s Eugenics Record Office was launching its family survey program from New York, Carrel, as an inexperienced MD in France,  was witnessing an unexplainable healing at the springs of Lourdes that changed his life. His new enthusiasm for the human soul and life-of-the-spirit soon excluded him from a medical career in his home country. He packed up for Montreal on the invitation of Canadian missionaries and carried on with building a brilliant reputation as a surgeon that led him to Chicago, the Rockefellers’ RIMR, and the winning of a Nobel Prize in 1912. He was different than his colleagues. His wife worked beside him as a surgical assistant. He spoke against war even though he dutifully served. Lindbergh was so impressed with Carrel that he bought a summer house in France so the two couples could spend long vacations together but it is unclear whether or not their camaraderie lasted beyond a summer or two. Lindbergh did not spend the “rest of his life” working with Carrel at the Rockefeller as Atala suggests.
   RIMR’s director, Simon Flexner, personally lobbied Carrel to join the staff (in 1906), but when Flexner retired in 1936, it seems Carrel was no longer welcome. By 1939, his lab was taken away and disassembled. The Carrels departed for France and became caught in wartime circumstances. Alexis Carrel, himself, made at least one more sojourn to New York on wartime medical business in the interests of the Rockefellers and thereafter “collaborated” with the Vichy government for a position leading the Institute for the Study of Human Problems. In 1944, Carrel died of heart failure. It is said that days later the press “mistakenly” reported that Carrel was a Nazi collaborator, an item of information that is prominently mentioned in his biographical sketches today, but referencing only his notable eugenical remarks. Some have even called him the “Father of the Gas Chambers” for penning an endorsement of euthanasia, though he was far from originating the idea. Edwin Black, author of War Against the Weak, would not have missed the opportunity to nail Carrel, as a payrolled Rockefeller employee, if it were true. Black’s treatise is devoted to the American origin of “negative eugenics” .
    So, it’s a curiosity that Dr. Atala should cite Carrel’s The Culture of Organs as his inspiration given the man’s controversial background and the Nazi taint that haunts both his and Lindbergh’s personal history There was so much more to him. A newspaper article from 1935 printed this: “Dr. Anton Julius Carlson, in whose laboratory fame first came to Dr. Alexis Carrel, scoffed today at his former associate’s new theory that [proposes]… [k]eeping a man in suspended animation.. so he can come back to life in the future century of his choice… The Chicago physiologist was even more critical of the Rockefeller Institute scientist’s declaration that ‘we know positively that clairvoyances are capable of perceiving past and future events’ and ‘it is far from being unreasonable to believe that some part of human personality may escape death.’http://www.lindberghkidnappinghoax.com/carrel.html
 “Lindbergh’s work with Carrel was interrupted on March 1, 1932,when his 2-year-old son, Charles, Jr, was kidnapped, and hisdead body was found 10 weeks later in a shallow grave. It took21/2 years for a suspect to be apprehended; Bruno Richard Hauptmannwas arrested on September 19, 1934, and was later was put ontrial. Because of Lindbergh’s celebrity, the events surroundingthe kidnapping, murder, and trial received enormous attentionfrom the press; it was billed as the trial of the century. Hauptmannwas convicted and executed. The United States Congress passeda law in response to the kidnapping, which made kidnapping acrossstate lines a federal crime for the first time. Both Charlesand Anne Lindbergh were intensely private people; therefore,to escape public attention they boarded a ship for Europe in1935, and they remained there until 1939 when they were forcedhome by the start of the war in Europe. Certain eventsduring that time placed Lindbergh on a downward spiral of publiccondemnation, parallel to a similar fall by his colleague, AlexisCarrelWhen the war began, the Lindberghs returnedto America, and in 1941, Lindbergh became a major spokesmanfor the “America First Committee,” an isolationist organizationopposed to the entry of the United States into the war in Europe.The once great man endured widespread condemnation within hisown country… 
    After the liberation of France in 1944,[Carrel] was relieved of all duties related to his institute and wasplaced under surveillance. An investigation began to evaluatethe extent of his collaboration with the Nazis and the Vichygovernment, but no conclusions were reached. Unremitting attacksby the press left Carrel deeply saddened, embittered, and depressed.He was a broken man when he died on November 5, 1944…http://ats.ctsnetjournals.org/cgi/content/full/80/6/2415 
America First Comittee
“Founded in 1940 to fight against U.S. participation in World War II, the AFC initially enjoyed the backing of Henry Ford and the historian Charles A. Beard… the committee was especially active in Chicago. After Charles Lindbergh, an AFC leader, made what was widely considered an anti-Semitic speech in September 1941, the organization began to decline…
   “Peaking at 800,000 members, it was likely the largest anti-war organization in American history… Nothing did more to escalate the tensions than the speech [Lindbergh] delivered to a rally in Des Moines Iowa on September 11,1941. In that speech he identified the forces pulling America into the war as the British, the Roosvelt administration, and the Jews… During its existence it was seen by some on the left, especially Communists, as a Nazi front..” http://www.answers.com/topic/america-first-committee
Once war was declared, however, Lindbergh served the U.S. heroically as a civilian, flying over 32 (or 50) missions for the armed services. http://www.charleslindbergh.com/history/b24.asp . The America First Committee’s beginnings are retrospectively claimed to have a shadowy founding by Lessing J. Rosenwald, the son of Sears Roebuck & Co. magnate Julius Rosenwald. Lessing Rosenwald became a division chieftain of the War Production Board and Sears’ president, Robert Wood, took the leadership of the AFC.
   Maybe it’s glamour, mystique, and the larger-than-life auras of Carrel and Lindbergh that prompts Dr. Atala to cite them as his inspiration. They did not fundamentally contribute to the science for his work but they did provide Big Ideas. The nuts and bolts of virtual organs relies on the intrepid progress made in the culture of cells.

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Eastman-Kodak has “longterm plans to sell inkjet printers” http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Eastman_Kodak_Co._%28Kodak%29 , although no statement is made about medical use. Kodak has long participated in medical ‘establishment’ business, from x-ray plates, radiation badges, cigarette filters, vitamins and pharmaceuticals.
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The Culture of Cells
‘For the previous sixty years, from the time when cell culture technology began, in the late 1890s or 1900s,’ [Leonard] Hayflick explained, ‘it was believed virtually from day one that all cells put into culture were inherently immortal..’ …Alexis Carrel, a prominent doctor at the Rockefeller Institute, had mesmerized all of biology early in the century with the claim that cells grown in a culture dish would live forever. The French-born Carrel, who received a Nobel Prize in 1912 ..had in that same year placed a smidgen of heart muscle from a chick in a dish, replenished it almost daily with nutrients, and purportedly kept the cells growing and dividing right up to his death in 1944. It wasn’t just Carrel’s results but the theatrics surrounding his technique that created almost a cult of invincibility about the experiments. He insisted that the walls of a cell culture lab had to be painted black, and while performing their manipulations, his technicians donned long black gowns and hoods…[p25] ..everyone assumed that normal cells, whether isolated from chickens or humans, were immortal. Carrel’s mistake, science historian Jan Witkowski suggests, was that in replenishing the cell cultures with nutrients collected from freshly killed chicken embryos, he and his colleagues may inadvertently have supplied fresh new cells to the culture each time they fed them. In other words, they had merely created the illusion of immortality through sloppy laboratory technique. The gerontologist Steven Austad puts it more strongly: ‘It is now clear that the errors and incompetence were Carrel’s own, although a more charitable interpretation is that in his case it was the laboratory assistants who were incompetent or that they spiked the dishes occasionally with fresh cells because they were just too afraid to tell him that the cultures had died.’ .” [p26, Merchants of Immortality, 2003, by Stephen S. Hall]
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More from the Merchants of Immortality:
“One day during medical school in Texas, Michael West stared down at an unusual tumor in his dissection pan. The tumor is known as a teratoma or, when malignant, a teratocarcinoma. It is a rare form of cancer that typically develops in a cell of the reproductive organs, appearing adjacent to either an ovary or a testicle, and it is arguably the most bizarre amalgam of run-amok tissue that can occur in human beings. It behaves something like a cancerous embryo, capable of forming any of the body’s two hundred or so tissues, but without any of the embryo’s exquisitely honed biochemical checks and balances that herd cells toward normal development… West was fascinated by the teratoma in his dissection tray that day. ‘I opened it up, and..here’s an incisor and a molar,’ he said… ‘Beautiful pristine teeth. And the first thing I thought is, Can we make that happen in a dish? People need those cells… but what cells form these tissues, and how does it work?…I looked in textbooks and there was hardly anything on it. And I just stumbled across some stuff on mouse embryonic stem cells, which pointed out that if you put a mouse embryonic stem cell in perfect conditions, it’ll form a teratoma. And all of a sudden, it all made sense –that of course these are very primitive cells gone awry… And I thought, if we could just culture human embryonic stem cells, we could potentially make teeth and lots of other things..” [pp92-93]
“About that same time, a researcher at the University of California at San Francisco named Gail Martin isolated a version of the [mouse embryonic stem] cells. But there were intriguing early hints about this same class of regenerative cells in cancers known as embryonal carcinomas during the 1970s and, in a broader sense, in the purely observational annals of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century medicine. Mark Pittenger, a researcher at Osiris Therapeutics in Baltimore, points out references to “wandering cells” in old medical journals, regenerative cells that appeared to gravitate to wounds and facilitate healing. Some of the first clues, Pittenger notes, were observed by battlefield surgeons… Julius Cohnheim, a famous nineteenth-century German pathologist, was among the first to assert that ‘wandering cells’ seemed to play a role in tissue regeneration….
…What exactly is a stem cell? That is a more controversial question to answer now than it was just a few years ago, following a host of preliminary but intriguing reports suggesting that brain stem cells can form blood, and blood stem cells can form neurons. This degree of developmental versatility has forced scientists to rethink the definition of the term…” [p94]
“In 1995, Alta Charo, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, received a call out of the blue from a stranger who happened to be a colleague on the university’s science faculty. Jamie Thomson introduced himself… ‘He said he had been working on primates and was considering moving on to human work..” [p158] He applied to the university’s institutional review board, or IRB, shortly after publishing a paper in 1995 reporting the isolation of embryonic stem cells from monkeys…  Thomson..didn’t pave his route with press releases. He declined even to describe his lab’s creation of monkey stem cells at meetings until the experiments were published in August 1995 (although he shared the news with several like-minded researchers, including Roger Pedersen). And he rebuffed potential collaborators like Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor, of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, who approached Thomson’s lab immediately after the 1995 paper.
   But Itskovitz-Eldor was persistent, and he felt a special affinity for the University of Wisconsin. In 1985 he had traveled to Madison to learn micromanipulation techniques from Neal First, an animal scientist..who had been a pioneer in cattle cloning; Itskovitz-Eldor returned to Haifa and was among the first in the world to apply the technology to assisted reproductive medicine for humans. Twelve years later, in 1997, Itskovitz-Eldor organized a scientific meeting in Israel in honor of First and invited Jamie Thomson to speak. It provided another opportunity to lobby Thomson about a possible collaboration. The two scientists spent a couple of days together traveling around Israel, and Thomson finally agreed to work with Itskovitz-Eldor. It was a fateful decision. As a result, the Wisconsin group was able to work with both domestic and overseas sources of human embryonic material… As it turned out, the Israeli embryos generated more stem cell lines than the Wisconsin embryos –an outcome not without legal and scientific ramifications…[p159] For the Wisconsin group, the key to the entire set of experiments may not have had anything to do with the embryos per se but rather with the elixir in which the embryos grew. The Thomson lab received embryos at the cleavage stage, a very early phase of development that is reached a few days after fertilization. As this clutch of identical embryonic cells continues to divide, the primordial clump slowly doubles in roughly geometric progression: next 16 cells, then 32 cells, and so on. About 5 days after fertilization, the embryo contains 200 to 250 cells. At this point, a very primitive segregation of fate begins to unfold, and the first faint architecture begins to emerge in the form of the blastocyst, with about 30 embryonic stem cells. For a fleeting embryonic moment, each of these cells is endowed with a pluripotent genetic cargo: the biological capacity to become any cell type in the organism. That was the goal– to capture those fleeting, changeable cells.” [p161].
    “In May 1998 the NIH held a symposium on embryonic stem cells in Madison [Wisconsin]. Unbeknownst to government officials –indeed, to almost everyone– human ES cells had already been isolated. ‘At that time,’ recalled Itskovitz-Eldor, who had traveled to Madison for the meeting, ‘we never mentioned that there were human ES cells actually growing a few blocks from where the meeting was held.’ [p162] As the Wisconsin researchers began to explore the properties of these unusual cellular dynamos, the stem cell story, perhaps fittingly, converged with the telomere story. Unlike normal human cells, of the sort first grown in a test tube by Leonard Hayflick [at the Wistar Institute, www.polioforever.wordpress.com/hilary-koprowski/ ], embryonic stem cells expressed high levels of telomerase; in other words, these cells had managed to switch on the gene that tells the cell how to make telomerase, and the presence of this normally rare and suppressed enzyme effectively immortalized embryonic stem cells… they seemed never to hit the Hayflick Limit. They are, in a very real sense, immortal, until they receive a signal to specialize… Thomson and his colleagues acknowledged that the ability to produce a ‘potentially limitless source’ of neurons and cardiac cells, for example, had widespread implications for transplantation therapy.” [p163]
“In the summer of 1998, a young South American scientist named Jose Cibelli worked at Advanced Cell Technology [ACT] where [Michael] West had agreed to serve as president. He was due to arrive in Worcester full-time in October, but several months earlier Cibelli was dispatched to Haifa with the express intent of trying to clone human embryonic stem cells –in the same lab as one of [Jamie] Thomson’s collaborators…Itskovitz-Eldor…[p165]
“In the spring of 1998, exiled from Geron and divorced from the stem cell race he had personally organized, Michael West was wandering the world like an entreprenurial nomad, searching for a way to become a player again… West traveled to Scotland specifically to ask [Ian] Wilmut [‘main architect of Dolly, the cloned sheep’] based at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, if he would like to collaborate in an effort to create human stem cells through cloning. [p166]  West continued to talk to anyone who would listen… He became infatuated with ‘nuclear transfer’, or cloning, as a way to obtain stem cells…
   “On the day West met with the Avian Farms delegation.. several [ACT] scientists dropped in to give brief seminars on their work. One of them was Jose Cibelli… He had done graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts in the laboratory of James Robl, one of ACT’s founders and eventually joined the company. As Cibelli spoke, West’s jaw dropped because the Argentine scientist described experiments he had done in Robl’s lab in which he had created a hybrid embryo, albeit short-lived, through the union of a cow egg and an adult human cell.
   “When Cibelli showed a slide of the cow-human embryo, West couldn’t believe his eyes… ‘I mean, he showed me human embryos that had made by cloning. And I had no idea– no one in the world had any idea that it’d been done… and I thought, ‘..this is exactly what I want to be doing..’  …What West probably didn’t know is that the 1994 embryo panel specifically mentioned interspecies cloning as one of those Rubicons of experimentation that should not be crossed.” [p167]
   “James Robl had stepped in to stop Cibelli’s original line of research at U Mass, but West has always given his scientific colleagues very free rein. West joined ACT as president in the fall of 1998 and immediately instructed Cibelli to get the cow-human work going again. West decided.. that he needed to disclose the company’s intention to pursue this line of experimentation, given the burgeoning controversy surrounding cloning and embryo research (he did not feel similarly compelled to mention Cibelli’s efforts in Israel just a few months earlier). And as he has often done, he went shopping for a friendly media outlet to retail his story. [p168]  ‘I was intrigued,’ admitted Alta Charo, who was at the time a member of the Clinton bioethics panel. ‘If it were the case that you could take an enucleated cow egg ad a human cell, and create an entity that functioned like a human embryo..so that you could get the stem cells, and then it decompensated later on, you would have evaded the problems of human embryo research because you would not have destroyed a viable human embryo.’ ” [p171]
  
Advanced Cell never set out, of course, to create cow-human embryos… The company first set out to clone barnyard animals, especially cows. Robl wanted.. bovine embryonic stem cells for a simple biological reason: ..[to] pluck these cells out of an embryo, genetically modify them (insert, for example, the gene for a pharmacologically desirable human protein like albumin) and reinsert them into another cow embryo to create..a pharmaceutical factory on hoofs… All of a sudden, Robl’s group had stumbled upon the very techniques.. mentioned as a theoretical route to the creation of human embryos: ‘somatic cell nuclear transfer’, or cloning… Here was a way..to get fetal animal cells for clinical use; the initial interest was the creation and harvest of dopaminergic neurons, the kind of brain cells that steadily disappear in Parkinson’s disease. [p215] Around that time, a..veterinarian from Argentina..arrived in Robl’s lab to pursue a master’s degree. Jose Cibelli..[came] to Amherst in January 1994. [p216]
    ‘We were talking about cells and organ transplants.. and saying ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there were a source of human tissue for transplants? That’s sort of where it started.’ The three scientists –Cibelli, Stice, and Golueke– knew they couldn’t obtain human [ES] cells because of the federal ban on funds for research… But they bandied about the idea of an audacious..experiment: Why not fuse the contents of an adult human cell with a cow egg? …It’s not clear whether anyone..was aware that the precedent had already been set by Philippe Collas’s similar experiments with rabbit eggs in 1990, although Collas [said] ‘Jose knew perfectly well what had gone on…[p217] His first attempt at human cloning began with..some large cells from the inside of his cheeks. Known as epithelial mucosal cells, these provided the adult cells he would use for nuclear transfer. Using the same techniques honed by years of cattle cloning, he vacuumed out the DNA from the cow eggs and then, using a tiny needle, inserted his own cheek cells, one per egg. ‘And after that, if you don’t do anything, the egg’s going to sit there and it’s just going to ..die after a few days,’ Cibelli explained. ‘It’s waiting for the sperm. So what you do is, you fool the egg..that it is fertilized.’ This bit of biochemical chicanery is achieved by dousing the cow egg with a chemical that makes it behave as though it has been impregnated by sperm… ‘He did a bunch of them,’ Robl remembered, ‘..but [it’s] very difficult to get a blastocyst.’ [p218]. When all was said and done, Cibelli had managed to create several short-term cow-human embryos… The biologists never characterized the cells in their hybrid embryo, and never even bothered to submit a scientific paper reportng it… no one can say with any biological certainty what exactly Jose Cibelli had created in the union of his cheek cell and a cow egg…” [p219] But it was also clear, even then, that cow-human embryos were less than ideal as a source of human stem cells. The best source, obviously, would be an intact human embryo…[T]he world would learn in good time, human oocytes were indeed under consideration at ACT. [p224]
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“Ali Hemmati Brivanlou..on the seventh floor of a building at Rockefeller University..the morning of November 10, 2000..[p174]..had already made arrangements with Zev Rosenwaks, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at New York Weill Cornell, to collaborate. ‘He has already given me eight embryos’…[p176] In the summer of 2000, he had reached a tentative..arrangement with Zev Rosenwaks, an Israeli-born expert in reproductive medicine, who had agreed to supply Brivanlou’s lab with surplus human embryos left over from in vitro fertilization..at Weill Cornell’s IVF center..[p177] In purely pragmatic terms, the earliest moments of human development held the key to tissue regeneration and cellular repair… ‘As you know,’ Brivanlou said that day, ‘nobody can stop scientists from doing the experiments they want to do. Nobody.’ [p178]
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1998 Report: Embryonic stem cell lines derived from human blastocysts http://www.utoronto.ca/mcmm-escells/thomson.pdf
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“[Michael] West was pilloried for announcing that ACT was conducting the experiments, but in fact a number of leaders in he field..end[ed] up pursuing variations on the same general theme: create a ‘thing’ that couldn’t techncally be called a human embryo but could be used to harvest immunologically compatible stem cells… Other researchers, in England and Israel and Singapore, where the political constraints on research were not driven by the same religious concerns, were trying to create embryos in IVF clinics… [p172]
   “They never saw it as a way to create copies of animals, or humans for that matter. Rather, they saw it as an immensely powerful biological tool… Following his studies in England, [Douglas] Melton returned to Harvard..[and] began to catalogue the proteins that control the development of organs, especially in the nervous system. They learned that certain of these growth factors, or ‘morphogens’, could basically generate nearly any cellular fate depending on their concentration… [Brivanlou] was astonished to find that when you blocked activin, virtuallyall the cells in [an]..embryo became brain cells…[pp181-182]
   “[I]n the late 1990s, work at the Salk Institute, in the laboratory of Fred Gage,..another of StemCell’s cofounders,..electrified the field of neuroscience when they reported the existence of adult neural progenitor cells in the mammalian brain. Gage deliberately shies away from the term stem cell to describe these adult cells, because he’s still not sure what they are. But they can be recovered from the brain tissue of rats, for example, and possess the capacity to differentiate into either of the two main neural cells, neurons and glial cells… [p238] Gage’s group has shown that neural progenitor cells, when transplanted into an adult nervous system, migrate to the zone in the brain where new neurological cells are formed, and will also migrate to areas of injury…’Not only are new cells born, but they undergo synaptogenesis,’ Gage said..meaning they form the connections, or synapses, that link nerve cells.” [p239]
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…and finally, a last composition of excerpts from Merchants of Immortality:
“Bone marrow transplants, first attempted in the early 1960s, achieved a routine success by the 1970s..because patients received..hematopoietic (or blood-forming) stem cells. These are progenitor cells of the blood system and possess the ability to differentiate..into all the cells of a healthy and whole blood system… [T]his spongy matrix of tissue, encased in a sanctuary of bone, is..recognized as the body’s safe-deposit box..for some of the body’s most precious regenerative jewels –namely, cells that can differentiate into many other tissues. In fact, adult stem cells from the marrow have actually been a proven..respectable feature of medicine for about four decades. It’s just that..no one referred to them as stem cells.[p229].  The existence of that marvelously prolific [‘mother’] cell was first proposed in the early 1960s and grew out of medical experiments related to nuclear warfare and radiation exposure. Two Canadian researchers, J.E. Till and E.A. McCulloch, ..subjected mice to lethal doses of radiation that destroyed the rodents’ entire blood-making apparatus in the marrow; then they infused small amounts of blood..sufficient to rebuild the animals’ entire blood and immunological systems. [p230] According to [Bob] Deans, these mesenchymal [marrow] stem cells are conspicuously denuded of typical immunological markings…meaning that they can evade a basic form of scrutiny by immune sentinels known as T cells; they also lack a marker known as B-7 which..revs up an immune response. Deans added that these stem cells may even secrete a factor that actively inhibits a normal immune response…’The cells seem to be totally immunoprivileged and we are currently doing a study where we are injecting cells from one animal into another with no immunosuppression, and we are seeing no rejection.’ The cells, in other words, seem to deploy a biological stealth technology to remain immunologically invisible. This…could open the door to the use of universal donor cells…’It changes the whole ball game in terms of commercialization,’ said Brad Martin. When this immunological invisibility was first observed, Osiris scientists were stunned. ‘In the last year, this all came to light, and we are all just amazed,’ said Martin in May 2001.” [p234].
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Info on Dr. Atala
Video (8min) on regenerating organs and tissue; “it’s the future today” http://dotsub.com/view/8d948fb7-9c22-4a4f-a8ea-896c02a8f57f
Dr. Atala’s bioengineered “neo-organs” http://mediligence.com/blog/2006/04/10/bioengineered-bladders/
[2009] “Lab grown penis helps rabbits mate…like rabbits” http://uk.reuters.com/article/2009/11/09/us-penis-artificial-idUKTRE5A85L220091109
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Xenotransplantation:

“Biotechnology now allows us to genetically engineer animals so that they produce proteins that are human pharmaceuticals. For certain drugs that are difficult to produce using existing methods or are needed in large quantities, production in GE animals offers the most efficient and practical solution… Other applications include making animal organs compatible with humans, a technology known as xenotransplantation. Research is being conducted to produce transplant organs in pigs that may be a source of organs for humans.” http://www.bio.org/foodag/animals/GE_An_Pharm_0908.pdf
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