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U.S. News & World Report, November 7, 2008

Stem Cell Action News

Welcome to issue number 1 of the Stem Cell Action News, dedicated to informing the stem cell community on the latest developments impacting the Pro-Cures Movement.


Election day 2008 – stem cell history is made. Stem cell advocates celebrated a major victory with the voter’s approval of Michigan’s Proposal 2, which overturned the state’s ban on embryonic stem cell research. Fifty-two percent (1,981,756 people) voted “yes” on Proposal 2, allowing people to donate embryos left over from fertility treatments for stem cell research. (full article link). Prop 2 was vigorously opposed by, Michigan Right to Life and the Michigan Catholic Conference (full article link).


With the election of Barack Obama, the climate for stem cell research has changed for the better. Bernard Siegel, Executive Director of the Genetics Policy Institute comments on “Advocacy 2.0” efforts (full article link).

The Coalition for Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR) plans to work with the President-elect and his transition team on federal embryonic stem cell research policy (full article link). The International Society for Stem Cell Research urged President-elect Obama to restore federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in the first 100 days of his presidency (full article link).

Science & International

November 6, 2008 marked the ten-year anniversary of the legendary human embryonic stem cell publication in the journal of Science, “Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Blastocysts” (full article link).

The Madison-based National Stem Cell Bank announced that it will receive 13 of the 21 federally approved embryonic stem cell lines from the University of California – San Francisco (full article link).

Scripps Research Institute discovered two compounds that replace the SOX2 gene in regulating embryonic stem cells – bringing researchers one step closer to reprogramming cells without genetic manipulation (full article link).

Yoshiki Sasai at the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan formed functional cerebral cortex tissue (four distinct zones) from ESCs and iPS cells (full article link).


Genzyme committed to a 130 million upfront payment to Osiris to enter a strategic alliance for the development and commercialization of Prochymal and Chondrogen. Osiris will commercialize the drugs in the US and Canada while Genzyme will commercialize the treatments in other countries. Prochymal and Chondrogen provide potential therapeutic benefit by controlling inflammation, promoting tissue regeneration, and preventing scar formation (full article link).

Bioheart, Inc. received notice of allowance for nine U.S. patent claims. The patented technology uses electrical stimulation to enhance stem cell regeneration of damaged heart muscle. David Holmes, M.D., Chairman of Cardiology, Mayo Clinic stated, “This truly has the potential to be a landmark invention in the filed of heart failure treatment.”

Neostem, Inc. agreed to acquire controlling interest in Chinese Pharmaceutical Company, China Biopharmeceuticals Holdings, Inc. Neostem believes it could benefit from medical tourism (full article link).

OncoMed Pharmaceuticals reported Tuesday that it raised 93 million in a series B funding extension (full article link).

Contact GPI
Robert E. Margolin
Associate Director

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