January 1, 1970 (Vol. , No. )

John Sterling Editor in Chief Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Despite the threat of a veto by President Bush, the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to loosen restrictions on federally funded human embryonic stem cell research. The Senate’s move was the latest salvo in the ongoing political battle that pits those supporting the use of government money for such research against those who do not.

This week’s podcast interviewee, William Caldwell, the CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, runs a company navigating its way through this often controversial issue. Mr. Caldwell discusses how the firm is applying human embryonic stem (ES) cell technology in the field of regenerative medicine with the goal of bringing effective, patient-specific therapies to the bedside. He talks about the main challenges of translating human ES cell and nuclear transfer technology into novel therapeutic products and identifies what will be the probable first medical applications of human ES cells. Mr. Caldwell also explains why human ES cells, adult stem cells, and cord blood stem cells all need to be explored as potential therapeutics rather than as either/or propositions.

Be sure to listen to this important and very timely podcast then return the the blog and give your thoughts on the following question:

Should proponents of human embryonic stem cell research try to change the minds of people who consider an early-stage human blastula an actual person, or just focus their efforts on strengthening support for this research wherever it can be found?