Shinya Yamanaka: Dr. Yamanaka and team, Kyoto University, have successfully turned adult skin cells into the equivalent of human embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo. After viewing embryos under the microscope eight years ago he says, “…I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters.”
Ely Lilly: Lilly is the second corporation, after IBM, to make public a policy forbidding using employees’ genetic information to discriminate in employment choices or eligibility for benefits. Lilly says employees are more likely to take part in individual healthcare programs if they’re assured information from genetic tests won’t be used against them.
United Nations: On March 30, 81 Member States and the E.U. community signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the highest number of signatures of any human rights convention on its opening day. The convention ensures that persons with disabilities enjoy human rights on an equal basis with others.
Sir Ian Wilmut: Though recently knighted amid controversy over his actual role in cloning Dolly the sheep, Professor Wilmut, has decided not to pursue a license awarded to him in 2006 to clone human embryos. He believes the rival method developed by Dr. Yamanaka is less controversial and “easier to accept socially.” His announcement could mark the beginning of the end for research cloning.
People of New Jersey: In a surprise vote, New Jersey rejected decisively 53 to 47 percent an initiative to borrow $450 million for stem cell research. One voter said, “There are a lot of people who think there’s a lot of debt in New Jersey… they did not feel [the initiative] was going to be sufficiently funded and that it would be ineffective.”
Jesse Ramirez: Ramirez suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that put him in a coma for a week. He was then consigned to dehydration and suffered without food and water for 6 days. He survived. His family went to court and won the right to give him food after which he recovered and is happy to be alive. This case illustrates how deeply the “quality of life” ethic has permeated medicine–and no doubt to deadly effect.
Elite Donors Website: As advertised, “Compensation Minimum $100,000 if you fit the following criteria: “Height 5’9 or Taller”, “Caucasian”, “Very Attractive”, “18-30 years old”, “No Genetic Medical Issues.” EliteDonors calls itself a “personalized egg donor matching service.” and searches for donors one at a time. This exploits young women and is eugenics at its best!
Swiss Supreme Court: Ruled that people with mental illnesses can be legally assisted in suicide. The case came about when a member of Dignitas, an organization, which, for a fee, provides a safe house for—and assistance with—suicide, won a lawsuit seeking the right to die. The man does not have cancer, AIDS or other physical illness. He is bipolar.
Diana DeGette (D-CO): DeGette tried to pass a phony cloning ban bill. The U.S. House voted 213-204 against DeGette’s H.R. 2560 which would only ban reproductive cloning but still permit research cloning to move forward. She joins a long list of losers for continuing to obfuscate the facts by promoting her bill as a “ban on human cloning”.
Booth Gardner: Former Governor of Washington, Gardner, who was recently diagnosed with Parkinsons is on his “last campaign” to pass a statewide law to allow physician assisted suicide. He “can’t see where anybody benefits by my hanging around,” and his motto is, “My life, my death, my control.” Even so, the proposed law for Washington would not include Gardner because Parkinsons is not terminal.
Robert Klein: Klein and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine acknowledges it has turned back 10 grant applications worth millions of dollars because the applications were accompanied by letters of support from members of its own governing board. This recent ethical “conflict of interest” breach within CIRM continues to add more credence to the fact this is the most irresponsible 3 billion dollars that California has ever spent.
Human Fertilisation Embroyology Authority: The U.K.’s HFEA is permitting “human-animal embryos to be created and used for research.” These chimera, scientists in the U.K. say, will help supplement the short supply of human eggs needed to go forward with their stem cell and cloning research.