Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Stem Cell Milestone in New York!

This is a press release from Gov. Spitzer's website.

Yours truly will apply for funding as soon as the grants become available!

July 26, 2007

Board to Oversee $600 Million in Funding for Stem Cell Research

Governor Eliot Spitzer today named 11 appointees to serve on the committees that form the Empire State Stem Cell Board. The Board was established to oversee and administer $600 million in funding for the Empire State Stem Cell Trust Fund to promote stem cell research and development.

“The Empire State Stem Cell Trust Fund propels New York State forward in the search for scientific knowledge and advancement, and will enable the world-class academic, research, medical and scientific institutions located here to reach their full potential,” said Governor Spitzer. “The individuals that we are nominating to the Empire Stem Cell Board will help bring thoughtful leadership, scientific expertise, and ethical considerations to the advancement of stem cell research.”

The 2007-2008 Enacted Budget includes an initial appropriation of $100 million and an additional $500 million is provided at $50 million per year for ten years beginning in April 2008. The Fund will make grants for basic, applied, translational and other research that advances scientific discoveries in fields related to stem cell biology. No grants are allowed for any research involving human reproductive cloning.

Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson said: “New York is responding to the urgent need for a state-sponsored, fully-funded stem cell research program. The appointed members of the Empire State Stem Cell Board represent the best leadership our State has to offer in the stem cell research field. This board will execute our stem cell research program with the highest moral, ethical, and scientific standards. It will play a key role in advancing medical science, bringing hope to people suffering a range of debilitating illnesses. I am proud that we are able to deliver our stem cell program to the people of this state, and I am personally committed to seeing its full, successful implementation. ”

Commissioner of Health Richard F. Daines, M.D. said: "Biomedical research holds great promise for the presentation and treatment of the most devastating diseases and health conditions. Governor Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor Paterson's support for this initiative will position New York as a leader in stem cell research, and will expand the number of New York scientists contributing to this promising field. The caliber of the Empire State Stem Cell Board members is outstanding, and we look forward to working with them.”

The Board includes two committees – the Funding Committee and Ethics Committee – each consisting of 13 members. The Stem Cell Board will be chaired by the Commissioner of Health, Richard F. Daines, M.D. who will also act as a member on each committee. Twelve members are appointed by the Governor with six of those members recommended by legislative leaders. The Funding Committee will make recommendations for the awarding of grants to the Commissioner of Health based upon the analysis and recommendations of an independent scientific peer review process. The Ethics Committee will make recommendations regarding scientific, medical and ethical standards.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Outrageous Politicizing of Science!

Sadly, I must report on another outrageous government intrusion into scientific affairs. Yesterday, Executive Order 13422 went into effect that gives political appointees the final word on federal science regulations. This will promote and foster the continuing climate of political interference of scientists at federal agencies,

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is on the case, delivering letters
to two Senate committee chairs calling for questions to be asked at the confirmation hearings for the nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget.

"We have a corps of highly trained scientists in federal agencies. Why would we want to undermine their expertise and authority?" said Francesca Grifo, director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program. "This executive order greatly expands the power of the White House to weaken the ability of federal agencies to protect public health and safety..."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Popping in

Hello, fellow bloggers and bloggettes! I've had a number of 12-14 hour days and no time to post a new thread lately. This is what we've been doing--

We're conducting a retinal imaging study to try to improve the diagnosis of a childhood neurodegenerative disease that causes blindness. Visual loss generally is the first sign of the disease, but it is often misdiagnosed for years until seizures begin. The kids are often subjected to many uncomfortable diagnostic tests until a diagnosis is made. Although there is no treatment for the disease, we are hoping that at least an early diagnosis will help families get the right kind of care at an earlier stage. Also, once new treatments are available, we may be able to use our non-invasive imaging as a convenient way to follow improvements during the course of treatment.

Over the past few days, our research team has attended a convention where many affected families are gathered. We rent a suite at the hotel, fly in the research team, borrow equipment from the imaging companies, and recruit study subjects to come up and have their pictures taken. There are no eyedrops and nothing touches the eye. It's been a very successful study, so far! I'm always impressed at how much families want to help us with this research, even though it doesn't directly help them. We couldn't do it without the families.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Chip On Your Shoulder....

Some folks in Australia have come up with "smart clothes" embedded with tiny electronic devices that can monitor your heart and respiratory functions.

The lead scientist of the study, Professor Bruce Thomas explains:

"The wardrobe has a touch screen on the outside and conductive metal bands spanning the hanging rail inside, with wires connecting it to a computer in the base of the wardrobe. When we place electronic hangers, each with their own ID and metal connection, on the rail, it detects the hangers and smart garments incorporating the conductive material and integrated electronics,"
You can imagine that these smart clothes could be refitted for other kinds of monitoring acitivities (Why does the Patriot Act come to mind?):

The smart wardrobe can also be adapted for other uses including the self diagnosis of faulty monitoring equipment; scheduling cleaning and dry-cleaning; a fashion butler to help people accessorise, colour match and select appropriate clothing for special occasions; and for preloading news, music and daily schedules into smart garments.

The full article is here:

Ha! And you thought that underwire bra was just.....oh, nevermind.