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Wow, This Is A Scientist I Admire in the US!!! What an inspiration!!!

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    Wow, This Is A Scientist I Admire in the US!!! What an inspiration!!!

    YES, here is a scientist in the US, who is on the same path as Dr. Hwang in so. Korea!!

    Scientist Working Against The Odds

    Courant Staff Writer

    September 12 2005

    Before cancer kills him, University of Connecticut scientist Xiangzhong "Jerry" Yang is determined to create human embryonic stem cells by cloning and see those cells implanted in a patient.

    By spring, the former pig farmer born in rural China wants to have created the first cloned embryos in the United States by fusing skin cells of medical patients with unfertilized eggs. UConn would be the first institution in the United States to offer researchers working on diseases such as Parkinson's or diabetes human embryonic cells genetically identical to the patients with those diseases.

    "This is my dream," Yang said.

    Yet as university officials ponder whether to make a multimillion-dollar bet on the promising but controversial research, they have to make a cold-hearted calculation.

    Can Yang's dream survive if he isn't around to see it through?

    To achieve his goal, Yang will have to overcome institutional caution, address ethical and religious concerns of many, including UConn Health Center's director, and answer scientific questions about the viability, efficacy and safety of human embryonic cells.

    He also will have to outrun his own cancer, which has moved from his face to both lungs. His cancer has resisted seven surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments and now threatens his life.......

    His optimism was buoyed this spring by two pieces of news.

    The first came in May when South Korean scientists became the first to create customized human embryonic stem-cell lines through cloning, using techniques similar to those employed by Yang. Weeks later, the Connecticut legislature passed a 10-year, $100 million initiative to fund human stem-cell research. The legislation authorizes therapeutic cloning as envisioned by Yang.

    While undergoing experimental chemotherapy treatments in Boston, Yang has launched a vigorous campaign to make therapeutic cloning a reality at UConn. He has been recruiting scientists familiar with scientific, legal and ethical issues surrounding the use of human embryonic cells. He has gained tentative approval from university officials to create a new stem-cell institute that would include scientists from both the Storrs and Farmington campuses. He has started a series of Internet seminars featuring experts on stem-cell research that link scientists at both campuses.

    "I certainly do care about religious concerns. I really don't want to create a fight," Yang said. "It is like the fight over a test-tube baby. A million kids were born because of that technology. Once I can show that the technology can take skin cells and help treat cancer and other diseases, then religious and non-religious people will all be happy about that."

    He added: "Until you have a major disease, you don't understand how important this is, the impact that medical advances can have.",print.story
    Last edited by Faye; 12 Sep 2005, 10:01 PM.

    The Bush administration is not going to like this very much

    They will do all they can to prevent it from happening, they always do.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred


      Faye, this is very interesting indeed. Thank you for posting this.

      Curt, the pressure to develop cloned embryonic stem cells is substantial. There will be more places doing this in the coming year, I believe. Connecticut recently passed legislation to fund stem cell research and the governor of Connecticut is a strong supporter of stem cell research.



        Lets hope change starts taking place

        What gets me is so much time has been wasted while the politicians argue over all this stuff.
        "Life is about how you
        respond to not only the
        challenges you're dealt but
        the challenges you seek...If
        you have no goals, no
        mountains to climb, your
        soul dies".~Liz Fordred


          Mr. Young, an evergrowing source of knowledge and stem cell know how; Why haven't you created the cure yet?!



            He is a great doctor, despite all odds!


            I have been in contact with Dr. Yang ever since the following was published:-

            posted 03-10-04 05:17 PM 03-10-04 05:17 PM - Posted by Dr. J.J.
   Cure stem cell work in China

            An embryonic nation


            Xiangzhong Yang is the director of the Center for Regenerative Biology, University of Connecticut Storrs, Connecticut 06269-4243, USA.

            Liberal views on human-embryo technology make China ideal to become a world leader in this field. Xiangzhong Yang explores its potential.

            As China pours money into regenerative medicine, its scientists are starting to explore the field's technical and ethical frontiers1. Therapeutic cloning, stem-cell studies and other research areas that use animal or human embryos are controversial and raise religious and ethical questions, as well as concerns over animal welfare.

            As a result, many Western governments are wary of such research. These issues have led to unsupportive policies for cloning-related research, and the high cost of clinical trials for any proteins developed using this technology have forced many scientists and commercial companies to abandon promising research and to lose out on potentially profitable products2.

            China has a cultural environment with fewer moral objections to the use of embryonic stem cells than many Western countries, and, if it can provide a supportive funding and academic environment, it could take a leading role in this field. These technologies offer unprecedented research and commercialization opportunities for China.

            Public approval
            The success of cloning using nuclear transfer (the same technique used to produce the first cloned animal — Dolly the sheep)3 shows that the nucleus of a differentiated cell, for example a skin cell, from an adult, can be reprogrammed and converted back to an embryo-like cell that can give rise to all cell types and tissues. This technology is a significant improvement on transgenic-animal production, and offers a fresh approach to agriculture through the cloning of élite bulls or racehorses, as well as to the cloning of endangered species such as pandas and to the creation of animal models of human disease for basic medical research.

            China is firmly opposed to reproductive human cloning4. But human therapeutic cloning (which is when a patient's own cells are used to form stem cells that grow into tissues needed by the patient) is legally permitted, unlike the current situation in many other countries, particularly the United States and Germany. China has probably the most liberal environment for embryo research in the world: most Chinese media report positively on achievements in transgenics, therapeutic cloning and related embryo-based research. Furthermore, the public shows little opposition to such studies.

            This liberal environment and acceptance of these biotechnologies stems from governmental and public recognition of the significance of this work. In addition, the relatively easy access to human material, including embryonic and fetal tissues, in China is a huge advantage for researchers.

            Human therapeutic cloning and animal-based embryo biotechnology research should be a top research priority if China wants to focus on scientific areas with the potential to make her a world leader in a short period of time.

            CARINA DENNIS

            Huizhen Sheng is internationally respected for her stem-cell research.
            Chinese scientists have already produced transgenic rabbits, goats and cows within a few years of the technology becoming available. Likewise, China has succeeded in cloning goats and cattle and most recently was part of the first team in the world to successfully clone a rat5, which is one of the most difficult species to clone. Other high-profile results have come from Huizhen Sheng's team at Shanghai Second Medical University, which extracted stem cells from embryos by fusing adult human cells with specially prepared rabbit eggs6. And Guangxiu Lu's team at Xiangya Medical College in Changsha has cloned human embryos7 to multicellular blastocyst stage. This and recent progress in successfully extracting embryonic stem cells8 represent significant progress towards human therapeutic cloning.

            China has established a good base for human-embryo research, but this field is still in its infancy and far from sufficient to prepare a country to play a leading role in the world. It remains to be seen whether China can build on her strength in the promising area of human therapeutic cloning research to become a world leader.

            For instance, China acquired the necessary technologies to produce transgenic animals and pharmaceutical proteins decades ago, but has shown no signs of production, let alone commercialization, of such proteins. Meanwhile, Western companies have entered into various phases of drug development and clinical trials in the past decade, even though in China the drug-approval phase is much shorter (five years rather than roughly 15 years in the United States).

            Various factors may contribute to this lack of drug development, but China needs to improve the following: funding for basic research, the efficiency of the technology-transfer system, the return rate of talented individuals from developed countries, and the number and quality of national and international collaborations.

            The Chinese government falls far behind more developed countries in commitment to research and development. China only spent US$12.5 billion (1.1% of its gross domestic product (GDP)) in 2001 (ref. 9). In contrast, the percentage of the GDP allocated in Japan, the United States and South Korea for research and development is 3.0, 2.8 and 2.7, respectively10 (see the table on the right). In 2003, the US National Institutes of Health alone has a budget of US$27 billion11, more than double the total that China now spends on research and development. Sufficient and sustained investment is a fundamental reason that the United States leads the world in science and technology. In this respect, China is still a 'developing' country.

            As well as generally increasing investment, the Chinese government needs to target research areas with the potential to compete successfully in the international arena. This will help China to attract many of its overseas researchers back. Many Western-trained young scientists in the embryo biotechnology field are returning to China, and they bring with them not only up-to-date expertise and technology, but also the Western mentality for teamwork and collaborative research. Now is the time for China to join the international competition for talent and to recruit and retain world-class scientists.

            China does not have the resources to be competitive internationally in all fields of science and technology overnight. Its strategy of investing heavily in a few selected centres, as it did with the human and animal genome projects, should be applied to human-embryo research and related biotechnologies.

            This approach is already being pursued elsewhere. In Australia, the government is providing US$26.3 million to establish a Centre for Stem Cells and Tissue Repair at Monash University in Victoria. Even in the United States, where the federal government discourages this type of research, the University of California, San Francisco, announced a $5-million developmental and stem-cell biology programme in 2002. In December of the same year, Stanford University revealed plans for an Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine and committed $12 million in seed money12. On the east coast, the University of Connecticut launched a Center for Regenerative Biology in 2002 with an investment of $10.5 million to build the centre's labs plus additional support to recruit five new professors with complementary expertise to the existing strong embryo biotechnology programme. I had the privilege to be the founding director of this new centre.

            Working together
            Whether or not China makes a clinical success of therapeutic cloning and other stem-cell therapies depends upon many factors. The gap between embryo research in China and other countries is not great at present. But, bringing these technologies through clinical trials and into the market will require expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, from molecular, cellular and developmental biology, to immunology and genetics, transplantation biology and clinical medicine. The relatively undeveloped level of China's research base could pose major challenges at this stage. Cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, with their solid foundation in basic science, should be considered as preferable locations to recruit national and international talents to establish research clusters and centres. These centres would consist of researchers with different expertise working together.

            QI ZHOU

            Researcher at work in a cloning and stem-cell laboratory in Beijing.
            Another problem is the lack of collaborations both within and outside China. It is not uncommon in China for one university to have several similar labs studying the same area but with no collaborations between them; sometimes even unethical and unfair competition exists. In today's globalized world, no research should be done in isolation.

            China has taken big steps to improve its national and international links, but there is still a long way to go, particularly when we look at pioneering research such as therapeutic cloning. Interactions such as collaborative research, conferences and joint publications between centres and other research laboratories should be encouraged by the government through funding and promotion incentives. These research centres in turn will attract more scientists to China.

            An attractive proposition
            Collaborations with China are becoming very attractive to researchers based in the West. While Western researchers focus on animal models, partners at the new Chinese stem-cell research centres could focus on human models. Furthermore, this will provide an opportunity for China to attract top scientists from around the world to work in China, full- or part-time, although salaries comparable to those in Western countries may need to be offered.

            The world is beginning to take note of the Chinese researchers who are accomplishing excellent work. But we must realize that questions still remain in the minds of many Western researchers as to whether China has the ability to conduct world-class research. This is the result of long-standing inadequate communication and collaboration between Chinese scientists and those from the Western world.

            'Opening the door', communicating with foreign scientists, working together and jointly designing experiments, protocols and joint ownership of collaborative research data, patents and publications are principles and attitudes that many Chinese scientists still need to learn. Only by adopting and embracing such principles will the rest of the world get to know the best science and the first-rate scientists in China. I hope that these collaborative efforts will build a bridge of trust between this old Asian country and the West.

            To conclude, I would like to emphasize the significance of governmental involvement, supervision and regulation of human therapeutic cloning and research on embryo biotechnologies. These techniques may involve human embryos, which reminds us that there are dangers as well as benefits: abuse of these technologies can result in insurmountable problems for future research that no country in the world wants to face. Research must be encouraged and supported, but clear guidelines are necessary for all researchers. A national ethics committee should be established to evaluate, approve, review and supervise therapeutic cloning and other embryo-based studies.

            In Japan, any such study needs to be approved at the institute level by an internal review board and by a central committee established by the government. This might provide a model for China to follow. Currently, the Ministry of Health is the regulating agency for human embryo and transgenic therapeutic research in China. But regulations are often not followed, and some very sensitive embryo-based studies are conducted with little or no institutional review, and researchers suffer no consequences for not following institutional or national regulations or guidelines, if they exist.

            The government should create a national committee consisting of selected international experts in related fields to enforce these regulations. At the same time, local institutes should also set up their own ethics advisory/approval panels and be responsible for any violations. The national committee should also take responsibility for providing training for scientists and administrators on the current policies and protocols. This basic infrastructure should guide the emerging stem-cell therapies through clinical trials, and avoiding a rush into the clinic or even to the market before the basic science has been completed.

            I expect to see research into stem cells increase in China. I would not be surprised if in five to ten years China becomes one of the leading nations in the world in the fields of therapeutic cloning and related research. But for that to happen, the Chinese government must provide strong support through policy, funding, talent recruitment and a determined commitment to promote productive scientific as well as business collaborations.

            1. Dennis, C. Nature 419, 334–336 (2002). | Article | PubMed | ISI | ChemPort |
            2. Zeng, Y. World Science and Technology Research and Development (in Chinese) 5, 1–4 (1999).
            3. Wilmut, I. et al. Nature 385, 810–813 (1997). | Article | PubMed | ISI | ChemPort |
            4. Ministry of Health, China. Regulations on Assistant Reproduction Technologies and Sperm Bank. (2003).
            5. Zhou, Q. et al. Science 302, 1179 (2003). | PubMed | ChemPort |
            6. Chen, Y. et al. Cell. Res. 13, 251–263 (2003). | PubMed | ISI |
            7. Lu, C. et al. Chinese Sci. Bull. 48, 1840–1843 (2003). | Article | ISI |
            8. Hwang, W. S. et al. Science (2004). | PubMed |
            9. (2001).
            10. OECD (2002).
            11. Office of Science and Technology Policy, USA. (2003).
            12. Gershon, D. Nature 422, 928–929 (2003). | Article | PubMed | ChemPort |

            © 2004 Nature Publishing Group
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              Originally posted by Curt Leatherbee
              What gets me is so much time has been wasted while the politicians argue over all this stuff.

              Everyone seems to be arguing over this stuff..

              People are having to go to different countries to get procedures done.
              Americans shouldn't have to go somewhere else.
              If you are going to get a stem cell procedure done how do you find out the recovery from other people who have gone through it?


                Very interesting indeed!!!

                Thank you for the information very much Faye & Suzanne.

                It would be to great meet this scientist, perhaps he could colloborate with other leading scientists around the world to help propel his research forward as he is fighting the good fight for his life and everyone else for the future... good stuff.


                  Jerry Yang needs funding for SCNT!!

                  Officials at both Yale University and the University of Connecticut Health Center argued that they needed $5 million each; the committee voted to give each school half that amount. The UConn lab will also be used by Wesleyan University.

                  Among the proposals the committee declined to fund was a multi-researcher proposal submitted by the director of the University of Connecticut's Center for Regenerative Biology, Xiangzhong "Jerry" Yang, who wants to become the first scientist in the world to clone a human embryo to produce stem cells.

                  While Yang's own cloning proposal scored well among scientists who reviewed the research plan, related research proposals contained within his application received lower marks. With several committee members expressing regret, the panel rejected Yang's entire proposal.

                  Yang acknowledged that parts of his research proposal may have been too ambitious, but he noted that both reviewers and committee members expressed support for his plans to conduct somatic cell nuclear transfer, or cloning, in Connecticut.

                  "It is still my dream to make Connecticut a leading state in the nation for nuclear transfer," said Yang, himself a member of the advisory committee.

                  Yang said he will pursue other sources of funding for his plans and did not rule out applying for a new round of funding next year. The committee is expected to award an additional $10 million in 2007.

                  The research advisory committee selected the 21 proposals from more than 70 submitted. In all, about three dozen researchers, including 10 scientists just starting their careers, will get financial help in pursuing research.