Good news on the stem cell research front (MORE: SENATE VOTES TO “EASE” BUSH’S LIMITS ON ESC RESEARCH)

And not embryonic stem cells, either. Via AP (emphasis added):

CHICAGO – Could their own stem cells allow people with Type 1 diabetes to live without daily insulin shots? A small but promising experiment in Brazil suggests the answer someday might be yes.

In a medical first, 15 young people with newly diagnosed diabetes had stem cell transplants from their own blood. Thirteen of them were able to give up insulin and have been successful for periods ranging from six months to three years.

While the procedure is risky and potentially life-threatening, none of the patients died or suffered lasting side effects.

“It’s the first time in the history of Type 1 diabetes where people have gone with no treatment whatsoever,” said study co-author Dr. Richard Burt.

Larger, more rigorous studies are needed to determine if stem cell transplants could become standard treatment for people with the disease. It is less common than Type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity.

In the meantime, the Senate is debating and will vote on today two embryonic stem cell bills:

WHITE HOUSE (AP) — The White House says President Bush will again veto a bill to subsidize stem cell research using human embryos.

But the White House did express its support for an alternative bill that permits public funding for studies on embryos incapable of developing into fetuses — arguing that science and ethics don’t need to be “at odds.”


The bill Bush opposes would lift the president’s ban on federal funding for any new embryonic stem cell studies.

The one Bush supports would prohibit taxpayer money from being spent on the creation of embryos for research purposes.

Each bill needs 60 votes to pass.

Update: Not so good news: The Senate has passed the stem cell research bill that would lift a key restriction the President put on government funding of embryonic stem cell research. If it reaches the President’s desk, expect him to veto it with confidence because Congress doesn’t think it has enough votes to override a presidential veto. BTW, the vote in the Senate was 63-34. Click here for the roll call. I see one of NC’s Senators (Robert Burr) voted in favor of this bill. I will be emailing his office express my strong disagreement. The Democrats who voted “nay” were Casey of PA and Nelson from Nebraska.

The other more sensible stem cell research bill, pushed by Republican Senators Norm Coleman (MN) and Johnny Isakson (GA) and backed by the WH, passed today, too, 70-28. The roll call at this point is not yet available but will be posted here when they do put it on the web. I’m interested to see who voted no on that one.

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