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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Saving Sight, Testing Faith

By Sharon Begley

This summer will be a historic time for embryotic stem cell research. For many believers, taking stem cells from days-old embryos is akin to murder. That's because in the process it's inevitable they will be destroyed. Despite objections -- and efforts to have the practice outlawed -- scientists view themselves s pioneers. They are moving full-speed-ahead. What it all means, including for two nuns who agreed to participate in clinical trials


Biopsy technique used to generate the human embryonic stem cell line





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Stem cells, it seems, have become almost as ubiquitous in medicine as stethoscopes. Yankees pitcher Bartolo Colon received injections of stem cells from his own fat and bone marrow to treat an injured shoulder and elbow, his doctor recently revealed. Meanwhile, a Texas hospital is testing whether stem cells from a patient's bone marrow will improve the effectiveness of cardiac bypass surgery. It's enough to suggest that the bitter religious, ethical, and political battles over stem cells that began in 1998 were pointless. If cells harvested from patients themselves can treat disease, perhaps there's no need to use ones obtained from human embryos — with all the questions that raises.

To Robert Lanza, a born and confirmed Catholic, this argument is just another in a long line of attacks that have come at him nonstop for 10 years. As chief medical officer of Advanced Cell Technology, a leading stem-cell company, he has no doubt that adult stem cells will fall woefully short of the promise of embryonic ones. "Adult stem cells can't do all the same tricks," he argues. "There are over 3,000 Americans who die every day from diseases that could be treated with embryonic stem-cell therapies."

Lanza's dream of turning human embryonic stem cells into therapies for the sick and the suffering is taking a huge step closer to reality. As early as this month, the first patient will undergo a revolutionary procedure aimed at restoring sight. A bioethics board at UCLA recently approved a clinical trial of cells Lanza has produced from human embryonic stem cells — obtained from donated in vitro fertilization embryos — to treat blindness. If all goes well, it will be the first study to show whether human embryonic stem cells can cure disease.

It's already bringing ethical questions front and center. After Lanza approached ophthalmic surgeon Steven Schwartz of UCLA about leading the clinical trial, Schwartz consulted two patients he considers "religious authorities": elderly nuns who were losing their eyesight to macular degeneration, which affects about 17 million Americans and is the most common cause of blindness in people over 60. Schwartz told the nuns the trial would use cells from human embryos. "I asked, would that keep you from being in the trial? I got the same response from both: if G0d gave people the capacity to do this cutting-edge science, then we should."



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To Lanza, the irony was almost painful. As soon as James Thompson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, announced in 1998 that he had taken days-old human embryos and derived stem cells — which give rise to every kind of cell and thus hold out the promise of curing diseases from Parkinson's to juvenile diabetes — the science has been both besieged and stymied by religious and moral objections. Taking stem cells from days-old embryos usually destroys the embryo; to Catholics and others who believe life begins at conception, that is murder. After President Bush banned the use of federal money for most embryonic-stem-cell research in 2001, it was left to private companies (or academic labs using private money) to carry the ball.

Advanced Cell saw an opportunity to pioneer treatments. Lanza's team had already gained fame for cloning a wild ox from cells belonging to one that had died in the San Diego Zoo a quarter century before — a tiny step toward a real-life Jurassic Park. But financially, the company was struggling. It faced multiple near bankruptcies from 2002 to 2004, when the CEO managed to talk actor John Cusack and novelist Robin Cook (Coma) into making investments in order to stay afloat.

In 2004, Lanza and colleagues published a paper showing that they could coax stem cells from human embryos to become retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, which lie at the back of the eye and nourish the retina's rods and cones with "trophic" (growth) factors. When RPE cells die, as they do in macular degeneration, the photoreceptors begin to die, too, and the patient goes blind. Transplanting RPE cells grown from stem cells might rejuvenate the eye's rods and cones, restoring lost vision.

One summer morning, Lanza arrived at work to find a police officer waiting for him. The cop had read a newspaper story about Lanza, and had a teenage son who was slowly going blind from a degenerative eye disease. Might your cells help my boy? he asked.

Lanza sighed. Advanced Cell didn't have the $20,000 needed for those experiments. I can't help your son, Lanza said, but I promise to do everything in my power to get the project moving again.

Advanced Cell sold shares to the public in 2005, and suddenly had funds for Lanza to do the key experiment: he transplanted his RPE cells into mice with retinal disease. Untreated mice went blind. But in mice given RPE cells, the photoreceptors came roaring back, rescuing the animals' vision. Unfortunately, in 2008, Advanced Cell's stock price collapsed to a penny, and it laid off everyone but Lanza and four others.

A new CEO got the company back on its feet financially, and in January the Food and Drug Administration approved its request to run an RPE-cell clinical trial to treat macular degeneration. Along with a clinical trial for a related vision disease, Stargardt's, the trials will cost Advanced Cell $5 million to $7 million, says CEO Gary Rabin: "For the first time in the company's history we can afford to pay for clinical trials." They will not be the first clinical trials using cells made from human embryonic stem cells. That feat belongs to Geron Corp., which last year launched a trial focusing on spinal-cord injuries. But only one patient has been treated, and it will take months if not years to know if the treatment helped.

The Advanced Cell study should therefore be the first -embryonic-stem-cell trial to get results. When that first patient arrives at UCLA for treatment, Schwartz will use a delicate cannula to transplant some 50,000 retinal epithelial cells into the back of the patient's eye. If all goes well, he will treat 11 more patients. It should be clear this summer if the therapy is restoring vision.

But not for Schwartz's two nuns. Tragedy struck one earlier this month, when she was diagnosed with cancer that will keep her out of the trial. As for the other sister, despite her previous assent, she decided to seek pastoral counseling. The sister, who asked that she not be named so as not to anger Church authorities, says she concluded that "the destruction of embryos [to obtain stem cells] is a gravely immoral act." As she goes blind, she says, she is "praying to the Holy Spirit that scientists discover how to use adult stem cells" to treat her disease.

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