There were limited breakthroughs in sickle cell research this week. A group that studies lipids released a paper that identified certain levels of high-density lipo-proteins in children with sickle cell. This can be used in the future as bio-markers to target medical research. It’s very techy, but for those inclined, read more on it HERE.
A step backward however, was taken this week when a federal judge suspended funding on embryonic research.
In issuing the injunction, Lamberth found the guidelines published in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) violated a law that prohibits federal funds for research in which a human embryo is destroyed. The ability of stem cells to convert to other cells and tissues has provided great hope for developing cures for various diseases, but extracting stem cells from an embryo results in the destruction of the days-old human being.
FYI: The stem cells are culled from unsuccessful embryos from couples undergoing fertility treatments. Which means that it’s not real live baby embryos that are being used for Pete’s sake!
So far, this only applies to Kansas and Missouri; and hopefully Congress will clarify this snafu and allow embryonic research to continue undeterred. In the last decade, this has been one of the greatest strides in sickle cell research, and to have this halted in any way will limit the potential for future cures.