Canadian Researchers Produce Its First Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canadian Researchers Produce Its First Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 8, 2005

Toronto, Canada ( — Researchers in Canada have produced that country’s first embryonic stem cell lines, though some scientists say those involved are overstating their claims as to the kind of cures that could come from the unproven research.

A senior scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital developed the two lines.

Dr. Andras Nagy said he hoped the new lines "will ultimately bring Canada and the world closer to treating or curing diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes and spinal cord injuries."

However, leading Alzheimer’s researchers say the destructive research is nowhere close to helping patients.

Because Alzheimer’s is not a disease involving one type of cell, one scientist says the use of embryonic stem cells is unlikely to have much effect.

"Alzheimer’s is a more global disease, with an effect on numerous kinds of cells," Steve Stice, a stem cell researcher at the University of Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. "That makes it much more difficult for a cell therapy to be effective."

Other researchers agree that potential cures, if they come about, won’t happen soon.

"I just think everybody feels there are higher priorities for seeking effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and for identifying preventive strategies," Marilyn Albert, a Johns Hopkins University researcher who chairs the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association, says.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC) determined that Dr. Nagy derived these new stem cells lines in a manner consistent with the Stem Cell Guidelines.

The two cell lines have since been submitted to, and approved by, the International Stem Cell Initiative (ISCI). The use of the two new lines in Canada will be directed by the Stem Cell Network.

The stem cell lines will be freely available to the Canadian scientific community.