Slate carries an addendum on US administration efforts to block vital medical research (and lie outrageously about it). Near term cures for Parkinson's, cancer, heart disease, nerve damage and other conditions of aging are being suppressed and blocked by stem cell and theraputic cloning legislation. Hundreds of millions of people suffer (and tens of thousands die) every day from conditions that might already have been curable. We cannot let this damage continue, which is why we must speak out and be active. If we do not, the future of medicine is bleak.
Suspended Animation, Inc., a cryonics research company, needs your help to win a critical legislative battle on November 6th in Boca Raton. A letter from the company president is on their website, outlining the situation. Suspended Animation is the only company currently planning extensive research into improving cryonics; cryonic suspension provides the only hope of a longer life in the future for many older or ill people. Please take the time to see how you can help.
Transhumanity is running a pointed, good opinion column on activism and healthy life extension by an active Immortality Institute member. The sentiments are right on target: life is more important than ephemeral distractions, and death is an ongoing tragedy, a rolling catastrophe that we must fight harder to defeat. Cancer medicine didn't come from nothing, nor did advances in AIDS research - activism drove funding for successful research. To defeat aging, degenerative disease and death, to live longer, healthier lives, we must all stand up and do our part.
An article from the Arizona Daily Sun examines the damage done to stem cell research - fundamental to life-saving regenerative medicine - in the US by the current administration. To quote: "President Bush's current limitations on stem cell research and a bill that would place criminal penalties on scientists who use a particular cloning process are causing biotechnology corporations to fall apart or flee to other countries." Our future health and longevity is vanishing before our very eyes, as advanced medical research is attacked and forbidden by a small faction of politicians.
An article from SAGE Crossroads examines a fundamental problem in aging studies: how do you tell if anti-aging therapies are working? For human trials, unlike work on flies, mice or worms, researchers obviously can't just wait and see how each treatment does. Scientists must be able to accurately and quickly measure physical aging in order to determine whether a particular therapy is working. At present, the field of aging biomarkers is somewhat up in the air, with definitive answers remaining elusive. As the article notes, "what now?"
A concise, intelligent article from Ronald Bailey at Reason Online outlines the current state of knowledge regarding adult and embyonic stem cells. While adult stem cells have been used in regenerative therapies, it is clear that they are not living up to the promise of embyonic stem cells. From the article: "The continuing struggle over stem cell research highlights the dangers of politicizing biomedical science. Various lines of research should be pursued simultaneously in order to have the best chance of discovering effective future treatments."
The current US administration - and anti-research groups in governments worldwide - are attempting to enact a global ban on theraputic cloning at the United Nations. This UN action would amount to a global ban on curing Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, nerve damage, age-related conditions and all the other conditions and injuries that theraputic cloning has been demonstrated to help. We must stand up for our rights and protest! We must not let a small faction of politicians prevent science from curing widespread suffering and disease; please write to your representatives today.
From Yahoo! News, the pioneers of stem cell research have said they expect clinical trials for embryonic stem cell therapies in humans within five years. However, anti-research legislation has done serious damage to scientific progress: "if embryonic stem cell research had not been involved in politics we would be far ahead of where we are today." As recent articles posted here note, present day legislation is minimal compared to the bans currently under consideration at national and global levels. Development of working regenerative medicine is under threat.
We've previously noted efforts in the European Parliament to ban stem cell research. This article from CORDIS notes that efforts are still continuing; EU nations are already very restrictive, and research is suffering. In place of a complete ban, proponents are now aiming for legislation that would effectively cripple all new research instead (presumably because it can be made to sound more reasonable). I encourage readers in the EU to contact your MEPs and make your views known: this is your future healthy and longevity on the line!
As reported in Boston.com, the Massachusetts legislature is to promote stem cell research, explicitly including work on embryonic stem cells. They join other state legislatures, such as California, in opposing Federal anti-research legislation. Embryonic stem cell research is the foundation of modern regenerative medicine, a field that will lead to longer, healthier lives (if not legislated out of existence). You can find out more about stem cells and regenerative medicine here at the Longevity Meme.
CAMR is reprinting the latest on UN deliberations leading to a global ban on theraputic cloning, a vital technology for regenerative medicine research. This ban would be wrong and immoral for all the same reasons as the pending US ban. Hundreds of millions of people are suffering and dying from age-related diseases that could be cured through theraputic cloning technologies. Meanwhile, the UN is deciding between proposals for a total ban on research or what amounts to "probably a total ban." I strongly advise you to contact your elected representatives to make your views known.
We are starting to see convergence and cross-talk between stem cell, cancer and aging biochemical research. Many new discoveries have applications in all of these fields, like this one detailed in the New Scientist. A molecule connected with stem cell mobility is present in spreading cancers but not normal adult cells, which may lead to a "magic bullet" cancer cure. Understanding differences between stem cells and adult cells will also ease difficulties in stem cell research. Convergence is a sign of progress: we should welcome all such news.
Bookmark this one for your calendar: on November 5th, Dr. Aubrey de Grey will be debating Richard Sprott of the Ellison Medical Foundation on how soon we can expect to see real progress in the fight against aging. When will we see results in our healthy lifespans, and what has to be done to get there? You can tune in at SAGE Crossroads, a site that is becoming a good general interest resource on aging, the prospects of healthy life extension and the science behind it all.
An opinion piece from MSNBC goes into detail on the harm done by the current anti-research US administration. Legislation (dishonest, immoral legislation in the opinion of the author) has blocked vital medical research into regenerative medicine and scared off funding for two years now. The damage continues to mount, day by day, as we fall further and further behind the advances we could have made. This is not pie in the sky science: scientists have demonstrated amazing cures and therapies in trials and laboratories. It is nothing less than stupid and shameful that politicians are blocking efforts to cure the causes of so much death and suffering.
Dave Gobel is the Chairman and CEO of the Methuselah Mouse Prize, a notable and worthy effort to draw attention and funding to healthy life extension research. In this interview at the Immortality Institute, Dave Gobel discusses the history of the prize and his personal journey to heading up the prize organization alongside Dr. Aubrey de Grey. The prize fund has topped $23,000 in the weeks since it launched: have you donated yet? You can find out more about research prizes (and why they are good for scientific progress) here at the Longevity Meme.
As reported in Yahoo! News, researchers in California have found ways to extend the healthy lifespans of worms by up to six times; a very impressive feat. Worms are considerably less complex than mice (the next step in research) or humans (the ultimate goal of any healthy life extension therapy), but it is very reassuring to see science pushing through supposed limits on natural healthy lifespans. Part of the resistance to healthy life extension is the ingrained idea that it can't be done at all, so it is good to see impressive demonstrations in the lab.
Scientists have pinpointed a single gene as the likely cause of macular degeneration, a common age-related condition that causes blindness. This first step, if confirmed, usually means a therapy will be possible within the next decade or so. Nailing down causes (and thus paths to develop therapies) for the diseases and conditions of aging is an important part of ongoing healthy life extension research. Funding, as always, is essential: there can never be too much medical funding, nor can there be too much activism and public education. Join in today!
This article from Tech Central Station comments on the recent Pop!Tech conference from a particular point of view. (You'll recall that Dr. Aubrey de Grey was there to talk about healthy life extension and the Methuselah Mouse project). If you scroll down to the "Nonlinear Lifespans" section in this piece, you'll see a succinct explanation of how we could attain indefinite healthy lifespans through better funding of medical progress. This is what we at the Longevity Meme are ultimately aiming for, although we've always called it "beating the aging curve."
Here is another interesting stem cell research article from Betterhumans. Scientists are making progress in understanding the underlying genetics and biochemistry that makes stem cells special. All this knowledge will be very important when it comes to using stem cells efficiently to attack the conditions and diseases of aging. Researchers are still in the early stages of working this all out, despite early successes in regenerative medicine over the last two years, so funding and support are vital. This research must not be hampered by restrictive legislation if we are to see the benefits.
Betterhumans explains recent research on the way in which gene engineered stem cells can regenerate damaged or destroyed nerves. This is very early stage work, looking into the underlying biochemistry of this process. The aim is to improve the action of stem cells on nerves and develop therapies for people with serious nerve damage and paralysis. This research also sheds light on the way in which stem cells lead fairly directly to regeneration in other cases (such as in the heart): it may be because of chemicals produced by the stem cells.
The Boca Raton News reports that the permit hearing for Suspended Animation, Inc. will be held this Thursday. As you might recall, this is a new research cryonics company intending to operate in Florida. Suspended Animation (funded by the Life Extension Foundation, who have been putting more money into cryonics of late) will be looking at ways to improve cryonic suspension technologies, freezing the body indefinitely without damaging tissue. In addition to the obvious application to cryonic preservation, improvements to cryonics will provide benefits to many other areas of medicine as well.
BioMed Central carries more information on US administration efforts to obtain a global ban on theraputic cloning (or SCNT), the technology underlying all current success stories in regenerative medicine. This is very worrying, since it allows anti-research groups in governments around the world to enact a ban without consulting their electorates. In the US, the Senate still hasn't voted to ban theraputic cloning, thankfully, but I think it's time to be writing to our elected officials on this matter. Ask them how they feel about the US administration going over their heads to block important medical research.
Wired is running an interesting article on work to replicate the regenerative powers of amphibians and fish in humans. Zebrafish can regrow lost and damaged body parts to an amazing degree, and the scientist featured in this article is working to turn on the same ability in mammals (and eventually, humans). This research is a fascinating parallel to other reported work on stem cells and regenerative medicine in the past few years. All of these paths offer the hope of longer, healthier lives by boosting our natural abilities to repair age-related damage.
Another new approach to killing cancer is entering human trials in Australia, as reported by news.com.au. The patient's own blood cells are modified with a gene enabling them to attack and kill cancer cells, in essence changing the immune system to target cancer. This technique has worked very well in mice, and researchers believe it could put most common cancers into remission in humans. Quite spectacular! A cure for cancer is high up on the list of things we'd like to have for healthy life extension; fortunately, it looks like the decades of cancer research funding are paying off in a big way.
(From the Guardian). It seems that the United Nations, urged on by the strongly anti-research US administration, is moving in the direction of a global ban on all forms of cloning, including theraputic cloning used in regenerative medicine and other potential healthy life extension therapies. This, needless to say, is a very bad thing. Current US policies and threatened legislation have already caused great damage to scientific research in these fields. This directly affects the development of healthy life extension medicine and damages your future health and longevity.
The Arizona Republic has published a fair number of good articles on cryonics in past months. Here is another informative, balanced article on Alcor that summarizes recent events and provides a high level insight into the nuts and bolts of cryonic suspension. As I have said before, I think that all publicity is good publicity for cryonics as an industry: public attention leads to growth, more revenue and greater professionalism. Cryonic suspension is an important experiment in life extension, and the only chance that many older or dying people have (you can learn more at Cryonet). We need to see it improve and grow.
The Speculist has published a commentary on the Michael Shermer article at SciAm that was posted here yesterday. The essence of it would seem to be that Shermer is not fully aware of developments in the field, which is a fair enough criticism. I feel that the core point of Shermer's article stands, however, which is that far, far more needs to be done to prevent the aging and death of everyone alive today. We stand close to great medical breakthroughs, but there is little funding and a lack of public interest and knowledge: education and activism are key to our future health and longevity!
You may have read Robert A. Freitas' article "Death is an Outrage" here at the Longevity Meme. The author is well known for his scientific groundwork on nanomedicine for healthy life extension; the latest volume in his work has just been published. Whether or not you are a scientist, the book website - where you can read the full text of volume I - and the author's site provide fascinating insights into futuristic medicine. These technologies may be turning up sooner than you think, as money is pouring into basic nanotechnology research these days.
This is an interesting interview over at NeoFiles, a conversation with Michael Anissimov (director at the Immortality Institute) and Aubrey de Gray (biogerontologist, founder of the Methuselah Mouse prize) on healthy life extension, attitudes, research and recent history. It covers a range of topics, with an optimistic, realistic view of what lies ahead. The future of healthy life extension involves a lot of work, but there is potential for a large payoff in terms of radical increases to healthy lifespan. Beyond this, the interview has a wealth of links to other resources - it should keep you reading for a while.
This interview from the New Scientist has been doing the rounds. In it, Professor Kenyon discusses the prospects for near term healthy life extension and her work on extending the lives of worms in the laboratory. As a note, Professor Kenyon is associated with Elixir Pharmaceuticals, a company founded to work on theories of life extension relating to insulin systems. There are some links between this sort of work and that done on the genetics of calorie restriction by the likes of BioMarker, another small healthy life extension research company.
From Scientific American a reminder that everyone now alive - six billion people - will die within the next 120 years ... unless we succeed in developing working healthy life extension therapies. While there is progress in the labs, nothing aside from calorie restriction is working and available for use yet. Conservatives, bioethicists and politicians are trying hard to make sure it stays that way. This is a fight, a fight for our future health and longevity: on the one hand, we must support, advocate and fund medical research, and on the other hand we must protect scientific advancement from those who try to block progress.
The President's Council on Bioethics has issued Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. The chapter on healthy life extension ("ageless bodies") gives a good primer on current technologies, research and potentials, and how therapies can be used in the near future to extend healthy lifespans. It then heads off into la-la land to tell us that we should not develop these therapies; in other words Kass and the Bioethics Council are still telling us that we should all suffer and die young.
The Pop!Tech conference is getting underway today, and Dr. Aubrey de Grey of the Methuselah Mouse project is one of the speakers. Dr. de Grey is a noted biogerontologist and vocal advocate for healthy life extension research. You can find out more about his work, publications, opinions and research goals at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence website (or "How to Develop a Cure For Aging" for us less scientific types). You can express your appreciation for the hard work Dr. de Grey is doing to lengthen our healthy lifespans by donating to the Methuselah Mouse prize fund.
An article at Canada.com discusses the wide public support for embryonic stem cell research in Cananda. This is set against the backdrop of an ongoing, stalled debate over anti-research legislation in the Canadian Parliament. It looks likely that any bill might die rather than be passed, and arms of the Canadian government are proceeding with the allocation of research funds in any case. On the whole, not a shining victory for progress, but a victory nonetheless. I hope that this sort of scenario will be repeated elsewhere, and other Western governments will give up on attempting to ban this research.
Betterhumans reports on research into genes that control cholesterol in the body: long-lived people are more likely to have a genetic variation that makes larger cholesterol particles. Longevity is improved because larger cholesterol particles confer greater resistance to age-related clogging of arteries (which in turn means resistance to heart attacks and strokes). This research offers another avenue of opportunity to improve healthy lifespan by attacking one of the most common causes of death and disability in old age.
(From the New York Times). This is a good article on recent developments in the cryonics industry, focusing on the latest provider to enter the scene ... or rather trying to enter the scene in the face of local government interference. From the article: "'These companies need to be regulated or deregulated out of business,' said Rudy Thomas, head of Arizona's Board of Funeral Directors." This sort of unthinking opposition is ugly, but pretty much par for the course, unfortunately. We can hope that balanced articles like this help to bring more thoughtful attention to cryonics and the role it plays in life extension.
ScienceDaily reports on progress in materials technology for regenerative medicine research: polymer scaffolds that encourage stem cells to differentiate and grow into three-dimensional tissue. The work on scaffolds has been going on for a while, and is an important step forward towards the goal of growing replacement organs as needed from a patient's own tissues. An unlimited supply of transplants, or ways to repair failing organs inside the body, are essential parts of engineering longer, healthier lives.
From SunSpot.net, a general interest article on calorie restriction. As you should all know by now, calorie restriction is the only currently available method, proven beyond a doubt, of extending your healthy lifespan. It's really not as hard as much of the mainstream media make it out to be. From the article: "It's no big deal. After two weeks, you're not hungry anymore." Practicing calorie restriction brings a range of other proven health benefits, so you really owe it to yourself to at least look into it. If you want to benefit from the medicine of the future, you have to be alive and healthy when it arrives!
Betterhumans is running an interview with Bruce J. Klein, founder of the Immortality Institute. Like the Longevity Meme, the Institute works towards enabling a future of longer, healthier lives for all. Education, raising awareness, supporting medical research and spreading the word are all important forms of activism at this stage; public attention drives funding, and funding drives science. The Immortality Institute website is home to a friendly, active online community interested in healthy life extension and other technological advances - you should certainly visit and take a look.
The state of knowledge on the capabilities of adult and embryonic stem cells is in flux, and this article from UPI summarizes current confusion. While it is clear that adult stem cells have some theraputic applications, scientists are not sure that this is true regeneration. Researchers do not yet know whether adult stem cells can be made to have the full, demonstrated potential of embryonic stem cells. Since scientists are still actively seeking answers in these fields, it is clear that we should not abandon embryonic stem cell research before answers are in hand.
The first four teams have signed up to compete for the Methuselah Mouse prize for healthy life extension research. (Clicking on the "more" buttons on that page will tell you more about the competitors and their research backgrounds). Seven years ago, the X Prize was a $10,000 fund. Today it is a $10 million prize about to be won by one of more than twenty competing teams, so I see great things in the future of the Methuselah Mouse project. Have you donated yet? This is a great opportunity to help your future health and longevity.
Regular exercise is of great importance to natural longevity, along with calorie restriction, a modest amount of supplements and a good relationship with a good doctor. In the interests of further encouraging you all to stay healthy for longer, here's a Yahoo article showing that exercise tends to reduce annual medical bills by an appreciable amount. If the promise of saving money and being healthy doesn't get people exercising, then nothing will. Remember: the only way to benefit from the medicine of the future is to stay alive and healthy until it arrives!
Hot on the heels of Australian heart therapy successes, The Age reports on progress towards regenerative medicine for blindness. Researchers think that a working stem cell based cure for some forms of blindness could be as little as five years away. Australia has a much less hostile legislative environment for these forms of research, which is why we are seeing progress there. Now if only politicians in the US and Europe would take note of the damage they are doing to research in their own countries!
From the Washington Times, a round up of quotes, opinions and information on the role of nanomedicine in the fight against cancer. Earlier this year, the National Cancer Institute announced the ambitious, applauded goal of eliminating suffering and death due to cancer by 2015. Advances in nanomedicine may mean cancer may finally be removed as a threat this time next decade. It's worth noting that a cure for cancer is an essential component of healthy life extension: the longer we live, the more we become vulnerable to cancer, even with the help of regenerative medicine.
Dr. Steven Austad, a noted gerontologist, has received the Robert W. Kleemeier Award for outstanding research in his field. Dr. Austad has spoken favorably on healthy life extension and the need for medical research in the past (notably to the President's Council for Bioethics), and he is well regarded in the field. The world needs more good gerontologists to carry research into aging forward; more funding and more scientists would help to make healthy life extension medicine a reality in our lifetimes.
The Portland Business Journal notes that the Pauling Institute has recieved funding from the NIH to study the molecular basis of the aging process. All funding is welcome, but we should remember that this is a small award in the grand scheme of things. Very little funding goes to aging and healthy life extension research, and this situation has to be improved. Without more funding, real anti-aging therapies are likely to arrive too late to help you and I. The way to change the funding picture is activism and education: if enough voices clamor for healthy life extension medicine, then the funding will come.
Regenerative medicine uses biological tools (like stem cells) to heal and restore fuction; prosthetics uses implants and machines. This article from Science Daily notes increased research funding in California for implantable prosthetics to fix blindness, stroke damage and paralysis. These are admirable goals, and it is good to see different lines of research converging on the same objective: helping people to live healthily for longer.
The Syndey Morning Herald reports on successful trials of regenerative medicine for the heart in Melbourne, Australia (found via Transhumanity). This follows impressive successes in recent months - in the US and elsewhere - using this first generation stem cell therapy. Approximately 50,000 people are killed by heart problems each year in the US alone, but this therapy is blocked by the FDA despite the obvious and pressing applications. What better time to write to your representatives and ask them why US doctors are being held back from saving tens of thousands of lives each year?
While the US languishes under the threat of anti-research legislation, scientists in some other nations are moving ahead. The Times of India covers recent stem cell and regenerative medicine research by Reliance Life Sciences, who say they are ready for animal trials with some of their technology. Meaningful progress in regenerative medicine will mean longer, healthier lives for all of us: much of the damage done by aging and age-related conditions will become repairable or preventable. The scientists who work hard to bring these benefits to us certainly deserve more recognition, funding and public support than they are getting.
There are a few basics when it comes to taking care of your own health: diet, a good physician, a modest supplement regimen and exercise plan. That last one often seems to slip through the cracks; perhaps because it's more work (by definition). As this article from EurekAlert reminds us, exercise is very important to long term health at all ages. You'll have to take good care of your body if you want to be hale and hearty when the first real healthy life extension medicines appear. Work to be healthier now, and support the march to faster, better medical research - that's the way to go!
Lucky lab accidents that lead to advances in science are more common than you might think, but it takes a savvy scientist to see the benefit of what at first appears to be something going awry. Here (from the UGA News Service) is an article on what might be the first steps towards regenerative therapies for damaged immune systems. From the article, "researchers may one day be able to selectively turn on T-cell production — making numerous diseases far less virulent or even extending life."
From the Fort Francis Times, a short note on a recent study that suggests the well known gap in longevity between men and women is due to risk management. Women are more likely to avoid risky, damaging behavior and take better care of their health and bodies. I encourage you to read the three steps to healthy life extension and think about how simple and easy it is to take better care of your health. Doing well makes you more likely to be alive, healthy and active to benefit from the life- and health- extending medicine of the future.
Fundraising walks to support medical research are common, well understood events. Walk for the Cure, Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes, AIDS Walk and many others have been very successful in raising awareness, educating the public and bringing in charitable donations. So why not a Walk to Cure Aging? I, and the Immortality Institute founders, think this would be a very worthwhile event to organize, a good step forward for healthy life extension. To this end, we are soliciting opinions and advice from you all. Please do follow the link and add your comments; we'd love to hear from you.
From Science Daily, news of another new direction for Alzheimer's researchers to explore. The large sums invested in Alzheimer's research are starting to pay off, judging from recent publicized breakthroughs. At least three separate and distinct paths to blocking or curing the disease are currently under exploration, and scientists are making good progress: this is what happens when the funding comes through. If activism for healthy life extension research can become as vocal and effective as activism for Alzheimer's research, this is the sort of progress we could expect to see in obtaining longer, healthier lives.
It's a funny thing, but buildings are often more significant than people when tracking long term funding trends in science. In this respect, it is very reassuring to see the construction of stem cell research centers happening throughout the US, despite pending anti-research legislation. This article from the Plain Dealer goes into more detail on the Cleveland Center and attempts to create a local stem cell industry in that area. For a briefing on stem cell medicine and how it can help us live longer, healthier lives, you might want to visit InfoAging.
A Motley Fool article on Geron provides an interesting view of the front lines in the war on cancer. As research progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that cancer and aging are connected in one or more ways at the cellular and biochemical levels. Scientists don't have a full picture yet, but all research into cellular mechanisms will useful in developing healthy life extension medicine. Defeating cancer, just like defeating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, is an essential part of a medical foundation for indefinite healthy lifespans.
A short article from ClickOnDetroit notes that the Cryonics Institute is challenging recent regulatory attempts by the local state authorities. These would, fairly deliberately, place the Institute into a regulatory regime that would effectively prohibit it from carrying out cryonic suspensions. The Institute, along with Alcor, has a long, successful history in this business. The only reason for all this current attention is recent publicity over Alcor; these are not exactly noble actions from state officials.
An article in the Guardian covers meetings between NIH representatives and Congress. Both sides are being disingenuous on the harm being caused to medical research in the US by anti-research legislation. (Although money is still flowing in the private sector to expand stem cell research centers). If you would like to see the US government allow research into the future of healthy life extension, you have to raise your voice. Contact your elected representatives today to ask them why they oppose improving health and saving lives.
The Globe and Mail notes the continuing debate in the Canadian parliament over stem cell research legislation. As in the US, uncertainty over the legal future of research is damaging progress. Funding for stem cell based regenerative medicine is much lower than it might otherwise be in both public and private sectors. Longer delays from current and threatened legislation mean more death and suffering before working stem cell therapies can be widely commercialized. I encourage you to raise your voices in support of medical research; ask your elected representatives why they are blocking vital, promising research.
Regenerative medicine is gaining widespread name recognition as a legitimate, promising field of medicine; the 1st World Congress on Regenerative Medicine is this month, the fourth annual Regenerative Medicine conference is next month, and meaningful funding is starting to flow. The NIH is recognizing the field, and was congratulated for doing so by the Alliance for Aging Research. Stem cell medicine is simply one part of a broad advance towards "rebuilding the body, restoring function." This is the medicine of the future that must be supported and encouraged to fight aging and extend our healthy lifespans.
Israel21C notes that the Israel Stem Cell Therapy Consortium, a group of medical companies and academic research facilities, is now underway. The consortium is embarking on a $15-20 million program to develop the tools and techniques for widespread development of stem cell based therapies. This is the sort of initiative that we need to see more of elsewhere in the world: determined, sensible, well-planned steps towards creating the healthy life extension medicine of the future. The will is there in the US and Europe, but current and pending anti-research legislation is scaring away funding and investment.
Since we're talking about cryonics today, here's a great introduction from the Palm Beach Post (found via Transhumanity). When did cryonics start up, what is it all about, and - most importantly - what does it offer for you? Read the article and find out; it's a very human view of this young industry. If this catches your interest, you can find resources and a friendly online community at CryoNet. The Alcor web site also provides a great deal of useful information about cryonics and cryonic suspension.
The Arizona Tribune carries an article on the latest developments in the ongoing Alcor stories. Detectives are investigating a 1992 cryonic suspension as a result of materials submitted by a disgruntled ex-employee; you might remember the initial filing of lawsuits and throwing of dirt in that matter not so long ago. All in all, it looks fairly messy, but it's important not to judge too quickly when looking at two parties throwing claims and counter-claims. Wait for the dust to settle. As I have said before, I hope that this unpleasantness and the associated publicity help to pave the way to a more professional, businesslike cryonics industry.