Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The cure for HIV is Nigh *Updated*

In 2007, an American living in Berlin who was HIV+ contracted Leukemia. He underwent a bone marrow transplant to cure his leukemia and it cured not only his leukemia, but his HIV as well. But this was no ordinary bone marrow transplant. It was from a donor that was not only an unusually good match genetically, but he had a mutation that made him HIV resistant. This is the only known instance of a cure of an HIV infection. But the risks of such a transplant are not trivial. The mortality rate from such transplants is as high as 5% or more. Not to mention the fact that finding suitable donors with just such a rare mutation is not easy either. But what if that problem could be solved? What if you could grow your own custom tailored bone marrow? It should be possible. Craig Venter has already demonstrated that it is possible to grow a completely synthetic organism by replacing the nuclear material in one bacterium with a synthetic one. Further it has been shown that skin cells can be chemically tricked into becoming bone marrow stem cells. And of course the ability to completely sequence a human genome is old hat, again, Craig Venter did that too. So all that is left is to combine the four technologies. DNA from the infected patient is completely sequenced, the HIV resistant mutation is spliced into the patient's DNA and a synthetic copy of the modified DNA is produced. Heck, while they are at it, other beneficial mutations could be spliced in as well. Skin cells from a donor who does not need to be a very close match at all are then stripped of their nuclear material and the material is replaced with the synthetic DNA. The skin cells are cultured and tested to verify that the nuclear transfer was successful and that the cells are now a genetic match with the patient. The cells are then chemically converted to bone marrow stem cells and cultured to again ensure that they are reproducing true to their intended genetic line. Then the patient's bone marrow is destroyed with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy. This is a very delicate point in the process because if any of the bone marrow were to survive the treatment, it would fail. And if the patient were to come down with an infection while immunosuppressed, it would likely kill him. once the original bone marrow is gone, the new hybrid bone marrow is injected. This should then cure the patient, assuming he lives through the procedure. This procedure should also work for other genetic blood disorders like sickle cell, hemophilia, and others.

The White House has determined that synthetic biology poses limited risks and should be allowed to proceed, so there are no regulatory roadblocks to proceed with this methodology beyond those normally required for FDA medical trials.

Further thought on the ethics of this proposal:
Many would argue that such a procedure poses far more risks than the risks inherent in treating the disease through drug therapy. First, I would submit that the mortality and side effect rates from the drugs involved and complications from the disease itself are only PART of the equation. One must also consider the potential to spread the disease to others and THEIR potential mortality rates as well. This is not at all unlike the ethics of the "Tuskegee Experiment" where blacks with known cases of syphillis were left untreated intentionally when a treatment for the disease existed at the time resulting in the spread of the disease to their sexual partners/spouses and congenital defects in their children as well. One must also consider the ability of a person to make a free choice in his or her own medical destiny. Millions of men and women undergo elective surgeries every year for various reasons. All of these surgeries entail a level of risk. Even a root canal procedure has a certain level of risk involved. They take that informed risk into account when they decide to undergo these procedures (or at least they should be, even if they chose not to consider them). So withholding this potential cure on the basis of someone ELSE's determination that the risk or cost is high is unethical. That decision should be the left to the patient since they are the ones that have skin in the game. After all, we all run similar risks every day when we get out on the road to go to work. The patient may value the ability to have unprotected sex with their partners or the ability to become impregnated without expensive IVF procedures higher than an uninterested third party who may have no skin in the game.

The moral bankruptcy of Europe is now complete, and we aren't far behind.

Some time back, I posted about a pamphlet distributed by the German government that encouraged parents to masturbate their young children. At the time I thought it an outrage that the German government would do such a thing, as did a number of other people as well. The German government, after being castigated and embarrassed publicly pulled the pamphlets. But of course, the moral depravity didn't disappear with the pamphlets. Today, the Swiss Government is considering eliminating the laws against incest on the grounds that only three cases have been prosecuted since 1984. Meanwhile here in the US, we have a Columbia professor, Huffington Post blogger, and of course liberal Obama supporter who stands accused of having a three year consensual sexual relationship with his adult daughter. AND HE SEES NOTHING WRONG WITH IT.

Obama: "I'm itching for a fight"

So sayeth the Annointed One. If you ask me however, he probably should see a doctor about that rash...

Monday, December 13, 2010

My kind of grafitti

Spotted in Boise Idaho.

Is Steele Gone? Update: Not yet...

That is the analysis by Ed Morrisey at Hot Air. Apparently he has not made any preparations to run for a second term as RNC chair, and he is widely disliked due to his failures both in raising money and reaching out to the tea parties and other angry constituencies. RNC fundraising is tanking and has been for some time, despite the rise of the tea parties. WHY? Because those angry people have been donating (in record amounts by the way!) to individual candidates and causes, not to the RNC. The people have voted with their wallets and Steele and the RNC lost. Why? because the RNC failed to listen to it's grass roots and those roots decided they had had enough of being taken advantage of.

Now the big question is, who will replace him? THAT is the 64 Billion dollar question...

Well the word is that he will run for a second term, so we'll just have to beat him the hard way.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Obama wears out government printing presses

The US treasury is having to destroy at least 10% of the latest printing of $100 bills due to printing defects. The paper is getting creased and causing gaps in the printing. This is what happens when you try to run the printing presses 24/7, eventually things start to wear out. Things like your welcome....

Monday, December 06, 2010

Rangel steps in it again

Charlie Rangel just can't play it straight for even a day. He is being investigated AGAIN for ethics violations. Specifcally using PAC money to defend himself from the LAST ethics charge..... the difference is, the incoming congress is not a bunch of democrat lapdogs........

Racisim is NEVER ok...

But apparently the head of the FCC never learned that lesson.

Wikileaks, and blackmail

Julian Assange, the slimeball that is currently disseminating stolen US intelligence/diplomatic information via offshore internet servers is insisting that if he is molested/arrested/killed, a huge encrypted document dump along with the encryption password will be released that will be very damaging to not only the US government but to BofA and BP as well. But here is the problem with capitulating to his demands, he has already shown he cannot be trusted, so all we'd be doing is delaying (if that) the inevitable. He will release the data, whether we give into his demands or not. So why not arrest him, or just shoot him, and be done with it? It will be sending a message to whomever is supervising his "document bomb" that they had better never release the data, or if they do they had better hope we never find out who they are or they'll end up dead too. it will also serve as a warning to anyone else who gets a wild hair to do something similar. When you operate on the level of a nation state, there ARE no rules.

Friday, December 03, 2010

There goes the neighborhood!

Celebration Florida is a master planned community built by the Disney Corp just a few miles down the road from DisneyWorld, and it is intended to be Norman Rockwellish. It has been in existance for 14 years and in all that time has never once had a killing.... Until this week. They've had two.