Hinds calls for conversation on misuse of State apparatus against opponents

first_imgWalter Rodney CoI report– said report should not be used as political footballBy Alexis RodneyWhile agreeing with the call by People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, for the final reportWPA Executive, Dr David Hindsof the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry (CoI) be sent to Parliamentary Special Select Committee, executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr David Hinds has cautioned the two major political units against using the report as a political football, and urged that it be used as a force that could propel a “conversation” against the abuse and misuse of the State Apparatus.Hinds, speaking with Guyana Times in an exclusive interview, reined in the fact that Guyanese are tired of both the PPP and the People’s National Congress/A Partnership for National Unity (PNC/APNU), using the very inquiry as a “political football”. When the inquiry was first established back in February 2014 by former President Donald Ramotar, and with the allegation that the PNC had killed Dr Rodney, then opposition leader and now President David Granger had maintained that the inquiry was being used as a tool to tarnish the good name of the PNC. Ramotar denied this assertion and pointed to the call made by Dr Rodney’s widow and her children for an investigation into his death.Some two years later, and with the final report of the Presidential Inquiry being made public, the PPP, now in opposition is very concerned that the details of the report may never be scrutinized. The party’s Teixeira was somewhat emotional during the 37th sitting of the National Assembly earlier this month, when House Speaker Dr Barton Scotland informed that her motion to have the report sent to the committee could not be considered.Hinds said he wants to believe that Teixeira might have been genuine in her call for the report to be considered for debate in Parliament; however, he was also aware that political parties have a way in turning “genuine things into political footballs.” “I agree that it should be sent to the Parliamentary Select Committee. It should be laid in Parliament and there should be a debate on it. I am not quite sure of the workings of Parliament and what it being sent to the Parliamentary Select Committee is set to achieve… My suspicion of the scenario by the PPP is grounded in the very birth of the Commission of Inquiry,” Hinds told Guyana Times.He added that he is firmly for justice for Dr Rodney and believes that all Guyanese are: “But for both sides wanting to make it a political football, I am totally against that. It should be laid against Parliament, the President has given his undertaking that it be laid before Parliament. It was handed over to the Speaker and that there will be some level of debate, whether if it is at the level of the select committee or in Parliament, it doesn’t matter. What I want is for it not to be made a political football.”Hinds, speaking of the call by Teixeira, said if her initiative to get the report before a select committee is to advance a conversation on State and political violence against the opposition, then that is the conversation he wants to be had.“We are tired of this throwing stones at each other. I think Walter Rodney means more to Guyana, more to the world than to be used to be throwing stones… if the report should be used for anything, it should be used to start a conversation among the leaders and the people, about the misuse of state apparatus against political opponents,” he stressed.Details coming out of the 18-month investigation, heard evidence from numerous witnesses, that the Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham regime of the 1980s had been very forceful and had used its political power to injure smaller and defenceless political parties. Rodney, a world respected political and social activist, died in June 1980, after a communication device he was examining exploded in his lap.It was the theory of those close to the founding Leader of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), that the man he had somewhat come to trust; a then Guyana Defence Force Sergeant and communications expert William Gregory Smith, had implanted the explosive in the device Rodney was expected to test.The theory claimed too that the Government of the day, the People’s National Congress and its leader Prime Minister Forbes Burnham, had used Smith to carry out the attack.In the report the three Commissioners – Barbados Queen’s Counsel Richard Cheltenham, Jamaican Queen’s Counsel Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Trinidad-based Guyanese Senior Counsel Seenath Jairam – concluded that given all the relevant facts, events and circumstances set out in the report, they could do nothing else but establish that William Gregory Smith was not acting alone but had the active and full support, participation and encouragement of, and/or was aided and abetted by the Guyana Police Force (GPF), the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) – both agencies of the State – and the political directorate including Prime Minister Forbes Burnham in the killing of Dr Rodney.last_img read more

Embryo experiments take baby steps toward growing human organs in livestock

first_img Embryo experiments take ‘baby steps’ toward growing human organs in livestock By Kelly ServickJun. 26, 2019 , 11:50 AM The perpetual shortage of human organs for transplant has researchers turning to farm animals. Several biotech companies are genetically engineering pigs to make their organs more compatible with the human body. But some scientists are pursuing a different solution: growing fully human organs in pigs, sheep, or other animals, which could then be harvested for transplants.The idea is biologically daunting and ethically fraught. But a few teams are chipping away at a key roadblock: getting stem cells of one species to thrive in the embryo of another. Last month, a U.S. group reported in a preprint that it had grown chimpanzee stem cells in monkey embryos. And newly loosened regulations in Japan have encouraged researchers to seek approval for experiments to boost the survival of human cells in the developing embryos of rodents and pigs. Insoo Hyun, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, says the work is being done responsibly. Efforts such as the new chimp-monkey chimeras represent “baby steps forward, gathering data as you go,” he says. “And I think that’s a wise approach.”Ultimately, the researchers envision reprogramming a person’s cells to a primitive developmental state that can form most any tissue and injecting these induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells into another species’s embryo. The embryo would be implanted in the uterus of a surrogate, and allowed to grow to full size to serve as an organ donor. The IPS cells could come from the person awaiting transplant or, in a potentially faster and less costly approach, human organs could be grown in advance from cells from other donors, matched for key immune signaling proteins to prevent rejection. 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Country Emailcenter_img Successful rodent chimera experiments, such as this mouse embryo harboring rat heart cells (red), have been hard to re-create with human cells.  BELMONTE LAB, SALK INSTITUTE FOR BIOLOGICAL STUDIES Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) So far, the feat has been modeled only in rodents. In 2010, stem cell biologist Hiromitsu Nakauchi and his team at the University of Tokyo reported growing rat pancreases in mice that couldn’t form pancreases of their own. In 2017, Nakauchi and colleagues treated diabetes in mice by giving them transplants of insulin-producing mouse pancreas tissue grown in a rat.But the success in rodents hasn’t held up between larger and more evolutionarily distant animals. In 2017, cell biologist Jun Wu and colleagues in Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte’s lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, reported that when they injected pig embryos with human IPS cells and implanted the embryos into sows, about half of the resulting fetuses were stunted and slow growing. Those that were normal size had very few human cells after a month of gestation.Wu, who is now at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, has since explored how human stem cells interact in a lab dish with stem cells from nonhuman primates, rats, mice, sheep, and cows. He’s found what he calls “a very exciting phenomenon: a competition between cells of different species.” Pitted against cells of distantly related animals, human cells tend to die off, and the team is now trying to understand the mechanism. “I think we are almost there,” Wu says.But competition isn’t the only problem. Primate IPS cells are also more developmentally advanced, or “primed,” than the “naïve” rodent stem cells used in the earlier successful chimera experiments. They are therefore less likely to survive in a chimeric embryo, says Nakauchi, who also has a lab at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. To help primate IPS cells thrive, his Stanford team and collaborators endowed them with a gene that prevents cell death. In the experiments reported last month, they tested how the modified cells would fare in the embryo of a closely related primate species.To avoid raising ethical concerns, the team decided not to use human IPS cells. If a nonhuman primate embryo with added human cells were allowed to develop in a surrogate and many human cells survived and proliferated, the result would be an unprecedented primate chimera. “People are concerned that the boundary between humans and animals could become blurred,” says Misao Fujita, a bioethicist at Kyoto University in Japan who recently conducted a survey of attitudes toward animal-human chimeras in the Japanese public. Respondents were particularly worried that such animals could have enhanced intelligence or carry human sperm and egg cells.Nakauchi’s team instead modified IPS cells from the closest human relative, the chimpanzee, and put them into rhesus macaque embryos. They found that, compared with unmodified chimpanzee IPS cells, the cells with the survival-promoting gene were more likely to persist in the 2 days after they were inserted into a 5-day-old monkey embryo. It’s hard to keep a monkey embryo alive in a dish for much longer than a week, Nakauchi says, but his team plans to grow its chimeras further by implanting them into the uteruses of female macaques “in the near future.”Nakauchi also has submitted proposals to a government committee in Japan to put the survival-promoting gene into human stem cells and inject them into mouse, rat, and pig embryos—but not nonhuman primates—that lack a gene critical to pancreas development. The researchers hope that, as in the earlier rodent experiments, the human cells will begin to form the missing pancreas. His team would implant the embryos in surrogate animals but remove them for study before they reach full term. The proposals are an initial test for new legal guidelines in Japan, which in March lifted an outright ban on culturing human-animal chimeras past 14 days or putting them into a uterus.Other groups are honing different recipes for chimera-friendly stem cells. In January, a team from Yale University and the Axion Research Foundation in Hamden, Connecticut, described culturing monkey IPS cells with chemicals that prompted gene expression patterns like those of mouse embryonic stem cells, which are more likely to survive in a chimera. In April, Yale University stem cell biologist Alejandro De Los Angeles reported that the technique prompted similar gene expression changes in human IPS cells. He’s now considering testing how these cells hold up in a mouse or other nonhuman embryo.Such work faces hurdles in the United States. There is no outright ban, but in 2015 the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, froze its review of grant applications for research that involves putting human pluripotent stem cells—whether IPS cells or cells from human embryos—into early embryos of nonhuman vertebrates. After protest from some researchers, the agency in 2016 proposed lifting the broad prohibition while keeping a funding ban on specific chimera experiments, including inserting human stem cells into early nonhuman primate embryos and breeding chimeric animals that may have human egg or sperm cells. The proposal is “still under consideration,” according to an NIH spokesperson.The moratorium “has had a very significant impact on the progress of this field,” says Pablo Ross, a reproductive biologist at the University of California, Davis, who does chimera research. “Some of the concerns that are raised are to be taken seriously, but I think we have the tools to do that, and [these concerns] shouldn’t prevent us from pursuing this goal.”Because of the slow pace of chimera research, even some of its proponents predict that xenotransplantation—the use of nonhuman tissue, such as modified pig organs, for transplants—will beat their approach to the clinic. “Xenotransplantation is close to prime time now,” Wu says, and “we are lagging behind.” But the possibility of creating organs that are a better match for their human recipients keeps his lab and others poring over stem cells and embryos, hoping to narrow the species divide.last_img read more