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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 22, 2000)
UNMC officials look
for alternate tissue
*' By Kimberly Sweet
University of Nebraska Medical
Center officials are looking for alter
nate ways of obtaining tissue used for
research on 'Alzheimer’s and
'■ t Parkinson’s diseases. ‘
Officials announced last week that
brthey will begin experimenting with
/ithree new methods that would provide
b brain tissue to researchers from
sources other than aborted fetuses.
-it “We are committed to doing
.ii everything we can to obtain the neces
sary cells without using fetal cells
tc-from elective abortions;” James
/ Linder, interim dean of UNMC said in
it a statement. “We will leave no stone
The first source of brain tissue
' •officials are trying to secure comes
--from autopsies done two to three hours
after death, said Sam Cohen, professor
and chairman of UNMC’s pathology
and microbiology department.
■ If proper permission is granted by
•"the deceased or his or her next of kin,
■' tissue can be removed from the brain
o during an autopsy, Cohen said.
\>* The tissue could be obtained from
anyone - child or adult, he said.
UNMC will begin collecting the
tissue in two to four weeks, provided it
receives permission to get the tissue,
After obtaining the tissue,
researchers will be able to determine
within five or six weeks whether the
tissue will be sufficient for the
Obtaining the tissue could cost up
to an extra $100,000. Cohen said that
money would be paid for in grants and
Adult brain tissue from neurosur
gical procedures is the second alterna
tive the medical center is pursuing.
The method would utilize healthy
brain tissue obtained while removing a
tumor or a lesion.
Cohen said the source would be
limited, because doctors try to remove
as little normal tissue as possible dur
ing these procedures.
UNMC officials also announced
last week that six Omaha-area hospi
tals agreed to consider providing cells
from miscarriages, tubal pregnancies
and stillbirths for research.
Protocol for obtaining the tissue
by autopsy was approved by the
UNMC Institutional Review Board.
The six hospitals considering
cooperating with UNMC by donating
tissue through miscarriages and spon
taneous abortions said they will look
at UNMC’s protocol.
While officials are optimistic
about the alternative sources, Cohen
said it will take some time to deter
mine whether the tissue will be able to
be used in the place of aborted fetal
Cohen said he didn’t know
whether tissue from an adult brain
would be able to be used in the
“It’s still unclear how similar or
different they are,” he said.
The University of Nebraska isn’t
the first to try to utilize tissue from
But the technology and methods
are still new and being developed,
“It’s an ongoing evolution of tech
nology and science,” he said.
Fire kills 8-year old girl
By Michelle Starr
An early morning apartment fire
Monday claimed the life of an 8-year
old girl, sent three people to the hos
.? pital and several others fleeing from
The fire began about 2 a.m. in a
.closet of a second-floor apartment at
- 4831 G St. Apt. 4, said Deputy Fire
iChief Rich Furasek.
: ft After evacuating three children
from the apartment, firefighters
found the 8-year-old hiding in the
bathroom; she was in respiratory
. arrest, Furasek said.
uo Paramedics revived the girl, and
?; she was transported by helicopter to a
children’s hospital in Omaha.
Her condition was upgraded, but
she took a turn for the worse and died
Monday afternoon, Furasek said.
Of the three others evacuated
from the apartment, a 3-year-old boy
was taken ter Saint Elizabeth
Regional Medical Center, and a 14
year-old and 15-year-old were treated
and released, Furasek said.
The whereabouts of the parents
during the fire were unknown, and no
names were released as of Monday
afternoon, Furasek said.
Vitali Lapko, a 19-year-old junior
finance major at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, lives with his
father, Venimin Lapko, in the apart
ment across the hall from the fatal
A woman’s screams awoke Vitali
Lapko, and he saw his apartment
filled with smoke, which had come in
through the vents and under the door,
He woke his father up and then
checked the hallway and saw only
smoke, so he knew he had some time,
| please recycle your DN
a I just thought,
what if I wouldn’t
have woke up.”
.Vitali Lapko and his father
grabbed essential things such as iden
tification, money and some clothes,
and crawled out of the apartment, he
Though they had been living in
the building for a year and nine
months, Vitali Lapko did not know
his neighbors, he said.
Too many people came in and out
of the building to recognize who lived
across the hall; he did not know the
family or why the parents were not
home, Vitali Lapko said.
The fire - confined mainly to the
closet - was under control after about
10 minutes, but officials focused on
treating the patients.
About 20 other people were evac
uated from the building. Some were
rescued by being pulled out of win
dows, Furasek said.
The fire marshal was still investi
gating the cause of the fire as of
Monday evening, Furasek said. The
amount of loss, $35,000, included
structural damages and cost of lost
The fire also caused heavy heat
and smoke damage throughout the
Vitali Lapko said he was fright
ened when he awoke to a smoke
“I just thought, what if I wouldn’t
have woke up?” Vitali Lapko said.
Resent defends reseach
FETAL from page 1
provider being paid and continued use
of aborted fetal tissue -would happen.
“From the pro-life perspective ...
this is the worst possible outcome,”
But Blank said he couldn’t count
on the university to stop using aborted
fetal tissue on its own.
He said the research has been done
in secrecy for more than six years and
that the university should have been
finding other sources of tissue in the
“It’s important that they’re
accountable to someone,” Blank said.
At the debate, the anti-abortion
leaders also drew a comparison
between UNMC’s research and Nazi
Miller said the comparison was
“If they can’t see the difference
between Auschwitz and legal abortion
in Nebraska, I don’t think there’s any
hope of reasoning with people who
have that kind of view,” Miller said.
Donlan said using data from med
ical experiments with bodies of those
killed during the Holocaust was moral
complicity, meaning the doctors were
agreeing with the atrocities of the war.
Miller said some good can come
from the bad that occurred “more than
50 years ago” because of the knowl
edge garnered from the research.
Donlan asked if he robbed a bank
and decided to donate that money to
the university, would it accept it?
Miller said the use of organs for
transplants from murder victims and
victims of drunken driving accidents
proved Donlan’s argument couldn’t be
The four also debated over whether
the research encouraged women to
Miller said there was no proof it did
increase abortions. Schmit-Albin dis
She said though a doctor is not sup
posed to tell a patient before she has
decided to have the abortion about the
option to donate the tissue, it was
impossible to determine whether that
“How can you know with any
assurance, Drew, what Leroy Carhart
says to his patients?” she said.
Miller said the debate was what he
“I didn’t expect to enjoy it, and I
didn’t,” he said. “ ... But you can stand
up to these guys and survive.”
••'Hr* ■ ;-j
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