Sickle Cell Anemia Reversed in Mice By Adult Stem Cells

Just weeks after what is being hailed as a major breakthrough in stem cell research where embryo-like cells were created from adult skin cells in mice, a team of scientists have put the method to the test in successfully treating a common blood disease.

Two teams of researchers published the same results in two peer-review scientific journals early in November showing that stem cells, called IPS cells, with a plasticity equaling those of embryonic cells, could be created by "deprogramming" ordinary human skin cells. Now another group has shown that sickle cell anemia can be cured in mice using cells created by the method. Sickle cell anemia is a group of genetic disorders, characterized by a change in the shape of red blood cells, that prevents the distribution of oxygen to the body's tissues. The disease is chronic and lifelong and may cause organ damage, such as stroke.

The journal Science reported Dec. 7 that scientists in a pair of teams under Prof. Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Prof. Tim Townes of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, successfully treated mice containing human sickle genes using a variant of the new deprogramming method. Starting with cells from the tail skin of the diseased mice, the researchers introduced a virus carrying the four genes that reverted the cells to their earlier embryo-like state.

The faulty genes causing sickle cell disease were fixed and were changed into bone marrow precursors and returned to the bodies of the mice to produce more blood cells. Blood tests revealed that the disease was corrected. "This demonstrates that IPS cells have the same potential for therapy as embryonic stem cells, without the ethical and practical issues raised in creating embryonic stem cells," said Prof. Jaenisch.


10 Killed, 3 Churches Set Ablaze in Nigeria

Compass Direct News reports that ten persons have been killed and three churches set on fire after Muslim students in Bauchi, Nigeria, began a rampage on December 11 because unidentified people pulled out two foundation blocks of a high school mosque under construction. Area Muslims joined the attacking students, resulting in the deaths and damages in the city, including dozens of homes belonging to Christians. The identity of nine of the 10 people killed has been kept secret as the Bauchi state government has ordered security agents to bury the bodies in a common grave, eyewitnesses to the burial said.

Religion Today Summaries


Healing Begins in Colorado

Denise Dinofrio is thankful her children had the flu on Dec. 9. Otherwise, her 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter would have attended the 11 a.m. service at New Life Church in Colorado Springs where a gunman opened fire, killing two members of the congregation and wounding several others, before taking his own life.

Dinofrio is just one of the thousands of people touched by the senseless rampage that began in the early hours of Dec. 9 when Matthew Murray opened fire at the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) missionary training school in the Denver suburb of Arvada. There, he shot and killed Phil Crouse and Tiffany Johnson, and wounded Dan Griebenow and Charlie Blanch. Approximately 12 hours later, Murray showed up in Colorado Springs to attack the New Life congregation.

News and police reports since the time of the shootings paint a picture of a disturbed young man who apparently hated Christians. But, the very people Murray tried to damage have rallied together and are displaying God's glory to a watching world. The numerous Christian nonprofit organizations headquartered in Colorado Springs, along with members of New Life and other churches across the city, prayed, mourned, praised God and were healing.

The congregation prayed for those who were injured, Larry Bourbonnais and Judy Purcell. Pastor Brady Boyd told his congregation: "Some of our pastors saw the Purcells' car and the fact that Judy was the only one who suffered a shoulder injury, and it was not life threatening, is a miracle. Their car was shot to pieces. Bullets were all throughout the car and the seats. The police told me privately on Monday it that was a real miracle."

Religion Today


Nearly 1000 Come to Christ in China Tour

In an intense tour of three major Chinese cities in five days, evangelist Luis Palau recently took God's Word directly to the Chinese people in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. Palau's son Andrew, also an evangelist, shared his personal testimony several times during the trip. Highlighting the visit were two presentations at the largest church in China-Chong Yi Church in the city of Hangzhou. In a special Saturday-night service, more 8,000 people jammed the sanctuary designed for 5,000. A Sunday service was also filled to capacity with nearly 1,000 decisions to follow Christ recorded during the two days.

According to church leadership, the events represented one of the largest gatherings in modern Chinese history to hear an international religious leader, with more than half the Saturday audience being "seekers"-curious people invited by church members. "In all my travels I've seldom encountered a senior pastor (Gu Joseph) with more passion and zeal for his ministry," said Luis. "You can see and feel the love for Christ everywhere at Chong Yi Church, especially among the young people."

Christian Newswire via MissionNet


Miracle in Nigeria: 12 Sunni Missionaries Have accepted Christ

After working among the Fulani since 2002, Christian Aid-assisted Missionary Crusaders Ministries (MCM) experienced a breakthrough in August when 12 Fulani accepted Christ as their Savior and expressed a desire for a church building and primary school. The Fulani are the largest nomadic tribe in the world and comprise Nigeria's strongly Muslim ruling class. They are known as missionaries of Sunni Islam and are extremely closed to outsiders and resistant to the gospel.

Four MCM missionaries, fluent in Fulani, are currently sharing the gospel with this people group. One of the missionaries, Ardo (a native Fulani convert), is responsible for leading these 12 new believers to Christ. Ardo was led to Christ by an MCM missionary. After his conversion, the Fulani tribal elders of his village imprisoned and tortured him and his family for three years. In a final attempt in forcing Ardo to recant his faith, the elders poisoned three of his children. Despite his anguish, Ardo continued to stand faithful. "You have done this to break me," Ardo said. "But God has only made me stronger."

Missions Insider


Archaeologist Says Biblical Wall Found

According to an Associated Press story, a wall mentioned in the Bible's Book of Nehemiah and long sought by archaeologists apparently has been found. Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar, head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Shalem Center, heads the team that discovered the wall in Jerusalem's ancient City of David during a rescue attempt on a tower that was in danger of collapse. Artifacts including pottery shards and arrowheads found under the tower suggested that both the tower and the nearby wall are from the 5th century B.C., the time of Nehemiah. Scholars previously thought the wall dated to the Hasmonean period from about 142 B.C. to 37 B.C. The findings suggest that the structure was actually part of the same city wall the Bible says Nehemiah rebuilt, Mazar said.

Religion Today Summaries


Sun Main Cause of Climate Change, New Study Says

According to a new study on global warming cited by, climate scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia found that the climate change models based on human influence do not match observed warming. That is contrary to the views held by former vice president Al Gore, who accepted the Nobel Prize on December 10, 2007 along with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and who thinks that climate change is largely caused by human action.

The new report was published in the December, 2007, issue of the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society. "Our findings basically are that fingerprints-that is to say the pattern of warming-that's predicted by greenhouse models does not match the fingerprints of observations, so there is a disconnect between greenhouse models and the actual reality of observations," said study co-author S. Fred Singer of the University of Virginia.

Religion Today Summaries

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