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November 11, 1997 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-11

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 11, 1997 - 5

By David Bricker
Daily Staff Reporter
If Medical Center researchers
Michael Hauser and Jeffrey
Chamberlain are correct, genetic dis-
eases such as muscular dystrophy and
cystic fibrosis will cease to exist with-
10 years.
"We're trying to develop viruses
that will carry a normal version of the
gene into dystrophic muscle," said
Chamberlain, who has been working
on muscular dystrophy for more than
four years. "It's a gene therapy
Gene therapy, thought to be a
technological impossibility a
decade ago, is almost ready for use
*patients afflicted with muscular
~ystrophy (MD), Hauser and
Chamberlain said.
The researchers' pre-clinical
studies of dystrophic mice con-
firmed that the gene for dys-
trophin, a protein required for nor-
mal muscle function, can be suc-
cessfully delivered to weakened
muscle cells. Days after treatment,
the targeted muscles no longer
ow signs of dystrophy.
Because of the genetics associat-
ed with dystrophin, a copy of the
working gene needs to be present
in one of every five defective mus-
cle nuclei.
"We've got encouraging news,"
Hauser said. "We need extremely
small levels of expression in
diaphragm muscle to get normal
levels of expression. This muscle is
yrticularly important because the
4jajority of MD sufferers die from
respiratory failure."
Several obstacles stand in the
way of gene therapy researchers'
efforts to perfect the technique.
"Getting the normal gene into dis-
eased cells is the hard part,"
Chamberlain said. "We're trying to
modify adenoviruses so that they are
able to deliver the gene."
The irony is sweet.
*denoviruses, the infectious par-

New term begins for a
re-elected ACity Council

By Peter Meyers
Daily Staff Reporter
With a very brief nod to formalities, a new term began for
the Ann Arbor City Council last night.
The five newly re-elected councilmembers once again
took an oath to uphold the tenets of the constitutions of the
United States and the state of Michigan, and to fulfill city
obligations. In doing so, they were quickly and smoothly
inaugurated for another two-year term.
In last week's election, all five incumbents secured easy re-
election. Two of the city councilmembers, Pat Vereen-Dixon
(D-1st Ward) and Chris Kolb (D-5th Ward) ran unopposed.
Councilmembers said last night's meeting was no more
than a formality.
"It should be short and sweet,"said Councilmember Heidi
Herrell (D-3rd Ward), who was elected to another term
along with David Kwan (R-3rd Ward) and Patrick Putman
(R-4th Ward).
Mayor Ingrid Sheldon announced early on that Kwan had
been delayed by other obligations and might not be able to
attend his own inauguration.
Kwan spent the day meeting as an Ann Arbor representa-
tive with delegates from the University of North Carolina at

Chapel Hill. He did arrive at the inauguration ceremony,
however, shortly after Sheldon's announcement. Had Kwan
been unable to attend, Sheldon suggested that he be sworn in
"informally" either at a later time or even in his absence.
Positions within council for the new session also remained
unchanged. Kolb was swiftly selected once more as Mayor-
Pro Tem, the council's leadership position.
"He's done an excellent job as Mayor-Pro Tem for three
years now" said Councilmember Tobi Hannah-Davies (D-
1 st Ward) in her nomination statement. No other members
were nominated for the position and Kolb was elected by
unanimous vote.
Hannah-Davies also complimented Kolb on his resound-
ing election. Kolb drew an impressive 2,111 votes despite
the fact that he ran in an uncontested district.
Kolb took the results as an affirmation of his abilities as a
local leader.
"I hope it's a reflection not only of what I've accomplished
on Council, but also on how it was done,' Kolb said.
Positions on Council committees also were assigned with-
out alteration from before the election.
"I'm going to assume that you want to continue doing
what it is that you're doing' Sheldon said.

Publicity stunts mark start
of MSA election season

Medical Center researcher Jeffrey Chamberlain looks into a microscope yester-

ticles that usually cause common
colds, are being used to insert nor-
mal genes into diseased cells,
without incurring so much as a
sneeze or cough.
A virus particle consists of two
parts, a hollow shell of protein on
the outside and the virus DNA
inside. The DNA is what causes
sickness. The protein coat protects
the DNA and facilitates its inser-
tion into a host cell.
Chamberlain modified the aden-
ovirus so that instead of virus DNA,
each virus particle contains the nor-
mal dystrophin gene. Without its own
pathogenic DNA, the virus particle is
"It's a way of high-jacking the viral
proteins to wrap up our gene and
deliver it to muscle," Chamberlain
The body's immune system
should reject the virus particles
because they are foreign. But by
eliminating some key viral genes,

Chamberlain has found a way to
suppress the immune system's
reaction to the adenovirus protein
The journey to successful gene
therapy is not yet complete.
Several last steps need to be
taken, including increasing the
delivered gene's longevity in dis-
eased cells and ensuring the wide-
spread delivery of the normal
gene, said David Calnek, a post-
doctoral researcher in
Chamberlain's laboratory.
Chamberlain and Hauser were
quick to point out that their gene
therapy cure is only temporary. In
order to keep the dystrophic mice
healthy, new dystrophin genes must
be administered every three to four
"These pre-clinical trials help us
to understand how to correct these
genetic diseases," Calnek said.
"These are real hurdles, but not
unscalable ones."

By Susan T. Port
Daily Staff Reporter
The Michigan Student Assembly's
election season has begun and publicity
is the name of the game.
In recent years, getting elected
requires making the most posters or run-
ning with a well-known party. But that
may change this year as MSA plans to
sponsor its own online information site.
The site will be the first of its kind and
will provide voters with background
information on every candidate. On Nov.
19 and 20, students will be able to cast
their votes on this same Website.
MSA Election Director Yejide Peters
said the main purpose for the site is to
educate the students on the candidates'
"We felt it was important that stu-
dents get the best possible information,"
said Peters, an LSA senior. "Students
can have equal access to all of the can-
Peters said that students usually
vote for candidates who are well-pub-
licized, but added that MSA's new
course will serve to better inform the
voters on the issues important to each

"Too many times, it boils down to
whose name is (out there)," Peters said.
"Now, no matter what their resources,
there is an honest dialogue with the stu-
Ryan Friedrichs, who chairs MSA's
Communications Committee, said the
goal of MSA's information site is to
turn the attention of the voters to the
real issues.
"Now, it'll hopefully turn the focus
of the elections to the issues rather
than fancy posters," said Friedrichs,
an LSA junior. "It'll turn the focus
and emphasis back on candidates'
ideas and plans for the assembly."
Friedrichs said the computerized
informational site was in the origi-
nal plan when online voting was
established last year. Voting via
cyberspace and the online informa-
tion sites are examples of MSA's
efforts to get away from wasting.
paper, he said.
"This is the first time an information
site has ever been enacted by MSA,"
Friedrichs said. "Now (we are) perma-
nently completing the. original vision
for online voting"
LSA sophomore Michelle Siegell

said during last semester's MSA elec-
tions, she voted for the candidates
whose campaign literature she had
seen. But Siegell said with the new
information sites, she will be able to
learn what views the candidates hold.
"In the last elections, I just voted
for the names I knew," Siegell said.
"I will probably visit the sites to see
who the candidates are and what
they stand for."
Peters said that in addition to the
online site, MSA-sponsored debates
between candidates also will serve
as a chance for students to learn
more about the differing platforms
of the parties running. Debates
between the candidates are planned
for Friday and will be broadcast on
WOLV TV and WCBN radio before
the elections.
Friedrichs said the debates will help
students form an opinion on the candi-
"It's a good way to have all the
ideas thrown together to have stu-
dents compare and contrast,"
Friedrichs said.
The MSA online site can be reached
at http://www.umich.edu/~vote.

Doctor: Debate The
assisted suicide Michigan

*AST LANSING (AP) - A doctor
whose challenge to New York's assist-
ed-suicide ban was used in a Supreme
Court precedent says decisions about
helping people die should be made in
the open, not in secret.
Dr. Timothy Quill was the featured
guest yesterday at a fund-raiser for
Merian's Friends, a group trying to put
an assisted-suicide measure on the bal-
lot. He said that while few people ever
d a doctor's help to die, many more
ant the option.
"What happens right now is that
there's no debate, no review and no
study," Quill said. "Prohibiting physi-
cian-assisted suicide does nothing to
improve the care of the dying. It really
doesn't prevent the practice, and it
says nothing about how people should
Quill, who teaches at the University
ochester in New York, prescribed a
lethal dose of drugs for a dying woman
in 1990 and then wrote about it in a
signed article in The New England
Journal of Medicine in 1991.
He was one of three New York doc-
tors and three patients involved in a
1994 lawsuit that struck down the
state's ban on doctor-assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court reversed the ruling,
saying there was no constitutional right
for assisted suicide.
Quill said the ruling actually
helped supporters of assisted suicide
because it allowed states to keep up
the debate.
"Only in a technical sense was it a
loss," he said. "You run the risk that
they're going to make a decision to
undermine the movement."
He also said the ruling and other
precedents appear to allow "terminal
sedation," where a doctor sedates a
patient and then withholds food. Most
patients die within a week.
"Terminal sedation is better than just
walking away, which is what the prac-
tice was before," he said. "But it's not
acceptable to some people:'
The proposal supported by Merian's
Friends would allow doctor-assisted
suicide within several rules. A similar
referendum was re-approved by voters
in Oregon last week.
Quill said if a state approves assisted
suicide, the Supreme Court would
probably not challenge it.
"If the experiment is going to the
states, and Oregon is the first, Michigan
could be the second," Quill said.

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iouse votes to delay
inuigration provision

at nyu
" The Media in America
* Reporting
" Broadcast Newswriting
e Writing the Feature Article
* Media and Society
* Law and Mass Communication
* Using the Computer in the
Modern Newsroom
" The TV Documentary
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in tecily

musicians & D.J.'s
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tuesday, November 18,1997
University of Michigan
MichiganUnion- Welker Rooms
Auditions: 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Rochester, Michigan
Wednesday, November 19, 1997
Oakland University
Vamer Redtal Hall
Auditions: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Thursday, November 20, 1997
Western Michigan University
Dalton Center - School of Music
Auditions: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m.
" Technicians "
F Assistant Choreographer "
" Costumed Characters "

voted Monday to delay implementation
of a controversial immigration provi-
sion requiring that all foreigners be
checked at border crossings.
ut Sen. Spencer Abraham, (R-
ch.), chair of the Senate immigration
subcommittee, said that the delay is not
enough. He said the provision must be
changed to prevent it from creating a
traffic nightmare at the border.
The provision, known as Section 110
of the 1996 immigration act, directs the
Immigration and Naturalization

can identify those overstaying their
The provision was to be implemented
by next fall. The House voted 325-90
early yesterday morning to delay it for a
total of two years - until Oct. 1, 1999.
Rep. Jerry Solomon, (R-N.Y.), the
House bill's sponsor, said otherwise
Section 110 "could devastate trade and
tourism on the northern border."
Northern border senators and repre-
sentatives have said checking everyone
at the border would create huge traffic
jams, interfere with the heavy trade

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