DAVID GRANOVSKY

Posts Tagged ‘paralysis’

SPINAL CORD REPAIRED THROUGH STEM CELLS

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on January 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

spinal-cord

Stem cells breathe new life into paralyzed gymnast

At the Dasara Games in September of 2010, a meticulous gymnast with the ambition to achieve the same stardom as his hero Ashish Kumar, met an untimely misfortune when mistiming a somersault during a practice routine.

“Ananth Rao’s head crashed on to the mat and he heard a cracking sound. His spine was shattered at the cervical region (C-6, C-7), paralyzing him for life. “I’ve always been told that one must learn from mistakes,” Ananth said. “One small mistake I made has cost me so much. I lost hope completely, I thought my life was over,” said the youngster, who was operated upon after his accident at the JSS Hospital in his hometown.  Although the doctors stabilized his neck, Ananth became a bedridden quadriplegic (all four limbs paralyzed) with no control over his bowel movements and was susceptible to a number of ailments.” He was forced to drop out of Mysore Maharaja College to focus on receiving vigorous physiotherapy and standard forms of treatment. But there was little improvement in his condition.  Just over a year after his accident, doctors heard about Ananth’s condition and decided to take up his case in a bid to improve his quality of life.  With the backing of the HCG Foundation, Ananth was exposed to advanced treatment in the form of mesenchymal stem cells – connective tissue cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types – in a bid to try to regenerate nerve cells in his spinal cord.

After two stem cell injections and 11 months of focused rehabilitation, Ananth has shown remarkable signs of improvement.

“Today, I can dream new dreams of a future where I am not dependant on anyone and I can see myself living with dignity,” said Ananth, who showed no signs of difficulty lifting his arms, holding a pen or a cup of coffee. “He had been undergoing regular treatment for a year,” said HCG chairman and CEO Dr Ajaikumar, who along with orthopaedician Dr Pramod S Chinder, took a personal interest in Ananth’s case. “He was someone who led an active life as a gymnast and I felt we should take up this challenging case to show how regeneration can happen through stem cell treatment. We are glad our efforts have finally paid off,” he said, without ruling out further improvement.” “Ananth’s case was studied in detail. Stem cells of the patient were cultured and two injections were given to him,” said Dr Chinder, who was quick to add recovery chances were case specific. “Post treatment, the patient progressed significantly, with the movements of hands and there is sensation in his legs. There is increasing evidence in the benefits of stem cell therapies and spinal cord injuries are one of the most researched. In patients, who do not have any other option of recovering from spinal cord injuries, stem cell treatment is the way to go forward,” Dr. Chinder added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Embryonic Stem Cell Studies Front Page News as Better Adult Studies Ignored

In ALL ARTICLES on September 26, 2011 at 8:02 am
Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 2:35 PM
Wesley J. Smith

Good grief.  Here we go again.

The SF Chronicle has a front page story about the fourth human subject to receive an embryonic stem cell-derived injection of cells.  From the story:

A Bay Area patient who recently suffered a serious spinal cord injury and is now paralyzed from the waist down joined the world’s first-ever embryonic stem cell study in humans last week, when Stanford doctors injected 2 million cells designed to replace damaged neurons in the patient’s spine. The patient, who is not being identified, is the fourth person to be enrolled in the clinical trial being run by Menlo Park’s Geron Corp. and the first person in California. The patient, whose participation in the trial was revealed Tuesday, received the stem cell injection Saturday at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and is now at the rehabilitation center there.

And no matter what happens, the test is an advance!

Regardless of the outcome, the study is a major step forward in stem cell research, researchers say, and scientists from all over the field will be watching the results carefully.

Here’s the thing:  This isn’t news.  The patient is merely the fourth person enrolled in an uncompleted safety study of six (I think that’s the number).  The California angle is just an excuse for a press release and a fawning front page story pushing ESCR.

At the same time, there have been years of successful and peer reviewed adult stem cell studies involving patients paralyzed by spinal cord injury–in which patients have had feeling restored–which went virtually unreported.  If it isn’t embryonic, to the MSM, it often just isn’t worth mentioning.

Think I exaggerate?  Let’s take a look at one from 2009.  Paralyzed patients who had no use of their legs, were able to ambulate after a combination of surgery and adult stem cell therapy.  From the Wayne State University press release:

The injuries in the study patients were 18 months to 15 years old. The patients, ages 19 to 37, had no use of their legs before the treatment. One paraplegic treated almost three years after the injury now ambulates with two crutches and knee braces. Ten other patients ambulate with physical assistance and walkers (with and without braces). One 31-year-old male tetriplegic patient uses a walker without the help of knee braces or physical assistance. When the stem cell transplant and scar removal process was combined with an advanced form of rehabilitative training that employs brain-initiated weight-bearing movement, 13 patients improved in the standard measures used to assess functional independence and walking capabilities. 

Did you miss the front page stories about this very encouraging early study?  Yea, me too. (Here’s a link to the peer reviewed published report.)

I somehow also missed the headlines about restored feeling for subjects with total loss of sensation published in Spinal Cord:

Thirty-nine consecutive patients with diagnosed complete cervical and thoracic SCI for at least 2 years and with no cortical response in the SSEP study of the lower limbs were included in the trial. The trial patients underwent peripheral blood stem cell mobilization and collection. The stem cell concentrate was cryopreserved and reinfused through arteriography into the donor patient. The patients were followed up for 2.5 years and submitted to SSEP studies to evaluate the improvement in SSEPs after undifferentiated cell infusion. Twenty-six (66.7%) patients showed recovery of somatosensory evoked response to peripheral stimuli after 2.5 years of follow-up. 

This general ignoring of adult successes and boosting less impressive embryonic studies has been going on a long time, as I reported in “The Great Stem Cell Coverup,” published in the Weekly Standard back in 2006.

So, in summary: The media often over report embryonic stem cell stories and badly under report better results when they happen with adult stem cells.  Just another example of media often not reporting the actual story, but the story they want to report.

Via

Spinal Cord Injury and Adult Stem Cell Treatments

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Recently, two New Zealand “experts” in the field of spinal cord injuries weighed in on stem cell treatments.  One of them,  Dr Richard Acland, Christchurch’s Burwood Hospital director of the spinal injuries unit, told TV ONE’s Breakfast today that he has concerns about stem cell treatments and their ability to help SCI patents recover.  The other, “Spinal Cord Society president Noela Vallis said the procedure has been carried out overseas on well over 100 people with few negative side-effects and varying degrees of improvement for each patient.”  via

Well done Noela!  It is obvious to me that you are familiar with and have based your optimism on these articles…and it is further obvious that Dr Acland has never seen any of them:

SPINAL CORD INJURY vs ASC HISTORY OF TREATMENT – http://bit.ly/SCI-STEMCELLS

REGENERATING THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM  http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/regenerating-the-central-nervous-system/

Stepping Towards A Paralysis Cure, A Tale Of Two Supermen Stem Cells Cure 23 Year Old Male of Paralysis – C6…-C7 injury
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/stepping-towards-a-paralysis-cure-a-tale-of-two-supermen-stem-cells-cure-23-year-old-male-of-paralysis-c6-c7-injury/

Paraplegic – Adult Stem Cell Success Stories – Laura Dominguez
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/paraplegic-adult-stem-cell-success-stories-laura-dominguez/

PARALYZED COUSINS PLEASED WITH STEM CELL TREATMENT
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/paralyzed-cousins-pleased-with-stem-cell-treatment/

Successful Stem Cell Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury in Dogs
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/successful-stem-cell-treatment-of-spinal-cord-injury-in-dogs/

Spinal Cord Injury Patient Wins…and Loses
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/spinal-cord-injury-patient-wins-and-loses/

STEM CELLS FOR SPINAL CORD INJURY
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/stem-cells-for-spinal-cord-injury/

Adult Stem Cell Grafts Help Paralyzed Heal
http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/adult-stem-cell-grafts-help-paralyzed-heal/

Medical hope as paralysed dog cured by stem cell therapy – mirror.co.ukhttp://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/10/08/medical-hope-as-paralysed-dog-cured-by-stem-cell-therapy-mirror-co-uk/

Major the Roseville police dog gets stem cell treatment – http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/01/major_police_dog_stem_cell.php

Or email me at dsgrano@gmail.com

ReWalk – Robotic Legs

In ALL ARTICLES, OFF THE BEATEN PATH on May 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

Besides the freedom this device affords, I was particularly interested in the ancillary health benefits.  (see area in bold, 3rd paragraph) -dg

ReWalk-Robotic-Legs_medium

The Israeli-based Company Argo Medical Technologies has developed a device that enables people with lower limb disabilities to stand, walk, and even climb stairs. The device nick named “ReWalk” is suitable for anyone with functioning hands, arms, and shoulders.

“ReWalk” is a wearable, motorized, quasi robotic suit which allows for user-initiated mobility. Equipped with leveraging advanced motion sensors and actuation motors, the device operates using robotic control algorithms and real-time software running on on-board computers. Users are able to walk by using crutches while controlling suit movement through subtle changes in center of gravity and upper-body movements. The algorithms analyze upper-body motions, which are used to trigger and maintain walk patterns and other modes of operation, such as stair-climbing and shifting from a sitting to standing position while leaving the hands free at all times for self support.
.

Such active participation in mobility is both a significant health and emotional benefit for wheelchair users, who are able to restore some element of control over their mobility. Specifically, the inventors say the usage of ReWalk could decrease both the risk and severity of some of the most common health issues that often face wheelchair users – such as problems with the urinary, respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems, as well as osteoporosis, pressure sores, and other afflictions. “By maintaining users upright on a daily basis, and exercising even paralyzed limbs in the course of movement, ReWalk alleviates many of the health-related problems associated with long-term wheelchair use. In addition to relieving suffering, this has a real impact on healthcare costs – cutting yearly expenses almost in half and enabling both insurers and individuals to redirect funds to other avenues” – say the scientists.

ReWalk inventors say their device can serve as a robotic therapeutic or physical training tool, used for intensive functional locomotion therapy at home or in medical institutions such as rehabilitation centers. Equipped with rechargeable batteries, the device can be worn all day long and in addition to walking is also designed to allow users to sit, climb stairs, ascend or descend slopes, and even drive a car.

ReWalk users are required to have a healthy cardiovascular system and bone density in addition to being able to freely use their hands and shoulders for walking with the crutches – the inventors say the device will certainly require a physician approval.

Although ReWalk’s pricing hasn’t been set so far, the inventors say they are targeting for an annual consumer price “comparable with typical average annual expenses of people confined to wheelchairs.” According to the company, the adoption of ReWalk by both private customers and institutions will result in significant cost reductions, as it will make redundant such appliances as standing devices, stair and bed lifts, and other mobility assistance apparatuses. “ReWalk users don’t require expensive powered wheelchairs – or the oversize vehicles and devices required to handle them. With ReWalk, users require only minimal additional mobility assistance – saving tens of thousands of dollars yearly” – said the inventors.

The device is scheduled for worldwide commercial deployment in 2010, by which time the company plans to conduct several clinical trials in rehabilitation centers across Europe and the US.

More information on ReWalk, including a video demonstrating the device, can be found at the company’s official website.

via ReWalk – Robotic Legs.

Strength and determination help paralyzed woman walk on 21st birthday????

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on April 25, 2009 at 11:41 pm

What a great article about Kadi DeHaan! As you know, I have been pointing out the disparity of media coverage regarding real, safe and successful adult versus pie in the sky and misleading possibilities of embryonic stem cell therapies expected in 10-20 years. You have put your finger on an instant classic. The article title for this story is:

Strength and determination help paralyzed woman walk on 21st birthday

So I certainly applaud her strength and determination and there is no doubt that without them this amazing accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible. I want to take nothing away from her…

And yet, out of respect to the thousands of other SCI patients who have shown equal strength and determination, often for much longer than Ms DeHaan has, I feel it is my duty to add that it was probably not as much her qualities of strength and determination but rather the ADULT STEM CELL THERAPY that she received 7 times in 3 years that truly allowed her recovery. -dg

April 25, 2009

“They Don’t Know What Else is Out There”

Filed under: adult stem cell awareness, alternative sources — chelseaz @ 4:33 pm

Video of Kadi DeHaan from Michigan who was paralyzed in a car accident four years ago and has benefited from treatments using stem cells derived from her own bone marrow

She really nails it here when she says that when you mention stem cells many people assume you’re talking about embryonic and “don’t know what else is out there.” Either they are totally unaware of any alternatives or they think that ESCs are the only ones capable of treating patients. For example, a survey last year found that more people think that embryonic, rather than adult, stem cells have already resulted in cures and treatments.

The reality, of course, is that ACSs have had tremendous success in human patients with various diseases and disabilities whereas ESCs have successfully treated nothing significantly – in mice, let alone humans! And yet the ESCR hype remains. Some now even go so far as to guarantee the disease fighting power of therapeutic cloning

It should be quite obvious by now that results don’t really matter so long as it looks like something is being done to maybe, someday, possibly eradicate disease and suffering. Unfortunately in this case that something involves the intentional use and destruction of tiny human beings.

Adult Stem Cells Help Stroke Victims

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on April 20, 2009 at 10:48 pm

brain-stroke-21

Stem Cell Research Shows Adult Stem Cells Help Stroke Victims

Posted 20 April, 2009 in Stroke |

Stem Cell Research Study Reveals Stroke Patients Helped by Own Stem Cells

A new stem cell research study/trial recently completed shows that implanting a person’s own Adult Stem Cells helps stroke patients overcome partial paralysis. Dr. Kameshwar Prasad of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will present his stem cell study at the European Stroke Research Conference in May, 2009.

Stroke Victims Own Adult Stem Cells Used

In the stem cell study that took place in New Delhi, India, 12 stroke victims had their own stem cells implanted within 1 month after a stroke. Also, 3 stroke patients were used as a control group and were not given any stem cells.

Process of Stem Cells for Stroke

  1. Adult Stem Cells extracted from patient’s bone marrow
  2. Stem Cells are then purified
  3. Patient’s own stem cells are then reintroduced intravenously into the antecubital vein (in the forearms, near the elbow)
  4. Stem Cells migrate to area of injury (in this case- the brain)
  5. Adult Stem Cells enhance repair process and reduce brain damage

The Stem Cell Treatment Results

At the beginning of the stem cell study, none of the 12 stroke patients were able to carry out daily activities, use the toilet, take a bath, dress and eat independently.

However, within 1 year, 70% (I assume 7 or 8 of the patients) were able to overcome their handicaps and successfully return to previous activities like playing golf, working in the office and cooking.

Only 1 out of the 3 stroke patients in the control group were able to go back to their normal routine.

No Side Effects From Your Own Stem Cells

From the stem cell article:
“The stem cells had excellent safety profile. After carrying out Pet scans and MRIs thrice in a year on patients who received stem cells, we found no side-effects. This study shows that stem cells are a safe and feasible therapy in acute stroke. This holds promise and needs to be confirmed in a bigger study,” Dr Prasad said.

Of course there were no side effects, the trial used the patient’s own cells. Rejection isn’t an issue.  As I say time and time again, the patient has everything to gain and nothing to lose.  There is no downside to this treatment.  It is a shame this isn’t being put to use in the United States and made available to everyone who may need it.

These same doctors will follow up this stem cell clinical trial for stroke with a 120 patient trial in the next 3 years.  Hopefully, this will speed things up for Adult Stem Cells to be accepted sooner rather than later.

Related Stem Cells for Stroke Success Stories

The results of this study comes just after I covered this stem cell trial for stroke in Texas.  Also, earlier this year, I covered the stem cell tea bag which helped a German stroke victim as well.

see also:

Brain Reconstruction: Stem-Cell Scaffolding Can Repair Stroke Damage

Stem Cells Revive Woman in Coma From Stroke

STEM CELLS & STROKE

via Stem Cell Research Shows Adult Stem Cells Help Stroke Victims | Adult Stem Cell Research.

A Father’s Quest to Cure His Daughter – Well Blog – NYTimes.com

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on April 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm

spinal cord column paralysis

April 14, 2009, 11:08 am

A Father’s Quest to Cure His Daughter

Stem cell research has been getting a lot of attention lately. Last month, President Obama lifted the Bush administration’s strict limits on human embryonic stem cell research. The actor Michael J. Fox recently appeared on “The Daily Show” promoting his new book and the need for stem cell studies.

And recently the prestigious Peabody awards, issued for excellence in electronic media, recognized a moving independent film, “Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita.” The documentary explores the science, emotions and ethical complications of stem cell research through the story of a scientist who focused his research efforts on spinal cord injury after his daughter became paralyzed in a skiing accident.

Tonight, The New School in Manhattan will offer a free screening of “Terra Incognita,” followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and scientists involved. (Click on the highlighted link for details.) To see a trailer of the film, click on the link below:

via A Father’s Quest to Cure His Daughter – Well Blog – NYTimes.com.

Stem Cells in the City: Science, Narratives, and Film

Terra Incognita: Mapping Stem Cell Research Screening and Discussion

Sponsored by Eugene Lang College and Project Pericles

Advances in stem cell research are occurring at a dizzying pace, yet many argue the field is not moving fast enough, while others ask for a more measured pace. Who are the stakeholders and why do they have such different views?

Join the New School for the film screening of the feature length documentary film Terra Incognita, which provides an inside look into the lives of stem cell researchers and the fierce competition for being the first to make a breakthrough. The film follows the constantly evolving interplay between the promise of new discoveries, the controversy of modern science and the resilience and courage of people living every day with devastating disease and injury.

For more details visit http://www.kartemquin.com/films/terra-incognita.

Discussants:

Maria Finizto, Director and Producer of Terra Incognita

Xiao Hu, New York Stem Cell Foundation Druckenmiller Fellow, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Brian Newman, CEO of Tribeca Film Institute

Alexis Gambis, Cancer Genetics, Rockefeller University, Artistic Director and Founder, Imagine Science Film Festival, and Sloan Film Advisory Committee Member

Moderator: Katayoun Chamany, Associate Professor of Biology, Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts

Il Sussidiario.net :: RAISMAN/ The best results are coming from the adult stem cell research programmes

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 30, 2009 at 11:56 am

spine-sci-treat-heal-cord-spinalRAISMAN/ The best results are coming from the adult stem cell research programmes

Geoffrey Raisman, lunedì 30 marzo 2009

In many countries – and certainly on media – the research on stem cells seems to be concentrated on embryonic stem cells considered as the way to provide treatments for many genetic disease that are at present not curable. This approach risks to overshadow the research on adult stem cells that many evidences show to be probably more effective and at hand. Professor Geoffrey Raisman is the director of the Spinal Repair Unit at the University College London Institute of Neurology. He leads a research team whose work could ultimately lead to the repair of spinal cord injuries in humans and he is working with adult stem cells. Ilsussidiario.net has asked professor Raisman to take stock of the situation.

Professor Raisman, stem cells and particularly embryonic stem cells are at the centre of media attention. But, from a scientific point of view, what is the real state of the art in the research on stem cells?

Embryonic stem cells have the property to divide indefinitely and turn into any tissue in the body. From the point of view of transplanting embryonic stem cells these are not entirely an advantage. Uncontrolled division would lead to an invasive tissue not properly integrated into the body. What is required for repair are cells already differentiated into the tissue type requiring repair. Embryonic stem cells used as donor issue would be foreign to the host and therefore under immune attack.

You recently said that adult stem cells are much more promising therapeutically. Could you broaden this statement?

Transplants of adult stem cells are matched in state of maturity to the recipient, they are already committed to making the tissue required, and they are not immunologically incompatible.

via Il Sussidiario.net :: RAISMAN/ The best results are coming from the adult stem cell research programmes.

Stepping Towards A Paralysis Cure, A Tale Of Two Supermen Stem Cells Cure 23 Year Old Male of Paralysis – C6-C7 injury

In ALL ARTICLES, BEST OF THE BEST, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on March 28, 2009 at 12:31 am

superman-breaking-chains2

STEM CELL VICTORY OF 2009?

 

STEPPING TOWARDS A PARALYSIS CURE, A TALE OF TWO SUPERMEN

By David Granovsky


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

A Tale of Two Cities

 

Superman #1 – Christopher Reeve:

1995 – Thrown from his horse, lands on his head, destroying the first and second cervical vertebrae, and is paralyzed.

The cause: “Spinal Cord Injury” (SCI)

2002 – RSC treatments begin improving the lives of severe SCI patients in Portugal.

2004 – Two of these improved SCI patients testify before Congress regarding the benefits of RSC for treating SCI.  After 2 years of RSC treatments providing SCI improvements, Mr. Reeve disregarded this information, choosing instead to “believe in” the promise of embryonic stem cells.

Oct. 10, 2004 – At Northern Westchester Hospital suffers cardiac arrest brought on by infection.

 

CONCLUSION: After battling paralysis for 9 years Superman #1 dies.

March 26, 2009 – 4 ½ years after Mr. Reeves’ death, not one SCI patient has been treated with embryonic stem cells.

 

Superman #2 – Male, 23 years old:

Prior motor vehicle accident victim with cervical bilateral inter facet dislocation, C6-C7 injury.

Feb 28, 2008 – Implanted with fresh autologous (from his own body) bone marrow stem cells in Argentina.

March 15, 2008 – Implanted with cultured and expanded mesenchymal stem cells. Clinical indications after implantation were intense physical therapy and MRI each 6 months.

CONCLUSION: After receiving two Repair Stem Cell treatments, intensive physical therapy and with the assistance of a walker, Superman #2 is now walking on his own power, has sensation in his legs, has hair growing on his legs, and has bladder control.

 

Repair stem cells are the only medicine known to man capable of achieving significant results with the most seriously injured SCI patients.  He is living and walking proof that when Western Medicine dogma declares: “severe SCI patients are permanently paralyzed”, it is true only when Repair Stem Cells are prohibited, as they have been, and will be for years to come, in America.

 

A BRIEF TECHNICAL HISTORY OF STEM CELLS VS. SCI

There are roughly 100 stem cell treatment centers in the world. The Repair Stem Cell Institute (RSCI) recommends 8 of them as the world’s top Treatment Centers. It is no coincidence that among the 8 are the three world leaders in the treatment of SCI. These three treatment centers have destroyed the two myths of Western SCI treatment:

(1) Severe SCI victims will always be paralyzed.

RSCI THE VOICE OF STEM CELL SCIENCE

(2) Embryonic stem cells have more treatment promise than RSC.

-    There are three leading stem cell treatment centers,

-    all recommended by RSCI

-    on three continents,

-    using three different types of RSC and

-    using three different procedures to implant the stem cells

-    over a 6 year period,

Typical SCI Progress Scale after a single RSC treatment:

Average success – ability to flex abdominal muscles

Good success – ability to feel the bladder

Super success – ability to control the bladder

After that, there may be a second stem cell implant some months later, but, in order to progress toward walking, the one mandatory therapy is Physical

Rehabilitation – years of exceptionally difficult Physical Rehabilitation.

 

“You go on. You set one foot in front of the other, and if a thin voice cries out, somewhere behind you, you pretend not to hear, and keep going.”

- Geraldine Brooks (Pulitzer Prize winning author of “March”)

 

Dismissing Successful Adult Stem Cell Science

In ALL ARTICLES on March 25, 2009 at 10:10 pm

lab-work-stem-cells-adult-embryo-science

Dismissing Successful Science

Filed under: adult stem cell awareness, alternative sources — chelseaz @ 2:38 pm

Regular readers of this blog (and my blog Reflections of a Paralytic) know that I am a steadfast advocate for ethical research and treatments and I will frequently point out the ineffectiveness of embryonic stem cell research and the existence of more effective and ethical alternatives. Although I make it a point to stress the fact that, in the final analysis, the question of whether or not science should proceed with ESCR is really a matter of ethics, not science (in other words, it’s not a battle between ASC and ESC research, that’s not the point) – it still really bothers me when successful, ethical research is constantly dismissed or belittled by those who advocate destroying tiny human beings in the name of science.

A commenter on this post from Regular Guy Paul’s blog recently objected to some claims against ESCR by quoting from this piece on Scienceblogs.com regarding the claims from adult stem cell research advocates that ASCs have treated over 72 different diseases and/or disabilities. The author’s main objection is that there aren’t actually 72 “different” treatments, but only one treatment (Hematopoietic stem cell replacement of bone marrow) for most of those 72 conditions.

First of all, those of us who use that list of 72 ASC successes, don’t claim that it’s 72 different treatments, but that – in humans – 72 different diseases and conditions are or have been treated with ASCs – whether it was the “same” treatment or not – something that cannot be said of ESCs, even in animal models. At any rate, he goes on to say:

while these cells (ASCs) are great at doing their job, the issue with adult stem cell research is, can they do another stem cell’s job? That is, instead of making just blood, could a hematopoietic stem cell make, say, an insulin secreting pancreatic cell? The answer, despite some initial promising results around 2001, is no.

And the commenter asserts:

ASCs don’t look like they have the potential to rebuild organs or repair the CNS…Hematopoietic stem cell replacement of marrow is a far simpler matter than using ESCs to treat Parkinson’s or spinal cord injuries, or to regenerate livers and kidneys.

It must be said here that, although they have had the most success, there is way more to ASCs than just those derived from bone marrow and these folks are ignoring some pretty significant advancements that have been made in ASCR (though, in their defense they may have never seen these stories as they are typically not carried by any mainstream media outlets.) A few examples:

Re: ASCs and insulin:
5/25/07, scientists are able to make umbilical cord blood produce insulin. 3/17/09, scientists successfully use a gene called neurogenin3 to induce cells in the liver to produce insulin. said Dr. Vijay Yechoor: “They look similar to normal pancreatic islet cells (that make insulin normally).”

ASCs and Parkinson’s:
Dennis Turner was treated for Parkinson’s disease with his own neural stem cells, taken from his brain, nearly ten years ago. He went into a significant remission that lasted for about four or five years before symptoms returned. This study has now been peer-reviewed as of 2/09 and phase II trials are now in the works.

Another study with humans: Stem Cell Implant to the Brain Helps Improve Parkinson’s Symptoms – said Dr. Augusto Brazzini Armestar, MD, Director, Instituto Brazzini Radiologos Asociados, Lima, Peru when it was presented at a recent meeting for the Society of Interventional Radiology: “Stem cells from bone marrow have the ability to differentiate into neurons and other tissues”

Most recently: researchers at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., have converted skin cells from people with Parkinson’s disease into the general type of neuron that the disease destroys.

ASCs and Spinal Cord Injury:
I just did a post last week on the latest ASC-SCI success in which SCI patients were treated with bone marrow derived stem cells and received increased bladder control, regained mobility and sensation. A video accompanies the amazing story.

I link to a number of other stories on that post of SCI being treated with bone marrow derived stem cells, however, the most famous SCI study comes from Dr. Carlos Lima’s treatment of SCI patients with stem cells from their own noses using olfactory mucosa autograft transplantation – not bone marrow.

ASCs regenerating organs:
Last November scientists conducted the first stem cell derived organ transplant when they grew a new windpipe using the patients own stem cells both from bone marrow and cells taken from the healthy part of her own trachea.

Scientists have been able to grow a beating heart in the lab using ASCs.

Study uses bone marrow stem cells to regenerate skin.

Also:

There is evidence that stem cells taken from a patient’s nose could produce dopamine-producing brain cells when transplanted into the brain.

Heart derived stem cells have developed into heart muscle.

Australian trials found the injection of adult stem cells – taken from human donors’ bone marrow, abdominal fat, hip, skin or teeth – protected damaged knee cartilage for up to nine months.

Uterine Stem Cells Create New Neurons That Can Curb Parkinson’s Disease.

There have been impressive results in clinical trials using bone marrow, muscle, and fat cells in in heart therapies.

A Finnish man was able to replace his upper jaw thanks to stem cells taken from his own fatty tissue.

a 50 year old man awaiting a heart transplant was treated with muscle stem cells taken out of his thigh.

According to a Japanese study, doctors have used stem cells from liposuctioned fat to fix breast defects in women after they have undergone breast cancer surgery.

University of Manchester researchers have transformed fat tissue stem cells into nerve cells – and now plan to develop an artificial nerve that will bring damaged limbs and organs back to life.

Stem cells collected at birth from the umbilical cord may help doctors fashion new heart valves for children born with heart valve defects.

Louisville clinical trial will use cardiac stem cells to regrow muscle after attack

From a snippet of a patient’s skin, researchers have grown blood vessels in a laboratory and then implanted them to restore blood flow around the patient’s damaged arteries and veins.

Heart valves have been grown from cells in the womb.

And I’ll just end with this one since this is starting to get rather lengthy: Scientists have been able to grow a beating heart in the lab.

Obviously there’s much more than just bone marrow replacement here and ASCs are showing themselves to be way more diverse and useful than was ever originally thought. To assert otherwise is to simply ignore science and dismiss real advancements that are being made in either treating patients now or developing treatments for the future – this with science that does not use or destroy tiny human beings in the process.

As well as keeping your eye on this blog, also check out my ASCR archive at Reflections and Don Margolis’ blog for the latest in ASCR news and successes.

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