DAVID GRANOVSKY

Posts Tagged ‘paralyzed’

(NOT) FIRST PARALYZED HUMAN TREATED WITH STEM CELLS FOR SCI

In ALL ARTICLES, DISEASE INFO, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, THIS IS SPINAL... on January 27, 2017 at 12:05 pm

First paralyzed human treated with stem cells has now regained his upper body movement http://theheartysoul.com/stem-cells-cure-paralysis/

stem-cell-patient

CONGRATS! But…
NOT the FIRST!

This is the sort of article which makes me crazy because on the one hand, it is a triumph!  A mainstream coverage of a stem cell success, increasing awareness and helping to erode our entrenched concepts of what can be done with medicine and what is and isn’t really “incurable.”

On the other….it grossly misrepresents the long history of stem cell successes versus spinal cord injury. It devalues the patients who have recovered, the loved ones who supported them during their treatments and the doctors who worked their butts off developing the protocols and pushing the envelops, often in the face of massive popular skepticism.

 
These people, these patients and loved ones and doctors who risked everything; life, limb, money, time and more…they are the mavericks, the trail blazers, the ones who sacrificed everything for the one pure goal of advancing medicine, of advancing healing. They deserve to be honored and credited with their barrier breaking work, not dismissed in some ill conceived misinformation campaign, weakly relying upon the un-sturdy columns of anti-Piaget-ian Object Permanence.

hear_speak_see_no_evil_toshogu_cropped_enhanced

And no mention of Spinal Cord Injury and Stem Cell Treatment should be made without a HUGE nod to the God-Fathers, Prof Mackay-Sim and Dr Carlos Lima.

Dr Mackay-Sim was researching olfactoric mucosal stem cell applications for spinal cord injury in murine models as far back as 2001:

  1. Lu, J.; Feron, F.; Ho, S. H.; Mackay-Sim, A.; Waite, P. M. E. Transplantation of nasal olfactory tissue promotes partial recovery in paraplegic adult rats. Brain Research 2001, 889, 344-357.
  2. Lu, J.; Feron, F.; Mackay-Sim, A.; Waite, P. M. E. Olfactory ensheathing cells promote locomotor recovery after delayed transplantation into transected spinal cord. Brain 2002, 125, 14-21.

Dr Lima was “improving” and “recovering” Spinal Cord Injury patients with stem cells derived from their own noses as far back as…wait for it…2003.

“Olfactory stem cells have been shown to be most versatile. Indeed, Adult stem cells from the nose have now helped paraplegic patients walk. From the primary source, Carlos Lima et al., Olfactory mucosal autografts and rehabilitation for chronic traumatic spinal cord injury, Neurorehabil Neural Repair 24(1):10–22 | doi: 10.1177/1545968309347685.”

“Of the 13 patients assessed by functional studies, 1 paraplegic patient (patient 9) can ambulate with 2 crutches and knee braces with no physical assistance and 10 other patients can ambulate with walkers with or without braces with physical assistance.

One tetraplegic [paralyzed in both arms and legs] patient (patient 13) ambulates with a walker, without knee braces or physical assistance.”

Why haven’t you heard of this?  I don’t know.  Perhaps you missed the “Testimony of Ms. Laura Dominguez, delivered at a hearing held by the United States Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space on July 14, 2004. Accessed at: http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/testimony.cfm?id=1268andwit_id=3673

If that doesn’t work, go here and skip ahead to 1 hour, 16 minutes to 2hrs 21min: https://www.c-span.org/video/?182693-1/stem-cell-research-treatment

Laura Dominguez, also featured in the article  here, was treated in 2004.  By then,

Dr “Lima’s procedure had proven successful in 26 patients, states Dr. Jean D. Peduzzi-Nelson, a co-researcher at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. [9] Dominguez was the tenth person in the world and the second American to undergo the surgery.

Completion of the surgery permitted a return to the United States, which ushered in the continuation of the therapeutic process and the resumption of home life in San Antonio. After an MRI was conducted, physicians informed her that her spinal cord had begun healing and that 70 percent of the lesion had recovered into normal spinal tissue. Within six months she had acquired sensation down to the abdominal region. By 2004, she had gained upper body agility and the ability to stand for extended periods of time with the aid of a walker. In addition, she reported improved motor skills, including the ability to stand on her toes and contract her quadriceps and hamstring muscles. She also announced that she had walked more than 1400 feet with the use of braces and outside help. Laura is inspired by the results and hopes to walk unassisted by the time she turns 21. [10]

Not first.  Missed it by just a baker’s dozen of years.

Here are just a small selection of more stem cell heroes from the past:

SPINAL CORD SUCCESSES

 https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/spinal-cord-injury-success/

 

MORE SPINAL CORD SUCCESSES

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/more-spinal-cord-injury-success-from-adult-stem-cells/

 

STEM CELLS FOR SPINAL CORD

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/stem-cell-surgery-spinal-cord-injury/

 

16 YEAR OLD PARALYZED KARTING CHAMP

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/16-year-old-paralyzed-karting-champ-undergoing-stem-cell-treatment/

 

PARALYZED WOMAN WALKS ON 21ST BIRTHDAY
https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/strength-and-determination-help-paralyzed-woman-walk-on-21st-birthday/

 

QUEST TO CURE HIS DAUGHTER

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/a-father%e2%80%99s-quest-to-cure-his-daughter-well-blog-nytimescom/

 

PARALYSIS IN RATS REVERSED

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/adult-spinal-stem-cells-reverse-paralysis-in-rats/

 

ADULT STEM CELL PROGRAMS

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/il-sussidiarionet-raisman-the-best-results-are-coming-from-the-adult-stem-cell-research-programmes/

 

IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE PARALYZED

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/adult-stem-cell-study-demonstrates-improved-quality-of-life-for-patients-suffering-from-spinal-cord-injury/

 

A PERSONAL NOTE

http://reflectionsofaparalytic.com/?p=2052

 

FUNDRAISING FOR SPINAL CORD/STEM CELL THERAPY

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/fundraiser-for-spinal-cord-injury-patient-for-stem-cell-treatment/

 

STEM CELLS HELP 52 SPINAL CORD INJURY PATIENTS

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/stem-cell-research-helps-52-spinal-cord-injury-patients-stem-cell-research-adult-stem-cell-research-spinal-cord-injury/

 

PARALYZED LAWMAKER MAKES STEM CELL DECISION

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/paralyzed-ri-lawmaker-hails-stem-cell-decision-international-herald-tribune/

 

JAPAN AHEAD OF USA IN STEM CELLS FOR SCI

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/spinal-cord-injury-sci-stem-cell-trials-japan-plays-catch-up/

 

CHINA AHEAD OF USA FOR STEM CELL TREATMENTS/SCI

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/stem-cell-research-yields-benefits-for-american-man-traveling-to-china/

 

WHY DO WE PRETEND STEM CELLS DON’T WORK?

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/adult-stem-cells-get-the-shaft-none-are-so-blind-as-those-who-will-not-see/

 

IRAN AHEAD OF USA IN STEM CELLS

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/stem-cells-in-iran-catch-up/

 

 

TODDLER, CANCER, STEM CELLS, SPINAL CORD INJURY

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/toddler-helps-bring-about-a-medical-miracle-cancer-spimal-cord-injury/

 

REGENERATING THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM https://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

https://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

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/paraplegic-adult-stem-cell-success-stories-laura-dominguez/

 

PARALYZED COUSINS PLEASED WITH STEM CELL TREATMENT

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/paralyzed-cousins-pleased-with-stem-cell-treatment/

 

Successful Stem Cell Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury in Dogs

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/successful-stem-cell-treatment-of-spinal-cord-injury-in-dogs/

 

Spinal Cord Injury Patient Wins…and Loses

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/spinal-cord-injury-patient-wins-and-loses/

 

STEM CELLS FOR SPINAL CORD INJURY

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/stem-cells-for-spinal-cord-injury/

 

Adult Stem Cell Grafts Help Paralyzed Heal

https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/adult-stem-cell-grafts-help-paralyzed-heal/

 

Medical hope as paralysed dog cured by stem cell therapy

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

 

and even, Major the Roseville police dog gets stem cell treatment

http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/01/major_police_dog_stem_cell.php

 

Time to set the record straight.  Too many have waited too long to get news which blacks out a dozen years of research and progress.

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

PARALYZED COUSINS PLEASED WITH STEM CELL TREATMENT

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

TWO cousins who were paralyzed in separate accidents years ago say their conditions improved after stem cell treatment.

Harold “Bud” Poxleitner, of Cottonwood, Idaho, and Robert Braucher, of Forest, Idaho, said chronic pain has subsided and they have a renewed sensation of feeling in their legs. Both said the trip and expensive treatments were worth the money and effort and they’re contemplating additional treatments.

“It helped me quite a bit. It took the pain and dropped it down to about half of what it was,” said Poxleitner, 67. “And then my legs got real warm. They’ve never been warm for 40 years, and they just warmed up. Those stem cells must have gone in there and fixed my circulation or something. They’re staying real warm now.”

Braucher said his improvement may not be quite as pronounced, but it’s noticeable. “I had a lot of pain in my left leg and I don’t have it anymore,” he said. “And I’m getting more sensation in the bottom of my right foot. My muscle on my thigh I can feel a little bit. Other than that, that’s about it.”

The business is advertised as a regenerative medicine clinic. More than 1,600 patients have been treated at the clinic with what is described as autologous adult stem cell treatment.

Poxleitner explained the procedure: Bone marrow is extracted from the hip, and stem cells, after being separated out, are injected back into the body as close to the spinal cord injury as possible. Poxleitner was injured in a 1968 logging accident, Braucher in a 2003 automobile accident. Both have been using wheelchairs since.

Of the two, Poxleitner has the most mobility, being able to walk with crutches. “It hasn’t got real better,” he said of the struggle. “But there must be some muscles in my hips that are coming into place, because I’m getting real stable walking now. My butt used to weave around all the time and I couldn’t stop it because the strength wasn’t there.”

Just the reduction of pain for Poxleitner and virtual elimination for Braucher is well worth the cost of the trip and treatment, the men said. “I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t hardly get any sleep before,” Braucher said. “Now I can sleep all night. It has made a lot of difference, just getting rid of that pain.”

The treatment center warns recipients that stem cell science is still rife with questions and that therapy is administered with varying success. Poxleitner and Braucher said they were aware of the situation going in. They estimated that the trip and treatment cost each of them in excess of $14,000.

The stem cell treatments are not offered in the United States and are not covered by health insurance.

Adult Stem Cell Grafts Help Paralyzed Heal

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on October 21, 2009 at 4:43 am

Wayne State Study Shows Adult Stem Cell Grafts Help Paralyzed

A new study by a Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher details the outcome of adult stem cell grafts in spinal cord injuries and how the procedure led to increased mobility and quality of life for patients.

Spinal cord injury
A severe spinal cord injury often causes loss of feeling and paralysis, the loss of movement and voluntary control over the muscles in the body. Spinal cord damage also causes loss of reflex function below the point of injury interrupting bodily functions such as breathing, bowel control, and bladder control. In the event of a spinal injury prompt medical attention can help to minimize further spinal cord damage.
Associate Professor Jean Peduzzi-Nelson of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology conducted the study, “Olfactory Mucosal Autografts and Rehabilitation for Chronic Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury,” which was published online in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.
The process involves the use of adult stem-like progenitor cells in the patient’s own nasal tissue. The use of a person’s own stem cells, Peduzzi-Nelson said, lessens the problems of rejection, tumor formation and disease transmission.

Spinal Cord Injury
In the study, 20 patients with severe chronic spinal cord injuries received a treatment combination of partial scar removal, transplantation of nasal tissue containing stem cells to the site of the spinal cord injury and rehabilitation. All of the patients had total paralysis below the level of their spinal cord injury before the treatment.
“This may be the first clinical study of patients with severe, chronic spinal cord injury to report considerable functional improvement in some patients with a combination treatment,” Peduzzi-Nelson said. “Normally, in people with spinal cord injuries that happened more than 18 months ago, there is little improvement.”
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.

“We concluded that olfactory mucosal autograft is feasible, relatively safe and possibly beneficial in people with chronic spinal cord injury when combined with post-operative rehabilitation,” Peduzzi-Nelson said. “There are clear indications of efficacy based on neurological, functional and electrophysiological testing that justify moving forward to a larger, controlled clinical trial. In patients who are willing to commit to lots of intense rehabilitation, this combination treatment holds promise to improve their condition.”
Peduzzi-Nelson noted that there are many sources of stem cells in the body, including bone marrow, fat and the brain, but that the olfactory mucosa is the only suitable tissue that can be easily obtained with minimally invasive procedures.
Spinal Cord Injury
The stem-like progenitor cells in the olfactory mucosa are special because they normally form new neurons more rapidly than cells from any other place in the adult nervous system. When such cells are transplanted into chick embryos, she said, the cells can form mature cells of the heart, trunk muscles, liver, brain and spinal cord. This suggests that olfactory stem-like progenitor cells are very immature and capable of forming a variety of cell types.
  • The partial scar removal and tissue transplantation procedures were performed in Portugal. The rehabilitation of patients took place in Italy and Portugal.
  • “Many patients in the Detroit area have had this procedure,” she said. “Along with some colleagues, I have sent questionnaires to these local patients to find out whether or not there are any side-effects or functional improvement.”
  • Peduzzi-Nelson said that she and Jay Meythaler, M.D., chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, along with other colleagues, are seeking FDA approval to perform the procedure in the United States.

Paralyzed RI lawmaker hails stem cell decision – International Herald Tribune

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2009 at 12:11 am

spipnal-cord

Paralyzed RI lawmaker hails stem cell decision -The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I.: Rep. Jim Langevin was 16 years old when a policeman’s accidental gunshot severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed.

Though doctors told him he would never walk again, Langevin said he’s remained optimistic for a scientific breakthrough that would make it possible.

PLEASE wake up Jim!  Adult stem cells have already given the world SCI scientific breakthroughs.  60% recovery in Iran.  Similar results in Portugal.  Don’t miss the bus while you sit at the embryonic stem cell station holding your breath. – dg

That’s why an executive order Monday lifting federal funding restrictions for embryonic stem cell research has personal meaning for the five-term Democrat. He hopes the science can one day help him ditch his motorized wheelchair and walk on the floor of the U.S. Capitol.

“I’ve always believed that in my lifetime, someday I would walk again,” Langevin, 44, said in a telephone interview after watching President Barack Obama sign the executive order at a White House ceremony. “It just seemed counterintuitive that we wouldn’t find a cure for spinal cord injuries.”

via Paralyzed RI lawmaker hails stem cell decision – International Herald Tribune.

Stem Cell Research Yields Benefits for American Man Traveling to China

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 27, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Posted 27 February, 2009 in Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) |

In what seems to be a continuing trend, Americans are seeking out stem cell research and treatment abroad because it isn’t available in the United States. Chuck Melton, of Hoyleton, Illinois was the latest to leave the United States in search of the stem cell treatment that would improve his quality of life. It worked so well that Chuck is trying to raise money to return to China for more Adult Stem Cells to treat his spinal cord injury.

Doing his own research on the treatment

Chuck who was paralyzed in a diving accident in 2002 went to China in January 2007 to try and improve his spinal cord injury. Chuck said “I found out that China had been doing [stem cell treatment] for a number of years and experimenting with treatments and results. So I contacted [people in China] and talked to doctors and patients and got a lot of great feedback from it.”

His wife Kelly said “We decided to take a leap of faith and send him and see what happened. We figured we didn’t have anything to lose.

Before the stem cell treatment:

  • Couldn’t sweat to cool off his body, would pass out at high temperatures
  • No feeling in his legs
  • difficulty breathing, diminished lung function
  • No control over his bladder

After the Adult Stem Cells were implanted:

  • Started sweating after first injection of stem cells
  • More feeling in his legs, can now feel hot and cold
  • Easier breathing, stronger lungs
  • More control over his bladder

Stem Cell Research using Adult Stem Cells Giving Hope

Chuck said “It’s been a big boost in morale. It’s all the more reason I want to go back to see what possibly could come out of that.”

“We’re hoping he can gain more bowel and bladder control and functions,” Kelly added. “We’re not looking for him to walk again per se, but if we can improve his quality of life and give him some independence, then it will be worth it.”

Going Back to China for more Stem Cell Therapy

As stated above, Chuck is trying to raise money so he can go back to China a second time and hopefully improve even more. Funny how we always hear that these stem cell therapies overseas are unproven and scams, but then I must ask once more why Chuck and his wife want him to go back again. Must be something good there- Adult Stem Cells

Chuck hopes stem cell treatment will be available to others like him here in this country.

“I think [lawmakers] are focusing on the wrong thing — on embryonic instead of umbilical cord,” he said. “I think they should seriously consider what China and others have done. I know there’s a lot of skepticism, but they need to focus on the healing process and the problem itself, as opposed to trying to clone another person.”

Well said Chuck.

A raffle is being held for Chuck’s benefit is being organized in which a high definition television, a laptop and other gifts are prizes. For more information, you can call 231-5558.

Read the whole stem cell news article here

EMBRYONIC SCIENTIST/DOCTOR TALKS ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF USING ADULT STEM CELLS FOR MS

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 23, 2009 at 8:36 pm

ms-pic

In his career as a neurologist Dr. Jack Kessler had treated many paralyzed patients with no hope of recovery, but he never felt so powerless as he did on an emergency midnight flight last year to be at the side of his injured daughter.

Kessler, chair of neurology at Northwestern University, knew his 15-year-old daughter Allison had just lost virtually all movement from the waist down in a skiing accident. As a father, he hoped beyond reason that she might just shake off the injury to her spine; but as a doctor he knew she had little chance of ever walking unaided again.

Still on the plane, Kessler decided to drop his previous research on nerve disorders linked to diabetes and seek out stem cell treatments for paralysis.

In this video, Kessler talks about the benefits of using Adult Stem Cells to treat MS.

Stemcell -MS- research information with Dr. Jack Kessler

Adult stem cells get the shaft! (none are so blind as those who will not see)

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm


The “Wrong” Cure –      Adult stem cells get the shaft!

joni tada

joni tada

By Wesley J. Smith

Members of the liberal media elite have become rather choosy when it comes to advocating stem-cell cures for degenerative medical conditions. To these commentators, cures using adult stem cells just aren’t the “right” cures. For stem-cell therapy to really count, it has to come from embryos. Indeed, even the most astonishing research advances using adult cells are ignored by these arbiters of public policy as if they never happened. And since liberal elites dominate public discourse in the stem-cell debate, the American people remain generally unaware of these astonishing scientific advances.

No media personality epitomizes the elite liberal media mindset more than CNN’s Larry King. It thus came as no surprise that King cared nothing about adult-stem-cell research breakthroughs when the noted artist, evangelist, and disability-rights activist Joni Eareckson Tada raised the issue in an August interview.

Tada has been quadriplegic since breaking her back in a diving accident at age 17. In recent years, she has become an outspoken opponent of human cloning and of federally funded embryonic-stem-cell research. It was in this context that Tada accepted King’s offer to introduce her to Christopher Reeve, the paralyzed former movie star who has become the world’s most famous advocate for using human cloning and embryonic stem cells to find cures:

King: He [Reeve] thinks he’s going to walk.Tada: That may very well happen using incredible therapies…using adult-stem-cell research. It is absolutely amazing what is happening. Dr. Carlos Lima in Lisbon, Portugal, has helped restore bladder and muscle control to people with paralysis using stem cells from their own nasal tissue.

Take a moment and think about what Tada told King. Paralyzed people with serious spinal injuries like those afflicting Tada and Reeve have regained feeling in their bodies using adult-tissue therapies. Assuming that King was unaware of these advances — always a good assumption, given that King prides himself on not preparing for interviews — he should have been thunderstruck by this big news. Tada’s assertion should have prompted an immediate follow-up question demanding more details. Had King done this, Tada might have then told him that one of the paralyzed women treated by Dr. Lima with her own olfactory tissue had recently appeared before a Senate subcommittee and presented videos of herself walking with braces!

But King never even attempted to follow up. Indeed, he wasn’t the least bit curious about the tremendous news that human patients with serious spinal-cord injury may be able to walk again if these early human trials using adult tissue pan out. Instead, almost reflexively, he promoted embryonic-stem-cell research, stating, “Everyone says it will be faster if embryonic is also used. Nancy Reagan is going to campaign strongly for that.”

Tada told King patiently that she opposes embryonic-stem-cell research, in part because she advocates channeling scarce resources “into [adult] therapies which have the most promise, which are the most effective.” She then told King about the dangers associated with embryonic stem cells of which he might be unaware, such as tissue rejection and tumors.

King shrugged this off, asserting that problems always happen in the beginning of research studies. “That’s true,” Tada acknowledged. And then she tried again to get King to just hear how far adult-tissue research has already advanced. “Right now,” she said, “incredible therapies” are happening “with their own stem cells, whether dental pulp or nasal tissues, or bone-marrow tissues.”

For a second time in two minutes Tada had presented King with the opportunity to provide his audience with a wonderful educational opportunity. Had he followed up, even skeptically, by demanding that Tada give examples of these incredible breakthroughs, she could have told him about human heart patients who have already benefited from treatment with their own bone marrow or blood stem cells. She could have given great hope to people with Parkinson’s disease by describing the successes already achieved treating patients with adult cells and their derivatives. Perhaps she would have mentioned the wonderful news that in an early human trial, a patient with multiple sclerosis so advanced that he experienced bouts of blindness appears to have been put into almost total remission using his own stem cells.

But King’s viewing audience was not allowed to learn any of this, because King did not inquire. Instead, he demanded to know who is harmed by embryonic-stem-cell research and asked whether she would agree to debate Christopher Reeve. Then, it was quickly on to other matters. Clearly, for King, stem-cell medical advances only count if they come from embryonic sources.

King is not alone in this incredibly myopic approach to the stem-cell debate. Other elite liberal commentators are just as narrow in their views about adult-stem-cell research. For example, Laura Bush’s recent defense of her husband’s stem-cell policy sent several elite liberal commentators into apoplectic orbit. Cynthia Tucker’s August 13 syndicated column, “Bush’s Policy on Stem-Cell Research Has No Good Defense,” was especially nasty — and typically ignorant of the current state of the science.

Charging that only religious extremism stands in the way of stem-cell advances, Tucker accused the president of limiting research “that could…lead to cures for Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and even some cancers. Some of those cures could be decades away. But we can’t get there until we get started.”

Tucker either didn’t take the time to discover, or doesn’t care, that we are already well under way to finding such cures! As stated above, human patients with the very diseases Tucker mentioned have already benefited from adult-tissue therapies. Animal studies have advanced even further. For example, mice with advanced-stage juvenile diabetes have been cured with adult cell therapies. Yet instead of embracing these advances, Tucker complained, “I certainly don’t understand a 21st-century superpower that devotes billions to building smart bombs to destroy life efficiently but refuses to fund the research that could save or enhance the lives of millions of its citizens.”

Ignorance, thy name is Tucker. Apparently she is unaware that the federal government poured more than $200 million into adult-stem-cell research and about $25 million into embryonic-stem-cell research in 2003. In addition, private investors have abundantly invested in adult-stem-cell research, while generally shunning embryonic and human cloning research, largely because adult therapies are so much closer to fruition than embryonic approaches.

Apparently, Tucker would put her political views before the current state of the science and reverse this funding ratio. But this would be most unwise. It could delay bringing regenerative cures to the American people by diverting resources away from adult-cell cures already in early human trials and toward embryonic research that can’t even be done safely in humans — a point made by Joni Eareckson Tada that bounced off Larry King’s forehead.

Amazingly, the ideological fervor in favor of using nascent human life in stem-cell treatments is so intense that it prevents even liberal media elites who suffer from these diseases from embracing emerging treatments that use adult cells. Michael Kinsley, the editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times, is a puzzling case in point. Kinsley has Parkinson’s. One would think he would be extremely interested in the successful experiment involving fellow Parkinson’s patient Dennis Turner, who five years ago received an 83 percent reversal of his symptoms after a treatment using his own brain stem cells. Kinsley should also find great hope in the results of another human trial in which five Parkinson’s patients, treated with a natural body chemical known as glial cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), improved so significantly that three regained their senses of taste and smell.

But Kinsley is blind to this wonderful news. In a diatribe against Laura Bush and the president, Kinsley claimed that “stem cell research has been drastically slowed” by the president’s stem-cell policy (again, apparently, the only real stem-cell research is embryonic-stem-cell research). Working himself into a blind rage, Kinsley accused President Bush of “ensuring there is no hope at all” for people like him who suffer from Parkinson’s disease — a statement exhibiting sheer indifference to the very facts that hold out true hope for Kinsley’s own health problems.

Media opponents of President Bush’s stem-cell policy often accuse the president of deciding science questions based on religious beliefs. But they are the ones whose ideological predilections and personal antipathy for political opponents are making them incapable of appreciating the evidence. As the old saying goes, none are so blind as those who will not see.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His next book, Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World, will be published by Encounter this fall.

Australian Quadriplegic Thanks Maverick Indian Stem Cell Doctor for Ability to Breathe

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm
SUPERMAN

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

CHRISTOPHER REEVE

Australian Quadriplegic Thanks Maverick Indian Stem Cell Doctor for Ability to Breathe

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A man who is paralyzed from the neck down says he can now breathe on his own after having controversial embryonic stem cell treatment in India.

Perry Cross is the most high-profile patient to have traveled to India to be injected with the cells – which are banned in his own country Australia and most of the West.

He was left a quadriplegic after being injured playing rugby when just 19 years old and has no movement below his neck.

He has to be connected to a ventilator to breathe and has spent the past 14 years searching for treatment which might help him regain any movement.

During this time, Mr. Cross met Superman actor Christopher Reeve and became the actor’s ambassador for stem cell research in Australia.

via FOXNews.com – Australian Quadriplegic Thanks Maverick Indian Stem Cell Doctor for Ability to Breathe – Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News.

Toddler helps bring about a medical miracle – cancer & spinal cord injury

In ALL ARTICLES, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 8, 2009 at 12:54 am

I know Elena can do it. She’s already beat stage III cancer. She had her first chemo treatment at two days old. She’s already overcome so much and I know she’s a fighter,” said Juliet, Elena’s mother.

– – – –

Juliet “is working to raise the money for her daughter to be part of a clinical trial that will take stem cells from Elena’s bone marrow and introduce them into her spine.”

07:03 PM CST on Thursday, February 5, 2009

By Michelle Ponto / KHOU.com

HOUSTON — Elena isn’t your average little girl. At 20 months, she’s already battled stage III cancer, and a spinal cord injury has left her in a wheelchair.

Elena Porras with her mom, Juliet.

Now, she’s getting ready to fight again. This time, she’s fighting for the chance to walk.

“She’s paralyzed from the waist down, but from the waist up she’s a tiger,” said Juliet Porras, Elena’s mom.

With the help of Dr. James Baumgartner, Dr. Charles Cox, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, UT Houston and TIRR Foundation, Porras is working to raise the money for her daughter to be part of a clinical trial that will take stem cells from Elena’s bone marrow and introduce them into her spine…

via Toddler helps bring about a medical miracle | HOUSTON METRO | KHOU.com | News for Houston, Texas.

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