Skip to comments.Adult Stem Cell Research More Effective Than Embryonic Cells
Posted on 05/16/2004 5:37:05 PM PDT by wagglebee
LifeNews Note: 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, to be published in the fall, is Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World.
Once again the media are trumpeting the call among many in Congress, pushed by millions in Big Biotech lobbying money, for President Bush to reverse his decision to limit federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research (ESCR) to those lines already in existence on August 9, 2001. Fronted this time by the grief-stricken Nancy Reagan, and boosted by Hollywood celebrities such as Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox, and Mary Tyler Moore, we are warned darkly, as a recent New York Times editorial put it, that the existing federal-funding restrictions "are so potentially damaging to medicine" that the administration is encountering opposition to its policy even among its "own conservative supporters."
We have heard this mantra many times before but repetition does not make it true. A great deal has been learned about the potential of regenerative medicine since President Bush reached his "compromise" decision ending the stem-cell debate of 2001. And indeed, perhaps the time has come for us to revisit this issue, albeit from a different angle than suggested by ESCR boosters. Perhaps the problem with the Bush plan isn't that it provides too little federal money for ESCR, but too much at least if our national goal is to find cures to diseases such as Alzheimer's, diabetes, and Parkinson's in the shortest period of time.
The media is so excited about the supposed potential of embryonic stem cells that it gives far too little attention to the many and serious problems associated with this potential source of regenerative medicine. Listening to the hype, one might think that ESCR is on the verge of tremendous success. But the hard truth is that it does not appear likely that embryonic stem cells will soon become the panacea that fervid supporters of the research often claim. For example:
In animal studies, embryonic-stem-cell treatments have been found to cause tumors. In one mouse study involving an attempt to treat Parkinson's-type symptoms, more than 20 percent of the mice died from brain tumors this despite researchers reducing the number of cells administered from the usual 100,000 to 1,000.
Tissue rejection is another major hurdle to the use of embryonic stem cells in medical treatments. This is why ESCR is known as the gateway to human cloning, since one proposed way out of this potential dilemma is to create cloned embryos of patients being treated as a source of stem cells, a process known as "therapeutic cloning." Not coincidentally, many of the same proponents who are now urging increased funding for ESCR also advocate that we legalize and publicly fund therapeutic-cloning research, which many find immoral because it creates cloned human life for the sole purpose of experimentation and destruction. Besides being immoral, therapeutic cloning also looks to be wildly impractical. For example, a recent report published by the National Academy of Sciences warned that it could cost in the neighborhood of $200,000 just to pay for the human eggs to derive one cloned human embryonic-stem-cell line.
The hope that embryonic-stem-cell lines are immortal, thereby allowing them to supply unlimited cells for use in regenerative medical treatments, appears to be fading fast. Several studies, including one published in the March 25, 2004, New England Journal of Medicine, have now shown that over time embryonic-stem-cell lines develop severe chromosomal anomalies, including a form of cell change found in some types of cancer. These and other significant scientific obstacles facing embryonic-stem-cell researchers mean that treatments from this source of stem cells are unlikely to become a part of medicine's armamentarium at the clinical level for more than a decade if ever. Indeed, as reported in Washington Fax in 2002, the noted stem-cell-research pioneer John Gearhart has suggested that embryonic stem cells, in the end, will probably not be "used in therapies." Rather, he said, "patients' own cells," e.g. adult stem cells, are "where I see the future now." (Gearhart does support ESCR, believing that it will provide useful information permitting patient's own cells to be used in regenerative medicine.)
Fortunately, embryonic stem cells are not the only potential source for regenerative medical treatments. There are also adult stem cells, umbilical-cord-blood stem cells, and other cellular-based treatments that do not use embryos at all. Here we see a completely different picture emerging. Under-reported by the ESCR-besotted mainstream media, many of the diseases that embryonic cells are supposed to treat may be ameliorated with adult-stem-cell and related therapies far more quickly. These include:
Heart Disease: The FDA has allowed a human trial to proceed that will use bone-marrow stem cells to treat severe heart disease. The experiment will be conducted at Texas Heart Institute in Houston. This approach has already safely improved heart function in 14 patients in Brazil, as reported in the medical journal Circulation. Indeed, the researchers found "significant improvements in exercise capacity," improving oxygen capacity "from 17 percent to 24 percent in treated patients." A similar result has already been reported in the U.S. using a patient's own blood stem cells, as have other human experiments in France and Hong Kong. (On a sour note, while not disproving the benefit of adult cells in treating heart disease, researchers in two mouse experiments failed to replicate earlier studies that seemed to show adult stem cells could be transformed directly into new heart muscle. Meanwhile, further studies still need to determine whether the treatment could cause dangerous arrhythmias.)
Diabetes: As reported in the November 14, 2003, issue of the distinguished journal Science, Type 1 (juvenile-onset) diabetes has been cured in mice using human spleen cells. The cells migrated to the mice pancreases, "prompting the damaged organs to regenerate into healthy, insulin-making organs" and thus curing their diabetes. The authors noted that "because the cell donors and hosts are adults, this system would preclude ethical issues associated with the use of embryonic stem cells, as well as concerns that [cell] transdifferentiation of embryonic stem cells may be incomplete."
Neurological Conditions: HealthDay recently reported that "Cells found in a patient's own bone marrow might someday be a safe, ethical source for replacing brain cells lost to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurological conditions." German researchers cultured human bone-marrow stem cells and were able, within a few weeks, to morph them into mature neural or glial cells. We learned just this month that cells derived from dental pulp can be transformed into neural cells and may someday be a readily available source of treatment for conditions such as Parkinson's.
Along these lines, human patients have already benefited substantially from the alleviating of symptoms of Parkinson's with adult stem cells and related therapies. For example, Dennis Turner of southern California was the first human patient known to have been treated by his own brain stem cells for Parkinson's. It is now a few years post treatment and his Parkinson's which by now was expected to have substantially disabled him has instead gone into substantial remission. Turner has been able to reduce his medications and rarely experiences significant symptoms of his disease. Meanwhile, the May 2003 edition of Nature Medicine reported that five Parkinson's disease patients, who received injections of a natural body chemical known as glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), experienced significant improvement in their conditions. Three of the patients even regained their sense of taste and smell.
I could write pages about such successes. Adult-stem-cell and related therapeutic approaches are in current clinical trials or use for the treatment of cancers, autoimmune diseases, anemias, bone and cartilage deformities, corneal scarring, stroke, and skin grafts. Researchers have successfully restored some eye functions by extracting stem cells from human eyes, growing them in culture, and transplanting them into mice. Human trials are showing similar successes. Optimistic researchers hope that the technique could provide a cure for blindness within five years. Cells from human fat have proven to be true adult stem cells that look to be useful in regenerative medicine. Indeed, it appears that 62 percent of human fat cells "could be reprogrammed into turning into at least two other different cell types," according to Duke University researchers.
The thrust of the research now seems indisputable: While certainly not yet a sure thing, and noting that much work remains to be done in animal and controlled human studies, barring unforeseen problems adult-stem-cell and related therapies may be potent sources of new and efficacious medical treatments in the years to come. Just as significantly, these therapies are likely to be available far sooner than embryonic-stem-cell treatments, since adult and related therapies do not appear to cause tumors, would not be rejected, and do not have to be maintained indefinitely in vitro, because they would come from patients' own bodies.
As Colorado stem-cell activist Jim Kelly a paraplegic who believes his best hope of walking again after an auto accident lies in adult-stem-cell treatments told me, "We have to use our limited resources efficiently. Money spent on embryonic-stem-cell research and human cloning is money that cannot be spent on [investigating] adult stem cells." If Kelly is right, increasing funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, especially if it comes at the expense of adult experiments, could actually delay the cures that so many suffering patients hope desperately to receive from developing cellular therapies.
Allow me to offer a ping to a few friends of LIFE.
Even embryonic stem cell research is unnessary since stem cells are abundant in umbilical cord blood. If the scientists wanted stem cells for research, there is so much available from cord blood as to flood the market.
Ah, but some cannot resist the opportunity to 'play god with life' ... it is mentally empowering to those who thumb their noses at the Creator.
These are the exact same people who will blow up construction sites to save a tree or a few insects. But full speed ahead at murdering babies for unnecessary research all to give somebody a choice (the choice was when these women made the decision to have sex and risk the possibility of pregnancy).
Then why does Nancy Reagan want baby cells that require killing babies? She is calling on Prseident Bush to reverse his ban of baby cell research.
IMHO Nancy was always a little bit "out there." I understand her anguish now, but I think she has been "brainwashed" by her Hollywood "friends." President Reagan is a great man and I personally doubt he would want this research and certainly not for himself.
As always, thanks for the ping.
Bump for life.
Even some of the most enthusiastic boosters of embryo stem cell research see trouble ahead. For example, University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Glenn McGee admitted to Technology Review, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology publication,
"The emerging truth in the lab is that pluripotent stem cells are hard to rein in. The potential that they would explode into a cancerous mass after a stem cell transplant might turn out to be the Pandora's box of stem cell research."
Thus, it could be that adult tissue-specific stem cells are actually safer than their counterparts culled from embryos since, being extracted from mature cells, they may not exhibit the propensity for uncontrolled differentiation.
The Politics of Stem Cells (also by Smith, btw)
I think it's important to remember that the one thing at which adult stem cells are NOT as effective as adult stem cells is the nailing open of a window of Non-Personhood wherein human lives may be manufactured like ears of corn for industrial applications.
> Diabetes: As reported in the November 14, 2003, issue of the distinguished journal Science, Type 1 (juvenile-onset) diabetes has been cured in mice using human spleen cells. The cells migrated to the mice pancreases, "prompting the damaged organs to regenerate into healthy, insulin-making organs" and thus curing their diabetes. The authors noted that "because the cell donors and hosts are adults, this system would preclude ethical issues associated with the use of embryonic stem cells, as well as concerns that [cell] transdifferentiation of embryonic stem cells may be incomplete."
There was just a story a week ago, whereby embryonic stem cells were used in the restoration of pancreatal beta cells. I'm not sure how far along the results were, perhaps it was just promising at this point. But the gist was that adult stem cells were not effective, but ESCs were.
Makes sense. Thanks for the ping.
Nova reported on this. They are having some extraordinary results treating spinal cord injuries with the patients own stem cells, harvested, believe it or not, from up in the nasal cavity.
Somebody should send this to Nancy Reagan.
If cloning isn't possible yet; then why do we have laws defining clones?
One of the sites that is referenced throughout the Congressional Report (pasted below) is www.humancloning.org The Human Cloning Foundation has been determined to be a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. One of the first sites I found to redirect from this site was, The Godsend Institute.
Since Dolly, several scientists have cloned other animals, including cows and mice. Now, at Godsend, they have pioneered a technique that allows a cell nucleus from a recently deceased child to be implanted within a human egg, allowing a mother to carry that child to term again.
So I guess my question is, Where Are We Medically With Human Cloning?
Laws and Legal Implications
Legal Implications of Human Cloning
( ANNEX 1 )
Delivered on April 28, 2001 at the 8
National Convention of
Lawyers at the Waterfront Hotel, Cebu City by Dean Ernesto L. Pineda,
on the definition of clones and cloning, legal problems of human beings,
citizenship of the cloned child, support of the child and parental authority
and other rights of clone if they are persons with respect to the Philippine
Laws and Regulations Concerning Cloning
( ANNEX 2)
The United States has no laws banning any type of cloning among
all parties. It does have restrictions on cloning in institutions that receive
federal funding. It virtually ignores private research. Other countries
The Lawyers Review, June 30, 2001, pp. 7-10
http://www.humancloning.org/allthe.htm, p. 1
like England have laws against cloning. Attempts to implement
consistent laws throughout the world does not succeed because of both,
the difficulty in getting many countries to agree to common terms and the
inability to enforce regulations. The World Health Organization (WHO)
is currently studying the implications of human cloning research. Other
institution that has the power to reach across national borders has already
offered its opinion. The Vatican calls for an outright ban on human
cloning and urges scientists not to genetically alter animals.
1.3 State Human Cloning Laws
( ANNEX 3 )
Laws pertaining to human cloning in nine (9) states in the United
1.4 The UK's Cloning Laws: A View from the Antipodes
( ANNEX 4 )
England's (UK) laws on cloning.
1.5 Legal Barriers To Human Cloning May Not Hold Up
( ANNEX 5 )
Legal Scholars view on the United States' Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) assertion of authority on cloning.
2. Religion on Cloning
2.1 The World God Created Must Not Be Profaned
( ANNEX 6 )
A religious message of Pope John Paul II to Christians on cloning.
3.1 Cloning: A New Science Enters Infancy (Clone Hype)
One of the most misunderstood science headlines on cloned human
embryos in biotechnology done by researchers at George Washington
University that inflamed the debate about the ethical implications in the
application of technology to human reproduction.
Today, June 15, 2001, p. 7
BC, March 30, 1997, p. 12
Newsweek, November 8, 1993, pp. 42-47
3.2 Cloning: Where Do We Draw the Line?
( ANNEX 8 )
The first laboratory duplication of a human embryo that raises the
question: Where do we draw the line?
3.3 Science and Technology
( ANNEX 9 )
An article on the provenance and research context of the cloned
sheep, Dolly, as a the first genetically engineered creature to hit the
3.4 To Ban or Not to Ban?
( ANNEX 10)
An article on the report of a presidential commission that sets the
stage for an American debate on human cloning.
3.5 Clones in China
( ANNEX 11)
An article on animal cloning in China
3.6 Cloned Lamb
(ANNEX 12 )
An article that describes the cloning of a lamb as a milestone
because the cloning has used a human gene.
3.7 Humans Next?
( ANNEX 13 )
Monkeys cloned from cells taken from embryos that marks the first
time a species that closely resembles humans.
3.8 Human Cloning - How to do it
( ANNEX 14)
4. Opinions /Views
The following articles are opinions or views on cloning that borders on the
effects it would create, the fears, fantasies, and monstrosities it carries, the problems it
posses, the good and bad it offers to man.
Time, November 8, 1993, pp. 31-36
The Economist, March 1, 1997, pp. 87-89
Time, June 16, 1997
China Today, June 1998, pp. 25-27
Today, July 7, 1997, p. 7
Today, March 4, 1997, p. 6
http://www.humancloning.org//allthe.html, p. 1
(ANNEX 15 )
4.2. 'Fear of Abusing Human Clones Should
Not Deter Research Beyond Dolly
( ANNEX 16 )
4.3. 'Is Cloning Procreation?
( ANNEX 17 )
4.4. The Fantastic Made Real
(ANNEX 18 )
4.5. Little Lamb Who Made Thee?
(ANNEX 19 )
4.6. A Clone Chop, Anyone?
( ANNEX 20 )
4.7. In Cloning There is Limitless Promise, But Limited Delivery
ANNEX 21 )
4.8. More on Cloning
( ANNEX 22)
4.9 Cloning as An Anticlimax
( ANNEX 23 )
4.10 Immaculate Misconception
( ANNEX 24 )
4.11 No Genetic Engineering Allowed
4.12 What the Important People are Saying
( ANNEX 26 )
5. Articles Against Cloning
Those who are against cloning give their arguments in the following
5.1 The World As One Big "Jurassic Park
( ANNEX 27)
An article that points out that biotechnology and genetic
engineering are very powerful. (Jurassic Park) suggests that control of
nature is elusive. And just as war is too important to leave to the
generals, science is too important to leave to scientist.
Fund For Sheep Cloning Halted As Concern Over Master Race
( ANNEX 28)
The economist, March 1, 1997, p. 16
Earth Science, March 4, 1997, p. 7
Today, March 4, 1997, p. 17
Newsweek, March 10, 1997, p. 2.
Newsweek, March 10, 1997, pp. 43-47
Newsweek, March 10, 1997, pp. 47- 50
Today, March 3, 1997, p. 8
Malaya, April 3, 1997, p. 5
Today, April 4, 1997, p. 11
Manila Chronicle, April 4, 1997, p.3
Manila Times, October 3, 1994, p. B9
http://www.humancloning.org//allthe.html, p. 1
Manila Bulletin, November 26, 1993, p. 11
Today, March 2, 1997, p.1
5.3 Breakthrough in Cloning
( ANNEX 29 )
The objections posed in this article are:
- Commentators are straining to point out that even a clone would have
to be born and raised.
- Legal scholars tried to calm anxiety by pointing that armies of
mindlessly obedient worker-clones would be flatly illegal, given the
laws against slavery.
- The director of the US National Institutes of Health called the prospect
of human cloning repugnant, a view shared by the pope.
5.4 On Cloning Humans: What About the "Exalted Individual'?
( ANNEX 30)
An instinct by humans to protect their distinctiveness is evident in
the first responses to the announcement that a sheep has been cloned.
The article says that those who favor cloning stand accused of having
neglected the natural and social environments in which no cloned offspring
had to make their way.
5.5 Let The Study of Cloning Begin
( ANNEX 31 )
An article that presents the arguments of some scientist against
5.6 Reasons Against Cloning
( ANNEX 32)
The article suggest the reasons why we should say no to cloning.
6. ARTICLES FOR CLONING
The following articles present the arguments for cloning.
6.1 Human Embryo Cloning Gaining Acceptance
( ANNEX 33 )
Cloning could be used in medical research that could tackle
ailments such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases.
Philippine Journal, March 10, 1997, p. 2
Today, March 11, 1997, p. 7
Today, March 31, 1997, p. 11
http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/Genetics/rt-shcl.htm, pp. 1-2
Manila Bulletin, September 29, 1999, p. 4
6.2 UK to clone Human Embryos
( ANNEX 34 )
The government of UK or Britain is looking into the idea of
allowing an exception so that cloned embryos could be created by
researchers but not allowed to be kept growing for more than 14 days or
implanted in a womb.
6.3 "Give Clones Their Rightful Dignity'
( ANNEX 35 )
A journalist view of cloning. In support for it, he proposed the
Three Laws of Cloning: 1) A human clone is a human being no less
unique in his or her personhood than an identical twin. 2) A human clone
is a human being with all the rights and privileges that accompany this
moral issues. 3) A human clone is a human being to be accorded the
dignity and respect due any member of our species.
6.4 Human Cloning. Org
( ANNEX 36)
An article that presents all the reasons to clone human beings.
(CONGRESS 30: RRB CLONING)
Manila Standard, April 5, 2000, p. 17
Today, January 6, 2003, p. 6
ping to 21
pluripotent stem cells >>
Aren't the gouls using the younger undifferentiated totipotent cells.
If "ping" means I agree, then ping
Thanks for the ping!
If "ping" means I agree, then ping>>>
No, it means to alert someone to a post or a thread/page.
Ping Putting a freeper's screen name in reply to so that they will see it in self search. Also page.
Thanks for the ping.
If scientists don't know what they are talking about, what makes you think Nancy does?
Hmmmm. Can't let those pesky FACTS get in the way....
If anyone wants on or off my ProLife Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.
Those defending abortion on demand have now focused upon the risk associated to their movement if cannibalistic exploitation of embryos is banned. Why? If what these same liars have been saying for so long --that the mass in the womb is not a human being-- is true, the acts of conceiving them and harvesting them for body parts (stem cells are the body parts of the human being in their embryo age) would not be antithetical to the sanctity of human life. But they might be wrong! What scares the bejeebers out of the ghouls defending heinous acts like partial birth infanticide is: the American people might just be adding things up in the debate over exploiting individual human embryos and cloning individual humans for harvesting. The liars defending abortion on demand must protect their hard fought stance of dehumanization --whether right or wrong, lest the people awaken to realize just how deeply wrong has been the unrelenting defense of the slaughter of unborn individuals!
If the ghouls can obfuscate the truth (that every individual human lifetime begins at conception, and that's true with twinning, also), perhaps they can maneuver the American people into tacitly accepting the cannibalism, so that down the road the reliance upon such cannibalism will preclude admitting how wrong it has been from the very start. Human nature being what it is, evil seeping in to poison the whole by small degrees, leading to rejection of the truth that the whole is poisoned. A prime example is in vitro fertilization: yes, precious children are born from such technological application, but hundreds of thousands of human embryonic 'other' humans are killed or placed into lifeless limbo in the process; if these embryonic lives are human beings living their individual lifetimes at their earliest age, what does that bode for the process? Well, it's wrong application of science! At this juncture of our history, more than a million alive individuals owe their lives to in vitro fertilization; can we ban the procedure at this juncture? The liberal lies and dissembling make it near impossible to do so. The same will happen with the cannibalism of cloning, if we don't stop it NOW, before it is the source of numerous cures of people like Michael J Fox or Christopher Reeves.
To stop the steady march of our culture to cannibalism, the people must know the facts and talk these matters out, in order to be able to make informed decisions IF OUR LEGISLATORS OFFER TO US THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE ON SUCH THINGS ... and I'm afraid their is every indication that our legislators have already sold their souls to the bio-tech lobbies, so we may not get the chance to vote over such issues in specific, only in general, as in candidate referendums of general elections. [Shameless plug time: for more in layman's terms regarding cloning and embryonic stem cell exploitation, click here and download a free manuscript. ]
" ... I'm afraid their is every indication that" that my illness is effecting my grammar. That should read there, not their. So sorry folks.
Thanks for the ping, I wholeheartedly agree!
CELLING LIES (Stem Cell Myths exposed by Michael Fumento) *In 2000, Israeli scientists implanted Melissa Holley's white blood cells into her spinal cord to treat the paraplegia caused when her spinal cord was severed in an auto accident. Melissa, who is 18, has since regained control over her bladder and recovered significant motor function in her limbs - she can now move her legs and toes, although she cannot yet walk. This is exactly the kind of therapy that embryonic-stem-cell proponents promise - years down the road. Yet Melissa's breakthrough was met with collective yawns in the press with the exception of Canada's The Globe and Mail. Non-embryonic stem cells may be as common as beach sand. They have been successfully extracted from umbilical cord blood, placentas, fat, cadaver brains, bone marrow, and tissues of the spleen, pancreas, and other organs. Even more astounding, the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep successfully created cow heart tissue using stem cells from cow skin. And just this week, Singapore scientists announced that they have transformed bone-marrow cells into heart muscle. Research with these cells also has a distinct moral advantage: It doesn't require the destruction of a human embryo. You don't have to be pro-life to be more comfortable with that. *In another Parkinson's case, a patient treated with his own brain stem cells appears to have experienced a substantial remission with no adverse side effects. Dennis Turner was expected by this time to require a wheelchair and extensive medication. Instead, he has substantially reduced his medication and rarely reports any noticeable symptoms of his Parkinson's. Human trials in this technique are due to begin soon.
*Bone marrow stem cells, blood stem cells, and immature thigh muscle cells have been used to grow new heart tissue in both animal subjects and human patients. Indeed, while it was once scientific dogma that damaged heart muscle could not regenerate, it now appears that cells taken from a patient's own body may be able to restore cardiac function. Human trials using adult stem cells have commenced in Europe and other nations. (The FDA is requiring American researchers to stick with animal studies for now to test the safety of the adult stem cell approach.)
*Harvard Medical School researchers reversed juvenile onset diabetes (type-1) in mice using "precursor cells" taken from spleens of healthy mice and injecting them into diabetic animals. The cells transformed into pancreatic islet cells. The technique will begin human trials as soon as sufficient funding is made available.
*In the United States and Canada, more than 250 human patients with type-1 diabetes were treated with pancreatic tissue (islet) transplantations taken from human cadavers. Eighty percent of those who completed the treatment protocol have achieved insulin independence for over a year. (Good results have been previously achieved with pancreas transplantation, but the new approach may be much safer than a whole organ transplant.)
*Blindness is one symptom of diabetes. Now, human umbilical cord blood stem cells have been injected into the eyes of mice and led to the growth of new human blood vessels. Researchers hope that the technique will eventually provide an efficacious treatment for diabetes-related blindness. Scientists also are experimenting with using cord blood stem cells to inhibit the growth of blood vessels in cancer, which could potentially lead to a viable treatment.
*Bone marrow stem cells have partially helped regenerate muscle tissue in mice with muscular dystrophy. Much more research is needed before final conclusions can be drawn and human studies commenced. But it now appears that adult stem cells may well provide future treatments for neuromuscular diseases.
*Severed spinal cords in rats were regenerated using gene therapy to prevent the growth of scar tissue that inhibits nerve regeneration. The rats recovered the ability to walk within weeks of receiving the treatments. The next step will be to try the technique with monkeys. If that succeeds, human trials would follow.
*In one case reported from Japan, an advanced pancreatic cancer patient injected with bone marrow stem cells experienced an 80 percent reduction in tumor size.
* In separate experiments, scientists researched the ability of embryonic and adult mouse pancreatic stem cells to regenerate the body's ability to make insulin. Both types of cells boosted insulin production in diabetic mice. The embryonic success made a big splash with prominent coverage in all major media outlets. Yet the same media organs were strangely silent about the research involving adult cells.
Stranger still, the adult-cell experiment was far more successful - it raised insulin levels much more. Indeed, those diabetic mice lived, while the mice treated with embryonic cells all died. Why did the media celebrate the less successful experiment and ignore the more successful one?
* Another barely reported story is that alternative-source stem cells are already healing human illnesses.
*In Los Angeles, the transplantation of stem cells harvested from umbilical-cord blood has saved the lives of three young boys born with defective immune systems.
*Rather than receiving bone marrow transplants, the three boys underwent stem cell therapy. The experimental procedure worked. Two years post-surgery, their doctors at UCLA Medical Center pronounced the boys cured.
*Last year, Israeli scientists implanted Melissa Holley's white blood cells into her spinal cord to treat the paraplegia caused when her spinal cord was severed in an auto accident. Melissa, who is 18, has since regained control over her bladder and recovered significant motor function in her limbs - she can now move her legs and toes, although she cannot yet walk.
*In 2000, Israeli scientists implanted Melissa Holley's white blood cells into her spinal cord to treat the paraplegia caused when her spinal cord was severed in an auto accident. Melissa, who is 18, has since regained control over her bladder and recovered significant motor function in her limbs - she can now move her legs and toes, although she cannot yet walk.
This is exactly the kind of therapy that embryonic-stem-cell proponents promise - years down the road. Yet Melissa's breakthrough was met with collective yawns in the press with the exception of Canada's The Globe and Mail. Non-embryonic stem cells may be as common as beach sand.
They have been successfully extracted from umbilical cord blood, placentas, fat, cadaver brains, bone marrow, and tissues of the spleen, pancreas, and other organs. Even more astounding, the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep successfully created cow heart tissue using stem cells from cow skin. And just this week, Singapore scientists announced that they have transformed bone-marrow cells into heart muscle.
Research with these cells also has a distinct moral advantage: It doesn't require the destruction of a human embryo. You don't have to be pro-life to be more comfortable with that.
*In another Parkinson's case, a patient treated with his own brain stem cells appears to have experienced a substantial remission with no adverse side effects. Dennis Turner was expected by this time to require a wheelchair and extensive medication. Instead, he has substantially reduced his medication and rarely reports any noticeable symptoms of his Parkinson's. Human trials in this technique are due to begin soon.
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