Skip to comments.Adult stem cells work there is NO need to harvest babies for their body parts.
Posted on 11/21/2004 6:28:28 PM PST by Coleus
Adult stem cells work there is NO need to harvest babies for their body parts.
The Neolib Attack on Adult Stem Cells [Michael Fumento]
Snake Oil Ron Reagans dishonest presentation.
Stem Cells Not the Priority for Alzheimer's
Ron Reagan Shocker: Stem Cells WON'T Cure Alzheimer's
Adult Stem Cell Research More Effective Than Embryonic Cells
Embryo Vivisection and Elusive Promises Act--California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative
Stem Cells Not the Priority for Alzheimer's
The Stem Cell Cover-Up By Michael Fumento
Lies About Fetal Stem Cell Research [Free Republic]
Stem cells without benefit of embryos
Michael Fumento Interview [DDT, Global Warming, Fuel Cells, Stem Cells, AIDS, Biotech, AD/HD, Etc.]
SELLING LIES (Stem Cell Myths exposed by Michael Fumento)
FREE Book on Stem Cells and Cloning in understandable language
Unborn Children May "Cure" Mothers' Diseases Via Fetal Stem Cells
The Wrong Cure Adult stem cells get the shaft.
by Wesley Smith
The Radical Depth and Scope of the Cloning Agenda
Stem Cell News That Isn't Fit For Print
A most precious gift--Donated Umbilical cord blood saves lives. Just ask these grateful parents
Cord Blood Stem-Cell Research Working
Groundbreaking procedure saves unborn boy's life
Senators Hear Alternatives to Embryonic Stem Cells: Adult Stem Cells, Umbilical Cord Blood
Illinois seeks donations of umbilical-cord blood (for stem cells)
Legislation to Bolster Nation's Supply of Cord Blood Stem Cells
|Alzheimer's gene therapy trial shows early promise
||Drug slows advanced Alzheimer's disease
*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.
This [isolating stem cells from fat] could take the air right out of the debate about embryonic stem cells, said Dr. Mark Hedrick of UCLA, the lead author. The newly identified cells have so many different potential applications, he added, that it makes it hard to argue that we should use embryonic cells. -- Thomas H. Maugh II, Fat may be answer to many illnesses, Los Angeles Times, 4/10/01
With the newest evidence that even cells in fat are capable of being transformed into tissue through the alchemy of biotechnology, some scientists said they are beginning to conclude theyll be able to grow with relative ease all sorts of replacement tissues without resorting to embryo or fetal cells Its highly provocative work, and theyre probably right, said Eric Olson, chairman of molecular biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas Like many biologists, Olson believes that adult, fetal and embryonic stem cell research all merit support its heartening, he said, that almost every other week theres another interesting finding of adult stem cells turning into neurons or blood cells or heart muscle cells. Apparently our traditional views need to be reevaluated. --Rick Weiss, Human Fat May Provide Stem Cells, The Washington Post, 4/10/01
In a finding that could offer an entirely new way to treat heart disease within the next few years, scientists working with mice and rats have found that key cells from adult bone marrow can rebuild a damaged heartactually creating new heart muscle and blood vessels Until now researchers thought that stem cells from embryos offer the best hope for rebuilding damaged organs, but this latest research shows that the embryos, which are politically controversial, may not be necessary. We are currently finding that these adult stem cells can function as well, perhaps even better than, embryonic stem cells, [Dr. Donald] Orlic [of the National Human Genome Research Institute] said. --Robert Bazell, Approach may repair heart damage, NBC Nightly News, 3/30/01.
[Dr. Donald] Orlic said fetal and embryonic stem cell researchers have not been able to show the regeneration of heart cells, even in animals. This study alone gives us tremendous hope that adult stem cells can do more than what embryonic stem cells can do, he said. --Kristen Philipkoski, Adult Stem Cells Growing Strong, Wired Magazine, 3/30/01
Like several other recent studies, the new work with hearts suggests that stem cells retrieved from adults have unexpected and perhaps equal flexibility of their own, perhaps precluding the need for the more ethically contentious [embryonic] cells. --Rick Weiss, Studies Raise Hopes of Cardiac Rejuvenation, The Washington Post, 3/31/01
Umbilical cords discarded after birth may offer a vast new source of repair material for fixing brains damaged by strokes and other ills, free of the ethical concerns surrounding the use of fetal tissue, researchers said Sunday. --Umbilical cords could repair brains, Associated Press, 2/20/01.
"PPL Therapeutics, the company that cloned Dolly the sheep, has succeeded in reprogramming' a cell -- a move that could lead to the development of treatments for diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The Scotland-based group will today announce that it has turned a cow's skin cell into a beating heart cell and is close to starting research on humans... The PPL announcement...will be seen as an important step towards producing stem cells without using human embryos." --"PPL follows Dolly with cell breakthrough," Financial Times, 2/23/01
Because they have traveled further on a pathway of differentiation than an embryos cells have, such tissue specific [adult] stem cells are believed by many to have more limited potential than Embryonic Stem cells or those that PPL hopes to create. Some researchers, however, are beginning to argue that these limitations would actually make tissue-specific stem cells safer than their pluripotent counterparts. University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Glenn McGee is one of the most vocal critics on this point: The emerging truth in the lab is that pluripotent stem cells are hard to reign in. The potential that they would explode into a cancerous mass after a stem cell transplant might turn out to be the Pandoras box of stem cell research. --Erika Jonietz, Biotech: Could new research end the embryo debate? Technology Review, January/February, 2001.
ADULT STEM CELL SUCCESS STORIES
August 27, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - University of Toronto researchers say they are a step closer to a diabetes cure using adult stem cells. The team found pancreas cells from adult mice could be transformed into new islet cells - the cells that produce insulin. The scientists are hoping the same effect will be reproducible in humans. Type I diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent type, usually begins in childhood and involves the destruction of pancreatic islet cells. The restoration of new insulin-producing islet cells would mean a cure, and eliminate the
necessity for ongoing insulin injections for this condition.
Dr Simon Smukler, lead scientist of the study, told the BBC: "People have been intensely searching for pancreatic stem cells for a while now, and so our discovery of precursor cells within the adult pancreas that are capable of making new pancreatic cells is very exciting."
Meanwhile, scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago, using adult stem cells derived from a patient's sister's bone marrow, have successfully treated the woman for crippling rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers reported that her morning stiffness was alleviated before she left hospital, and now, one year later, she is no longer affected by the disease, and able to discontinue all medications. The stem cell treatment resulted in "marked resolution of the disease manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis," according to a Reuters news report.
Adult Stem Cells Fighitng Genetic Disorders
Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Reducing Stroke Damage
by Steven Ertelt
November 21, 2004
Houston, TX (LifeNews.com) -- Some amazing developments are being reported in adult stem cell research, raising new questions about the wisdom of engaging in destructive embryonic stem cell research.
Researchers have now shown that transplanted adult stem cells can improve vision in eyes that have been damaged by retinal disease.
The scientific breakthrough is the cover story in the November issue of the journal "Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science."
These findings hold great promise for potential treatments for people suffering from macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases," Michael Young, the lead author of the study, told the press.
Young and his team tested their adult stem cell theory in mice. The research team speculated that the transplanted cells secreted a substance that saved fragile cells.
"These are the first steps toward the use of stem cells for saving existing vision and then -- down the road -- restoring vision that has already been lost," Young said.
The researchers are now studying whether adult stem cells can be used to improve the vision of pigs, whose eyes more closely resemble human eyes.
In another study, Texas researchers believe they've perfected a way to deliver cancer treatment directly to tumors. While the initial experiments have been done on mice, human trials could begin soon.
The researchers in the Texas study used adult stem cells which move like guided missiles, targeting tumor cells.
In yet another study, in Virginia, adult stem cells taken from human fat have been used to improve the functioning of damaged hearts.
The concept of a person being able to recycle excess or unwanted fat through a procedure that would help them medically is exciting," Dr. Adam Katz of the University of Virginia Medical Center told the Daily Progress newspaper.
Katz called the University of Virginia results promising.
It could have been that we put the cells in and found nothing of worth," Katz told the newspaper. That's not what happened."
Researchers took human fat stem cells from people who had had elective surgeries, such as liposuction, and injected them into the heart muscle of five mice after they had had heart attacks.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, doctors who injected a stroke victim's brain with adult stem cells from bone marrow plan to try the treatment in other patients after some initial hopeful signs.
Dr. Hans Fernando Dohmann told Reuters news service that doctors plan to go ahead with a research project involving 15 patients who will be injected with adult stem cells.
What excites us most is that there is biological activity (in the area affected by the stroke) ... that the injection of cells led to no electric disturbances in the brain, and there was no inflammatory reaction," Dohmann told Reuters.
The initial test subject was a 54-year-old woman who had suffered a stroke in August, leaving her without the ability to talk or move the right side of her body. After doctors injected the adult stem cells, she recovered her ability to move and began to speak again.
Observers note that the tremendous progress being made in adult stem cell research indicates that embryonic stem cell research, which involves the killing of human embryos, is unnecessary.
1From the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; the 2Visual Transplantation Research Group, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom; and 3CHOC Research Institute, Childrens Hospital of Orange County, Orange, California.
PURPOSE. To use progenitor cells isolated from the neural retina for transplantation studies in mice with retinal degeneration.
METHODS. Retinal progenitor cells from postnatal day 1 green fluorescent protein-transgenic mice were isolated and characterized. These cells can be expanded greatly in culture and express markers characteristic of neural progenitor cells and/or retinal development.
RESULTS. After they were grafted to the degenerating retina of mature mice, a subset of the retinal progenitor cells developed into mature neurons, including presumptive photoreceptors expressing recoverin, rhodopsin, or cone opsin. In rho/ hosts, there was rescue of cells in the outer nuclear layer (ONL), along with widespread integration of donor cells into the inner retina, and recipient mice showed improved light-mediated behavior compared with control animals.
CONCLUSIONS. These findings have implications for the treatment of retinal degeneration, in which neuronal replacement and photoreceptor rescue are major therapeutic goals.
One of the primary difficulties with most types of transpant therapies is the risk of rejection; use of adult stem cells avoids this risk because patients can receive cells that are a perfect DNA match (since they're derived from their own). The only way I can see embryonic cells as providing this feature would be if they were derived via cloning. I wish someone would push advocates of ESC "research" to clarify whether that is their intention.
Sat Nov 27,11:14 PM ET
SEOUL (AFP) - A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.
Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades ago.
Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a press conference where South Korea (news - web sites) researchers went public for the first time with the results of their stem-cell therapy.
They said it was the world's first published case in which a patient with spinal cord injuries had been successfully treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood.
Though they cautioned that more research was needed and verification from international experts was required, the South Korean researchers said Hwang's case could signal a leap forward in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.
The use of stem cells from cord blood could also point to a way to side-step the ethical dispute over the controversial use of embryos in embryonic stem-cell research.
"We have glimpsed at a silver lining over the horizon," said Song Chang-Hoon, a member of the research team and a professor at Chosun University's medical school in the southwestern city of Kwangju.
"We were all surprised at the fast improvements in the patient."
Under TV lights and flashing cameras, Hwang stood up from her wheelchair and shuffled forward and back a few paces with the help of the frame at the press conference here on Thursday.
"This is already a miracle for me," she said. "I never dreamed of getting to my feet again."
Medical research has shown stem cells can develop into replacement cells for damaged organs or body parts. Unlocking that potential could see cures for diseases that are at present incurable, or even see the body generate new organs to replace damaged or failing ones.
So-called "multipotent" stem cells -- those found in cord blood -- are capable of forming a limited number of specialized cell types, unlike the more versatile "undifferentiated" cells that are derived from embryos.
However, these stem cells isolated from umbilical cord blood have emerged as an ethical and safe alternative to embryonic stem cells.
Clinical trials with embryonic stem cells are believed to be years away because of the risks and ethical problems involved in the production of embryos -- regarded as living humans by some people -- for scientific use.
In contrast, there is no ethical dimension when stem cells from umbilical cord blood are obtained, according to researchers.
Additionally, umbilical cord blood stem cells trigger little immune response in the recipient as embryonic stem cells have a tendency to form tumors when injected into animals or human beings.
For the therapy, multipotent stem cells were isolated from umbilical cord blood, which had been frozen immediately after the birth of a baby and cultured for a period of time.
Then these cells were directly injected to the damaged part of the spinal cord.
"Technical difficulties exist in isolating stem cells from frozen umbilical cord blood, finding cells with genes matching those of the recipient and selecting the right place of the body to deliver the cells," said Han Hoon, president of Histostem, a government-backed umbilical cord blood bank in Seoul.
Han teamed up with Song and other experts for the experiment.
They say that more experiments are required to verify the outcome of the landmark therapy.
"It is just one case and we need more experiments, more data," said Oh Il-Hoon, another researcher.
"I believe experts in other countries have been conducting similar experiments and accumulating data before making the results public."
Japanese researchers have reported that umbilical cord blood transplants can be carried out more rapidly and achieve better results than unrelated donor stem cell transplants. The details of this report appeared in the December 1, 2004 issue of Blood .
Allogeneic stem cell transplants are an important component of the treatment of adults with acute leukemia. The first choice for a donor of stem cells is an HLA-matched relative; however, such an ideal donor is only available for a minority of patients, resulting in the need to expand the donor pool. It has been determined that related donors who are mismatched for only one HLA antigen are also suitable stem cell donors. Over the past two decades, there has been a marked increase in the number of unrelated donor transplants, with outcomes similar to those achieved with related donor transplants. However, because of genetic disparity, unrelated matched donors cannot be found for many patients, especially for those with unusual HLA types, such as those found in many minority populations. In addition to the genetic problem, many patients die while seeking an unrelated donor, which can be a lengthy process. Umbilical cord blood offers an alternative source of stem cells that are immediately available and there is evidence that the degree of mismatching for HLA antigens is not as it is for marrow or blood stem cells. The major limitation of umbilical cord blood transplants is the low cell number with delayed or absent engraftment. There has been skepticism that single units of cord blood would be adequate for full engraftment in adults.
In a study carried out by the International Bone Marrow Transplant registry, it was reported that transplant-related mortality was similar between umbilical cord blood transplants and mismatched unrelated donor transplants, but worse for umbilical cord transplants when compared to HLA-matched, unrelated donor stem cell transplants. A similar effect was seen for leukemia-free and overall survival, with HLA-matched, unrelated transplants being superior. Another study was reported by the Acute Leukemia Working Party of European Blood and Marrow Transplant Group and the Eurocord-Netcord Registry. This analysis included 682 adults with acute leukemia, of whom 98 received an umbilical cord blood transplant and the remainder received a matched unrelated donor transplant. There were no statistically significant differences in chronic GVHD, transplant-related mortality, relapse, leukemia-free survival or overall survival between umbilical cord blood transplants and HLA-matched unrelated donor transplants.
There were 45 unrelated stem cell recipients and 68 cord blood recipients in this comparison. The median weight of the unrelated donor marrow recipients was 59.6 kg and the median weight of the cord blood recipients was 55.1 kg. Umbilical cord blood transplants were performed at a median of 2 months after initiating a search, compared to 10 months for unrelated marrow recipients. The one year treatment-related mortality was 9% for cord blood recipients and 29% for unrelated marrow recipients. Relapse rates were 16% for cord blood and 25% for unrelated bone marrow. Disease-free survival was 74% for cord blood and 44% for unrelated bone marrow.
Comments: The current study is the first to report survival advantages for umbilical cord blood transplants compared to unrelated donor stem cell transplants. These and other data support the concept that umbilical cord blood transplants are a viable alternative to unrelated donor stem cells. The most important aspect of umbilical cord blood transplants may not be in finding suitable donors, but may instead be the rapidity with which the stem cells can be obtained. Many patients die while a search for an unrelated donor is being carried out and this may change with these promising results.
 Laughlin MJ, Eapen M, Rubinstein P, et al. Outcomes after transplantation of cord blood or bone marrow from unrelated donors in adults with leukemia. New England Journal of Medicine . 2004;351:2265-2275.
 Rocha V, Labopin M, Sanz G, et al. Transplants of umbilical-cord blood or bone marrow from unrelated donors in adults with acute leukemia. New England Journal of Medicine . 2004;351:2276-2285.
4-Year-Old Only The 15th To Receive Procedure
Four-year-old Olivia Medici suffers from a disorder which causes her organs to shut down.Her only hope to live was a Cord Blood Stem Cell transplant. In a North Carolina hospital on Thursday, Olivia became the 15th child in the world to undergo the procedure.
Ahmedabad, Jan 8: The bone marrow stem cell transplant of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) type are now possible in India, opening new avenues for treatment of incurable malignant or genetic disorders.
Dr Alok Shrivastava of the CMC Vellore, who is working on the bone marrow stem cells research said,Our ability to collect and manipulate the HSC so as to purify them has allowed a novel type of transplantation where stem cells from half HLA matched donors, like parents, can be used for transplantation.
The bone marrow stem cells therapy has enabled thousands of patients to be cured with bone marrow transplantation from HLA matched related donors since 1960. More recently, peripheral blood cells have been used with advantage for the same purpose.
He said, the major limitation in this process had been the lack of suitable donors. Search of alternatives had led to large donor registries being created and use of cord blood banks.
Dr Shrivastava, who is here to attend the 92nd Science Congress, said in recent years apart from the HSC, it had become apparent that the bone marrow had other stem cells that could be used for therapy. The best evaluated of these is the MSC.
Both HSC and MSC have been used for tissue repair and regeneration in different situations, he said adding their use for treatment of myocardium had really caught attention with multiple reports from different countries.
Novel applications also included treatment of brain and spinal cord injuries but more animal data is needed before wide clinical applications.
The possibility of treating inflammatory bowel diseases with such cellular therapy in the animal model was also being explored. Apart from the ability to regenerate damaged tissues, msc also seems to have immune modulatory effects.
He said work was also underway to explore whether this could also be used in organ transplantation such as kidney transplant. If successful it would make this modality of treatment more affordable for people as long term immuno-suppression.
He said the MSC which has the tendency to grow rapidly and extensively in culture system made it an attractive option for transduction with genes of interest that could be transferred into human beings lacking their function.Massachusetts State House News
Friday, January 7, 2005
BOSTON - State Sen. Scott Brown, along with Representative-Elect Richard Ross, recently filed legislation that instructs hospitals to inform patients about umbilical cord blood donation.
Recent studies have indicated new uses for donated umbilical cord blood. In addition to its traditional use as a treatment for children with leukemia, umbilical cord blood now appears to be an effective alternative to bone marrow treatment for adults with the disease who are unable to find a bone marrow match.
Donated umbilical cord blood can also provide stem cells for medical research, sidestepping the embryonic cell debate.
"Umbilical cord donation is a great alternative," said Brown. "It avoids the ethical debate over embryonic cells because these cells are obtained after the birthing process is complete."
Cord donation is free to the patient and a certified blood bank works with the hospital to collect the donation. Under current procedures, most umbilical cords are simply thrown away.
The bill instructs hospitals to offer a pregnant patient the option to donate her umbilical cord blood, except in cases where such a donation would contradict the religious doctrine of the hospital. The bill also provides an explicit exemption to a patient's right to donate if medical professionals feel the donation procedure could threaten the health of mother or baby.
"We want expectant mothers to know about this important option to help save lives," said Brown. "It's up to them if they want to participate, but it's important our medical community make the information available."
A constituent first brought this issue to Senator Brown's attention. The bill was then modeled after a similar law in Illinois.
It is a source of constant amazement that demonstrable progress in the use of adult stem cells to treat disease and injury in real people is virtually ignored, while embryonic stem cell research involving rodents gets headlines and editorials, such as the editorial [Jan. 3] trumpeting an experiment in which paralyzed rats were able to walk after being injected with human embryonic stem cells.
January 7, 2005
There were no headlines or editorials, for example, when Song Chang-Hoon, a professor at South Korea's Chosun University's medical school, told the story of Hwang Mi-Soon, a 37-year-old paraplegic who, after being paralyzed for 20 years, was able to rise from her wheelchair and is now shuffling back and forth with the aid of a walker after umbilical cord blood stem cells were injected into her spine.
Some of the studies that led to this virtually unreported Korean miracle were ironically funded by the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, and had Reeve sought the same therapy instead of obsessing about embryonic stem cells, he might have gotten out of his wheelchair as well.
The unreported problems with embryonic stem cells is that they suffer immune system rejection problems, they often cause tumors such as teratomas, and they are extremely difficult to convert to any specific type of cell.
Adult stem cells have been used therapeutically since the 1980s, and there are almost 80 therapies using them -- actual treatments, not theory or research. There have been more than 250 adult stem cell clinical trials. There are zero treatments using embryonic stem cells, and there have been zero clinical trials.
The simple truth is that most progress in stem cell research is being made using the adult rather than the embryonic variety. And the truth is that a biased media is largely ignoring that fact, while portraying opponents of embryonic stem cell research as heartless Bible-thumpers prolonging human suffering.
Daniel John Sobieski, Garfield Ridge
Two weeks after Cindy Aggson returned from her honeymoon, her mother passed away from non-Hodgkins
With a history of cancer in the family -- Cindy's husband, Roger Aggson, also had lost relatives to cancer -- the Washington County couple decided to bank their youngest son's cord blood, an increasingly popular practice that capitalizes on the ability of special cells in the umbilical cord to treat a variety of life-threatening diseases.
"It's like insurance," said Cindy Aggson, who paid $1,700 to bank her now-3-month-old son's cord blood with a private company, the San Bruno, Calif. -based Cord Blood Registry (CBR). "You pay into it, but you don't know if you're going to need it."
Cord blood refers to the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after it is separated from the newborn following childbirth. (Like the placenta, the umbilical cord is usually discarded after childbirth.) Because cord blood is rich in stem cells, a special type of cell that generates blood cells, said Janice Olson, medical director of the Cancer and Blood Disorders Program at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center, it is useful in treating leukemia and other malignancies of the bone marrow as well as some immune deficiencies and sickle cell anemia.
Cord blood stem cells, which regenerate blood, differ from the more controversial embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to differentiate into any cells in the body.
Families who want to bank their child's stem cells have several options. Since CBR's launch 10 years ago, more than 80,000 families have stored cord blood with the company, said spokeswoman Amy Seirer. During that same period, CBR has released 35 samples for client use. In one case, a child's stored cord blood was used in a bone marrow transplant to cure a sibling with sickle cell anemia.
From the mom's perspective, said Aggson, cord blood banking is a simple process. Before her son's birth, Aggson contacted CBR, which mailed a collection kit overnight. In the delivery room, after the umbilical cord was severed, a nurse used a syringe to extract the blood. The Aggsons then used a courier service to ensure the kit would arrive at CBR within 24 hours.
"It was so easy," Aggson said. "Everybody was super friendly and super nice." In addition to the up-front cost, CBR charges a $95 annual storage fee to maintain the cord blood at the requisite minus 180 degrees Celsius.
Despite Aggson's positive experience, most doctors encourage parents to bank cord blood with public agencies rather than private companies.
"I heartily recommend that parents bank cord blood with the Red Cross," Olson said. "I would recommend against banking cord blood privately." Her concerns have less to do with the legitimacy of private-sector practices -- there are several companies that offer the service -- than with the slim chance that a child would actually use his or her own cord blood. Parents who give cord blood to the Red Cross do so with the understanding that it is a donation and that the agency may release the stem cells to others. Over the past year the Red Cross has collected and stored 350 cord blood donations for transplant use and has sent out 100 units.
Over the past 10 years, Olson said, autologous cord blood transplants -- in which the patient receives stem cells that have come from her own blood -- have rarely been used. Research suggests that allogenic cord blood transplants -- in which blood comes from someone other than the patient -- are more effective in treating diseases, she said.
Parents should weigh the relatively high expenses of private storage against the small possibility that a child will actually develop a life-threatening disease, said Alfred Ono, Aggson's obstetrician at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center. "It's similar to people saying, 'What if I get testicular cancer? Should I save my sperm now?' The question is, do you really want to spend that money?"
For Aggson, the answer is a definite yes, "even if there's just a slight chance I will use this," she says. "I would never forgive myself if I decided not to pay the money and something happened."
Besides, she adds: "Who knows what they might be able to do with cord blood in the future? I believe in technological advances."
SAN BRUNO, Calif., Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Coming to the end of a year of geometric growth, Cord Blood Registry (CBR), the world's leading newborn stem cell bank, has won a second decisive victory against PharmaStem Therapeutics, Inc.'s claims of patent infringement relating to CBR's newborn stem cell (cord blood) preservation business. U.S. District Judge Gregory M. Sleet, who had already overturned a multi- million dollar jury verdict awarded to PharmaStem Therapeutics, Inc., dealt a further setback when he denied PharmaStem a second trial in the patent case. Judge Sleet ruled that CBR did not infringe on either of the two patents that the jury relied on in their October 2003 verdict. "There was no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find that the companies infringed the patents," Sleet wrote in an eight-page opinion. Both PharmaStem patents are currently under re-examination by the Patent and Trademark Office. "We are pleased that the court recognizes the overwhelming evidence presented and has denied a new trial," says Stephen Grant, VP and co-founder of CBR. "The decision enables us to keep our focus on the rapidly expanding market demand and the high quality, lifesaving service that we provide." CBR's 35th transplant is scheduled to take place this week in California. As of December 2004, CBR had provided more clients with stem cells for medical therapies than all other family cord blood banks combined. Studies have shown that survival rates can more than double when genetically related newborn stem cells are used for patients compared to unrelated newborn stem cells. "Our service is a critical part of giving families access to the best medical treatments available," says Grant. "The PharmaStem patents threatened to require a licensing fee for each unit stored, which would have increased costs to families." Derived from the blood remaining in the umbilical cord following birth, newborn stem cells are used to treat serious diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, and sickle cell anemia. Because it can only be collected at birth, a growing number of expectant parents are arranging to store their newborns' stem cells as both "biological insurance" in case of future illness and as a "biological resource" to take advantage of new treatments using their regenerative power for treating diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer's, and repairing damage from heart attack, stroke, and even spinal cord injury. Recently, newborn stem cells made headlines in the highly publicized story of a paralyzed 37-year-old South Korean woman who was able to walk for the first time in 20 years after being treated with newborn stem cells. (Visit http://www.cordblood.com to see more about this story.) This and other news about emerging therapies has lead to an increase in demand for CBR's cord blood banking service. "Our enrollments are up more than 100% over this time last year," says Johnnie Domingue, CBR's CFO and COO. About Cord Blood Registry Cord Blood Registry is the leader in newborn stem cell processing and cryopreservation for familial use in transplantation and regenerative medicine. The stem cells preserved by CBR are collected immediately after the birth of a newborn and are then available to be used in treatments for the newborn, siblings, and any compatible genetic family member. Once transplanted, the cells have the ability to repair damaged or diseased tissues with little risk of rejection and increased long-term survival. The company's research and development is focused on advancing the collection, processing, and storage methods to optimize quality and cell yield. Additionally, CBR facilitates collection of donated research samples, available for the nearly 200 research programs worldwide that are focused on stem cell expansion and cell-based therapies. For more information visit http://www.cordblood.com, or call 1-888-CORD BLOOD. Cord Blood Registry is a registered trademark of Cbr Systems, Inc. Media Relations Contact: Rita Kennen, Cord Blood Registry 1-800-588-6377, Ext. 239 firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.cordblood.com/SOURCE Cbr Systems, Inc.
South Dakota Bill would set up cord-blood donation system
PIERRE - New mothers in South Dakota would be able to donate the medically valuable blood from their babies' umbilical cords and placentas under a bill to be offered by Rep. Elizabeth Kraus, R-Rapid City.
The state has no system under which to donate cord blood, Kraus said. Cord blood, which contains stem cells and can be used in place of bone-marrow transplants, is currently discarded as medical waste.
"Something that is normally wasted can be used to save and improve lives without taking a life," Kraus said.
Kraus will introduce her bill when the Legislature convenes its 2005 session on Tuesday, Jan. 11.
The stem cells in cord blood are less controversial than embryonic stem cells, Kraus said.
Kraus's bill would require hospitals to offer each new mother the option of donating the cord blood. The expense of collecting, transporting and storing the blood would be borne by the cord-blood bank that takes the donation, she said.
Kraus's bill will follow federal legislation passed in 2001 that helped establish a national registry of cord blood, according to the Web site for the National Marrow Donor Program, www.marrow.org. The registry helps match patients suffering from blood diseases such as leukemia and others who would otherwise need a bone-marrow transplant. Earlier this year, Illinois became the first state to require hospitals to give new mothers the option of donating cord blood.
Scientists are studying the blood-forming cells from cord blood as a new method for treating patients with life-threatening diseases, including leukemia, lymphomas, immune-system disorders and inherited metabolic diseases.
According to the National Marrow Donor Program, blood in the umbilical cord and placenta is unique because it contains large numbers of blood-forming cells. Cord blood does not contain the antigens that cause the human body to attack blood cells taken from another person's body, a trait that makes them easier to match from donor to recipient.
The national registry allows doctors to match donors and patients in the same way they match organ donors and recipients.
When cord blood is donated, the blood usually 3 to 5 ounces is drained from the umbilical cord and placenta, tested and stored in a liquid nitrogen freezer at a cord-blood bank, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.
Some families pay a fee to store their cord blood in case it is needed by the child whose birth it came from or by a sibling. Studies have shown that cord blood remains useful for as long as 10 years.
Health Alert: Cord blood for leukemia patients
Chicago-NBC) Dec. 23, 2004 - Charles Ford says blood from an umbilical cord helped him survive leukemia, "Without this I probably would have died."
Charles knows he is not out of the woods yet, but at least now he has a fighting chance against the killer disease, "I have a leukemia that's very aggressive, one if the worst types."
He is only the third adult patient at the University of Chicago Hospitals to undergo what's called a cord blood stem cell transplant.
His body was flooded with chemotherapy and radiation that killed both his cancer and his immune system. Then he got a fresh immune system from the rich source of stem cells: the donated blood of a baby's umbilical cord.
Doctor Koen Van Besien, the director of stem cell transplantation at the University of Chicago, says, "The major advantage's that it allows us to find the source of donor stem cells for patients who otherwise don't have a donor."
Doctor Van Besien offers cord blood transplants, because there are not enough of the standard bone marrow donors to go around, especially for minority communities. As a result about one in two patients die because they can't get a bone marrow transplant in time to save their lives.
Still, until now, cord blood transplants were considered inferior to bone marrow, at least for adults. That's changed thanks to two new studies published in "The New England Journal of Medicine." Both show that cord blood is just as good a source as the bone marrow that comes from unrelated donors.
Doctor Van Besien says, "This has the potential over time to save thousands of lives."
Charles says, "It's looking good. If it is working like it is supposed to, all the cancer will be gone."
The success rate, even for a fully-matched bone marrow. is about one in three, so while stem cell transplants are not a sure thing.
University of Minnesota researchers will present the promising results from adult umbilical cord blood studies for patients with cancers of the blood and bone marrow. These studies' findings provide solutions to the problems outlined in recently published studies in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
"The results of our studies are a triumph in a treatment that has been largely viewed as only possible in children and adolescents," said John Wagner, M.D., professor of pediatrics and scientific director of clinical research, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Institute.
A major limitation of adult cord blood transplantation highlighted in the NEJM articles is the high likelihood of patients dying early after transplant. This likelihood is due to: poor recovery of the patient's blood cell counts as a result of the relatively low number of cells in cord blood compared to bone marrow, or toxicity from the high doses of chemotherapy and radiation used in conventional transplant regimens.
The University of Minnesota Blood and Marrow Transplant Program have addressed these issues in two separate studies. In the first study, the combined use of two cord blood units from different donors was investigated as a way to increase the number of cord blood cells given to the patient on transplant day. Thirty-one patients were given high-dose chemotherapy and radiation, in which all the patient's bone marrow is destroyed, and then transplanted with two partially matched umbilical cords. The matching criteria is less stringent in cord blood than bone marrow. All of the patients engrafted successfully with cord blood cells with a low incidence of serious transplant complications and very promising survival compared to the previous studies.
In the second study, a group of 59 patients who were not eligible for high doses of chemotherapy and radiation (due to their older age, extensive prior chemotherapy treatment, or other serious co-existing diseases) were treated with a "reduced intensity" regimen involving lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation. These patients were then transplanted with cord blood from either one or two donors. In this study, 89 percent of the patients engrafted successfully overall with 98 percent of patients engrafting if they had recent chemotherapy before the transplant or a prior transplant. Despite the high-risk nature of this patient group, the risk of life-threatening transplant complications was relatively low even in older patients or those with a prior transplant.
"These remarkable results represent a significant advance in the practice of adult cord blood transplantation. These approaches allow us to offer potentially life-saving transplant therapy to many patients who have previously been denied such treatment," said Juliet Barker, MBBS(Hons), assistant professor of medicine, Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.
The studies were funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study on transplants from two partially HLA-matched umbilical cord blood units is being published in the February print edition of the journal Blood and is currently available online at www.bloodjournal.org.
The Academic Health Center is home to the University of Minnesota's six health professional schools and colleges as well as several health-related centers and institutes. Founded in 1851, the University is one of the oldest and largest land grant institutions in the country. The AHC prepares the new health professionals who improve the health of communities, discover and deliver new treatments and cures, and strengthen the health economy.
|Country, INDIA, ahead in stem cell research, say scientists|
Ahmedabad, January 5: While scientists around the world debate the ethical issues surrounding use of stem cells for medical treatment, India has already taken lead in this direction and has conducted the worlds biggest and most successful adult stem cell experiment, say scientists.
Dr D Balasubramaniam, director of Hyderabads L V Prasad Eye Institute, who is in Ahmedabad to attend the 92nd Indian Science Congress, says, The LV Prasad Eye Institute has been into adult stem cell research for the last six years and doctors at the hospital have successfully reconstructed over 160 damaged retinas using stem cells.
Scientists have been successful in taking adult stem cells from the limbus of the eye and using them to reconstruct the damaged outer surface of the eye, he says.
Dr Balasubramaniam also claims this is the largest and the most successful stem cell trials in the world.
Similar efforts using stem cells for treating cardiac ailments are being carried out at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore.
Dr Aloke Srivastava from CMC, also here for the Congress says, The institute is currenlty engaged in trials wherein stem cells from patients bone marrow are taken and injected into the damaged portion of his heart. After implant these adult bone marrow cells take over the function of heart muscles.
Dr Deepika Mohanty, director of Institute of Immuno-Haematology in Mumbai says, While ethical issues surround the use of embryonic stem cells, we have found a way out and are currently engaged in research on stem cells obtained from the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord blood stem cells have emerged as an ethical and safe option to embryonic stem cells research. And we are also looking at establishing umbilical cord banks in Mumbai and other parts of the country.
The subject has excited researchers across the world after they knew how to differentiate these stem cells (embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells) into a variety of other cells in the human body.
Doctors soon started believing that these blank cells can be developed into cells of the heart, brain, skin and bones and go a long way in finding cures for many serious diseases.
There is the ethical issue of raising expectations of patients when we ourselves are uncertain of the results with stem cells. We do not want to go around claiming that the technique is perfected unless we get positive and replicable results in clinical trails, said Dr Willam Wijns who heads the stem cell research programme in Belgium.
But according to Dr Balasubramaniam the issue is not disturbing scientists here. There are no ethical issues in the work. We have proved that it works.
Umbilical-cord blood, now used mostly to treat children with leukemia, could save thousands of adults with the disease each year who cannot find bone marrow donors, two big studies indicate.
A European study found that those who got cord blood were just as likely to be free of leukemia two years later as those who got marrow. A U.S. study looking at three-year survival yielded results almost as promising.
To Dr. Mary Horowitz of the Medical College of Wisconsin, senior author of the U.S. study, the message is clear: Umbilical cord blood can save adults.
Leukemia patients often undergo radiation or chemotherapy to kill their cancerous white blood cells - a treatment that wipes out their immune systems, too. To restore their immune systems, doctors give these patients an infusion of bone marrow or umbilical cord blood, both of which contain stem cells capable of developing into every kind of blood cell.
Cord blood offers an important advantage over marrow that makes it particularly valuable for use in transplants: Its stem cells are less likely to attack the recipient's body. That allows a wider margin of error in matching up donors and recipients.
But up to now, cord blood has been considered suitable only for children, because each donation has only about one-tenth the number of stem cells in a marrow donation.
The two new studies, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, suggest that is not a serious impediment.
In the European study, involving 682 patients, about one-third of both those who got matched marrow and those who got cord blood that did not quite match their own tissues were alive after two years. In the U.S. study of 601 patients, about one-third of those who got matched marrow were leukemia-free after two years, compared with about one-fifth of those who got cord blood or unmatched marrow.
Both studies were based on records from transplants in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Using cord blood could improve the odds of getting a transplant for the 16,000 U.S. adult leukemia patients each year who cannot find a compatible marrow donor, said the U.S. study's leader, Dr. Mary J. Laughlin of Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland.
Still, Dr. Nancy Kernan, assistant chief of marrow transplantation at Memorial-Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, said cord blood transplants in adults should be done only as part of studies to look at and improve their effectiveness.
Public cord blood banks - where blood drawn from umbilical cords and placentas at birth is kept frozen - need to quadruple their supply to find a match for every leukemia patient who needs one. With 4 million births a year in this country, and most cord blood thrown away, that should not be a problem once more public money comes into play, doctors said.
A federal Institute of Medicine committee is already looking into the best way to set up a national cord blood supply, and is scheduled to complete its report in March.
"I know our committee will consume this study avidly," said Kristine Gebbie, chairman of the group.
The first bone marrow transplants were done in the 1960s; cord blood transplants started in the 1990s. Stem-cell transplants save only 20 percent to 30 percent of the patients who hope to grow new immune systems. But without the treatment, virtually all of them would die.
Some researchers said techniques they have developed in the past two years, since the study ended, already have boosted their success.
Most doctors consider cord blood more appropriate for smaller people, because it contains fewer stem cells than marrow. In the two studies, cord blood recipients tended to weigh less than those who got marrow - an average of 22 pounds less in the U.S. research, about 18 in the European study.
There are two competing U.S. public cord bank systems, one holding about 38,000 vials, the other 27,000. Together, they do not add up to the supply kept by just one of the 20 or so private banks kept for paying families.
Success Stories with Adult Stem Cells Coming in Almost Too Fast to Track
January 20, 2005 LifeSiteNews.com - Success stories about adult stem cell treatments are coming in so fast that LifeSiteNews.com, one of the few newswire services to follow the issue closely, is having trouble keeping up. While most disease research organizations, such as Juvenile Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and the Canadian Cancer Society, continue to promote the use of living embryonic human beings for experimentation, the only success stories to date have all come from the use of adult stem cells.
Adult stem cells are distinguished from those derived from embryos, and do not necessarily mean only those from adult patients. Adult stem cells are being found in abundance in blood taken from the umbilical cord for example. Three stories have appeared only today that show where the real hope lies in stem cell research.
A young American woman, Erica Nader, injured in a car accident and paralysed from the upper arms down, has been treated for a spinal cord injury using stem cells taken from her nose and implanted in the spinal cord at the site of the injury. The procedure, which is performed nowhere else in the world was performed by a team of surgeons in Portugal at Lisbon's Egas Moniz Hospital. After three years, magnetic imaging resonance tests (MRI's) show that the cells indeed promote the development of new blood cells and synapses, or connections between nerve cells, says Dr. Carlos Lima, chief of the Lisbon team.
Nader is recovering slowly but steadily. She was paralyzed from her biceps down and three years ago had no finger movements. Now, she can do exercises on a floor mat and walk with leg braces on a treadmill.
Treating children suffering from blood disorders such as leukemia with adult stem cells is common, but treatment for adults is difficult because of the scarcity of cells that can be taken from an adult. Today the American Society of Hematology reports that the problem is being overcome by a new technique that combines two cord blood units from different donors for transplantation into adult or adolescent leukemia patients. Cord blood is more tolerant of differences between patient and donor, making it possible to perform cord blood transplants without an exact match.
With this new technique of increasing the dose by combining two units, this procedure could be made available to thousands more patients and has the potential to save many lives, said one of the authors of the University of Minnesota study.
Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital have found that the spleen may be a source of potential adult stem cells that contain a protein called Hox11, which is associated with embryonic development and limb regeneration. Previously it was believed that the protein was only found in embryos. The spleen was also found to contain stem cells that were involved in the production of insulin. The new discovery, says Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the hospital's Immunobiology Laboratory, could mean that There may be a previously undiscovered pocket of primitive stem cells in the spleen that are important for healing several types of damage or injury.
Paraplegic improving after stem-cell implant
Cord Blood Transplantation Now a Viable Option for Adult Leukemia Patients
Physicians at Emory University School of Medicine are conducting a clinical trial using stem cells generated within the bone marrow to grow new blood vessels that could improve circulation in patients with blockages in the arteries of their legs -- a condition called peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Individuals with PVD have decreased blood flow to the muscles of the legs, especially during exercise, which causes pain, aching, cramping or fatigue in the muscles of their legs when they walk. This condition also is called "intermittent claudication."
The Emory team, led by cardiologist Arshed A. Quyyumi, MD, and cardiology fellow Veerappan Subramaniyam, MD, is using colony stimulating factors (growth factors), to prod the bone marrow to release a type of stem cells called endothelial progenitor cells, which are used by the body to form new blood vessels or to repair damaged ones.
Decreased blood flow in the legs is caused by the blockage or narrowing of the arteries due to build-up of cholesterol. Normally, with exercise, the blood vessels dilate (get bigger), but clogged blood vessels constrict during exercise. In some individuals the vascular system corrects the problem on its own either by forming new blood vessels, called "collaterals," that bypass the blockages, or by repairing the diseased blood vessels. This repair process results in improved circulation even during exercise. Some people are not able to repair their own vessels, however, and physicians don't completely understand the reasons why.
Recent studies show that when muscles do not receive enough blood, the body makes growth factors that stimulate the bone marrow to release stem cells that "home" to the muscle that is not getting enough blood. These stem cells include endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which is the type of cell needed to make new blood vessels and to repair damaged ones.
Patients in the clinical trial will be given an injection of either a growth factor called GM-CSF (granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor) or placebo (sterile salt water) three times a week for two weeks. The level of EPCs in the volunteers' blood will be measured before, during and after administration of the drug or placebo. The study is randomized and blinded, which means that volunteers will not know whether they are receiving the study drug or the placebo.
The goal of the study is to determine if and how much GM-CSF will increase the number of circulating EPCs in patients with peripheral vascular disease. Another goal is to find out whether or not increasing the number of circulating EPCs results in improved blood flow to the leg, improved blood vessel function and improvement of patients' symptoms.
Currently, GM-CSF is approved by the FDA for several uses, including in cancer patients to increase the number of white blood cells to fight infection after chemotherapy; in healthy individuals serving as bone marrow donors to stimulate the bone marrow to release stem cells; and in patients who have had a bone marrow transplant to increase the number of white blood cells. It is still considered experimental, however, for use to increase the level of EPCs in patients with peripheral vascular disease.
The investigators are seeking patients in whom prior treatments, including surgery or angioplasty, have been unsuccessful, or patients for whom those treatments are not options. To find out more about the study and eligibility, call 404-712-0170.
Editor's Note: The original news release can be found here.
When Leigh Faria's first child was born on May 30, she did not hesitate to donate the umbilical cord blood to the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank so someone else could live.
Donation is free and anonymous
Women considering donating umbilical cord blood to the public Hawaii Cord Blood Bank after their baby is delivered should decide by the sixth month of pregnancy.
They should be at least 18, in good health, with a normal pregnancy. They only need to fill out a screening form.
There is no cost to the family and the donation is anonymous.
To sign up as an umbilical cord donor, obtain more information or contribute to the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank, call 983-BANK (2265) or see the Web site: www.HCBB.org.
Faria, 25, of Kaneohe, teaches kindergarten and first grade in the Hawaiian-language immersion program at Waiau Elementary School. She had decided to make the donation long before she gave birth.
She said Candido Barbieto, father of their son, Kaha, was "real supportive. ... It was just so easy.
"They should make everybody do this."
Umbilical cord blood contains the same rich stem cells as bone marrow and can be used to treat patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The blood is collected from the umbilical cord after the baby is delivered.
Cord blood donated from Hawaii newborns has already resulted in four matches to Asian patients on the mainland with aggressive forms of leukemia, said Dr. Randal Wada, founder and medical director of the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank.
The volume drawn from the umbilical cord comprises a unit. Some are bigger than others and suitable for larger patients, Wada said. "More is better."
The first cord blood unit matched from Hawaii went to a 49-year-old woman in Illinois last August; the second, in September, to a 2-year-old boy in Minnesota; the third, in November, to a 17-year-old girl in Texas; and the fourth, last week, to a 15-year-old boy in North Carolina.
"These four people had a second chance from something we would have tossed in the trash," Wada said. "This is recycling someone's life. It's quite remarkable," he added, noting the young Hawaii bank has collected only about 550 units. Most cord blood banks only start getting matches after an inventory of a couple thousand blood units, he said.
The nonprofit Hawaii Cord Blood Bank is one of fewer than two dozen public cord blood banks in the country and the only one in the Pacific. Thus, cord blood collected from Hawaii's racially diverse newborns greatly increases chances of a match for patients with aggressive cancer, Wada said.
The Cord Blood Bank collaborates with the Blood Bank of Hawaii and the Puget Sound Blood Center in Seattle. The Blood Bank sends the cord blood within 24 hours after it is collected to Puget Sound where it is processed, tested, preserved and entered into the National Marrow Donor Program's cord blood database.
Mothers donating cord blood will never know if it saves anyone's life, Wada noted, but for every match, "a mother can look at her baby and say, 'It could have been you.'"
A molecular biologist and bone marrow transplant surgeon at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Wada performed the first cord blood transplant at UCLA Medical Center in 1996, saving the life of an 8-year-old boy with leukemia.
He established the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank in 1998 with the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children and an initial contribution from Emily O. Castle.
"It's such a wonderful program," Castle said, expressing pride in the four patient matches to date.
The Queen's Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente's Moanalua Medical Center and Tripler Army Medical Center are participating in the program, as well as Kapiolani.
The program depends on donations to cover costs of about $75,000 to $100,000 a year to collect, process and store the blood. "This is like a little garage cord blood unit, operating on a shoestring and the aloha of hundreds of doctors and families," Wada said.
But now that it is getting some matches, he said, the program hopes to become self-sustaining. It is seeking state funding to help with operational expenses and is negotiating with the Puget Sound center to share third-party reimbursements for cord blood matches and federal payments for recruitment of minority donors.
The program also is seeking a closer partnership with the Blood Bank of Hawaii, which has a federal grant to build and staff facilities to store and process cord blood, Wada said.
Lynette Matsumoto, the program coordinator, says it is "more of a cause, a mission, than a job."
Her son died of leukemia at age 12. One of her two daughters, now 21 and 16, was a match for a bone marrow transplant, which Wada performed at UCLA. However, there were complications with a fungal infection, Matsumoto said.
Wada invited her to join the Cord Bank last September. "It was a way of me helping other families going through the same thing," she said.
"The pain never goes away, but it gets better every day when I speak to a mommy. ... It's my way of giving back for what people have done for our family."
Lisa Wong-Yamamoto, Kapiolani labor and delivery nurse and cord blood educator, said misinformation, language barriers and a 10-page front and back screening form discourage some women from signing up as cord blood donors.
Kapiolani has about 500 deliveries a month, and each of the other three participating hospitals has about 200, Wong-Yamamoto said. "If we can collect half of those, that would be wonderful. That would be like a dream."
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith DONUM VITAE Actress Brooke Shields aborted How Many of her own Children by undergoing 7 IVF Treatments
Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation
Replies to Certain Questions of the Day
February 22, 1987
Actress Brooke Shields aborted How Many of her own Children by undergoing 7 IVF Treatments
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.