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Adult Stem Cells: It's Not Pie-in-the-Sky
Focus on the Family ^ | February 3, 2005 | Carrie Gordon Earll

Posted on 03/13/2005 4:26:27 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger

Embryonic stem cells have not cured or successfully treated a single patient. Contrast that with the more than 70 conditions that are treatable using non-embryonic stem cell therapies.

One of the hottest debates in bioethics today surrounds research using stem cells taken from either in vitro fertilization or cloned human embryos. From state legislatures and the halls of Congress to the United Nation, the controversy over whether to ban (or fund) such research rages.

Human cloning for embryonic stem cell research creates human embryos virtually identical to a patient’s genetic composition. The embryo’s stem cells are then harvested — a process that always destroys the embryo. The same fatal process to collect human embryonic stem cells is also used to destroy embryos formed by in vitro fertilization.

Speculation regarding the scientific promise of human embryonic stem cells leads some to dismiss the ethical questions raised by the embryo's destruction. However, embryonic stem cells (human or animal) have not “cured” or treated a single human patient.

Fortunately, there are alternative sources of stem cells for research that do not require the destruction of human life.

Non-embryonic (or adult) stem cells are readily available in sources such as bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, the pancreas and brain, and no lives are lost in the collection process. Currently, more than 70 identified diseases and disabilities that are treatable using non-embryonic stem cells, including breast cancer, leukemia and sickle cell anemia. 1 Researchers also have successfully treated patients with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart damage and spinal cord injuries using non-embryonic stem cell sources.

Adult stem cells provide tangible results to patients today. Consider these examples:

Tangible Therapies for Today

Acute Myloid Leukemia – Sixteen-year-old Nathan Salley is alive today, thanks to stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Nathan told a congressional subcommittee, "I am living proof that there are promising and useful alternatives to embryonic stem cell research. . . . Embryonic stem cell research did not save me – cord blood research did."2

Diabetes – Eleven out of 15 Type 1 diabetes patients are "completely off insulin" after receiving adult pancreatic cell transplants.3

Diabetes – Researchers at Harvard Medical School used animal adult stem cells to grow new islet cells to combat diabetes. Researcher Denise Faustman recalled, "It was astonishing! We had reversed the disease without the need for transplants." Plans for human trials are underway.4

Heart Disease – German heart specialist Bodo Eckehard Strauer successfully treated a heart patient using stem cells from the man's bone marrow: "Even patients with the most seriously damaged hearts can be treated with their own stem cells instead of waiting and hoping on a transplant," Dr. Strauer explained.5

Heart Disease - "Four out of five seriously sick Brazilian heart-failure patients no longer needed a heart transplant after being treated with their own stem cells." 6

Heart Disease - “Patients with heart failure experienced a marked improvement after being given injections of their own stem cells,” thanks to research at the University of Pittsburgh. 7

Heart Disease - Dr. Eduardo Marban, chief of cardiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, called the use of adult stem cells to treat failing hearts, “[t]he single most exciting development in cardiology in the last decade.” 8

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – Thirty-six-year old Susan Stross is one of more than 20 MS patients whose conditions have remained steady or improved after receiving an adult stem cell transplant. The same results are reported with several hundred patients worldwide.9

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - Research conducted by Dr. Mark Freedman at the University of Ottawa suggests that most of the 32 MS patients in the trial “experienced clinical stabilization or improvement of symptoms.” 10

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma – Forty-year-old Mark Fulford was not a match for a conventional bone marrow transplant, so doctors turned to stem cells found in umbilical cord blood. "There are people alive now who wouldn't have been without this, and I'm living proof."11

Paralysis/Spinal Cord Injury - After sustaining paralyzing spinal cord injuries, Susan Fajt, Laura Dominguez and Erica Nader of the U.S. are each regaining muscle control and walking with the aid of braces due to stem-cell transplants from their own nasal cavities conducted in Portugal. Six paralyzed Russian patients are also walking thanks to a similar therapy. 12

Paralysis/Spinal Cord Injury - Maria da Graca Pomeceno of Brazil regained her ability to walk and talk after a bone marrow stem-cell transplant from her pelvis. 13

Paralysis/Spinal Cord Injury - Treatment using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood allow Hwang Mi-Soon of South Korean to walk again with the aid of a walker. “This is already a miracle for me,” says Mi-Soon. 14

Parkinson’s Disease - A California man with Parkinson's disease experienced more than an 80 percent reduction in his symptoms after he received an injection of his own neuronal (brain) stem cells. Dennis Turner says before the treatment, “I couldn’t put my contact lenses in without a big problem. Now it’s not problem.” 15

Sickle Cell Anemia – In his struggle against sickle cell anemia, seventeen-year old Keone Penn experienced suicidal thoughts before an umbilical cord blood transplant cured him of the disease. Today, Penn says, “Sickle cell is now part of my past…Cord blood saved my life.” 16

Stroke - Catholic University of Korea researchers report “great improvement in the paralysis symptoms and speech disorders” in three of five stroke patients who received transplants with their own bone marrow stem cells. 17

Stroke - Brazilian doctors will test a similar treatment on 15 patients after encouraging results with one stroke patient. 18

Promise for Tomorrow

Reports of "Master Stem Cell" discoveries –

"A stem cell has been found in adults that can turn into every single tissue in the body. It might turn out to be the most important cell ever discovered."19

Researchers at New York University School of Medicine announced, "There is a cell in the bone marrow that can serve as the stem cell for most, if not all, of the organs in the body. . . . This study provides the strongest evidence yet that the adult body harbors stem cells that are as flexible as embryonic stem cells."20

McGill University researchers discover "stem cells deep in the skin of rats and humans that can become fat, muscle or even brain cells. . . . Scientists are driven by the hope of bringing science closer to treatments for spinal cord injuries, juvenile diabetes, heart disease and brain disorders — treatments made from patients' own cells."21

These are stem cells from adult bone marrow that do not trigger rejection, "even after the cells differentiate into specialized tissues such as bone or fat." The "cells seem to go only to damaged areas . . . (turning) into heart muscle, blood vessels, and fibrous tissue." 22

Carrie Gordon Earll is the Senior Policy Analyst for Bioethics at Focus on the Family and a fellow with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.

(This page was originally posted on September 12, 2003.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For more information, see expert testimony given at the following U.S. Senate hearings:

June 12, 2003: Hearing on Advances in Adult and Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research

July 14, 2004: Adult Stem Cell Research

September 29, 2004: Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Exploring the Controversy

1National Marrow Donor Program, "Diseases Treatable by Stem Cell Transplant," National Marrow Donor Program 2"Teenager testifies he's ‘living proof' of stem-cell option, Denver Post, July 22, 2001. 3 "Cell grafts lend freedom to diabetics," Medical Post, June 19, 2001. 4"Adult stem cells effect a cure," Harvard University Gazette, July 19, 2001. 5"Stem cell therapy repairs a heart," Daily Telegraph (London), Aug. 25, 2001. 6"Stem cells used to repair heart tissue," MSNBC News, accessed on September 8, 2003 at 7 “Stem cell therapy improves heart failure,” Reuters, January 25, 2005. 8“Scientists try to heal heart with stem cells,”, December 13, 2004. 9"High on the future: Already saving lives, stem cell research may soon be in full swing," Seattle Times, Aug. 20, 2001. 10 “Mixed news on bone marrow transplant,” Paraplegia News, June 1, 2003. 11"Different kind of stem cell already saving lives," (Denver) Rocky Mountain News, August 18, 2001. 12 “Texas stem cell recipients revive debate,” Austin American-Statesman, July 15, 2004; “Paraplegic improving after stem-cell implant,” Indianapolis Star, January 16, 2005; “Doctors in Russia prove stem cells can be used in treating spine injuries, RIA Novosti, December 6, 2004. 13 “Stem cell treatment allows paralyzed Brazilian to walk, talk again,” Agence France Presse, November 19, 2004. 14 “Umbilical cord cells allow paralyzed woman to walk, Daily Telegraph (London), November 30, 2004. 15 “Stem cell transplant works in California case,” Washington Post, April 9, 2002. 16"A voice of hope rings out in Senate,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 13, 2003. 17“Stem cell implant effective in treating cerebral infarction,” The Korea Times, December 9, 2004. 18 “Cells used in stroke work,” Ottawa Sun, November 20, 2004. 19"Ultimate stem cell discovered,", Jan. 23, 2002. 20"Researchers discover the ultimate adult stem cell," Science Daily Magazine, May 4, 2001. 21"Stem cell research matures in Montreal studies," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 19, 2001. 22"No matter who you are, your body won't reject this universal healer," New Scientist, Dec. 15, 2001.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: adultstemcells; bonemarrow; brain; breastcancer; cordblood; fotf; heartdamage; leukemia; lymphoma; ms; multiplesclerosis; nonembryonic; pancreas; parkinsons; parkinsonsdisease; sicklecellanemia; spinalcord; stemcell; stemcellresearch; stemcells; stroke; umbilicalcordblood
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1 posted on 03/13/2005 4:26:29 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger
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To: DaveLoneRanger; Born Conservative

They could have included Amyloidosis, the disease that killed my Dad in October. He was diagnosed too late. If we had known sooner, he could have gotten a bone marrow transplant using his own stem cells. They would have harvested them from his blood.

I bitterly resent every dime wasted on embryonic stem cell research. I hope to raise money to increase education and awareness of this awful disease so that fewer people will suffer like my Father did.

2 posted on 03/13/2005 4:41:31 PM PST by The Game Hen (
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Thanks for posting this! It is so encouraging to hear of the many promising therapies being developed from adult stem cells. Best of all, there are no ethical or moral one has to die so that another may live.

3 posted on 03/13/2005 4:55:44 PM PST by GBA
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To: The Game Hen
Condolences on the passing of your father.

I agree with you.  We should be doing more research with nonembryonic stem cells.

I have an illness, now in remission, which pretty much will inevitably recur.  I continue with periodic "preventive maintenance" chemo therapy.  In April some of my stem cells will be harvested and stored against the day this annoying little beast rears its head again.

I wish your Dad, and all who will become ill with these diseases, had been diagnosed in time to benefit from these wonderful medical technologies. 

4 posted on 03/13/2005 5:02:50 PM PST by Racehorse (Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.)
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To: The Game Hen; DaveLoneRanger

My son died almost 20yrs ago, from Acute Myeloid leukemia...he badly needly a bone marrow transplant, but we had no matching donor....he died....

I am disheartend of course, that he I wish the technology of using umbilical cord blood was available to us at that time...

So many children die of leukemia every single year...hopefully the use of umbilical cord blood will change that, so that no child need ever die from this absolutely ghastly disease...

5 posted on 03/13/2005 5:11:51 PM PST by andysandmikesmom
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To: DaveLoneRanger
We had our daughter's umbilical cord blood banked with ViaCord when she was born. Periodically they call us just to let us know they're still around, and frankly to encourage us to refer people to them.

The last time they called, they told me of a new independent study they plan to have published that finds that the odds of being diagnosed within your lifetime of a disease currently treatable with cord blood stem cells is 1 out of 27. And that if cord blood proves successful in treating heart disease, that figure would jump to 1 out of 2.

Of course, while not all adult stem cells are alike, it's likely that much of this research could prove applicable to these other types of stem cells, too. This is important of course because not everyone has their cord blood banked (including me). But there really is no good reason not to have your children's cord blood banked today; it's a good insurance policy.

6 posted on 03/13/2005 5:20:18 PM PST by mcg1969
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To: The Game Hen

I agree with you...all this damn money and time going into embryonic stem cell research could be going into adult stem cell research that is yielding treatments NOW...not years or decades in the future and without the Nazi-like experimentation that goes with it...

7 posted on 03/13/2005 6:40:09 PM PST by NATIVEDAUGHTER
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To: LauraleeBraswell

Ping ...

8 posted on 03/13/2005 6:42:47 PM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: The Game Hen

I agree with you...all this damn money and time going into embryonic stem cell research could be going into adult stem cell research that is yielding treatments NOW...not years or decades in the future and without the Nazi-like experimentation that goes with it...

9 posted on 03/13/2005 6:42:48 PM PST by NATIVEDAUGHTER
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Thanks! I'm printing this one out!

10 posted on 03/13/2005 7:19:46 PM PST by LauraleeBraswell ( CONSERVATIVE FIRST-Republican second.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger


11 posted on 03/13/2005 8:16:12 PM PST by lainde
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There is a monetary reason for the whine for embryo stem cell research: if embryos can be harvested for their stem cells and the stem cells directed into the tissue lines the researchers seek, then with human cloning, tissue and organ banks matched to broad genetic groupings (a very profitable endeavor with patients dependant upon same for cures) will be controllable and enormous profit awaits.

12 posted on 03/13/2005 9:02:19 PM PST by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I'm a biology/philosophy student. I support stem cell research as long as it does not involve sacrificing a human life (i.e. embryonic). Underdeveloped human life is too precious for us to merely harvest a few cells to benefit a grown person. I think that it would be more beneficial to use one's own stem cells to procreate certain tissues. This way, there is less risk of rejection when, say, a diabetic individual recieves pancreatic tissue that contains his/her own genome and cellular protein receptors. Adult stem cells tend to 'behave' better than embryonic ones- they do not replicate as fast and respond better to inhibiting factors. Embryonic stem cells replicate as fast as they possibly can, and often don't respond to competitive inhibition. In a sense they have the potential to act like tumor cells. This is how adult stem cells, and even some umbilical cells, are more beneficial and even more ethical to use. I think it is great that we are improving lives of those who have congenital disease; however, we must maintain a human approach, and not pretend to be God.

13 posted on 03/13/2005 9:36:32 PM PST by Rosita_Posita
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To: Berosus; blam; dervish; Do not dub me shapka broham; Ernest_at_the_Beach; FairOpinion; ...

ping for the current topic, and this one:

Sweet cell of success
(Major breakthrough in adult stem cell research could end ethical debate)
The Australian | March 22, 2005 | Wayne Smith
Posted on 03/21/2005 7:51:51 AM PST by dead

14 posted on 03/25/2005 8:40:53 AM PST by SunkenCiv (last updated my FreeRepublic profile on Sunday, March 13, 2005.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

I wrote an extensive paper on this for a class I had last semester. My research led to the same conclusions as this writer's. ASC research is far more advanced and offers far more promise than ESC. We should focus our efforts in what we know works.

15 posted on 03/25/2005 8:43:16 AM PST by Trust but Verify (Pull up a chair and watch history being made.)
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To: Rosita_Posita

I agree. Is the scientific furor over embryonic stem cells really fueled by its potential, unproven, or by some hubristic desire to play God with a malleable life form?

16 posted on 03/25/2005 2:13:48 PM PST by dervish (Let Europe pay for NATO)
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To: Trust but Verify

A student Freeper, I'm tickled pink. You're so far the only other student who has used the words "last semester" in a post. :) Tell me, do you encounter any opposition at school? Are you like me, and can barely hold your tongue (oftentimes don't) during indoctrination sessions?

17 posted on 03/25/2005 8:49:09 PM PST by DaveLoneRanger (NY Times - "Experts: Africa, Sudan 'most euphoric' nations in the world")
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To: DaveLoneRanger

Before you get too carried away, I'm what they call a 'non-traditional student'. 44 year-old mom who never went to college and now that my kids are grown, I am finally getting my turn. I really love it. So far I'm in community college, but I'll have to transfer before too long. I don't find a whole lot of venom amongst the staff against conservatives. My math teacher last semester was a ig Bush supporter. And she was a great teacher.

18 posted on 03/26/2005 7:17:46 AM PST by Trust but Verify (Pull up a chair and watch history being made.)
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To: DaveLoneRanger

This thread is worth a bump.

19 posted on 03/26/2005 7:21:22 AM PST by Paul C. Jesup
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To: DaveLoneRanger; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; ..

20 posted on 05/30/2005 7:18:38 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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