Stem Cell - Archive

January 2005: Cloning & Stem Cell Research

Woman Walks Again After Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Reparation

 

Stem Cells May Heal Multiple Sclerosis Damage: Promising Results Seen in Lab Tests on Mice 

 

Adult Stem Cell Research Can Improve Vision, Treat Cancer and Heart Damage

 

British Researchers To Attempt Liver Damage Repair Using Bone Marrow Stem Cells

 

New Type of Adult Stem Cell Shows Exciting Similarity to Embryonic Stem Cell Flexibility

 

Phenomenal Ethical Stem Cell Research

 

Canadian Biotechnology Expert Denounces the Creation of ‘Quasi-Embryos’ as “Morally Repugnant”

 

WOMAN WALKS AGAIN AFTER UMBILICAL CORD STEM CELL REPARATION – a South Korean woman, paralyzed and bedridden for 20 years, is walking again (with the help of a walking aid), 6 weeks after scientists repaired her damaged spine, using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood (12Oct04).

The South Korean research team says that this case could signal a leap forward in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. “We have glimpsed at a silver lining over the horizon,” said an excited Song Chang-Hoon, professor at Chosun University medical school. “We were all surprised at the fast improvements in the patient.”

According to experts, umbilical cord blood stem cells seldom trigger negative immune response from recipients; thus, there are less problems with such transplants. On the other hand, embryonic stem cells still have immune problems and also have a tendency to develop into tumors after injection into animals or humans.

In this surgery, multipotent stem cells found in umbilical cord blood were directly injected into the damaged part of Soon’s spinal cord. [“Paralyzed Woman Walks Again After Stem Cell Therapy,” Turkish Press, November 28, 2004; 1Dec04; http://www.turkishpress.com/world/news.asp?id=041128052107.dqbl72q0.xml; Reclaiming America, 7Dec04] 

The results were similar to those revealed in July in Washington, D.C., for two young American women. Susan Fajt, from Texas, and Laura Dominguez, from San Antonio, began walking with braces after receiving transplants with their own stem cells from pioneering Portuguese surgeon Carlos Lima. He transplanted stem cells from the olfactory tissue between the nose and brain to the location of the injuries to their spinal cords. Fajt was paralyzed in her lower body and Dominguez from the neck down from separate car wrecks in 2001.

Similarly, Brazilian doctors reported they used stem cells from a paralyzed woman’s bone marrow to restore quickly her ability to walk and talk [Nov. 19 AFP]. Pomeceno, 54, suffered a brain hemorrhage that left her paralyzed on one side of her body, but doctors in Rio De Janeiro transplanted the stem cells 5 days later. The director of Rio De Janeiro’s Pro-Cardiaco Hospital:“I would say that we have entered a new era in treating this condition.”    

The U.S. government provided more than $190 million in funding for non-embryonic stem cell research in 2003, according to the White House. Meanwhile, $24.8 million was set aside the same year for embryonic stem cell research under President Bush’s policy, which permits funds only for embryo-destructive stem cell lines in existence before he instituted the restriction in 2001.

California’s voters approved in 11/04 a proposition that legalizes and underwrites destructive embryonic stem cell research, as well as “therapeutic” cloning, with up to $3 billion in state bonds over 10 years. Advocates for embryo-destructive research in MA, WI and IL are promoting similar funding plans. 

Non-destructive research, however, has many private benefactors. Lupus, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Crohn’s disease and diabetes are among the ailments that have already been successfully treated with non-embryonic stem cells — adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells. [Agence France-Presse (AFP); Oct. 12 Korea Times    Keener Communications Group, December 2004; http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Dec04/Art_Dec04_13.html; N Valko RN, 3Dec04]

ADULT STEM CELLS MAY HEAL MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS DAMAGE: PROMISING RESULTS SEEN IN LAB TESTS ON MICE  — Adult stem cells might be able to reverse damage caused by multiple sclerosis (MS), helping 2.5 million people worldwide who have MS, including about 400,000 Americans.  

Guiseppe Scotti, MD, and colleagues focused on adult neural stem cells because they can start a chain reaction that leads to myelin production [Scotti is prof/chair,  neuroradiology, Italy’s Univ & Scientific Institute San Raffaele, dean, medical school, Milan’s Univ Vita-Salute San Raffaele].

Scotti’s team injected neural stem cells into adult mice with an MS-like disease. Only one day after the injection, they had positioned themselves near damaged brain regions.

All 6 mice that got the neural stem cell injection had “almost complete recovery”. Untreated mice weren’t so fortunate. Their disease and disability progressed. [Radiological Society of North America 90th Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting, Chicago, Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2004. WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: “Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Topic Overview.” 1Dec04 News release, reviewed by B. Nazario, MD; http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/97/104310.htm]

ADULT STEM CELL RESEARCH CAN IMPROVE VISION, TREAT CANCER AND HEART DAMAGE – (A) transplanted adult stem cells can improve vision in eyes that have been damaged by retinal disease [cover story, Nov issue, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science Journal] holding “promise for people suffering from macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases,” Dr. Michael J. Young et al [Harvard Medical School Boston] cured mice of retinal disease using mice stem cells.

The stem cells transformed into the nerve cells and repaired the damage. The treated mice have shown improved response to light. They are now studying whether adult stem cells can be used to improve the vision of pigs, whose eyes more closely resemble human eyes.

(B) 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.

(C) In a Virginia study, adult stem cells taken from human liposuctioned fat have been used to improve the functioning of damaged hearts in mice.

Dr. Hans Fernando Dohmann: [Reuters news service] doctors plan to go ahead with a research project involving 15 stroke patients who will be injected with adult stem cells.

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. [21Nov04, [http://www.lifenews.com/bio574.html; N Valko RN, 23Nov04]

BRITISH RESEARCHERS TO ATTEMPT LIVER DAMAGE REPAIR USING BONE MARROW STEM CELLS – London’s Hammersmith Hospitals are working to reverse the damage caused by advanced cirrhosis of the liver using patients’ own stem cells derived from bone marrow.

About 4,000 people/yr die in the UK of the disease. The stem cells are collected from the patients’ blood, cultured and then injected into the hepatic artery in the liver.

In Japan, experiments on mice have shown improvement in damaged livers with the use of bone marrow stem cells. The mice were injected with green-dyed stem cells; after a few weeks, all the injected green cells had migrated to the liver and caused the amount of fibrous tissue in the liver to decrease significantly. [16Dec04 LifeSiteNews.com]

NEW TYPE OF ADULT STEM CELL SHOWS EXCITING SIMILARITY TO EMBRYONIC STEM CELL FLEXIBILITY – The stem cell, called a neural crest stem cell, is one that develops before birth and persists into adulthood in hair follicles.

Like all stem cells derived from a patient’s own body, neural crest stem cells do not prompt immune system rejection and they have been shown to have an unusually ready ability to change into many types of tissue. Early studies have shown that they are able to differentiate into neurons, nerve supporting cells, cartilage/bone cells, smooth muscle cells, and pigment cells.

The research will apply neural crest stem cells in cell replacement therapy for heart disease, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease & MS. [Sieber-Blum, Ph.D. Medical College of Wisconsin; Grim, MD Ph.D., Charles Univ Prague, LifeSiteNews.com, 13Dec04]

PHENOMENAL ETHICAL STEM CELL RESEARCH – researchers at Univ of Toronto were “beyond shock” at how quickly retinal stem cells reproduced in the lab. “Within 7 days, they go from one cell to 7,000 to 10,000 cells,” said Brenda Coles” [lead author, report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]. 

The cells reproduced, survived, migrated, integrated, and differentiated into all 7 types of retinal eye tissue. No tumors occurred in the mice/chickens used in the study, as may happen with embryonic stem cells. [Campaign Life Coalition Canada National News, Dec04]

CANADIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY EXPERT DENOUNCES THE CREATION OF ‘QUASI-EMBRYOS’ AS “MORALLY REPUGNANT” — a member of the US President’s Council on Bioethics, Dr. William Hurlbut [prof, Stanford Univ]  proposed the creation of genetically engineered ‘biological artifacts’ [life forms made from human ova and injected DNA] that he claimed, though capable of producing embryonic stem cells, would not technically be embryos.

Hurlbut explained that these things, “even if they’re human – without that principle of life, are not moral entities,” and can be killed or destroyed and their component cells harvested without moral qualms.

However, Dr. Clem Persaud [retired Prof,  Microbiology and Biotechnology] called the proposal “deeply flawed.” He said that the process would not create an unknown ‘new entity,’ but a severely disabled, cloned human being.

“Deliberately producing a deformed human being, then destroying it to harness stem cells is morally repugnant, and is a clear case of ends justifying means.” He also warned that the cloned embryos would produce stem cells that were subject to the same problems of immune system rejection as other embryonic stem cells. [VICTORIA, 16Dec04 LifeSiteNews.com]