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List of Medical Advances with Umbilical Cord Blood/ Other Adult Stem Cell Research

Child Lymphomas

NEW! Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Three Embryonic Stem Cell Researchers

Doctor Fights Cancer Using Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

Adult Stem Cell Success–In the Flesh! / Wake Forest Scientists Discover New Type of Stem Cells

California Stem Cell Research Panel's Top Scientific Adviser Resigns

Dog Arthritis Adult Stem Cell Success

New Human Trial With Adult Stem Cells to Treat MS in the UK…

List of Medical Advances with Umbilical Cord Blood/ Other Adult Stem Cell Research 

Child Lymphomas


Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Three Embryonic Stem Cell Researchers 8Oct07 for their role in looking at mouse genes and using their studies to determine the human genes that cause diabetes, heart disease and cancer.Pro-life advocates oppose embryonic stem cell research on human beings because days-old unborn children must be killed to obtain their cells. They support the use of animal and adult stem cells which already are being used to treat a variety of cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. Americans Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies and British scientist Sir Martin Evans split the prestigious award and its prize of $1.5 million. They were honored for a technique called gene targeting which lets scientists identify and alter the genes in mice. It allows them to study how the genes play a role in diseases. The Nobel prize committee mentioned embryonic stem cell research in their citation to the scientists saying they had discovered "principles for introducing specific gene modification in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells."However, the science behind treating humans with embryonic stem cells and the work the scientists did with mice is very different. Embryonic stem cell treatments, if they're ever produced, could be decades away because of problems such as tumor production and rejection by a patient's immune system.
Adult stem cells have not had those problems and have already treated patients with dozens of diseases and medical conditions. [8Oct07, Ertelt,, Stockholm, Sweden]



Doctor Fights Cancer Using Umbilical Cord Stem Cells
About 10 years ago, Holly's future appeared bright. At 24, she had just graduated from college, moved from her parents' home and taken a job in sales and marketing. But something when terribly wrong.

She started running temperatures of 105.4 F, couldn't eat, and soon could not work. She was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphona, having already spread to her spleen, liver and bone marrow. After six months of chemotherapy, there was no change but was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. There was no donor match.

Out of options, she went to Loyola University Medical Center for an umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant.

Holly was one of the first patients to be treated in 1998.

"Cord blood has opened the door to curing patients who otherwise would die," Dr. Patrick Stiff [director, Loyola C.B. Cancer Center] said. "We actually have transplanted patients in whom the only other option was hospice."

The use of cord blood stem cells does not involve the destruction of human embryos; the stem cells come from the umbilical cord after birth which would otherwise be tossed away as "medical waste". These cells can be used to treat cancers originating in bone marrow, or in the lymphatic system when a traditional bone marrow transplant is not an option (no match available).

According to a statement released by Loyola, "umbilical cord blood transplants are curing or slowing the progression of many cancers."

Dr. Stiff, who is also a professor of medicine and pathology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, said cord blood stem cells "are more immature and have a better growth potential" than other adult stem cells. Doctors still consider living donor bone marrow stem cells to be the best treatment option; but cord blood cells are closing the gap quickly, Dr. Stiff said.

Ten years ago, Stiff and his team of researchers developed a new technology to grow cord blood stem cells outside the body. In the past doctors could only get enough stem cells to treat a child. Now they grow enough for an adult.

"So a patient who 10 years ago had as little as a 30 percent chance of finding a donor, who now comes to Loyola, has approximately a 90 percent chance of finding a donor," said Dr. Stiff.

In 2005, President Bush signed the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act, creating a national network matching cord blood with patients.

Stephen Sprague, a New York man who has been free of leukemia for 10 years after a cord blood transplant as part of the Stiff study, now advocates for cord blood usage.

He said that while the 2005 Act is important, an infrastructure is still lacking to help women donate their umbilical cord blood. Most hospitals still treat umbilical cords and placentas (afterbirth) as medical waste. Dr. Stiff agrees: "There is cost associated with getting cord blood units into the cord blood bank at the hospital level, and right now there's no mechanism to recoup those costs."

Yet Dr. Stiff said that cord blood stem cells have tremendous potential beyond cancer treatments: "They do have the capacity to produce pretty much anything, and I guess that's part of the work that we're interested in pursuing." [Mark Indreika, IL, CNS; OV, 7Sept07]

Adult Stem Cell Success–In the Flesh!

To encourage true research and progress, President Bush issued an Executive Order directing HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt to support projects that pursue "alternatives" to embryonic stem cells.

Yesterday (19Sept07), the National Institute of Health (NIH) released its plan called, "Expanding Approved Stem Cell Lines in Ethically Responsible Ways."

Considering the latest success stories for adult stem cells, NIH should have no shortage of projects to pursue.
< br /> At the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, scientists have succeeded in "reprogramming" stem cells from mice testes into a host of tissue types. If the same results occur in humans, these adult stem cells could soon treat everything from brain disorders to heart disease.

In Boston, medical researchers have been able to extract adult bone marrow cells and coax them to grow into tissue that can help replace dysfunctional heart valves. As scientist John Mayer emphasized, "These are stem cells derived from bone marrow, [but] they are not embryonic stem cells."

At Wake Forest University, researchers have used adult stem cells to "grow" a functioning human bladder. As for the triumphs of embryonic stem cells… well, we're still waiting–but patients don't need to wait with adult stem cells. [FRC, 20Sept07]
Additional Resources
Wake Forest Scientists Discover New Type of Stem Cells
 By Regina Sass
Published Sep 12, 2007
 Researchers are doing amazing things in the field of stem cell research and the latest research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine working in conjunction with shows some of the best potential yet. The research team has discovered an entirely new source for stem cells. So far they have only tested them in the laboratory, but so far they have been able to use them to create muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells. The new source is amniotic fluid. They obtained the fluid from fluid taken from amniocentesis,
Researchers will never let a question go unanswered and for years they knew that there were progenitor cells, cells that produce stem cells, in the placenta as well as in the amniotic fluid and the question that the researcher wanted asked was if it would be able to find true stem cells within the progenitor cells. They were pleased to find out that the answer was yes.
Only a very small number of the cells that they found could actually develop into cells. They named this new stem cells amniotic fluid-derived stem (AFS) cells. They believe that these new cells could be not embryonic stem cells and not adult stem cells, but cells that are somewhere in between the two. They have sound evidence for this belief because the new cells have markers that are found in both types.
They are looking into the future when they will have a stem cell bank with 100,000 specimens that could in theory be able to supply almost 100% of the U.S. population with perfect genetic matches for transplantation to treat such diseases as spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and stroke.
Not only are the AFS cells easy to obtain, but they can be grown and harvested in large numbers due to the fact that they can double themselves in a period of about 36 hours. They do not need any aid from any other cells, and they do not produce tumors, a problem that has come up with other types of stem cells.
So far, the researchers have been able to produce every type of cell that they have attempted to produce. And there is more to do in order to determine exactly what the full range of possibilities these cells have.
The tests so far have included the implanting of neural -nervous system- cells that were created from the AFS cells into mice. All of the mice had a degenerative brain disease.
The results showed that the new cells were able to grow and re populate themselves in the diseased areas of the brains. They were also able to gather bone cells from the AFS cells and with these they were able to produce bony tissues in the mice. They were also able to produce liver cells that were able to function like a normal liver.

The lead researcher is Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The Co-researchers on the team are Paolo De Coppi, M.D., Georg Bartsch Jr., M.D., M. Minhaj Siddiqui, M.D., Tao Xu, Ph.D., Cesar C. Santos, M.D., Laura Perin, Ph.D., James J. Yoo, M.D., Ph.D., Mark E. Furth, Ph.D., and Shay Soker, Ph.D., all with Wake Forest University, and Gustavo Mostoslavsky, Ph.D., Evan Y. Snyder M.D., and Angéline C. Serre, all with Harvard Medical School.
Source: Wake Forest University School of Medicine
California Stem Cell Research Panel's Top Scientific Advisor Resigns The number one scientist at California's multibillion dollar embryonic stem cell research agency has resigned her post. Arlene Chiu, interim chief scientific officer since April, sent a letter earlier this week to the panel's board of directors notifying them of her decision to leave.

During her tenure as the head science officer at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Chiu directed the scientific review of applications for funding. She also helped lead the funding policy which eventually determined that projects involving embryonic stem cell research would be the only ones funded by the panel, which will eventually use billions of dollars in taxpayer funds. Choi became a part of CIRM in 2005 and rose to the top scientific position when Zach Hall, who also served as president, stepped down.

Wesley J. Smith, an attorney and a leading bioethics watchdog, commented on the resignation and said it should concern state residents. "The grants taken from the hides of California taxpayers (including me), will continue of course," he said. "But for some reason, the atmosphere of the CIRM does not seem conducive to keeping its top people. Someday, a book may be written," Smith added. [5Sept07, Sacramento, CA (]  
Dog Arthritis Adult Stem Cell Success. Thanks to a new stem cell therapy, Jago, a highly trained German Shepherd, was given a second chance to return to Beaverton's police force.For the past 2 1/2 years, Jago has worked alongside Officer Ken Magnus as his K-9 partner and backup. Together the team has captured more than three dozen suspects. While chasing a suspect, Jago fell down after jumping a wall:

Magnus realized something was wrong with his partner after Jago took a hard fall Jan. 10 while tracking a home burglary suspect. Jago leapt over a wall, went down hard and twisted his body. He got back up and continued the pursuit. "I noticed he had trouble getting up from a laying down position," Magnus recalled. "At first I thought he may just be sore, but within a week's time it seemed to be getting worse."
The diagnosis was arthritis. Adult stem cells to the rescue.
The treatment involved harvesting regenerative adult stem cells from the fat in Jago's groin area, sending them to a lab to be processed and then injecting them back into his problematic joints.

"The therapy is very new for dogs, but it's been very successful in treating horses that have been injured," Zikes said. "This was Jago's last chance," Magnus said… Jago underwent treatment in July and the results impressed everyone. "He improved dramatically"  Zikes said. "He's a gorgeous dog. Looking at him now, you'd never know that he had to have this treatment. The potential of this stem cell therapy is really exciting."

Within 12 days, Jago was back on patrol and showing signs of huge improvement. This is a good news story: Adult
stem cells continue to demonstrate tremendous potential for regenerative medicine and a police dog is back on the beat. [posted by Wesley J. Smith, September 27, 2007]
New Human Trial With Adult Stem Cells to Treat MS in the UK
The media will continue to squawk about how embryonic stem cells may years from now treat MS, but adult stem cells are already moving forward into human trials in the UK. (As I previously reported, adult stem cells have stopped MS from worsening in a Canadian human trial.)
From the Telegraph story: Neil Scolding, professor of clinical neurosciences for North Bristol NHS Trust, who is leading the trial, said: "We believe that bone marrow cells have the capability to repair precisely the type of damage that we see in the brain and spinal cord in MS. So by giving patients very large numbers of their own bone marrow cells we hope that this will help stabilize the disease and bring about some repair."
The trial, which started six months ago, is one of the first to use patients' own bone marrow stem cells to treat their MS. It involves six people with MS, aged between 30 and 60, having a pint of bone marrow extracted from their pelvises. The processed material, containing stem cells, is then injected on the same day into the patients' arms.
Over a period of months, the patients will be monitored closely and given regular brain scans to see what impact the treatment has had on them.
This is very exciting. If it works–admittedly a big if–a lot of people are going to receive a lot of benefit.
[posted by Wesley J. Smith, 27Sept07]