Success With Adult Stem Cells Keep Piling Up; Embryonic Not So Much

As one of the supposed anti-science conservatives liberals are always yammering on about, I was glad when President Bush vetoed the increase in federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. I wrote about adult stem cell success stories, and since June of last year, there have been even more exciting treatments:

  • A middle aged man in Colorado had his bone marrow cells harvested, multiplied in the lab and then injected into his back.

    “I think this is the beginning of a new era of surgery,” [Dr. Christopher Centeno] said. “We usually take out the offending piece but do nothing to repair the small damage we just created. This allows you to do both.”

  • A study published in Canada shows how adult stem cells can help slow the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease:

    “We were able to measure a prominent effect on stem cell mobilization and found no adverse effects in the patients,” said [Dr. Neil] Cashman. “There have been many misgivings in using stem cell stimulators in ALS patients but now we know we can safely do this. This is an important first step in providing a new treatment for ALS.”

  • Headline: Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation After Immunosuppressive Therapy Effective and Safe in Multiple Sclerosis

    What that means is that doctors in France took MS patients, suppressed their immune system, injected them with their own bone marrow cells and found:

    “All patients appeared to respond to treatment”, reported Dr. Ionova. Improvement was seen in 62.3%, and stabilisation occurred in 37.7% of patients. Progression after improvement occurred in 7.1% and progression after stabilisation in 11.8% of patients.

    There were no deaths during the course of the study.

    Out of 26 patients included in the quality-of-life analysis, 24 exhibited a response and preserved a good quality of life during the follow-up. No unexpected treatment-related adverse events were observed.

    As notes, “This confirms other studies.

  • Researchers in Australia have found that patients with Parkinson’s disease respond positively to the injection of adult stem cells:

    The Griffith University study published in the journal Stem Cells found that adult stem cells harvested from the noses of Parkinson’s patients gave rise to dopamine-producing brain cells when transplanted into the brain of a rat.

    The debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s such as loss of muscle control are caused by degeneration of cells that produce the essential chemical dopamine in the brain.

    It’s also important to note that they have tried the same experiment with embryonic stem cells, only it resulted in the “formation of tumours or teratomas in the host rats…”

  • Two Canadians suffering from a rare form of lung disease were treated with their own “gene-modified stem cells” in an experimental procedure:

    “These enhanced stem cells are given in a heart catheterization suite, and lodge in the lung where it is hoped they will stimulate the repair and regeneration of blood vessels in the lung,” explained Dr. Galipeau, Associate Professor of Medicine and Oncology at McGill University.

    This procedure has cured laboratory rats with pulmonary hypertension, and this study in Canadian volunteers afflicted with pulmonary hypertension seeks to assess the safety of this type of stem cell treatment.

That is just five examples of many. There are articles showing that adult stem cells may “may force Crohn’s disease into retreat“, they can “improve healing of fractures,” and “are already giving some patients a new lease on life.

But what of the embryonic stem cell? What about the issue that helped catapult Claire McCaskill into Jim Talent’s Senate Seat? You remember Michael J. Fox, don’t you? He helped Missouri liberals amend the state constitution with his commercial for Senator McCaskill.

According to “the head of the UK National Stem Cell Network,” embryonic stem cell research is a flop:

Despite his own reservations that stem cell work may not live up to its hype, Lord Patel said he was hopeful of finding treatments for serious diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and even disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

“Are there any signs that this could happen? Yes there are, particularly in animal experiments that suggest this might be possible,” Lord Patel said.

“In terms of embryonic stem cell therapy, there is currently no such therapy that is available in a large number of patients.

A recent Journal of the American Medical Association study done by “Richard K. Burt, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues” found, according to, that adult stem cells are currently working with over 70 diseases.

Things are going so well on the adult stem cell side, that scientists are now able to manipulate stem cells still in the brain and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced recently that they would invest in adult stem cell research to help with “diabetes-induced retinal damage, a leading cause of blindness.”

When you look at the landslide of success found in adult stem cell research and compare it to the lack of success on the embryonic side, you really have to ask who is the anti-science party. The science is on our side.

Cross posted at All American Blogger, where you can find other great original articles.

Share this!

Enjoy reading? Share it with your friends!