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Stem Cell Miracle?

Interestingly the stem cell therapy in this case is NOT from the embryonic stem cell research that was a favorite cause of the anti-Bush crowd last month. From the UK Medical News Today:

A team of Korean researchers claimed Thursday they had performed a miracle by enabling a patient, who could not even stand up for the last 19 years, to walk with stem cell therapy.

During a press conference, the scientists said they had last month transplanted multi-potent stem cells from umbilical cord blood to the 37-year-old female patient suffering from a spinal cord injury and she can now walk on her own.

The team was co-headed by Chosun University professor Song Chang-hun, Seoul National University professor Kang Kyung-sun and Han Hoon, Ph.D, from the Seoul Cord Blood Bank (SCB).

"The stem cell transplantation was performed on Oct. 12 this year and in just three weeks she started to walk with the help of a walker," Song said.

The patient's lower limbs were paralyzed after an accident in 1985 damaged her lower back and hips. Afterward she spent her life in bed or in a wheelchair.

For the unprecedented clinical test, the scientists isolated stem cells from umbilical cord blood and then injected them into the damaged part of the spinal cord.

Hopefully this in not a "cold fusion" type discovery that can never be reproduced...


Comments (12)

I have always been torn on ... (Below threshold)

I have always been torn on the topic of stem cells. I am thrilled that this woman can walk again and I also hope this can be reproduced.

Sorry, but I don't believe ... (Below threshold)

Sorry, but I don't believe it.

I'm no medical nor biologic... (Below threshold)

I'm no medical nor biological sciences wiz, not in the least, but when I was studying biological sciences ten or so years ago, this was basic information shared freely in Developmental Biology and Physiology, that the stem cell research most interested in by medical research -- way back then, nearly a decade or so ago -- was focused on those stem cells obtained from human placental cord blood, and not stem cells from the nuclei of a human embryo (rather, zygote as it's called in the very early days of existence).

I don't know specifically why this push was begun by certain celebrities on behalf of 'stem cell research' that focused, not realistically as per the medical research community, on human embryo stem cells and not on the preferred placental stem cells, but I because of that separation between what was and is promoted by the DNC, and certain celebrity spokespersons on their behalf from the correct focus by medical research (the DNC and spokespersons campaign for public funding to support "medical research using embryonic stem cells" while the medical research community has long found far more worthy and interesting stem cells from placental blood), there's a disproval of the DNC/spokesperson's pretense, which suggests an ulterior motive.

Certainly Micheal J. Fox and Christopher Reeves and persons of their abilities could understand the difference. And, although neither of those persons was a biologist in any capacity, they both are/were privy to an above average array of medical advice, including by those groups who sponsored their favors.

But, instead, the DNC and these various spokespersons continued and continue still to insist on sympathy and public funding to support "an increase in funding of stem cell research" and a reliance by that research on "embryonic stem cells." Because, as anyone can figure, placental stem cells are routinely discarded otherwise and readily exist freely, if not nearly so, and so aren't a source of "great expense" upon which they can campaign for more public funding (the embryonic stem cells are readily available and don't require the taking of a human life to obtain them, and, they are readily available by way of normal, routine human births and are therefore not difficult to obtain for medical research purposes).

Embryonic stem cells, however, require a far more complex set of issues, both ethical and technical, and, although not as promising to medical research (nor haven't been for a while now, as I learned several years ago), they also rely on manipulating human embryos, on even the use of aborted human beings (and, therefore, a greater social acceptance of abortion, I suppose it is hoped by those who use this awful obfuscation of the issues).

Therefore, for these reasons -- the fact that what is taught to actual biologists and has been for a while now, to those who continue on to medical degrees and/or who actually do the medical research involved later in their own lives, disagrees with what is politically campaigned upon by liberal politicians with an obvious misleading premise (that embryonic stem cells "must be" funded, while they make no mention of stem cell research that relies upon human umbelical cord blood stem cells), that their motives are intentionally blurred here.

Because, the premise by the DNC and spokespersons is that the public must rely and accept abortion because there's this "good" that certain suffering persons could benefit from the acts (use what is aborted for medical research), while completely silencing the actual stem cells that medical research prefers (cord stem cells), their premise is unreliable, misleading and quite inaccurate -- seems intentionally so, is what I express here.

It's not a case of humans not wanting medical cures and treatments for certain suffering, but that certain suffering does not supplant or override the greater suffering of taking human life, based upon an 'inconvenience' of that human life.

I'm sorry for those who suffer and empathize with their suffering, but their campaigns for public funding for their own desires and wants is, for lack of a better word here, hideous. I can't take Michael J. Fox seriously at this point after hearing him wade around and avoid certain key science while insisting on public funding for a hope that he will be "cured." Maybe he never will be. But taking human life to find a cure for Michael J. Fox and others like him is not the pathway to a cure, but to madness.

I voted against the CA measure that passed recently -- Schwarzenegger supported it -- that provides millions of dollars of public funds for stem cell research for ethical reasons. People should and can fund whatever medical research they desire but what's been passed recently in CA isn't the solution, just forces a mad sense of misguided ethics upon those with other ethical guidelines. On religious principles alone -- that human life begins at conception -- it is hideous to then suggest that, although human life exists, because it is defenseless, it can and will be ended because someone else "might" find a cure for something...I mean, think about the evaluative process involved in that: a human life is alright to end because that life may hold promise for someone who is sticken with some malady. But it does not surprise me that certain celebrity personalities are attracted to this cause -- buoyed up by inaccurate 'science' if any science at all -- similar to their many other quasi medical promotions of 'cleansings' and 'toxins' and day spas and plastic, cosmetic surgeries....it's the height of vanity to assume that human life is there to be used in such a grotesque capacity as this, as many in higher profile public positions advocate.

Even Schwarzenegger says he is a Catholic. And that he agrees that life begins at conception. As many others are and do. But, the disconnect from personal responsibility involved in him as he explains himself and promoting this funding, it's gigantic and problematic to me, as a voter.

Public funding involves the forced funneling of monies from everyone paying taxes to a cause or causes. Many of us don't support or accept some of these practices that are now publicly funded in CA and elsewhere, which explains my nay vote on the now passed legislation in CA, but, anyone including Schwarzenegger and Michael J. Fox can raise all the private money they want to and can and then donate that to clinics and research teams, but when it's a case of public money going to these aberrant practice (stem cell research that is contingent upon the use of human embryonic stem cells), it's barbaric. Because it makes all public persons contribute to acts of barbary and madness. Schwarzenegger, Fox, others like them are truly off about this issue, or, they aren't being truthful with the public about their values and beliefs, much less, ethics.

Didn't they try just inject... (Below threshold)

Didn't they try just injecting stem cells long ago, and discover that it didn't work?

Like I wrote, Omni, there a... (Below threshold)

Like I wrote, Omni, there are different TYPES of human stem cells and the most promise for most medical research is and has been for a while now in the type of stem cells that are obtained from human placental cord blood. Not from embryonic stem cells.

Someone is getting richer as I type this, however, off the public misinformation about the significance of this issue, and, celebrities and certain Democrats continue to harp on about the need for public funding for stem cell research without understanding the difference. Or, understanding the difference but misleading the public so as to secure funding...for...?

An aside but significant aside is, that, by misleading the public into some necessity to 'fund stem cell research using embryonic stem cells,' there is also an emphasis on the 'acceptability and necessity' of aborting human beings.

Remember John Edwards intim... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Remember John Edwards intimating during the campaign that if Kerry was elected there will be a cure? It would be a bitter, ironic pill the Dems would have to swallow if a cure comes during Bush's term.

I hope this claim turns out to be true and replicatable; but I'm doubtful.

Even with the best of care,... (Below threshold)

Even with the best of care, if you are unable to move, your body becomes more and more debilitated. Your muscles waste away, you lose range of motion, you develop pressure soars. I'm not sure of bone but I would assume without weight bearing exercise it would demineralize. No way would some one paralysed for 19 years would be able to start walking in a mere 3 weeks. It's a hoax.

No, it's not a hoax necessa... (Below threshold)
Red Five:

No, it's not a hoax necessarily. Physical therapists can move the extremities around and even place some weight on it to keep the muscles and bones from degenerating completely. Besides, sometimes quadraplegics can regain rudimentary control of their hands and perform simple gross-motor tasks. Fine-motor control is still a problem, but gross-motor not so much. And remember that in the Bible, Jesus healed a lame man, and he was able to walk immediately. Same for a man who had been blind his whole life; he could not only see immediately, but he also recognized what he was seeing.

I have long been of the opinion that the push for embryonic stem cell research is simply a way to justify the continued availability of abortions on demand. If there is a viable use for all those murdered pre-birth humans, then it's worth it. I think that's exactly why embryonic stem cells will never amount to a hill of beans, because God is disgusted with the practice of abortion (but not with those who perform them or who have them done; very important distinction). Because cord and adult stem cells do not require the death of a human to be made available, their uses will be blessed as cures for many diseases, and are therefore worthy of research money. It is proven time and time again that embryonic stem cells won't do anything worth the killing of innocent babies.

Regardless of whether this ... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Regardless of whether this story pans out, it will be used by hysterical moonbats to attack Bush.

- The moonbats/celebs/medic... (Below threshold)

- The moonbats/celebs/medically infirm wanted to insure funding support. Volunteer public support in these area's is very weak for some of the reasons of vanity and indirect support of abortion, as -S- discussed. The Bio's labs want the public dole of billions in fed/state monies, and its more likely to come available with "new" research. Thus the match made in hell between the Dem's and the opportunistic Bio's. Never mind their goals are based on highly unlikely, possibly even junk science. When the stakes are high enough we find out the true "sensitivity" of the asshat party and the politics of self-serving hypochracies. M.J.Fox is a typical synchophant, who knows just enough to be dangerous. But what do you really expect coming from a group of people who support taking of human life for their own selfish desires......

Umbilical cord stem cells h... (Below threshold)

Umbilical cord stem cells have been showing a lot of promise. This is not a surprising result, but I suspect it will be difficult to replicate. Once they understand all the variables, this should change the face of nerve tissue damage rehabilitation.

In an issue probably of greater import but less news value, scientists used a protein to cause mice to regrow cardiac tissue after heart damage. This could be a huge, huge deal as the treatment was so simple it could even be used preventatively in otherwise healthy but elderly people.

I don't think it is a hoax:... (Below threshold)
John Anderson:

I don't think it is a hoax: when she is described as "walking", it is for now that she can move her legs, which she could not before. With time, she can rebuild muscle and blood vessels.

And a couple of medical blogs have pointed out that during Bush's "ban", federal grants for stem-cell research went from one to over twenty. Just not fetal tissue.






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