Apr 22 2008

Adult Stem Cell Producing Many Results

Published by at 8:48 am under All General Discussions,Stem Cell Debate

Those new to this site might no have been keeping up with my position on embryonic stem cell research and how I find it another example of snake oil chicanery. I have a BS in biology and understand the challenges of decoding the myriad factors required to turn on/off genes so they can express themselves and create a target set of cells that can then be used for a cure. It is such a complicated process with so many factors it will take many decades to unravel – and it is all unnecessary. We don’t need to harvest young human beings to create stem cell cures.

Adult stem cells, which are partially differentiated so that much of the problem of controlling the genetic code is done already, are showing infinite potential as the embryonic stem cell path has produced nothing. Occasionally I collect a series of recent articles highlighting the real progress of adult stem cells (which avoid tissue rejection and genetic mismatching) to alert people that we don’t need to kill embryos to get new medical treatments. The same genetic code is in all cells of the body, so if there is a cure in the code any cell will have it. And recently scientist were able to transform regular old skin cells back into a stem cell form – providing each of us an unlimited supply of our own stem cells as a basis for cure we may need later in life. Science is amazing, and can accomplish many things – all without destroying life.

Folks can peruse all my posts on the stem cell debate here. And here are some interesting articles on the various breakthroughs of adult stem cell research:

It seems adult stem cells have been discovered in the spinal chord which can mean future cures for spinal chord injuries and diseases:

EU-funded researchers have for the first time demonstrated the presence of neural stem cells in an adult human spinal cord. The finding, which is published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research, is expected to have implications for the way spinal injuries and degenerative motor neuron diseases are treated.

Spinal cord injuries have long been regarded as irreversible, leading to permanent paralysis and a lifetime of disability. This is largely due to the alleged inability of the central nervous system (CNS) to regenerate.

Until now, adult stem cells had been ruled out as a therapeutic answer to spinal injuries. This is because adult stems cells in tissue, unlike embryonic stems cells, cannot, as a rule, produce a type of tissue other than their own. Furthermore, although the presence of neural stem cells in the brain and the spinal cord of adult rodents was shown several years ago, it had not previously been possible, on the strength of current techniques, to detect such cells in the human spinal cord.

This is where the INSERM team comes to the rescue. Using electron microscopy and the expression of neural precursor cell markers, the researchers were able to show the presence of adult neural stem cells in a human spinal cord.

Then, by cultivating these cells in vitro, the researchers were able to demonstrate how they could be differentiated into not only neurons, but glial cells which are the cells that provide support and nutrition, and participate in signal transmission in the nervous system.

The implications of the project’s finding are far reaching. It is expected that these cells could be used to regenerate neurons and glial cells lost in spinal injuries or in neurodegenerative pathologies, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Nothing comes close from those harvesting young humans like something out of The Matrix. Here’s something more like Star Trek than the Matrix, using adult stem cells to fight brain tumors:

Under the direction of neurosurgeon Keith L. Black, M.D., chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai and director of the institute, the research teams have compiled a series of “firsts” over the past decade. They recently:

Generated neural stem cells from adult bone marrow and documented that they have properties similar to neural stem cells from the brain, demonstrated the ability of neural stem cells to target and track brain tumor cells even as they migrate, described a mechanism that turns on the tumor-tracking activity of stem cells, and engineered stem cells to deliver a cancer-fighting protein (TRAIL) or an immune activating protein (interleukin-12) in preclinical models.

Amazing stuff – nothing comes close on the embryo side. How about cures for heart conditions? Yep, adult stem cell therapies are racing to meet those challenges too:

Researchers at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and the Hubrecht Laboratorium have grown heart muscle cells from the stem cells of an adult human heart, reports this week’s Stem Cell Research magazine.

It means heart patients whose general health does not allow them to have a transplant may be able to have their heart repaired.

And here is a study to watch to see if it can produce results. The pattern is clear, adult stem cell therapies are being discovered and deployed at an exponential rate, and embryonic stem cell research has yet to get off the ground. Are we such heartless machines we will create rows of young humans in their embryonic stage of life (because ’embryo’ is a stage in life, not a form of life or a species) for harvesting? Even when there are no cures being produced after all these years and adult stem cell therapies?

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Adult Stem Cell Producing Many Results”

  1. 75 says:

    Embryonic stem cell research is just the natural progression that we would expect to arise from an ideology that puts political ends ahead of scientific means or method. We’ve seen this in the energy sector, global warming, stem cell research, ethanol, and even in the enviro sciences,which are completely commanded by the polticos. I’m sure we’re going to see lots more of it in other fields. Hang onto your hats kids because purging this socialist dogma from our education is going to take many, many years, I’m afraid. The left is entrenched in the fat and bureacratic and nothing fits that bill more than government and education. Hard days ahead my friends

  2. 75 says:

    Ethanol, global warming, and yes, embryonic stem cell research are all natural progressions of a new science from the left…the science of researching the abstract for political gain rather than the research of the theoretical for human growth.