Dec 04 2005

Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough

Published by at 11:31 am under All General Discussions,Stem Cell Debate

Embryonic Stem Cell Research is fool’s gold in comparison to Adult Stem Cell research. I am not a layman on the subject since I hold a BS in Biology. My reasons to be bullish on adult stem cells is based on the scientific facts and the challenges facing embryonic research. Simple combinatorial math demonstrates the harder path to success is through the embryo.

But more than that, the embryonic stem cells research path has less restrictions on patenting the treatments for the researchers. Yep, a researcher is more likely to get wealthy from the embryo than the adult.

So it is heartening to see adult stem cell treatments racing light years ahead of embryonic research (which has not treaments available to date). This is what I mean:

A jump into a swimming pool in 2003 changed Travis Robinson’s life forever.

Somewhere between a belly flop and a tuck, Robinson, then 17, hit the pool in such a way that he injured his spinal cord. He now is paralyzed from the neck down.

But in January, he hopes another moment will change his life: surgery.

Robinson will fly to Portugal to get a breakthrough surgery at the Hospital Egas Moniz. In the procedure, the scar tissue that surrounds his spinal cord will be removed. Doctors will take tissue that contains stem cells from his sinuses and implant it where the scar tissue was removed.

His own stem cells will be used to try and repair damage in his body. This is enormously less complicated then trying to mix cells from other people. Tissue rejection and genetic mismatches are a serious barrier to applying non native remedies to a host body.

Keep an eye on this case and think about Christopher Reid and all the others who were told embryonic stem cells were the only hope to walk. They aren’t, they never were, and they never will be.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough”

  1. gcotharn says:

    My sister-in-law had the Lisbon ASC surgery, which is performed by Dr. Carlos Lima, in April. 60+ persons have had the surgery, including at least a couple of dozen Americans. It takes at least 6 months of intensive, grueling therapy before the ASCs start to show any regenerative effect. Over 90% of patients who are 6 months out show some increase in functional movement, including patients who had zero movement before the surgery.

    Patients do not just get up and walk. Functional movement might mean they can twist their wrist to open a door, or move a spoon to their mouth. Still, in the context of their paralysis, these are miraculous results. Dr. Lima is performing a miracle surgery.

    Some formerly paralyzed patients have regained use of some leg muscles, and are able to walk, haltingly, with the assistance of walkers and helpers.

    The University of Detroit is doing extensive work with Dr. Lima, both to help his existing American patients, and to identify potential American patients for his surgery. The University of Detroit is laying groundwork to perform this surgery in the U.S.

    Dr. Lima is still very selective about choosing patients, and will only perform the surgery on patients he feels have a good chance at regenerating nerve function.

    This is miraculous surgery, with promise to produce even more results in the future. If it was ESC surgery, it would be on the cover of every magazine in America. I’ll not comment on why word of Dr. Lima’s surgery is not getting out, but I’m sure we all have our speculations. Surely this news will soon break nationally.

    Here are some links to news articles and congressional testimony:

    Erica Nader

    Laura Dominguez Statement to U.S. Congress

    Susan Fajt Statement to U.S. Congress

    Article about Dominguez and Fajt:

    Dr. Jean Peduzzi-Nelson: Senate Testimony

  2. gcotharn says:

    Above, I said “Over 90% of patients who are 6 months out show some increase in functional movement.”

    I used “6 months” for the sake of brevity – yet I should not have. I do not know of any exact time frame that is associated with that 90% claim.