By Reason McLucus
originally published at Mediard.com
Nancy Reagan is the latest victim of the snake oil salesmen who promote embryonic stem cell research. These researchers take advantage of people with relatives who have dreaded disorders by claiming that embryonic stem cell research is needed to produce cures.
Most disorders that can be treated with stem cells can be treated with the patient’s own adult stem cells, but even adult stem cells won’t be a cure-all. Stem cells, regardless of the source, don't cure anything. They merely replace damaged cells.
People with degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are unlikely to be healed by any form of stem cell therapy. The same is true for autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes. That is, simply adding new cells won't cure such disorders. Autoimmune disorders may be treated by eliminating the immune system and then using transplants.
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s result from chemical problems in the brain. Current research indicates that tiny proteins called amyloid beta-derived diffusible ligand(ADDL) could be the primary culprits in disrupting the neurons that store memories in Alzheimer’s patients..
Any cure will need to involve altering brain chemistry rather than simply adding stem cells. Current research indicates that even the natural process of new brain cell production doesn’t automatically add cells to the brain because the brain eliminates new cells it doesn’t need. Attempting to stop a degenerative disorder by adding more cells will not stop the degeneration.
Scientists can already produce brain neurons using a person’s own stem cells, including bone marrow stem cells. So even if stem cells could benefit Alzheimer’s patients, embryonic cells from someone else wouldn’t be needed.
Alzheimer’s patients lose their memories because of the lose of the brain’s ability to access the neurons in which memories are stored or the complete loss of those neurons. I’m unaware of any research indicating that the brain can copy memories from old neurons to new ones, particularly old neurons that the brain cannot obtain information from. Thus introduction of new neurons couldn’t help Alzheimer’s patients remember past events, only memorize new events.
Doctors are already using adult stem cells for liver, heart, lung and corneal cell replacement as well as treating Lupus. British scientists expect to be able to regrow teeth using a patient’s own stem cells within a few years. Scientists have even found a way to add the telomerase gene to regular cells to turn them into immortal cells that can reproduce without the normal limitation on the number of times they can reproduce.
With the progress that is being made with adult stem cells, why should money be wasted on using embryonic stem cells that aren’t needed?
The facts are that those disorders which are treatable with stem cells are likely to be treatable with adult stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells. For disorders treatable by stem cells, adult stem cells are the preferred form of treatment. Using the patient’s own stem cells avoids the problem of finding a compatible donor. Obtaining a compatible donor using embryonic stem cells may require production of hundreds or thousands of embryos.
Using a patient’s own adult stem cells will be less expensive because they are readily available..
Although adult stem cell treatments promise to help treat many medical problems, stem cell treatments in general are not without risk. Stem cells are the prime suspects as the source of cancer cells. Something goes wrong in the process of producing specialized cells. Instead of producing the proper cell with a limited capacity to reproduce, the stem cell produces rogue cells that have an unlimited ability to reproduce themselves. The process that produces cancerous cells is still being studied, but it appears to involve multiple defects – probably including a failure of the process that normally causes defective cells to self destruct.
Using a patient’s own stem cells shouldn’t significantly increase the possibility of cancer because any defective genes would already be present. However, introducing someone else’s stem cells could increase the cancer risk if such cells had defective genes, particularly considering that not all genes associated with cancer have been identified..
Much of the emphasis on embryonic research is based on factors other than real science and a desire to cure various disorders.
Some of the scientists involved want to play Dr. Frankenstein without putting a body together with “spare parts”. For them embryonic research is just a step in cloning
Some scientists don’t understand the scientific process. They developed a belief before the numerous advances in adult stem cell research that the only way to produce new cells was with embryonic cells. They aren’t able to abandon that belief in spite of evidence of the usefulness of adult stem cells.
They don’t seem to understand that a body that can live to be 100 must have a repair and replacement system because most of its cells aren’t going to last that long. Doctors should be able to manipulate this repair and replacement system to treat patients.
Unfortunately the subject of stem cells has also become a political issue with those who support abortion emphasizing embryonic stem cell research because abortion opponents oppose such research. Abortion supporters don’t care about the relative value of different types of stem cell research. Abortion supporters are only interested in playing a sick little political game of trying to defeat abortion opponents.
Research money isn’t unlimited. Research funds should be concentrated on those areas most likely to produce useful results instead of simply throwing money at any form of research that might conceivably be useful for something. Adult stem cell research is producing results now and has been for several years. Why should scientists in effect go back and “reinvent the wheel” before developing treatments? Why should patients have to wait for embryonic stem cell research when adult stem cell research is already producing treatments?
Christopher Reeve was an earlier victim of the embryonic stem cell con
artists. I hope that someone informs him that Dr. Carlos Lima in
Lisbon, Portugal, is using adult stem cells taken from patients' noses
to help them defeat
National Institutes of health information
had previously cloned the hTERT (human telomerase
reverse transcriptase subunit) component of the enzyme telomerase that stops telomeres from shortening, and had shown that
expression of hTERT permitted some human cells to continue to divide indefinitely, in effect making them immortal.
"After introducing the human cells with hTERT, we found
that the resulting cells not only proliferated long beyond their normal
lifespan, but retained characteristics of normal smooth muscle cells," Niklason explained. "Furthermore, using these smooth
muscle cells, we were able to engineer mechanically robust human arteries, a crucial step toward creating arteries for bypass
This is the first time arteries have been grown from non-neonatal vascular
cells, the researchers said. This achievement is
important, they continued, since the goal is to engineer arteries that will resist immunological attack, so they must be grown
from cells taken from the actual patients who will ultimately receive the arteries.
shows that cells taken from adult human bone marrow can be converted into brain stem cells that meet the criteria for transplantation into the brain.
univ of Minn
from bone marrow cells in mice
zap mouse immune cells spontaneous insulin producing islets grow
various scientific articles about grow pancreas cells from adult stem cells
hair growing stem cells
This one may not still be available on line
But scientists have begun to try to do what was once unthinkable -- grow new heart muscle. Doctors are injecting or infusing immature cells from leg muscles and bone marrow into the
heart. The hope is the cells will take root and develop into healthy muscle, replacing dead scar tissue and allowing patients to avoid transplants, mechanical pumps or a slow death.
The patients' myoblasts cells (immature cells that become muscle cells) were extracted from thigh muscle. Large quantities of the cells were grown in the laboratory for three to four weeks using a controlled cell expansion manufacturing process. During the surgery, one to 30 direct injections - containing 10 million cells each - were made into the damaged area of the hearts. The dosages ranged from 10 million to 300 million cells.
BURLINGTON, VT - For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that adult human stem cell transplantation results in spontaneous cell regeneration in damaged lung tissue. Published in the August 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the study further supports an existing body of research that suggests blood- and marrow-derived stem cells have the capacity to become many different human tissues.
Researchers at the Department of Health and Human Services' National
Institutes of Health (NIH) have launched a five-year
study to see whether a therapy using transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells, blood stem cells found in bone marrow,
can produce long-term remission for patients with severe, treatment-resistant systemic lupus erythematosus (or lupus), a
rheumatic autoimmune disease that can affect the body's major organs
Lupus Patients Are In Remission Two Years After High-Dose Chemotherapy
A group of researchers from The Scripps Research Institute has identified a small synthetic molecule that can induce a cell to undergo dedifferentiation--to move backwards developmentally from its current state to form its own precursor cell.
This compound, named reversine, causes cells which are normally
programmed to form muscles to undergo reverse differentiation--retreat
along their differentiation pathway and turn into precursor cells.
Duke University Medical Center
Fat Cells Transformed To Resemble Nerve Cells
DURHAM, N.C. -- Like biochemical alchemists, investigators from Duke University
Medical Center and Artecel Sciences, Inc.,
have transformed adult stem cells taken from fat into cells that appear to be nerve cells.
During the past several years, Duke researchers and scientists from Artecel
demonstrated the ability to reprogram adult stem cells
taken from human liposuction procedures into fat, cartilage and bone cells. All of these cells arise from mesenchymal, or
connective tissue, parentage. However, the latest experiments have demonstrated that researchers can transform these stem cells
from fat into a totally different lineage, that of neuronal cells.
nerve cells(neuron and glial) from fat cells
skin stem cells in mice counted UCSF
the spinal progenitor cells
University of Rochester Medical
Center, created the unique cells by introducing a gene called telomerase, which is responsible for the ability of
stem cells to live indefinitely, into more specialized "progenitor" cells. In normal development
inject stem cells into mice spinal fluid to restore nerves
grow new teeth
Lost a Tooth? Grow a New One
Company's stem cell technique could end the need for painful prosthetics
Research by a group of Italian and Canadian scientists indicates
that certain adult cells-previously assumed to be
permanently wedded to their specialized roles in the body-can shed their identities and reinvent themselves as different types of cells. In
the study, reported in the 22 January issue of Science, the authors transplanted adult stem cells from the brains of adult mice into the
bone marrow of new mice, where the stem cells changed their behavior and began generating blood cells. The findings raise the
possibility that in the future adult stem cells could be used to supply a variety of new cells for important therapeutic uses, for example to
generate healthy blood cells for treating patients with blood disorders.
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