Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adult Stem Cells Treat Parkinson's. Embryonic Stem Cells Give Boy Tumors.

From the invaluable Don Margolis comes this wonderful news:

Parkinson’s Patient Helped by Adult Stem Cell Research- A Published Case Study

Due to advances in Adult Stem Cell research, Dr. Dennis Turner was helped by his own stem cells to treat his Parkinson’s Disease. Treated by Dr. Michael Levesque of NeuroGeneration, in 1999, Dr. Turner’s “motor scales improved by over 80% for at least 36 months.”
While the case of Dr. Dennis Turner has been well known for a long period of time, this is significant to some in that it finally appeared in a peer reviewed study published in a medical journal- Bentham Open Stem Cell Journal.

(Emphasis added)

Mr. Margolis also links to the press release issued by NeuroGeneration:

"Scientists announced today the publication of a landmark peer-reviewed paper in the February issue of the Bentham Open Stem Cell Journal which outlines the long term results of the world's first clinical trial using autologous neural stem cells for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. According to lead author, Michel F. Levesque, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, "We have documented the first successful adult neural stem cell transplantation to reverse the effects of Parkinson's disease and demonstrated the long term safety and therapeutic effects of this approach." Dr Levesque is a principal investigator for NeuroGeneration, a biotechnology company, and is affiliated with the UCLA School of Medicine and the Brain Research Institute

Radio host Rush Limbaugh covered the story too. Mr. Limbaugh took a lot of heat sometime back when he challenged Michael J. Fox over Fox's support of immoral and unproven embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR). Of course, people sympathized with Mr. Fox because he suffers from Parkinsons, but Mr. Limbaugh was right morally and, it turns out, scientifically, and Mr. Fox was wrong. Today, Mr. Limbaugh said:

"I hope somebody can find Michael J. Fox and tell him about this. You don't have to kill babies in order to make progress via adult stem cells on Parkinson's disease."

We pray that Mr. Fox, and all who suffer from Parkinson's Disease will benefit from this new, morally sound approach.

There's more stem-cell news today, but there is nothing good about it. From the Associated Press:

Report: Fetal stem cells trigger tumors in ill boy

Feb 17 08:01 PM US/EasternBy LAURAN NEERGAARDAP Medical Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A family desperate to save a child from a lethal brain disease sought highly experimental injections of fetal
stem cells—injections that triggered tumors in the boy's brain and spinal cord, Israeli scientists reported Tuesday....

The unidentified Israeli boy has a rare, fatal genetic disease with a tongue-twisting name—ataxia telangiectasia, or A-T. Degeneration of a certain brain region gradually robs these children of movement. Plus, a faulty immune system leads to frequent infections and cancers. Most die in their teens or early 20s.

Israeli doctors pieced together the child's history: When he was 9, the family traveled to Russia, to a Moscow clinic that provided injections of neural stem cells from fetuses—immature cells destined to grow into a main type of brain cells. The cells were injected into his brain and spinal cord twice more, at ages 10 and 12.

Back home in Israel at age 13, the boy's A-T was severe enough to require that he use a wheelchair when he also began complaining of headaches. Tests at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv uncovered a growth pushing on his brain stem and a second on his spinal cord. Surgeons removed the spinal cord mass when the boy was 14, in 2006 and they say his general condition has remained stable since then.

But was the boy prone to tumors anyway or were the fetal stem cells to blame? A Tel Aviv University team extensively tested the tumor tissue and concluded it was the fetal cells."

(Emphasis added). We pray for the little boy and his family!

But the propensity of embryonic stem-cells to turn into tumors is not news. Back in April 2008, Don Margolis reported:

"Lord Patel of Dunkeld, the chairman of the UK National Stem Cell Network and a chancellor at Dundee University, says embryonic stem cell research is simply not working. He conceded in an interview with the Scotsman newspaper that the controversial science may never deliver new treatments for diseases.

“In terms of embryonic stem cell therapy, there is currently no such therapy that is available in a large number of patients,” he said. Patel also admitted scientists may never be able to overcome the hurdles — such as the development of tumors or immune syndrome rejection issues — that plague embryonic stem cell research and make it risky in humans."

It's one of our mantras here at "A Shepherd's Voice": Are California voters having second thoughts yet about shelling out $3 billion + for immoral & unproven embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to show a single cure, while adult stem cells are curing people left and right?

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