There are two kinds of stem-cell research. The first kind is called embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR). This kind is opposed by pro-lifers because it kills unborn persons by extracting their stem cells for use in medical research. The second kind is called adult stem-cell research (ASCR). This kind is supported by pro-lifers.
You may be surprised to know that ESCR doesn’t work as nearly as well as ASCR. Despite all the advocacy from left-wing Hollywood actors, ESCR has not helped a single patient. But ASCR in being used for 73 different kinds of therapies, and it keeps getting better and better. Here’s the latest scientific discovery in ASCR.
A new study by a Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher details the outcome of adult stem cell grafts in spinal cord injuries and how the procedure led to increased mobility and quality of life for patients.
Associate Professor Jean Peduzzi-Nelson of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology conducted the study, “Olfactory Mucosal Autografts and Rehabilitation for Chronic Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury,” which was published online in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.
The process involves the use of adult stem-like progenitor cells in the patient’s own nasal tissue. The use of a person’s own stem cells, Peduzzi-Nelson said, lessens the problems of rejection, tumor formation and disease transmission.
In the study, 20 patients with severe chronic spinal cord injuries received a treatment combination of partial scar removal, transplantation of nasal tissue containing stem cells to the site of the spinal cord injury and rehabilitation. All of the patients had total paralysis below the level of their spinal cord injury before the treatment.
Wesley J. Smith notes that ASCR is getting more and more efficient:
A team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute has developed a method that dramatically improves the efficiency of creating stem cells from human adult tissue, without the use of embryonic cells. The research makes great strides in addressing a major practical challenge in the development of stem-cell-based medicine…
The new technique, which uses three small drug-like chemicals, is 200 times more efficient and twice as fast as conventional methods for transforming adult human cells into stem cells (in this case called “induced pluripotent stem cells” or “iPS cells”). “Both in terms of speed and efficiency, we achieved major improvements over conventional conditions,” said Scripps Research Associate Professor Sheng Ding, Ph.D., who led the study. “This is the first example in human cells of how reprogramming speed can be accelerated. I believe that the field will quickly adopt this method, accelerating iPS cell research significantly.”
See below for other breakthroughs in ASCR, as well as the political implications.