Tag Archives: Medical

Adult stem cells therapy can fix a broken heart?

Mary sent me this article from the Irish Times.


A new US study in which patients had their hearts repaired with stem cells has brought regenerative treatments for heart attacks a step closer.

The therapy, reported today in the Lancet  medical journal, halved the extent of normally permanent scarring on the heart, and led to the growth of new heart muscle.

However, the treatment produced no significant change in “ejection fraction” – a measure of the heart’s pumping capacity.

The Caduceus trial recruited a total of 25 patients with an average age of 53 who had all suffered a heart attack in the previous month.

Some 17 patients received coronary artery infusions of 12 to 25 million stem cells derived from healthy tissue taken from their own hearts. The remaining eight underwent standard post-heart attack care.

A year later, the proportion of the heart left scarred in the stem cell-treated patients had been reduced from 24 per cent to 12 per cent. No change was seen in patients who did not receive the treatment.

Professor Eduardo Marban, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, who led the US team, said: “The effects are substantial, and surprisingly larger in humans than they were in animal tests.

“This discovery challenges the conventional wisdom that, once established, scar is permanent and that, once lost, healthy heart muscle cannot be restored.”

The Phase I study, which was chiefly conducted to evaluate safety, was published today in an online edition of the Lancet.  It follows a similar trial by US scientists at Harvard Medical School and the University of Louisville whose findings were reported last year, also in the Lancet.

That study, which used a different kind of heart stem cell, produced a 12 per cent average increase in ejection fraction.

Yet another breakthrough for ethical adult stem cells.

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Liberal media silent as ESCR pioneer Geron halts ESCR research

Here’s the story from CBS News.


The company doing the first government-approved test of embryonic stem cell therapy is discontinuing further stem cell work, a move with stark implications for a field offering hope of future medicines for conditions with inadequate or no current treatments.

Geron Corp., a pioneer in stem cell research that has been testing a spinal cord injury treatment, said late Monday that it’s halting development of its stem cell programs to conserve funds. It is seeking partners to take on the programs’ assets and is laying off much of its staff.

[…]The company is eliminating 66 full-time jobs, or 38 percent of its staff, a process that will bring about $8 million in costs— about $5 million in the current quarter and about $3 million in the first half of 2012.

Now consider this article in the Weekly Standard by Wesley J. Smith. (H/T ECM)


For years, the media touted the promise of embryonic stem cells. Year after year, Geron Corporation announced that its embryonic stem cell treatment for acute spinal cord injury would receive FDA approval “next year” for human testing. And year after year, the media dutifully informed readers and viewers that cures were imminent. When the FDA finally did approve a tiny human trial for 10 patients in January 2009, the news exploded around the world. This was it: The era of embryonic stem cell therapy had arrived!

Not exactly. Last week, Geron issued a terse statement announcing it was not only canceling the study, but abandoning the embryonic stem cell field altogether for financial reasons.

You would think Geron’s failure would be very big news. Instead, it turns out that the mainstream media pay attention only when embryonic stem cell research seems to be succeeding—so far, almost exclusively in animal studies. When, as here, it crashes and burns, it is scarcely news at all.

[M]ost of the same news outlets that gave Geron star treatment when it was heralding supposed breakthroughs provided only muted coverage of the company’s retreat into producing anti-cancer drugs.

The Los Angeles Times may be the most egregious offender. A chronic booster of Geron’s embryonic stem cell research, it reported the FDA’s approval of a human trial on January 24, 2009, in a story that began, “Ushering in a new era in medicine .  .  . ” The paper stayed on the story. In October 2010, it reported that the first patient had received an injection, then a few days later it ran a feature about the study under the headline “Hope for Spinal Cord Patients.” During the same period, however, the paper did not report the encouraging results of early human trials of treatments for spinal cord injury developed using adult stem cells.

Then last May, the Times celebrated the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine’s $25 million loan to support Geron’s study, noting that the company’s stem cell product had performed as hoped in rat -studies. Yet the day after Geron’s embryonic stem cell research unit was laid off, the Times couldn’t find the space to print the story, though the following day a blog entry ran on the Times website.

The vast majority (all?) of medical successes with stem cell research have come from ethical adult stem-cell research. Adult stem cell research does not kill unborn children. And that’s why it doesn’t draw funding from pro-abortion politicians or get positive coverage by pro-abortion media outlets. The politics is driving the science – just like with global warming research and alternative energy funding.

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New study: adult stem cells are almost identical to embryonic stem cells

From Life News.


Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have used detailed, high-tech analysis to examine the differences between human embryonic stem cells (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC).

Their findings, published online in the journal Nature Methods, for the first time measured the differences between ESC and iPSC in terms of their proteins (the workhorses of the cell that provide structure, function, and identity for a cell), phosphorylation of proteins (a common type of protein modification used to control protein activity), and RNA (an intermediate messenger from DNA that codes for specific proteins.)  The results indicate that there is significant similarity between ESC and iPSC, with less than 1 percent difference.

ESC research relies on the destruction of a young human embryo, while iPS cells are produced by adding a few genes to normal cells, such as skin, thereby reprogramming the cell to look and act like an ESC, yet without the use of embryos, eggs, or cloning techniques.  The iPS cells thus have a couple of advantages over ESC, including their ethical production as well as the ability to produce pluripotent stem cells directly from any person, to study disease or for potential transplant matching (though the latter has not been proven.)  The similarities indicate, however, that iPSC are more than adequate alternatives to ESC.

The study points out that some differences do still exist between ESC and iPSC, likely as a result of the different origins of the two stem cell types, and that further studies will examine those differences.  But the authors state in their paper that “These differences do not appear to appreciably alter cellular function in the pluripotent state,” as in not affecting the growth and function of iPSC as a stem cell, and the “remarkable similarity between ESCs and iPSCs.”

It’s time to stop the destruction of embryos for experiments, and focus on ethical science.

See below for some adult stem cell successes.

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