Successful use of Adult Stem Cells

Successful use of Adult Stem Cells

While therapies derived from embryonic stem cells are still only theoretical, therapies involving the use of adult stem cells are already numerous and have effected many cures. Unfortunately, these successes have been largely under-reported by the media who seemingly concentrate their attention on the 'potential' cures that may come from embryonic stem cells, sometime in the future.
A woman paralysed for 20 years has regainned the ability to walk after being treated with umbilical cord blood stem cells.

Human multiple-sclerosis patients have also benefited from adult stem cell regenerative medicine. A study conducted by the Washington Medical Center in Seattle involved 26 rapidly deteriorating MS patients. 

First, physicians stimulated stem cells from the patients' bone marrow to enter the bloodstream. They then harvested the stem cells and gave the patients strong chemotherapy to destroy their immune systems. (MS is an autoimmune disorder in which the patient's body attacks the protective sheaths that surround bundles of nerves.) Finally, the researchers reintroduced the stem cells into the patients, hoping they would rebuild healthy immune systems and ameliorate the MS symptoms.

It worked. Of the 26 patients, 20 stabilized and six improved. Three patients experienced severe infections and one died.

In Canada, younger MS patients whose diseases were not as far advanced as those in the Washington study have shown even greater benefit from the same procedure. Six months after the first patient was treated, she was found to have no evidence of the disease on MRI scans. Three other patients have also received successful adult-stem-cell grafts with no current evidence of active disease.

While it is too early to tell whether the Canadian patients have achieved permanent remission or a cure, but there can be no question that the research is significant.

Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's patient Dennis Turner had been diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 49. The disease grew progressively, leading to tremors and rigidity in the patient's right arm. Traditional drug therapy did not help.

15 people with serious Type I (juvenile) diabetes became "insulin free" after adult pancreatic islet cell transplants; 9 still need no insulin injections.

Immune system restored
Immune systems destroyed by cancer were restored in children using stem cells from umbilical-cord blood. (Time April 16, 2001)

Two children born without immune systems ("bubble boy" syndrome) have left their sterile environment and lead normal lives after adult bone marrow stem cell treatment.(Science, The Washington Post, 28 April 2000)

Corneal repair
Several legally blind people can now see more clearly after their corneas were reconstructed with adult corneal stem cells. (New England Journal of Medicine, 13 July 2000)

Current use of Adult Stem Cells to help human patients:
  • Brain Cancer
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Merkel Cell Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Acute Lymphobolastic Leukemia
  • Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
  • Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia
  • Angioimmunoblastic Lymphadenopathy with Dysproteinemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Myelodysplasia
  • Breast Cancer
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Renal Cell Carcinoma
  • Various Solid Tumors
  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma
  • Scleromyxedema
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Juvenile Arthritis
  • Systemic Lupus
  • Polychondritis
  • Systemic Vasculitis
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Behcet's Disease
  • Myasthenia
  • Red Cell Aplasia
  • Autoimmune Cytopenia
  • X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Syndrome
  • X-Linked Hyperimmunoglobuline-M Syndrome
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome-X1
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Sideroblastic Anemia
  • Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia
  • Chronic Epstein-Barr Infection
  • Fanconi's Anemia
  • Diamond Blackfan Anemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Stroke
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Sandhoff Disease
  • Corneal Regeneration
  • Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis
  • Primary Amyloidosis
  • Limb Gangrene
  • Surface Wound Healing
  • Heart Damage
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Spinal Cord Injury
Two quotes from a workshop sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in Washington DC, Stem Cells and the Future of Regenerative Medicine (22 June 2001):

"There is no evidence of therapeutic benefit from embryonic stem cells." - Marcus Grompe, MD, PhD, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, Oregon Health Sciences University (an expert in cell transplantation to repair damaged livers)

"There is no experience with embryonic stem cells in humans, and very little in mice... all claims of therapeutic benefit from embryonic stem cells are conjectural." - Bert Vogelstein, Professor of Oncology and Pathology at Johns Hopkins University and Chairman of the Institute of Medicine's committee studying stem cell research

The future of research
Researchers have reported that grant applications have been turned down because they are studying ASCs. In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health have has funded only 30 projects involving stem cells from umbilical cords.  In contrast, it has funded 634 projects involving embryonic stem cells.