Superman, Laura, and Susan
Rochester Area Right To Life
Human Spinal Recovery with Adult Stem Cell Treatment
Many of us will remember Christopher Reeve as Superman, before he was thrown from a horse and forced to live in a wheelchair. He died on Sunday but only after becoming very well known as an outspoken advocate of embryonic stem cell research. He wanted to walk again and was passionately convinced that it depended on embryonic stem cell research.
Laura Dominguez and Susan Fajt would passionately disagree with him. These two young women, like Reeve, were obliged to spend their lives in a wheelchair, with no feeling in the lower parts of their bodies, after car accidents that caused severe spinal damage.
They were both treated with adult stem cells, taken from their own nasal mucosa, and have recovered considerable function. Laura, initially with no feeling below her collarbone, is now able to walk a considerable distance with braces. It takes her a long time and she finds it exhausting, but she is grateful to be able to do it.
Susan has had increased bladder control and sensory recovery and told the Senate, “I can now walk with the aid of braces.”
Adult stem cells can be found in an infant umbilical cord and in many of the body tissues where researchers have looked post-natally, such as bone marrow, olfactory mucosa, brain tissue, and fat. They are in clinical use and clinical trials for the treatment of at least 50 human diseases.
Embryonic stem cells are found only in embryos and require the destruction of the embryo, which makes their use controversial. They have not successfully been used in current human treatments.
Comparisons between adult and
RARTL Updated October, 2004
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