Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Successes
Rochester Area Right To Life
Adult Stem Cells Treat Rare Skin
Heart healing with bone marrow stem cells
Adult Stem Cells Hold Hope for Autoimmune Patients (Crohn's Disease)
Adult Stem Cells Treat Rare Skin Disorder
New York, NY -- A man with a rare, potentially fatal skin disorder that was so severe that he could no longer eat is now symptom-free after receiving a transplant of his own adult stem cells, doctors in Texas report. The result is the latest of many such reports that show the potential for adult stem cells to be used in place of life-destroying embryonic stem cell research
The disorder, scleromyxedema, is similar to a chronic connective tissue disease called scleroderma, which thickens the skin and causes it to become shiny and stiff. The cause of the condition is unknown, and treatment for the disease is often ineffective.
Six years before, the patient, a 46-year-old white man, had developed itchy spots on his hands that disappeared after treatment with oral and topical steroids. Three years later, the abnormalities returned as waxy, thickened skin. At that time the patient was diagnosed with scleromyxedema.
Despite treatment with steroids and other medications, the disease rapidly progressed during the next 2 years. Eventually, the man's face took on a "cobblestone'' appearance, and he was not able to close his eyelids completely.
The side effects of two drugs used to treat the disorder--etanercept and interferon alfa-2b--were too much for the patient to handle, so doctors treated him with a therapy called photopheresis. This process involves exposing a patient's white blood cells to ultraviolet light and then returning them to the bloodstream. This restored the normal tightness of his skin, but the benefits were temporary.
By then, the disease had progressed to the point that the man was not able to eat and lost a significant amount of weight.
At that point, a team of doctors at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston led by Dr. Adrienne M. Feasel performed what is known as an autologous stem cell transplant on the patient.
After collecting stem cells from the man's bone marrow, the researchers wiped out his immune system with chemotherapy. They then transplanted the stem cells back into the man to reconstruct his immune system.
The approach seems to have worked, according to the report in the August issue of the journal Archives of Dermatology . Three months after the transplant, the cobblestone appearance of the man's face had disappeared and he was able to close his eyes and open his mouth. Since the procedure, he has gained more than 25 pounds.
"To our knowledge, this is the first report of treating scleromyxedema with transplantation, and additional investigations would be helpful for determining the response rate for progressive scleromyxedema,'' Feasel and her colleagues report.
Source: Reuters Health; August 17, 2001; Archives of Dermatology 2001;137:1071-1072. As quoted in the Pro-Life Infonet 8/20/01 #2509. Courtesy of the Pro-Life Infonet email newsletter. For more information or to subscribe go to http://www.prolifeinfo.org or email email@example.com
Heart Healing with Bone Marrow Stem Cells
Michael Fumento commented in the National Post Sat 28 Jul 2001:
"On July 24, researchers in Rostock, Germany, announced that two weeks before they had successfully transplanted stem cells into the heart of a man whom, they report, is now doing well. The cells came from the man's own marrow. No embryos were harmed in the making of this miracle." He wonders how come it is that you continually hear about all the miracles that embryonic stem cell research might perform and you dont hear about the miracles that non-embryonic stem cell research is currently performing.
Adult Stem Cells Hold Hope for Autoimmune Patients
Chicago, IL -- Adult stem cells extracted from the blood of two Crohn's patients have been used to rebuild their faulty immune systems, the latest success with a technique that is being tested at several U.S. hospitals.
While the debate over the use and funding of embryonic stem cells continues, doctors are already using adult stem cells to counteract autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's, multiple sclerosis and lupus.
Doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago said Thursday that a 22-year-old female Crohn's patient, whose white blood cells were attacking her digestive system, was doing "phenomenally well" 2-1/2 months after the undergoing the procedure.
Doctors were so pleased with her progress that they performed the procedure on a second Crohn's patient, a 16-year-old boy, earlier this week.
Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, afflicts some 50,000 Americans and is most common in adolescents and young adults.
For treating patients, using a person's own stem cells may be preferable to using embryonic stem cells since there is no risk of the body rejecting its own cells. The experimental technique has been used by doctors on people with autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system inexplicably attacks the body's own tissues.
Immunologist Richard Burt of Northwestern, who performed the procedure on the Crohn's patients, said early results in both of them were very encouraging.
"This is a patient who had bloody, watery diarrhea about 10 times a day for nine years, with a lot of abdominal pain. Since the procedure, she has had no diarrhea, is eating and is in no pain," Burt said of the first patient.
"But we have to be very careful. This is experimental, one patient never means anything. We can't say we've cured anybody. Only time will tell. But this is obviously the best thing we could have wished for," he added.
Multiple sclerosis patients who underwent a similar procedure at another hospital to rebuild their immune systems with their own stem cells showed progress, Burt said. Though the therapy did not repair existing damage to their nervous systems, it halted the development of new lesions, he said.
However, stem cell therapy on lupus patients elsewhere did repair the damage to their organs, Burt said.
Robert Craig, a gastroenterologist at Northwestern working with Burt on Crohn's disease, said it took him three years to find suitable patients for this experimental therapy.
"They need to be very sick. They have to have failed on other therapies. There aren't that many people who are ill enough to warrant this type of therapy because the therapy itself is life threatening," he said.
The process is risky because it involves destroying the patient's defective immune system with chemotherapy and a protein that drives down the number of infection-fighting white blood cells. A growth factor is introduced to stimulate the bone marrow to produce stem cells, which are then harvested from the bloodstream. Finally, the stem cells are injected into a central vein, either in the neck or arm.
The whole process, including recovery, takes three weeks.
"It scares me," Craig said. "I sweat bullets with these patients. When their white blood count is that low they're very susceptible to infection."
Burt, the chief of Northwestern Hospital's division of Immune Therapy and Autoimmune Diseases, began studying the process of regenerating the immune systems of animal test subjects more than a decade ago.
For instance, scientists have manipulated blood stem cells from adult mice to grow into tissue and that bone marrow stem cells can be made to regenerate heart muscle.
Whether the process will work on human beings is not known, he said.
"Can we use blood stem cells for tissue genesis to repair organs? If we can get a person's adult stem cells to do that from their blood then this whole problem of embryonic stem cells in terms of the ethical problem is not an issue," he said.
"If you're able to use your own stem cells, then this debate about embryonic stem cells in not only moot, it's economically much better to use your own because you don't have to have the extensive bank and ... trying to see if you have a match, and all the quality control of preserving the tissue. It's not just ethically moot, it's practically moot."
Source: Reuters; August 11, 2001 as quoted in the Pro-Life Infonet 8/12/01 #2503. Courtesy of the Pro-Life Infonet email newsletter. For more information or to subscribe go to http://www.prolifeinfo.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Warren King, a reporter for the Seattle Times, reported a heart-warming example in his article on stem cell research. An excerpt from his story:
"She reads voraciously. She adores animals, especially her cat Oreo. She plays, swims and laughs with her sister, Sydney, and a happy gaggle of friends. Yet five years ago, Savannah Jantsch's parents feared she would not last more than a few months."
"Struggling with leukemia and a rare blood disorder, Savannah became one of the early recipients of stem cells from the umbilical-cord blood of a newborn. Infused in her body, the cells soon built an entirely new blood-cell system for the Bellingham girl, now a bright-eyed 9-year-old."
Read the rest of the story at:
And see what other modern miracles you can find at http://www.stemcellresearch.org/news.htm. The site belongs to "Do No Harm; The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics." They describe themselves as "a national coalition of researchers, health care professionals, bioethicists, legal professionals, and others dedicated to the promotion of scientific research and health care which does no harm to human life."
|Annotated Pro-Life Links||Statistics||Find Your Lawmaker||Legislative
Status in NY
|Fed Voting Recs||NYS Voting Recs||Thoughts||Pamphlets, Books,Gifts||Archive|
Right to Life Website - Main Headings
|Home||What's New||Local Events||Life Stage