Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Therapy Successful: Paralysed Patient Walks After 19 Years
Korean researchers, using stem cells isolated from umbilical cord blood, succeeded in reversing the paralysis of the lower limbs caused by spinal cord injury, of a 37-year-old female patient. The feat was announced at a press conference last week and reported in the Korea Times.
The link was forwarded by Paul Taylor, who also had a comment on the ethical implications of stem cell therapy:"Whilst stem cell therapy naturally instigates passionately polarised views when the cells are harvested from embryos, it is notable that stem cells derived from umbilical cords do not receive anything like the same attention in the media at present.
Given that umbilical cords are generally discarded after the birth of a baby, and that cells derived from these do not present the same ethical dilemmas as those from embryos, I was particularly interested to read recently that researchers in Korea have successfully treated a case of paralysis due to spinal injury with stem cell transplantation from umbilical cord blood.
The 37 year-old patient, who could not even stand up for the last 19 years due to a spinal injury, received stem cells from umbilical cord blood in early October and can now walk with the aid of a walker."
It would indeed be great if the use of umbilical cord banks, such as in Korea, could help avoid the deeply divisive ethical implications of the use of embryos as the source of stem cells and could make therapeutic advances of this type accessible on a large scale.
Here is a copy of the article in the Korea Times:
Korean Scientists Succeed in Stem Cell Therapy
By Kim Tae-gyu
A team of Korean researchers claimed Thursday they had performed a miracle by enabling a patient, who could not even stand up for the last 19 years, to walk with stem cell therapy.
During a press conference, the scientists said they had last month transplanted multi-potent stem cells from umbilical cord blood to the 37-year-old female patient suffering from a spinal cord injury and she can now walk on her own.
The team was co-headed by Chosun University professor Song Chang-hun, Seoul National University professor Kang Kyung-sun and Han Hoon, Ph.D, from the Seoul Cord Blood Bank (SCB).
"The stem cell transplantation was performed on Oct. 12 this year and in just three weeks she started to walk with the help of a walker," Song said.
The patient’s lower limbs were paralyzed after an accident in 1985 damaged her lower back and hips. Afterward she spent her life in bed or in a wheelchair.
For the unprecedented clinical test, the scientists isolated stem cells from umbilical cord blood and then injected them into the damaged part of the spinal cord.
The sensory and motor nerves of the patient started to improve 15 days after the operation and she could move her hips. After 25 days, her feet responded to stimulation.
Earlier in October 2003, Song’s team also staged a clinical test with stem cells originating from umbilical cord blood by injecting them into another patient’s spine.
"Back then we injected stem cells into spinal fluid and failed to get a good result. This time around, we directly targeted the spine and the method made a difference," Song said.
Song’s team look to further test efficiency of the new therapy with four more patients as soon as they get the green light from Chosun University ethics board and the government.
Song’s team plan to report their research to the scientific world within the first half of next year.
Immeasurable Upside Potential
Professor Kang and Han, Song’s colleagues who co-led the research, noted the new therapy has a huge upside potential when applied to real treatments, without arousing ethical disputes.
Seoul National University professor Hwang Woo-suk surprised the world last February by announcing his groundbreaking exploit of cloning a human embryo and taking stem cells from it.
The technology is expected to lead to breakthrough treatments for many hard-to-cure diseases, for instance, by creating replacement organs and tissues.
At the same time, however, the feat also fueled an ethical debate that spans science, politics and religion, especially regarding the possibility of reproductive human cloning.
In comparison, Kang said stem cells originating from the blood of umbilical cords would not raise such problems since that blood is routinely discarded after the birth of a baby.
"There have been many controversial debates on embryonic stem cells and also such stem cells are not practical due to their property of possibly causing teratoma (cancer of cells)," he explained.
Kang added that since cord blood stem cells are later than embryonic stem cells, they have little chance of causing the fatal teratoma.
"Embryonic stem cells are omni-potent in that they can divide into any thing even including a tumor cell. But cord blood stem cells are developed enough not to cause such troubles while retaining as powerful a differentiation capacity at the same time," he claimed.
Another upside of cord blood stem cells is that they can adapt to the injected bodies without triggering a big negative inner reaction, which are common in other transplantations, according to Han, Ph.D, of the SCB.
"We don’t need a strict match between cord blood stem cell type and the immune system of a patient because the latter accepts the former pretty well thanks to its immaturity," Han said.
In other transplantation operations, just a slight mismatch based on the human leukocyte antigen test would cause a catastrophic result due to immune system’s resistance.
The SCB currently retains blood from about 45,000 umbilical cords and they are enough to cover all Koreans, amply demonstrating the immeasurable potential of the new therapy.
After Baby's Grim Diagnosis, Parents Try Drastic Treatment
A baby with a rare genetic disorder - missing an enzyme needed to break down a fatty molecule which builds up and damages organs leading to death - received umbilical cord stem cell treatment at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Quasi Unlimited Quantities of Human Red Blood Cells Produced from Stem Cells
Le Monde - Monday 27 December 2004
A world breakthrough achieved by French hematologists could transform blood transfusion
Stem cells used to restore vision
A hospital in West Sussex is pioneering the use of stem cells to restore the eyesight of patients. The trial, being carried out at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, has already helped 40 people see again.
May 2005: Stem cells tailored to patients
South Korean scientists say they have made stem cells tailored to match the individual for the first time. Patient-specific stem cells could avoid rejection problems.
In Pitt study, adult stem cells show potential for therapeutic use
June 24, 2005
Stem cells obtained from adult muscle can multiply as often as stem cells from embryos, indicating that adult-derived cells could be cultivated for treatment purposes.
Wired News: New Stem-Cell Bill Gains Support By Kristen Philipkoski
02:00 AM Jul. 13, 2005 PT
A new bill proposing research into obtaining "morally acceptable" embryonic stem cells could give anti-abortion senators the out they've been hoping for.
18 August 2005: Umbilical cord 'stem cell' hope
The researchers plan to make tissues for transplant from the cells. Scientists believe they have found a way to get plentiful stem cells from umbilical cord blood to treat people with diseases.
October 2005: International stem cell bank open
A bank that will create and supply new lines of embryonic stem cells for research around the world has been opened in Seoul, South Korea.
The project is being led by cloning expert Dr Woo Suk Hwang, who has pioneered the development of stem cells tailored to individual patients.
It will serve as the main centre for an international consortium, including the US and the UK.
Critics say using human embryos in research is unnecessary and unethical.
S Korea cloning pioneer disgraced
A cloning pioneer regarded as a hero in his South Korean homeland has resigned and apologised for using human eggs from his own researchers.
Professor Hwang Woo-suk was chairman of the World Stem Cell Hub, which opened this month, based in Seoul. "I am very sorry that I have to tell the public words that are too shameful and horrible," he announced publicly...
Stem cell therapy helps MS woman
A young Inverness woman with multiple sclerosis has said she is able to walk for the first time in years only days after revolutionary stem cell therapy. Amanda Bryson paid ¬£12,000 for a course of injections in the Netherlands, which she believes could cure her. She has now called on the UK Government to make the treatment available here, but it said more research was needed.
December 2005: New Jersey first US state to fund stem-cell research
New Jersey has become the first state to use public money to fund human stem cell research. The state announced $5 million in grants Friday to be split among 17 projects, the New York Times reported. Only three involve human embryonic stem cells, with others studying animals or using adult stem cells.
Jell-O Fix for Spinal Cords
Mar, 29, 2006
Stem cells embedded in futuristic materials may heal decades-old spinal cord injuries and rescue patients from paralysis, if recent experiments in rodents can be replicated in humans. Stem cells have cured many rats of spinal cord injuries, but the treatment has yet to benefit humans. When it does, most scientists say the first treatments will benefit only the newly injured.
UK: Women should donate umbilical cord blood to public
Mothers can donate their umbilical cord blood to the NHS Cord Blood Bank with the aim of helping others. Those from families with a high risk of a genetic disorder can also store the blood with the NHS in case they need to treat one of their children in the future.
Branson to launch stem-cell bank
Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson is set to launch a company which will let families bank and store stem cells from their child's umbilical cord. Virgin says its service is unique because it will offer a charitable element, allowing the NHS to use some of stem cells the company stores. Sir Richard explained: "We will take an individual's cord blood and we will divide it in two. "So, part of it will go into a national blood centre that anybody can get access to. And the other half will be put aside for the child."
Doubts over gene 'cures'
Sonya Smith, 45, an Australian mother of three, who broke her back in a car accident two years ago, was told she would never walk again by her doctors in Brisbane. Then she heard reports of Shroff's apparent success in treating other paraplegics and came to Delhi. After 10 weeks of treatment, Smith said she had regained enough control over her legs to begin walking with callipers. She was also regaining control over her bladder and bowel movements.
Researchers take first steps towards spinal cord reconstruction following injury
"When we block netrin-1 function, the adult stem cells remain at the injury site," says Dr. Tim Kennedy, co-lead investigator and neuroscientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University. "This is a critical first step towards understanding the molecular events needed to repair the injured spinal cord and provides us with new targets for potential therapies."
Skin Cells Reprogrammed To Behave Like Embryonic Stem Cells
When University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers succeeded in reprogramming skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, they also began to redefine the political and ethical dynamics of the stem-cell debate, a leading bioethicist says. R. Alta Charo, a UW-Madison professor of law and bioethics, says the scientific finding could have far-reaching effects on the social dimensions of the ongoing controversy over embryonic stem cell research.
"This is a method for creating a stem cell line without ever having to work through, at any stage, an entity that is a viable embryo," Charo says. "Therefore, you manage to avoid many of those debates with the right-to life community."I guess those researchers haven't been paying attention when umbilical cord stem cells were discovered three years ago. Perhaps the message got drowned out by the din of religious objections at the time. Or perhaps it was a case of "not invented here"...
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday November 29 2004
updated on Friday December 10 2010
URL of this article:
Politics in Healing : The Suppression & Manipulation of American Medicine
Following are some of my favorite books and are required reading, if one is to understand how we contunely waste our resources and intellect and frequently live generations behind on what we really know. All because of greed and ego's. Sad I shall be glad to lend some of these materials to anyone in the London, Ont. Canada area. Politics in Healing : The Suppression & Manipulation of American Medicine... [read more]
June 17, 2003 - Chris Gupta
The Miracle Of Electromedicine
Further to my earlier notes on Electromedicine, the following Chapter 9 excerpt from POLITICS IN HEALING by Daniel Haley is a must read. I and a number of my list members have build the Brain Tuner (Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) device). The plan is to put all the updated details on this web site in due course. Chris Gupta ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We'd have had regeneration 15-20 years ago if it hadn't... [read more]
June 25, 2003 - Chris Gupta
Human genetic engineering
While we read daily headlines of actions and laws in opposition to genetic engineering of plants, there is a strange silence on the subject of human genetic engineering. Yet, the proponents of genetic eugenics are working hard to acquire the technological and scientific know-how necessary to shape mankind to the liking of their twisted minds. This ideology is gaining acceptance among scientific, high-tech, media and policy elites. A key foundational... [read more]
July 16, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
The Truth About Hyperbaric Therapy
The Quebec Public Health Insurance System should already cover the fees for Hyperbaric Treatments since summer 2000, but the medical authorities have manipulated the results and conclusions of the study, lied to parents, bypassed the honest researchers and competent doctors , lied in the Quebec medias, even going as far as changing the title and conclusions of the original article as published in the prestigious medical journal ''The Lancet'' in... [read more]
May 05, 2005 - Chris Gupta
Gene Therapy may cause leukaemia
As reported in BBC health, scientists have run into trouble on gene therapy. The side effects appear to be serious. "a number of children developed leukaemia following gene therapy treatment. High profile gene therapy trials have been stopped in France and but are continuing in the UK despite a number of children developing leukaemia follwing treatment."... [read more]
June 03, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
BIOELECTROMAGNETIC MEDICINE - THE BOOK
...""In the decade to come, it is safe to predict, bioelectromagnetics will assume a therapeutic importance equal to, or greater than, that of pharmacology and surgery today. With proper interdisciplinary effort, significant inroads can be made in controlling the ravages of cancer, some forms of heart disease, arthritis, hormonal disorders, and neurological scourges such as Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injury, and multiple sclerosis. This prediction is not pie-in-the-sky. Pilot studies... [read more]
September 16, 2004 - Chris Gupta