Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Great news on the stem cell front

Posted by sanityinjection on January 30, 2009

Scientists have been able to use stem cells to halt and even reverse neurological damage in patients with multiple sclerosis in recent clinical trials.

In patients with MS, the white blood cells go rogue and start attacking the nervous system. The usual treatment is immunosuppressant drugs, but this usually only works if the disease is discovered in its early stages. There is no known cure for MS.

The new therapy involves removing all of the defective white blood cells and using stem cells to regenerate healthy ones. The best part is that the stem cells do not come from embryos but from the patient’s own bone marrow. And the improvement that results from the treatment isn’t just a technical one:

Cognitive functions and quality of life were improved, and the treatment had a low level of toxicity compared to other drug therapies.

Since MS affects millions of people worldwide, this has the potential to be one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of our lifetime. And it proves once again the enormous potential of adult stem cells.

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3 Responses to “Great news on the stem cell front”

  1. tubby said

    Yay, happy news!

  2. Ms. D said

    Enlighten me on why using stem cells from embryos is wrong when people who use in vitro fertilization create several embryos that are never used and get dumped in the trash but that practice is not outlawed (oooh, yes, I am trouble! 🙂

    Not that you were saying it is wrong (I am unsure if you believe it is) but you suggest that, by saying the best part is that they don’t come from embryos. Is it because that issue is controversial or because the practice is unethical?

  3. sanityinjection said

    In my opinion, the practice of creating excess embryos is also wrong. Parenthood is supposed to be about putting your child’s needs ahead of your own desires; what we see with this type of in vitro process is that at the very beginning the parents are thinking only about themselves and not about what must be sacrificed in order for them to get what they want. That doesn’t bode well for the fetus that does get to live.

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