According to a pro-life research organization, the lackluster success rates have made funding for embryonic stem-cell research more difficult to come by.
A new report from the education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List shows that the scientific community now recognizes that "morally unproblematic alternatives to embryonic stem cells [are] the best hope for progress toward effective treatments and therapies."
The scientific community now understands that the best chance for success with treating medical conditions is through adult stem cells.
"We've analyzed the last five years of funding by the San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which was created to promote embryonic stem-cell research that hopefully would lead to therapies and cures for various diseases," Donovan explains. "It was promised to do that. Our analysis shows that they have been unable to find projects that work that way, and they are now turning more and more to adult stem-cell resources, which do not raise those ethical issues of destroying human embryos."
While no successful uses of human embryo research have been found, research with adult stem cells has shown promise in treating over 70 diseases and medical conditions.
Donovan concludes the survey shows that even the most supportive entity in the country, CIRM, cannot find beneficial projects for human embryo research and is turning to adult stem cells.
By SHANNA SISSOM | Herald Managing Editor
At age 53, Kent Winders hopes to pick up his grandchildren for the first time and ride a horse again.
“I have nine grandchildren and I’ve never picked one up,” Winders said. “It’s been a goal in my life ever since my (grand) babies were born.”
The disabled former New Mexico rancher has lived in Plainview’s Prairie House Living Center for three years, making friends throughout the assisted living center while being near his son and daughter-in-law, Cory and Jennifer Winders.
Winders suffers from a rare form of multiple sclerosis, known as primary progressive, is wheelchair-bound and also has very limited use of his upper extremities.
The bulk of his mornings are spent in therapy and in the afternoons — at least when a Texas Rangers game isn’t on — he often roams about in his motorized wheelchair. He knows where every item in Walmart is located, and he often fetches merchandise his fellow residents want to buy. Sometimes he goes over to Chili’s or Tractor Supply.
He taught a Bible study at the nursing home for over a year, but just reading Scriptures is challenging anymore.
“I can’t even hold my Bible now,” he explained.
But he likes to look at pictures of his grandchildren, and is happy to show them off to a visitor.
Despite his predicament, Winders is hopeful a procedure relatively new in the United States could help him. And he has reason to believe it will.
Back in 2001, he received a stem cell treatment in Tijuana, Mexico, and saw noticeable improvement to his overall condition, among them were regaining bladder control and seeing his swollen purple feet return to normal size. Friends helped him with costs associated with it all, and the volume of stem cells he received were 3 million to 5 million.
By vast contrast, stem cell infusions now available in the Houston area could deliver up to 600 million stem cells in multiple injections of 100 million to 150 million each, he said.
Winders has been researching all this with his daughter, who’s made contact with Hale County native physician Stanley Jones who performs these procedures in the Houston area. He’s even talked to Texas State Rep. Rick Hardcastle, who himself has undergone stem cell infusion for MS.
“It’s been the most miraculous thing that’s ever happened in my life,” Hardcastle told the Herald. Before he had the infusion, being out in the heat for long would leave him crippled, and he had enormous problems balancing. “Basically I got better.”
Four days after his infusion almost a year ago, Hardcastle said he was on a long-planned trip to Alaska, standing in a river fishing,
“I started getting better, and anybody that asks me, I say call me any place, anytime,” Hardcastle said.
And so he has encouraged Winders to get the stem cell procedure. Winders is quick to point out the stem cells would all be harvested from his own stomach.
“Those stem cells are not controversial. They are not embryo, not harvested from aborted babies,” Winders said. “People who have the same faith as I do would want to know that.”
He’s been fighting MS for about 24 years, but his particular type of MS affects only 10 percent of those suffering from the illness, and there’s no prescription drugs available to that group.
When he talked to Hardcastle recently the state representative encouraged him to seek the treatment, but the $28,000 price tag and travel expense is cost-prohibitive.
However, his friend Danny Andrews is among those who hope that just maybe donors might come forward to help the man Andrews calls his hero.
“He’s been such an inspiration to me because of his faith and desire to get out of that chair,” Andrews said. “He’s still a young man and I think he feels somewhat trapped there, and I hurt for him so badly.”
Andrews, who carries on an informal personal ministry at the facility, came across Winders during one of his weekly visits not long after Winders arrived at the facility. The two made an instant connection, Andrews said. In addition to their strong religious faith, they both are avid Texas Rangers fans.
“Me and Danny coach the Rangers from Plainview,” Winders joked from his room recently.
So as family and friends try to figure out how to raise money for the stem cell infusion Winders believes will change his life and enable him to pick up his grandbabies, he remains faithfully optimistic.
“I’m 53 in a nursing home and I don’t want to live here all my life,” Winders said. “I’d like to regain my independence, support myself where I can live on my own and do normal everyday activities everyone else does.”
The Winders family currently is researching ways to raise money, and hopes to establish a fund soon.
“Lord, I hope someone would come forward to help,” Andrews said about his friend.
Time to heal: Brian Hogan relaxes by listening to music after receiving treatment in a centre in Beijing last week
By Anne Sheridan
Published on Monday 13 August 2012 14:00
FOR BRIAN Hogan and his family there are only three things left for them to do - wait, hope and pray.
The 35 year-old has now returned home to Limerick after three weeks in China, where he underwent stem cell infusions in the hope that one day he might be able to see and walk again.
However, it could be a long and anxious wait as the Ballykeeffe family have been told by doctors in Beijing that it could take six to eight months for the controversial treatment to work.
“We’ve had a good time in China and they’ve treated us well. The treatment is over so we just have to play the waiting game now to see what improvements I receive..it’s going to be an interesting wait,” said Brian, in an online video message, where he thanked people for their support.
Over the course of three weeks, Brian received stem cell infusions every second day, as well as lumbar punctures, and a number of therapies and exercises to improve his mobility.
He was based in a Beike Biotech treatment centre in Beijing, which uses stem cell products derived from umbilical cord, cord blood, and bone marrow stem cells. While the treatment continues to attract controversy and no funding was available from the Irish State as these are experimental trials, his family said anyone in their position would love to see him being able to reclaim the life he lost three years ago.
On July 19, 2009, Brian suffered severe brain damage and was left blind and partially paralysed after an unprovoked attack in Nottingham in the UK, where he was working as a senior quantity surveyor for a construction company.
His sister Nevis said while the treatment is “very exciting”, they are also “sick with nerves” in case they don’t see the results they’re hoping for. “Brian is so positive and always tries to keep the bright side out. He still enjoys life. He never has a woe is me attitude,” she added.
After he spoke out about his condition last September through the Limerick Leader newspaper, two wealthy female donors stepped forward and donated a total of €10,000 to help with the costs of his medical treatment, after being moved by his story. Nevis said they are grateful for “every penny” people have donated, as the treatment and other costs amounted to €40,000. In the past week, donations have continued to come in from people in Armagh, Derbyshire and Colorado.
A group of local doctors on Wednesday injected grown stem cells into a severely-burnt Malaysian woman to repair her skin.
In an extremely rare procedure, doctors extracted, cultivated and then injected adult stem cells into the woman to treat intractable burn scars, experts said.
Doctors with JK Plastic Surgery Center in Seoul said the surgery on 19-year-old Hui-Linn was successful. The women’s body was scarred after her father Lim Teik Swee splashed acid on her mother and her while they were sleeping at home on Oct. 24, 2009. The mother died of her injuries.
Hui-Linn lost the sight in her right eye and had nearly all of the skin on her face severely burnt. Her other eye has limited vision.
The doctors said stem cell injections were the best way to allow Hui-Linn to smile and make other facial expressions.
“We have already performed surgeries on Hui-Linn to recover her eyebrows, and the lower lip and jaw areas last year. However, we needed something beyond plastic surgery because the scarred area was vast and she needed more flexibility and elasticity to the skin while her wounds are too deep to be covered by other methods such as skin transplantation. Stem cells could transform and grow into her skin, giving her comfort and convenience in moving her facial skin,” said Dr. Joo Kwon, chief of the JK center.
Dr. Bae Jun-sung, who will be overseeing her treatment, said Hui-Linn will be injected with a total of 90 million adult stem cells contained in 18cc of liquid over four sessions.
The stem cells were extracted from her bone marrow in June and were cultivated by PharmiCell, the only company here authorized to cultivate and commercialize stem cells.
Hui-Linn, who wore makeup and a bright-colored outfit to the press release held at the hospital, said she is thrilled to receive the treatment.
“For the past several months I have made Korean friends and am learning Korean, too. I cannot wait to start the treatment and a new life!” she said.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org)