At the conclusion of another year, perhaps we should take a moment to take note of progress in adult stem cell research. Two compelling stories that caught my eye in just the past month took most of 2009 to make headlines as success stories.
This month in Australia, 20-year-old Ben Leahy, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (a disease of the nervous system) walked away from his wheelchair after a treatment earlier this year involving his own adult stem cells. Family Research Council describes the treatment and provides a list of other successful, similar treatments for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. According to Leahy's doctor, Colin Andrews, "the risk of death [for the procedure that] was at around 8 percent several years ago" has improved to a risk of less than 1 percent. As doctors in Sydney continue to use the method, we can expect the research to improve.
Also, in Britain, a rock climber named Andrew Kent was in danger of losing his leg after multiple breaks and infection, until doctors used a mix of collagen and his own adult stem cells to "glue" the bones back together. This month, six months after the procedure, the support system was removed, and his doctor said, "after 18 months his bones will have healed completely." Kent should be able to climb again.
However, if you know anyone personally who could eventually benefit from advancements in stem cell research, as I do, you realize quickly how important it is to emphasize the distinction. Research suggests that adult stem cells are producing more demonstrable results than embryonic stem cells have so far, despite the ...1
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