CHINA: Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Parkinson's Patient

British Scientist Uses Adult Stem Cell Research to Treat Back Pain

Italy: Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Dogs With Muscular Dystrophy, People Next

Adult Stem Cell Research Shows More Promise Treating Heart Attacks

Hair Follicle Cells Offer Embryonic Stem Cell Research Alternative

  Adult Stem Cell Research Shows More Promise Treating Heart Attacks

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 14, 2006

Baltimore, MD ( -- Scientists at Johns Hopkins University continue to show the promise that adult stem cells have in treating the effects of heart attacks. The successfully grew adult stem cells from healthy heart tissue and used it to repair some of the tissue damage done to organs by heart attacks.

The researchers conducted the experiments on pigs as pigs' hearts closely resemble those in humans, making them a useful model in such research.

Following up on previous studies, Hopkins cardiologists used a thin tube to extract samples of heart tissue no bigger than a grain of rice within hours of the animals' heart attacks. They then grew large numbers of cardiac stem cells in the lab from tissue obtained through biopsy, and within a month implanted the cells into the pigs' hearts.

With help from a blue-dye tracking system, the scientists have shown that within two months the cells had developed into mature heart cells and vessel-forming endothelial cells.

Eduardo Marb?n, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and professor and chief of cardiology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, says that is similar studies show the same success in humans, it would be easy to help numerous patients.

"This is a relatively simple method of stem cell extraction that can be used in any community-based clinic, and if further studies show the same kind of organ repair that we see in pigs, it could be performed on an outpatient basis," he said in a statement obtained.

"Starting with just a small amount of tissue, we demonstrated that it was possible, very soon after a heart attack, to use the healthy parts of the heart to regenerate some of the damaged parts," he added.

Marb?n cautions that no overall improvements in heart function have yet been shown in these studies, which were not designed to establish such changes and used relatively low numbers of infused cells (10 million or less).

"But we have proof of principle, and we are planning to use larger numbers of cells implanted in different sites of the heart to test whether we can restore function as well," he says. "If the answer is yes, we could see the first phase of studies in people in late 2007."

The latest Hopkins findings are scheduled to be presented Nov. 13 at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

They are believed to be the first results in animal studies to show that so-called cardiac stem cell therapy can be successfully applied with minimally invasive methods to circumstances closely resembling those in humans.

Scientists say the results build on earlier studies with cardiac stem cells in mice and humans that demonstrated success in regenerating infarcted heart muscle and restoring heart cell function post-infarct.

  Italy: Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Dogs With Muscular Dystrophy, People Next

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 15, 2006

Milan, Italy ( -- Adult stem cell research continues to show great promise and researchers in Italy have shown that adult stem cells can ease the symptoms associated with muscular dystrophy. The results, seen in dogs, show great promise for treating people down the road and avoid the ethical concerns of embryonic cells.

The scientists published the results of their research online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Giulio Cossu, director of the Stem Cell Research Institute at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute of Milan in Italy, lead the team. They found that dogs with the condition were able to walk faster and even jump after the stem cell treatments.

The dogs had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a muscle disorder that affects about 1 in every 3,500 boys. It is the most severe, yet the most common form of the disease.

"We do not know whether this will work in patients," Cossu said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. However, he said he hopes to begin treatments on children next year or in 2008.

One five month old dog named Azor was limping because of the disease but after the treatments was able to romp around with other puppies.
"Azor regained incredible mobility, much more than when the treatment started," said Prof Cossu.

"He could not extend his hind limbs at first and was jumping like a rabbit. But it was amazing to see how he could then move, without any fatigue. In dogs, this is the best result so far."

The research wrote that they found the best results when obtaining adult stem cells from other dogs but they said a patient's own stem cells may be able to work just as well and help them avoid having to deal with potential rejection issues.

Johnny Huard of the University of Pittsburgh, who didn't participate in the research, told AP the results are "a great breakthrough for all of us working on stem cells for muscular dystrophy."

Sharon Hesterlee, vice president of translational research at the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which helped pay for the research, told AP the study is one of the most exciting her group has seen in years and she is optimistic it will eventually lead to treatments for people.

The researchers used Golden retrievers for their experiments because they are the most accurate animal model of the human disease.

Cossu's team transplanted cells called mesoangioblasts, stem cells gathered small blood vessels in muscle, that are programmed to develop into muscle cells.
Muscular dystrophy comes in at least 20 forms and causes muscle wasting, progressive paralysis and eventually death.

  British Scientist Uses Adult Stem Cell Research to Treat Back Pain

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 4, 2006

Manchester, England ( -- A University of Manchester researcher has developed a treatment for lower back pain using the patient's own stem cells, which could replace the use of strong painkillers or surgery. Those options don't ultimate addresses the underlying cause of back pain in many patients.

Dr. Stephen Richardson, of the University's Division of Regenerative Medicine in the School of Medicine (FMHS), has developed the treatment in collaboration with German biotechnology company Arthrokinetics and internationally renowned spinal surgeons.

Richardson is hoping to enter pre-clinical trials next year.

Low back pain affects a large proportion of the adult population at some point in their lives and in many of these cases it is persistent, eventually leading to debilitating pain.

Currently, treatments address the symptoms -- mainly pain -- using a combination of painkillers, physiotherapy or surgery, removing tissue to relieve the pain or fusing the vertebrae above and below the painful disc. None of these options is ideal as they only treat the symptoms, not the cause, and are of limited long-term success.

The treatment Dr. Richardson is developing uses a cell-based tissue engineering approach to regenerate the intervertebral disc (IVD) at the affected level. This is achieved through the combination of the patients' own mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and a naturally occurring collagen gel that can be implanted through a minimally-invasive surgical technique.

MSCs are a population of progenitor cells found in the bone marrow of adults which can differentiate into many different cell types in the body.

Dr Richardson found that for several reasons he could not use cells from the IVD itself and thus spent a number of years developing a method of producing NP cells from MSCs.

"Once we have extracted the bone marrow from the patient and have purified the MSCs, they will be grown in culture and our patented method of differentiation will be applied," Richardson said in a statement.

"They will then be embedded within a gel which can be implanted back into the patient through an arthroscope," he explained.

The treatment has massive implications for the future of lower back pain treatment.

  CHINA: Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Parkinson's Patient

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 25, 2006

Beijing, China ( -- A hospital in China has announced that it has successfully treated a patient like Michael J. Fox with Parkinson's disease using adult stem cells. Fox has drawn international attention for misleading campaign commercials criticizing pro-life candidates who oppose embryonic stem cell research.

Despite Fox's ads, embryonic stem cells have yet to help any patients.

But adult stem cells helped 52 year old Penny Thomas of Hawaii who says she has since seen tremendous improvement in her condition since a recent therapy.

Yesterday, Tiantan Puhua Neurosurgical Hospital announced the first known successful stem cell therapy treatment in China, and one of the first in the world.

Tiantan Puhua applied the unique procedure, specifically designed for Parkinson's patients. Hospital staff completed the initial stage of careful monitoring of Penny's progress during and after the treatment to ensure that the procedure was a success.

"I was on the verge of dying" says Penny in a statement obtained.

"Now, I feel that I have my life back after this new stem cell treatment. My body has calmed down, I can walk fluidly, I can hold a knife and a fork and cut my food by myself, I can get out of bed on my own, brush my hair, and even do Yoga. I feel like a kid again," she said.

Tiantan Puhua Hospital's groundbreaking treatment introduces 'Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial cells' (hRPE) to patients' bodies causing them to naturally produce Dopamine, enhancing Dopamine levels in the brain.

The Hospital's use of hRPE cells means that patients do not have immunosuppressive reactions and therefore do not need to take additional drugs during the treatment.

"Our medical solution gives a new ray of hope for all patients around the world suffering from formerly untreatable neural diseases like Parkinson's, Cerebral Palsy and Stroke," Dr. Sherwood Yang, Vice President of Tiantan Puhua Hospital said. "We are all very happy for Penny and are excited to see the improvement in her condition."

Parkinson disease is a brain disorder that occurs when certain nerve cells in the brain die or become damaged. The normal function of these nerve cells is the production of Dopamine - a vital chemical which is responsible of our body's smooth and well coordinated movement.

Thomas was diagnosed with Parkinson by doctors in the US four years ago and has since suffered from almost every symptom of the disease.

She experienced constant shaking in her hands, had severe difficulty getting out of a bed or chair by herself, and could only eat if her food was prepared for her in a way that allowed her to use a spoon or her fingers. She had given up reading and writing and had extreme difficulty performing operations most people take for granted, such as holding a telephone, getting dressed, brushing her hair or even turning her neck.

Penny often experienced "freeze ups" while walking whereby she would stop and not be able to continue her motion.

After two months of Stem Cell therapy, which included neurological nutritional balancing and rehabilitation in Tiantan Puhua Hospital in Beijing that started on May 11, 2006, Penny said she regained her life back.

While the treatment cannot completely remove all symptoms of the disease, Penny's shaking was greatly reduced, muscle tension disappeared, her strength increased, movement became more fluid, and her freeze ups stopped. After the treatment, Penny was able to get out of bed immediately and without help.

  Hair Follicle Cells Offer Embryonic Stem Cell Research Alternative

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 12, 2006

Madison, WI ( -- Scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin have found what may be another alternative to embryonic stem cells. They have found that adult stem cells from hair follicles, which don't involve the destruction of human life to obtain, are different from other types of skin cells.

The researchers recently identified the molecular signature of hair follicle stem cells called epidermal neural crest stem cells.

The college says the study resolves conflicting scientific opinions by showing that these cells are distinctly different from other types of skin-resident stem cells.

The MCW research team has reported their findings in a recent issue of Stem Cells: The International Journal of Cell Differentiation and Proliferation.

Epidermal neural crest stem cells are found in the bulge of hair follicles and have characteristics that combine some advantages of embryonic and adult stem cells, according to lead researcher, Maya Sieber-Blum, Ph.D.

Similar to embryonic stem cells, they have a high degree of plasticity, can be isolated at high levels of purity, and can be expanded in culture.

Sieber-Blum says the hair cells are similar to other types of adult stem cells, as they are readily accessible through a minimally invasive procedure and could lead to using a patient's own hair as a source for therapy without the controversy or transplant problems associated with embryonic stem cells.
"We see the potential for cell replacement therapy in which patients can be their own donors, which would avoid ethical issues and reduce the possibility of tissue incompatibility," says Dr. Sieber-Blum.

The Medical College team in collaboration with Prof. Martin Schwab, director of the Brain Research Institute of the University of Z?rich, recently injected these cells in mice with spinal cord injuries.

According to the study, when grafted into the spine, the cells not only survived, but also demonstrated several desirable characteristics that could lead to local nerve replacement and re-myelination (restoration of nerve pathways and sheaths).

Neural crest stem cells generate a wide array of cell types and tissues. The cells can be isolated from the hair follicle bulge as multipotent stem cells, and then expanded in culture into millions of cells without losing stem cell markers.

"We grafted the cells into mice that have spinal cord injuries and were encouraged by the results. The cells survived and integrated into the spinal cord, remaining at the site of transplantation and not forming tumors," Dr. Sieber-Blum says.

The transplant of embryonic stem cells have caused problems in animal research because they have formed tumors that would cause severe problems in humans.

Sieber-Blum points out that the hair follicle cells may also be useful to treat Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Hirschsprung's disease, stroke, peripheral neuropathies and ALS. Certain defects of the heart, and bone defects could also be treated through neural crest stem cell replacement therapy.

Adult Stem Cells Cure Italian Boy of Potentially Lethal Anemia

Rome, Italy ( - An adult stem-cell therapy has cured
an Italian boy of a potentially lethal anemia. The cells were
gathered from the placenta of his recently born twin brothers,
according to the health ministry. The innovative development in
the treatment was the use of two different batches of blood from
the brothers - one with plenty of stem cells, the other altered
in vitro to target the older sibling's Thalassemia. The
successful stem-cell treatment spared the boy a lifetime of
transfusions or a bone marrow transplant, for which an exact
match would have been needed.

Adult Stem Cell Research Reduces Rheumatoid Arthritis, Tackles Hair Loss

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
September 7, 2004

Chiacgo, IL ( -- Two medical journals are reporting
advances in stem cell research using adult stem cells, including
a case where rheumatoid arthritis was apparently cured.

In the August 2004 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism, the case of
a 52-year old woman who had rheumatoid arthritis in 28 joints was
treated with stem cells from a sibling.

While drugs were used to help her body accept the new cells, she
no longer needed medication for her disease within a year of the
transplantation. In fact, her morning stiffness stopped occurring
while she was still in the hospital and never returned.

Researchers at the Northwestern University of Chicago concluded
that the procedure "may be performed safely, without the
development of graft versus host disease or serious infection,
and results in ... marked resolution of the disease
manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis."

The journal Cell has published results of a study that found that
cell in hair follicles in the skin have properties similar to
stem cells -- namely the ability to create new cells of different
types of tissue.

Researchers at Rockefeller University have found that certain
cells in the skin of mice have the ability to improve wound
healing and reverse hair loss -- showing potential to become
treatments for burns and hair loss.

"We've identified cells within skin that bear all the
characteristics of true stem cells" said Elaine Fuchs, biologist
at the University. "The results demonstrate for the first time
that individual cells isolated from hair follicles can be
cultured in the laboratory and retain a capacity to make multiple
cell types when grafted."

Stem cells have been the center of controversy lately, as
pro-life organizations have voiced opposition to the use of
embryonic stem cells, which are harvested by destroying human
embryos. Medical advances, however, has only been found through
the use of adult stem cells, found in umbilical cord blood, and
perhaps even in skin cells. The adult stem cells can be collected
without taking human lives.

The ethical issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research are
compounded by the wishes of some researchers to clone human
embryos in order to produce the stem cells.

President Bush put forward an executive order preventing taxpayer
funding of any new embryonic stem cell research. Despite
presidential candidate John Kerry saying the policy amounts to a
ban on funding, the Bush administration has backed adult stem
cell research with $190 million of federal funds.

Currently, New Jersey has the most extreme pro-cloning
legislation in effect in the U.S., allowing for the cloning,
implantation, and destruction of human life from the embryonic
through the newborn stages of prenatal development, funded by
state taxes.

Discovery of Adult Stem Cells in Pancreas Could Help Diabetes Patients
by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 23, 2004

Toronto, Canada ( -- The possible discovery of adult
stem cells in the pancreas could offer hope for diabetics who
take insulin shots to make up for defective cells.

Scientists from the University of Toronto believe they have found
adult stem cells in the pancreas of mice that are capable of
creating insulin-producing beta cells. Those cells can compensate
for defective pancreatic islets, which are comprised mostly of
beta cells.

The islets produce insulin that regulates a person's blood sugar

"People have been intensely searching for pancreatic stem cells
for a while now, and so our discovery of precursor cells within
the adult pancreas that are capable of making new pancreatic
cells is very exciting," UT researcher Simon Smukler said.

According to the study, published in the August 22 edition of the
medical journal Nature Biotechnology, the researchers are now
conducting further reviews to ensure that the cells they found
are adult stem cells and not just precursor cells that simply
give rise to the development of the pancreas.

Stem cells can renew themselves over the entire life of the
person or animal and can produce varied cell types, such as the
islet cells diabetes patients need.

"Pancreatic stem cells could provide a plentiful supply of beta
cells for transplant treatments," the researchers said in a

Researchers at the University of Alberta have been transplanting
the insulin-making islet cells into patients and helping them
shed their dependence on the insulin shots. However, the research
relies on harvesting the islet cells from human cadavers and the
supply of the cells fluctuates significantly.

The discovery of adult stem cells that can create a limitless
supply of islets could prove revolutionary.

Ronald Worton, head of Canada's Stem Cell Network, said he thinks
his country's stem cell research efforts will finally produce the
help diabetes patients needs.

"I think it's true that diabetes is going to turn out to be a
main focus of Canada's stem-cell efforts," he told the Toronto
Globe newspaper.

The Toronto researchers have also grown nerve cells, including
neurons, from their single mouse cell.

The University of Toronto has long been involved in diabetes and
stem cell research.

Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin there in
the 1920s, while years later, Drs. Ernest McCulloch and James
Till first described the stem-cell concept.

This study was supported by the Stem Cell Network and the
Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

Related web sites:
UT Study -

Stanford Research Shows Bone Marrow Cells as Effective as Embryonic

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 17, 2003

Standford, CA ( -- Adult bone marrow cells can fuse
with specialized brain cells, possibly bolstering the brain cells
or repairing damage, according to research from the Stanford
University School of Medicine.

This finding helps resolve an ongoing debate: Do adult stem cells
transform from bone marrow cells into other cell types, such as
brain, muscle or liver cells, or do they fuse with those cells to
form a single entity with two nuclei?

Some scientists say adult stem cells lack the ability to
transform, which makes embryonic stem cell research more useful
long-term. Pro-life groups say adult stem cell research is just
as effective and cite numerous clinical studies where patients
have already been cured or had the effects of diseases reduced.

Helen Blau, Ph.D., a Stanford professor who conducted the
research, published in the Oct. 16 advance online issue of Nature
Cell Biology, transplanted mice with bone marrow cells that had
been genetically altered to produce a fluorescent green protein.

Over the course of the next 18 months (75 percent of a mouse's
life span), they looked for signs of fluorescent green cells in
the animals' brains. Over time, the group found an increasing
number of brain cells that glowed green under a microscope.

David Stevens, MD, executive director of the Christian Medical
Association says that other studies suggest that something in the
damaged organ triggers adult stem cells to begin the repair

"The more important point is that adult/umbilical cord cell
transplants work," Stevens said.

"How they work is not understood completely," Stevens explained.
"They may secrete a substance that causes new cells to be formed,
they may fuse with cells from the organ and proliferate or they
may transdifferentiate. It may be all of the above."

*       *       *       *       *       *
University of Minnesota Works With Firm on Adult Stem Cell Research

Cleveland, OH -- While Stanford University is making headlines announcing a
new embryonic stem cell research program that involves the destruction of
human life, the University of Minnesota is working with a biotech firm to
advance adult stem cell research, which has proven more effective in
combatting various diseases.

Cleveland-based Athersys, a small biotechnology company, has obtained the
exclusive commercial rights to a type of stem cell that could defuse the
debate over the use of embryonic stem cells in research.

Under the agreement, the University of Minnesota has licensed the rights to
stem cells harvested from adult bone marrow, which were discovered by Dr.
Catherine Verfaillie, director of the University of Minnesota Stem Cell

In June, Verfaillie and colleagues published a study stating that rare stem
cells found in human adult bone marrow are capable of forming tissue for
various organs and may prove to be as versatile as embryonic stem cells.
That means that various types of tissue might one day be made from them,
accomplishing the same goals as embryonic stem cell research.

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research have championed Dr. Verfaillie's
cells, which she calls multipotent adult progenitor cells, as alternatives
to embryonic cells.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   University of Minnesota Works With Firm on Adult Stem Cell Research
Source:   New York Times; December 11, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Doctors Group Hails Adult Stem Cell Research Breakthroughs

Rosemont, IL -- Speaking at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
(AAOS) Orthopaedics Update 2002 Web conference, Joseph Iannotti, MD chairman
of the Cleveland Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery explained, "Adult
stem cells have not only proven to be effective in bone healing today, they
hold great promise for the future of orthopaedics - especially in the areas
of reconstructing all types of tissues, as well as improving the healing of
diseased tissues."

A stem cell can be thought of as a blank slate with the ability to become any
type of cell to form skin, bones, organs or other body parts. What makes a
person alive is the continuous regeneration of these cells. Adult stem cells,
already present in the human body, differ from embryonic stem cells in that
they are derived from living bone, tissue, muscle and fat and not from an

Dr. Iannotti explained that mesenchymal stem cells are the type of cells that
depending on the maturation process can become bone, cartilage, muscle,
marrow, tendon/ligament and connective tissue. These cells are harvested from
bone marrow in the pelvis via a syringe. Approximately 100 milliliters of
bone marrow fluid when processed will yield 1 tablespoon containing 800
million cells of which 40,000 are mesanchymal stem cells.

"Stem cell therapy can be especially effective when there is a non-union
situation," said
Iannotti. "For example, a young man whose leg had still not healed fully
after a year of
treatment showed vast improvement just 3 months after undergoing an adult
stem cell

In addition to non-unions (bone fractures that do not heal), adult stem cells
currently being used to treat a variety of clinical conditions including
large segmental
defects, bone fractures or wounds that have severe scarring, infections, or
tissue with a poor blood supply, and the effects of irradiation and

Recent data analysis shows that in more than 700 patients who underwent a
stem cell
harvesting procedure from the pelvis, there was no complaint of pain and only
2 bruises.
This is of great benefit to the patient because it reduces the risk of
associated with complications that may arise in the harvesting of autogenous
bone from other areas of the patient's body. Other benefits to the patient of
utilizing a
stem cell procedure include minimal scarring and decreased blood loss.

Research on human adult stem cells suggests great potential for use in the
development of
tissue and cartilage regeneration especially in the area of transplantation.
adult stem cells from a patient, directing their specialization and then
them back into the patient would be extremely advantageous because it is
unlikely that the
cells would be rejected. Research is currently underway towards achieving
this goal. Once
accomplished it will be a true scientific breakthrough that has the potential
revolutionize the practice of medicine.

An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician with extensive training in the
diagnosis and
nonsurgical as well as surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system,
including bones,
joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Doctors Group Hails Adult Stem Cell Research Breakthroughs
Source:   American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; October 16, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Adult Stem Cells Treat Brain Injuries in Mice

New York, NY -- New research in mice raises hopes that stem cells may one day
be used to treat brain injuries. Mice that had neural stem cells injected
into their
brains shortly after a brain injury experienced significant improvement in
motor skills,
researchers report.

Since there is currently no treatment for traumatic brain injury, the results
of the study
provide "a great deal of renewed hope," the study's senior author, Dr. Tracy
K. McIntosh
of the Head Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia,
told Reuters
Health in an interview.

In the interview, McIntosh explained that another set of researchers had
developed a line
of neural stem cells from mouse fetal tissue. When injected into mice that
had a cerebral
palsy-like disorder, the cells had traveled toward the damaged area of the
brain, so
McIntosh and his colleagues decided to see whether neural stem cells might be
useful for
treating brain injury. The hope for the cells, he said, was that they would
be able to
differentiate to replace nerve cells that had died.

That is exactly what happened when the researchers injected neural stem cells
into the
brains of mice with brain injury.

"These cells are very, very clever," McIntosh said. They "appeared to travel
toward the site of injury." Not only did the cells differentiate to form
neurons, but they
also formed the glial cells that support neurons.

Besides surviving and differentiating, the stem cells seemed to help the mice
somewhat, the researchers report in the October issue of the journal
Neurosurgery. Though
the cognitive, or mental, abilities of the mice did not improve after
treatment, their
motor skills did get better.

"When we see behavioral improvement, we say hooray," McIntosh said.
The next step, according to the Pennsylvania researcher, is to follow mice
longer than the
3-month study to monitor the long-term effects of treatment. Noting that mice
in the study
were treated a few days after brain injury, McIntosh said he would like to
see how long
the "window of opportunity" for treatment lasts after injury, to determine if
the cells
could help people who suffered traumatic brain injuries months or years ago.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Adult Stem Cells Treat Brain Injuries in Mice
Source:   Reuters Health; October 3, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Celling Lies:  More Spurious Stem Cell Claims
by Michael Fumento

Electricity Appears Worthless for Illumination." If you saw such a headline
you'd be rather skeptical, wouldn't you? Yet here we go again with another
massively publicized study purporting to show that adult stem cells don't
work, notwithstanding that they've been saving lives for over a decade now.

"Promise of Adult Stem Cells Put in Doubt," proclaimed UPI. "Study Deals Blow
to Abilities of Adult Stem Cells," declared Scientific American in its online
publication. "Study Finds Adult Blood Stem Cells Will Not Transform into
Other Tissue Cells," insisted the Associated Press.

The fuss concerns an article in the highly respected journal Science
detailing efforts of Stanford researchers to trace the development of blood
stem cells after placing them into mice whose bone marrow had been destroyed.
They reported that blood stem cells replenished marrow but appeared worthless
for creating other tissues.

"Blood-forming stem cells from adults make blood," primary researcher Irving
Weissman insisted to UPI. "They don't make brain; they don't make heart
muscle or any of these things."

Such smugness from a scientist who should know a single study never proves
anything. As it happens, a report published in Nature Medicine in November
2000 showed that such cells when injected into mice rebuilt liver tissue. A
minor co-author of the piece was named Irving Weissman.

Weissman's sureness was just for show.

Indeed, "The Stanford paper is the one at odds with the bulk of the published
literature," Indiana State University biologist David Prentice told me.

While nobody knows yet just how capable non-embryonic stem cells will prove,
we know they will be extremely useful because they have been.

Ever hear of bone marrow or umbilical-cord-blood transplants? It's the stem
cells in the marrow and blood that makes them work. They've been used
therapeutically since the 1980s and now some 70 different diseases, primarily
forms of leukemia, are treated with them.

True, these comprise direct infusions rather than the next step of
"reprogramming" the stem cells outside the body to make them into various
types of mature cells.

But there's tremendous progress here, too. As of last year, over 30 different
anti-cancer applications alone involving non-embryonic stem cell therapies on
humans had been reported in peer-reviewed medical literature. Over 100
non-embryonic-stem-cell experiments in animals have shown success against a
vast array of diseases.

The very newspapers that now pooh-pooh adult stem cells were only days
earlier reporting on the almost-miraculous cure of a Dutch child afflicted
with "bubble boy syndrome." His immune system was worthless. But it was
restored when stem cells from his marrow were removed, cultured, and injected
back into him.

Even if blood stem cells were worthless for tissue, we'd still have other
types of stem cells that have been cultivated not just from marrow and
umbilical cords but also from placentas, amniotic fluid, skin, brains, spinal
cords, dental pulp, muscles, blood vessels, corneas, retinas, livers,
pancreases, hair follicles, and even liposuctioned fat.

Catherine Verfaillie and her co-workers at the University of Minnesota's Stem
Cell Institute recently published a report in Science's main competitor,
Nature, suggesting that a certain type of marrow stem cells may give rise to
almost any type of tissue in the body. They have isolated them from the
marrow of mice, rats and people and so far have transformed them into cells
of blood, the gut, liver, lung, brain, and other organs.

Yet time and again a single study like the Stanford one is shoved forward to
show that non-embryonic-stem-cell therapy is the biological version of cold
fusion. Why?

Some of the media coverage may reflect sheer ignorance. But Science and
Weissman know better. They're both part of a deliberate disinformation
campaign by those who see embryonic stem cell research and non-embryonic stem
cell research locked in mortal combat.

The worse the non-embryonics look, the stronger the case for using embryonic
stem cells. With every breakthrough in non-embryonic research comes the need
to turn up the screech knob on the disinformation box.

That's because while the government can make grants on a whim, venture
capital flows towards success. Thus almost all capital is going to
non-embryonic research. Those working with embryonic cells are desperate for
government funds.

It's hardly surprising, therefore, that Dr. Michael D. West, head of Advanced
Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass., told the AP that the Stanford study
indicates "stem cells from the bone marrow will not be a practical source for
many cell types needed" to treat disease. That is, it wouldn't be surprising
if the AP had told you West's company does research with embryonic stem cells.

Just as a 30-year-old panhandler will claim to be a Vietnam vet to shake
money out of your pockets, those desperate for funding are obviously not
above misrepresenting research to keep their labs running.

But whatever the promises of embryonic research, the actual applications are
coming from non-embryonic stem cells. The miracles they have already
performed are but little compared to those of which they are capable. We dare
not let that progress be hamstrung by the politics of pork.

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Michael Fumento is a senior fellow at the Hudson
Institute in Washington, D.C. where he's currently writing BioEvolution: How
Biotechnology is Changing our World.]

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Celling Lies:  More Spurious Stem Cell Claims
Source:   National Review; September 26, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Adult Stem Cell Procedure Saves "Bubble Boy"

Amsterdam, Netherlands -- Wilco Conradi was born two years ago with severe
combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, which renders the immune system
ineffective against microbes ordinarily harmless to others. A simple illness
can become life-threatening to those with SCID. The disease is inherited. It
killed one of Wilco's uncles and two of his cousins.

But a new gene therapy technique apparently has cured his disease. After a
single injection of genetically modified adult stem cells, Wilco gained a
normal immune system. He left the plastic bubble that had kept him safe from
germs. He needs no medication or special treatment and eats a regular diet.

The remnants of lunch were on Wilco Conradi's rosy cheeks when the 2-year-old
grabbed a large ice cream and ran back to the table.

"Let's see if this tastes OK," he said, climbing onto his mother's lap and
drawing a giggle.

This summertime outing at the zoo once was unthinkable for the Dutch boy, who
lived his first months in a germ-proof plastic enclosure that protected Wilco
from infections that would have killed him.

"He can go to school, go on vacation and live like any other child," said his
father, Theo Conradi. "Just look at him!"

Wilco was peering disapprovingly at a boy sleeping in a stroller, apparently
worn out by the heat.

"Everything looks right"

Wilco is among the first four boys to undergo the new treatment - all with
successful results - for the inherited disease that occurs in about one of
every 75,000 births. The disorder is carried by women but afflicts only boys.

The best-known victim was David, Houston's famous "bubble boy," who lived in
a germ-proof plastic enclosure until his death at age 12 in 1984.

Many afflicted babies are saved by bone marrow transplants but for the rest
of their lives take monthly intravenous infusions of immune globulin,
antibodies culled from donated blood.

Wilco was a baby when he received the experimental treatment at the Hospital
Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris. After receiving a single injection of
genetically modified stem cells, Wilco now has a normal immune system.

In April, the experimental procedure passed its first major test when Wilco
got sick.

"He had chickenpox and recovered on his own," said Dr. Nico Wulffraat, an
immunologist at the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital in Utrecht. "Normally,
that would have been lethal."

The boy has no signs of complications - such as fever or infection - that
could indicate problems, Wulffraat said.

"Everything looks right, but we are closely following his case," Wulffraat
said. "Several other children have now received the same treatment."

Similar gene therapy might be used to fight other inherited disorders,
Wulffraat said, "but these children will have to be followed for a long time"
to know the long-term results.

Diagnosed at birth

The day Wilco was born, his father took a blood sample to Wulffraat, fearing
the boy had inherited the disease first discovered in his family 45 years
earlier. The diagnosis was confirmed hours later, and the next day Wilco was
admitted to the hospital.

Wulffraat then introduced the family to Paris immunologist Dr. Alain Fischer.

The four boys treated in France lacked an essential protein due to a genetic
mutation. As a result, they could not produce two types of infection-fighting
immune cells, and a third type did not work, leaving their bodies vulnerable
to infection.

To reverse that gene defect, doctors drew bone marrow from the boys. They
culled stem cells from the marrow and mixed them with a harmless virus that
contained a gene that makes the missing protein.

After the virus infected the bone marrow cells, millions of each boy's cells
were injected into his bloodstream to give them healthy immune systems.

"A second chance"

Wilco visits the hospital four times a year, twice in Paris and twice in the
Netherlands. He does not remember anything about his groundbreaking treatment
or about his infancy in isolation.

At the Artis zoo in downtown Amsterdam, Wilco scampered off with his
12-year-old sister, Petra, to play on the slide as his parents explained how
the treatment lifted what seemed like a family curse. Their second child,
Wilma, died of a brain tumor a year before Wilco was born.

"It feels like we have been given a second chance," said Wilco's mother,

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Adult Stem Cell Procedure Saves "Bubble Boy"
Source:   Associated Press; September 5, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Adult Stem Cell Research Restores Blind Man's Sight

Charlotte, IA -- An ocular surface stem-cell transplant, followed by a
cornea transplant, has given Dean Grimm his sight back after he was blinded
in 1983.
Grimm's physician, Dr. Edward Holland, first had to perform the stem-cell
transplant in February 1999, using donor tissues from Grimm's sister,
JoAnn, supplemented by those from a cadaver.
A scalpel was used to extract the stem cells, which look like a small piece
of skin taken from the outer border of the cornea, Holland said. They were
then transplanted to Grimm's right eye.
Holland said a successful stem-cell transplant was needed to provide a
healthy environment for the cornea to grow. Integral to the process was
Grimm's regimen of anti-rejection drugs, which would help his body accept
the tissue.
Grimm's first cornea transplant took place in June 1999, giving him the
opportunity to see his three children for the first time in his life. A
year later, his body rejected the transplant.
A second cornea transplant also failed because of side effects and a
lowered dosage of the anti-rejection drugs.
The third and most recent transplant, done in October 2001, worked well for
about seven months, when Grimm's vision suddenly went from nearly 20-20 to
the level of legal blindness, Holland said.
Holland said he was able to reverse the rejection by significantly
increasing the dosage of Grimm's medication.
Holland said Grimm's prognosis looks good. At the last visit, his vision
was up to about 20-50.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Adult Stem Cell Research Restores Blind Man's Sight
Source:  September 9, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Study:  Adult Stem Cells Save Limbs

London, England -- In yet another study showing adult stem cells are a
credible and successful alternative to embryonic stem cell research,
injecting patients' own stem cells into their leg muscles could create new
blood vessels, eliminating pain from bad circulation and helping to prevent
gangrene or amputations, new research indicates.

The study, described this week in The Lancet medical journal in England, is
the first demonstration that implanting stem cells into humans can result in
new blood vessel networks, a process called angiogenesis.

Experts say the findings offer hope to millions of people worldwide who
suffer pain in their limbs because of clogged arteries but can't have an

Controlling blood vessel growth is an emerging field of medicine. In the case
of cancer, which spreads by sprouting its own blood vessel network,
scientists are testing drugs to thwart angiogenesis.

However, when parts of the body are starved of oxygen because blood vessels
supplying them are blocked, doctors want to boost blood vessel growth -
treatment they call therapeutic angiogenesis.

The main focus of research is on the heart, limbs and - in the future -
brain. Heart attacks, limb amputations and strokes can result from severe
circulation problems. Another target is sores that fail to heal.

Experiments so far have involved infusing human proteins needed for new blood
vessel growth into the veins or injecting muscles with genes that make the

``This is truly a landmark paper because of its use of stem cells to induce
angiogenesis,'' said Dr. William Li, president and medical director of the
Boston-based Angiogenesis Foundation, who was not involved in the research.

``It's a brand new approach to treating limbs starved of blood supply,'' Li
said. ``They were able to eliminate rest pain in 80 percent of their
patients. That is striking. You don't see that with other treatments.''

The study was done by scientists at three Japanese universities: Kansai
Medical University in Osaka, Kurume University School of Medicine in Kurume
and Jichi Medical School in Tochigi.

It involved 45 people with severe blood circulation problems in their legs.
About half had already had a bypass operation in their legs, nearly half had
gangrene and 69 percent had diabetes. Many had sores that wouldn't heal,
suffered pain in their legs even when sitting and were not candidates for
surgery or other artery-widening techniques.

The first part of the experiment involved 25 patients in a pilot study to
test how many people would be needed to demonstrate whether the treatment
made a difference.

In the pilot study, bone marrow was extracted from the patients and stem
cells injected into their worst leg. Saline solution was injected into the
other leg.

The main study involved 20 other people in whom both legs were critically
starved of blood flow. They had their bone marrow stem cells injected into
one leg, randomly chosen, and regular blood injected into the other leg.
Before the experiment, everyone had an angiogram, a scan that shows the blood
vessel network.

The scientists used several measurements to gauge the success of the

The legs that got the stem cells had more improvement than the others on a
test comparing blood pressure in the ankle with that in the arm before and
after treatment. Similar results were seen in a second circulation test that
measured differences in oxygen inside and outside tissues.

Pain while sitting down disappeared in the stem cell-injected legs of 16 of
the 20 people in the main study, but 17 out of the 20 legs that got the blood
injection remained painful. That improvement lasted for the six months of the

X-rays before and after the cell implantation showed increased blood vessel
networks in 27 of the 45 who got the stem cells in the two studies.

Toe amputations were avoided in 15 out of 20 people, and unhealed wounds
improved in six out of the 10 patients who suffered from them.

Ira Herman, a professor of physiology at Tufts University who was not
involved in the research, said the most impressive findings came from leg
specimens of one patient who got stem cells in one leg and saline in the
other but died half way through the trial of an unrelated heart attack. The
examination found a striking increase in blood vessel numbers in the leg
injected with stem cells.

``It's just remarkable,'' he said. ``You can't help but be impressed by the
collection of data.''

One question that remains unclear is whether the stem cells actually became
blood vessel cells or whether they simply released growth factors that
prompted other cells to construct new vessels.

Dr. Frank Sellke, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Harvard Medical School
who was also not involved in the study, said the stem cell approach may have
great potential.

``There is evidence that the bone marrow cells will actually seek out the
most (starved) territory. They will circulate and go to where they are
needed,'' he said.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Study:  Adult Stem Cells Save Limbs
Source:   Associated Press; August 8, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
New Research Shows More Adult Stem Cell Success

Washington, DC -- Adult stem cells taken from bone marrow can grow new blood
vessels in the eyes of mice, a development researchers say raises the
possibility of treating some diseases that often lead to blindness in humans.

In tests in mice, the stem cells injected into the eye became incorporated
into the eye's structure and formed new blood vessels.

If the process turns out to work in humans, the scientists hope to use it to
treat eye diseases affecting the blood vessels in the retina. They include
diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, two leading causes
of blindness.

By using adult stem cells, scientists could potentially avoid embryonic stem
cell research, opposed by pro-life advocates because it involves the
destruction of tiny human beings.

Dr. Martin Friedlander, who headed the research team at the Scripps Research
Institute in La Jolla, Calif., said it may be possible to use the process to
rescue sick blood vessels or, in modified form, inhibit the growth of
abnormal vessels in the eye.

His research will be published in the September issue of the journal Nature

Peter A. Dudley, director of the retinal diseases program the National Eye
Institute, said it is ``extremely interesting'' that the team was able to
take certain precursor stem cells that can form blood vessels and then target

He said it seems reasonable this could lead to human treatments. But he
cautioned that the work only involved mice and that many details need to be
worked out before moving on to humans.

Dr. John S. Penn, who teaches ophthalmology at Vanderbilt University, said
the work adds to the fundamental understanding of biology, adding that the
finding that the cells can home in on specific parts of the eye ``is pretty
cool stuff.''

Friedlander's team used a type of stem cell called an endothelial precursor
cell taken from mouse bone marrow. When these cells were injected into the
eyes of mice, they attached to cells in the retina called astrocytes and then
formed new blood vessels.

``What's exciting about this, and surprising to us, is they don't target
mature vessels, they go where vessels are going to form,'' Friedlander said.

Newborn mice, for example, do not have blood vessels in their retina but have
astrocytes forming a sort of template for future vessels, Friedlander

In adult mice, he said, if the retina is injured, it encourages the
development of astrocytes. By injecting the stem cells, the researchers can
help stabilize a degenerating blood vessel system.

Friedlander said he was ``flabbergasted'' at the improvement when the stem
cells were injected into the eyes of a type of mice that have eye
degeneration and normally go blind within 30 days of birth.

Friedlander said he believes that because the stem cells target astrocytes,
genetically modifying the stem cells before injection may make it possible to
block the growth of unwanted blood vessels, which are also a factor in some
eye disease.

He also suggested that the cells could be used as a drug delivery system for
the eyes, something Penn said would be an exciting development.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working age
Americans, and almost all people who have had diabetes for more than 30 years
will show signs of poor eyesight.

Age-related macular degeneration is a common cause of vision loss among
people over age of 60. Both conditions are caused by damage to blood vessels
of the retina.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   New Research Shows More Adult Stem Cell Success
Source:   Associated Press; July 29, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *

Minneapolis, MN -- A scientific team at the University of Minnesota has
announced a breakthrough in using adult stem cells to grow human tissue,
thereby, raising the prospect that research could be focused on the adult
cells rather than more ethically contentious embryonic stem cells.

The study was published Thursday in the British journal Nature.

Professor Catherine Verfaillie, head of the UM team, took a special type of
adult rodent stem cell and showed that it could be turned into most if not
all types of tissue in the body. The researchers have found the same type
of cells in humans.

Stem cells are young, undifferentiated cells that could potentially lead
the way to transplants and disease cures. Adult stem cells can be extracted
from bone marrow, while experiments on embryonic stem cells involves the
destruction of unborn children.

Pro-life advocates in England said Friday that the findings vindicated
their stance that embryos need not be used in stem cell research.

Source: Pro-Life Infonet (

*       *       *       *       *       *
Media Bias on Adult Stem Cell Research Continues
by Wesley Smith

The pattern in the media reportage about stem cells is growing very
wearisome. When a research advance occurs with embryonic stem cells, the
media usually give the story the brass-band treatment. However, when
researchers announce even greater success using adult stem cells, the
media reportage is generally about as intense and excited as a stifled

As a consequence, many people in this country continue to believe that
embryonic stem cells offer the greatest promise for developing new medical
treatments using the body's cells -- known as regenerative medicine --
while in actuality, adult and alternative sources of stem cells have
demonstrated much brighter prospects. This misperception has societal
consequences, distorting the political debate over human cloning and
embryonic-stem-cell research (ESCR) and perhaps even affecting levels of
public and private research funding of embryonic and adult stem-cell

This media pattern was again in evidence in the reporting of two very
important research breakthroughs announced within the last two weeks.
Unless you made a point of looking for these stories -- as I do in my work
-- you might have missed them. Patients with Parkinson's disease and
multiple sclerosis received significant medical benefit using experimental
adult-stem-cell regenerative medical protocols. These are benefits that
supporters of embryonic-stem-cell treatments have yet to produce widely in
animal experiments. Yet adult stem cells are now beginning to ameliorate
suffering in human beings.

Celebrity Parkinson's disease victims such as Michael J. Fox and Michael
Kinsley regularly tout ESCR as the best hope for a cure of their disease.
Indeed, the Washington Post recently published a Kinsley rant on the
subject in which the editor and former Crossfire co-host denounced
opponents of human cloning as interfering with his hope for a cure. Yet as
loudly as Fox and Kinsley promote ESCR in the media or before legislative
committees, both have remained strangely silent about the most remarkable
Parkinson's stem-cell experiment yet attempted: one in which researchers
treated Parkinson's with the patient's own adult stem cells.

Here's the story, in case you missed it: A man in his mid-50s had been
diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 49. The disease grew progressively,
leading to tremors and rigidity in the patient's right arm. Traditional
drug therapy did not help.

Stem cells were harvested from the patient's brain using a routine brain
biopsy procedure. They were cultured and expanded to several million
cells. About 20 percent of these matured into dopamine-secreting neurons.
In March 1999, the cells were injected into the patient's brain.

Three months after the procedure, the man's motor skills had improved by
37 percent and there was an increase in dopamine production of 55.6
percent. One year after the procedure, the patient's overall Unified
Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale had improved by 83 percent -- this at a
time when he was not taking any other Parkinson's medication!

That is an astonishing, remarkable success, one that you would have
thought would set off blazing headlines and lead stories on the nightly
news. Had the treatment been achieved with embryonic stem cells,
undoubtedly the newspapers would have screamed loudly enough to be heard.
Unfortunately, reportage about the Parkinson's success story was strangely
muted. True, the Washington Post ran an inside-the-paper story and there
were some wire service reports. But the all-important New York Times --
the one news outlet that drives television and cable news -- did not
report on it at all. Nor did a search of the Los Angeles Times website
yield any stories about the experiment.

Human multiple-sclerosis patients have now also benefited from
adult-stem-cell regenerative medicine. A study conducted by the Washington
Medical Center in Seattle involved 26 rapidly deteriorating MS patients.
First, physicians stimulated stem cells from the patients' bone marrow to
enter the bloodstream. They then harvested the stem cells and gave the
patients strong chemotherapy to destroy their immune systems. (MS is an
autoimmune disorder in which the patient's body attacks the protective
sheaths that surround bundles of nerves.) Finally, the researchers
reintroduced the stem cells into the patients, hoping they would rebuild
healthy immune systems and ameliorate the MS symptoms.

It worked. Of the 26 patients, 20 stabilized and six improved. Three
patients experienced severe infections and one died.

That is a very positive advance offering great hope. But rather than
making headlines, the test got less attention than successful animal
studies using embryonic cells. The Los Angeles Times ran a brief bylined
description, while the New York Times and Washington Post only published
wire reports. Once again, the media's almost grudging coverage prevented
society at large from becoming acutely aware of how exciting adult-cell
regenerative medicine is fast becoming.

Meanwhile in Canada, younger MS patients whose diseases were not as far
advanced as those in the Washington study have shown even greater benefit
from the same procedure. Six months after the first patient was treated,
she was found to have no evidence of the disease on MRI scans. Three other
patients have also received successful adult-stem-cell grafts with no
current evidence of active disease.

It's still too early to tell whether the Canadian patients have achieved
permanent remission or a cure, but there can be no question that the
research is significant. Yet the story was only publicized in Canada's
Globe and Mail and in reports on Canadian television. American outlets did
not mention the experiments at all.

These Parkinson's and MS studies offer phenomenal evidence of the
tremendous potential adult cell regenerative medicine offers. At the same
time, the unspectacular coverage these breakthroughs received highlights
the odd lack of interest in adult stem-cell research exhibited by most
mainstream media outlets. Nor are these stories the only adult-stem-cell
successes to have gotten the media cold shoulder.

It's worth recapping just a few of the other advances made in adult-cell
therapies and research in the last two years, all of which were
significantly underplayed in the media:

* Israeli doctors inserted a paraplegic patient's own white blood cells
into her severed spinal cord, after which she regained bladder control and
the ability to wiggle her toes and move her legs. (I only saw reporting on
this case in the Globe and Mail, June 15, 2001.)

* Immune systems destroyed by cancer were restored in children using stem
cells from umbilical-cord blood. (There was a good story in the April 16,
2001 Time, but other than that I saw no reporting.)

* At Harvard University, mice with Type I diabetes were completely cured
of their disease. The experiment was so successful that human trials are
now planned. (This was reported in the July 19, 2001, Harvard University
Gazette, but I saw no coverage at all in the mainstream press.)

* Diabetic mice treated with adult stem cells achieved full insulin
production and all lived. This is in contrast to an experiment in which
embryonic stem cells injected into diabetic mice achieved a 3 percent
insulin production rate and all the mice died. (According to the May 2001
STATS, published by the Statistical Assessment Service, the embryo
experiment made big news while the media ignored the adult cell

* How many humans have been treated by embryonic stem cells? Zero. Indeed,
before human trials can even be safely undertaken researchers will have to
overcome two serious difficulties that stand between patients and
embryonic-cell regenerative medicine: 1) ES cells cause tumors, and 2) ES
cells may be rejected by the immune system. Surmounting these difficulties
-- if they can be surmounted at all -- will take a very long time and much
expense. There is no risk of rejection with adult cells, by contrast,
because they come from the patients' own bodies. Nor, at least so far,
does adult-stem-cell therapy appear to cause tumors. This puts adult
therapies years ahead of the game.

The media continue to imply that embryos hold the key to the future. But
increasingly, it looks as if our own body cells offer the quickest and
best hope for regenerative medicine. The time has come for the public to
insist that the media stop acting as if adult stem cells are the "wrong"
kind of stem cells, and report to the American people fully and fairly the
remarkable advances continually being made in adult regenerative medicine.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Media Bias on Adult Stem Cell Research Continues
Source:   National Review; April 23, 2002

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Wesley Smith Smith is the author of Culture of
Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America. His next book will be A
Consumer's Guide to Brave New World, a discussion of the business,
science, and morality of human cloning.]

*       *       *       *       *       *
Researcher Says Media Distorted Adult Stem Cell Studies

Gainsville, FL -- Recent scientific research presented by some news
organizations as having sounded the death knell for adult stem cells had
been "distorted" in media reports, according to one of the studies'

Two studies, carried out by researchers at the University of Florida in
Gainesville and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, were reported as
suggesting that, contrary to other research findings over the past three
years, adult stem cells were not able to differentiate into various types
of tissue.

Pro-life advocates have been enthusiastic about the potential therapeutic
benefits of adult stem cells, considering them an effective and ethical
alternative to the destructive use of human embryos for stem cell research

However, reports on the new studies suggested that the apparent
flexibility of adult cells could merely be the result of them fusing with
other cell types, resulting in hybrids which could be harmful to the human

Adult stem cells from the brain and bone marrow of mice were mixed with
mouse embryonic stem cells in a petri dish. Rather than be reprogrammed in
a way that would allow for potential therapeutic use, the adult cells had
simply fused with the embryonic ones.

Much media reporting on the findings was quick to dismiss the "hype" of
adult stem cells, presenting the research as naturally strengthening the
case for harvesting stem cells from embryos - something pro-life advocates
oppose on the grounds the human embryo is destroyed in the process.

But according to one of the authors of the Florida study, Dr. Naohiro
Terada, "our message was somehow distorted by media people."

Terada pointed out that the researchers had used embryonic stem cells from
mice, not from humans.

A number of the press reports failed to mention this.

Terada conceded that the results had "turned out to be a cautionary tale
for scientific interpretation of some of the previous reports describing
pluripotency [the capacity to give rise to most tissues] of adult stem
cells. But, we never said adult stem cells are no longer hopeful, nor
dangerous. If someone took our message that way, that is a

Terada explained that the entire program at the University of Florida was
aimed at "trying to prove therapeutic roles of adult stem cells (not human
embryonic stem cells), and that is the central policy of our program."

"My lab's standpoint is that there are still so many things to learn from
mouse embryonic stem cells for basic understandings of stem cells. We do
hope we can apply such knowledge obtained from mouse ES cells to a better
use of human adult stem cells," he added.

Molecular geneticist Edward Scott, head of the University of Florida's
stem cell research team, has also questioned some of the media coverage of
the U.S. and British studies.

Scott was quoted by the publication Bioworld Today as saying he had been
taken by surprise by "the spin that's being put on both of our papers -
that this is a major blow to adult stem cells, and therefore we need to
expand the embryonic stem cell world. That's perhaps pushing our data
further than we should."

He described the findings as a "cautionary tale" not just for adult stem
cells, but for all stem cells - those from embryos too.

But readers of many of the press reports would have been forgiven for not
reaching that conclusion.

A partial review of media coverage of the two studies shows that most
reports suggested that the findings spelled the end of the "hyped"
potential of adult stem cells, while strengthening the case for using
embryonic stem cells.

The Scotsman, for example, spoke of "doubt over the potential of using
adult stem cells instead of cells from embryos to treat serious diseases,"
while CBS HealthWatch said the studies suggested that "adult stem cells do
not have the same disease-fighting potential as stem cells from human

According to Canada's National Post, "many people eagerly leapt on to the
bandwagon" when studies began reporting promise in adult stem cells. It
also quoted the director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network as saying the
new studies "couldn't have come at a better time."

A widely-reproduced Associated Press report quoted a U.S. researcher whose
company is involved in ES cell work and destructive embryonic cloning as
saying the two studies "call into question almost all of the data
generated using adult stem cells."

The Daily Telegraph called them a "serious setback" to hopes for adult
stem cells, while another British daily, the Independent, headlined its
version: "Study Weakens Anti-Abortionists' Adult Tissue Claim."

Not all coverage omitted skeptical reaction from some experts.

A BBC report included the doubts of a leading British researcher,
professor Nick Wright, who said nothing in the new studies raised any
doubts in his mind about the results of adult stem cell research in

The new research had been carried out in a lab and not in living animals,
stressed Wright, who has himself published findings that adult stem cells
from bone marrow can transform themselves into tissue that could help
treat damage in kidneys and livers.

The Washington Post, while saying the new studies "call into question a
large body of research" highlighting the potential of adult stem cells,
also cited Indiana State University biologist David Prentice as voicing
skepticism about the studies.

Prentice said he believed the weight of evidence still favored the idea of
adult stem cells' ability to be transformed into other tissue.

And HealthScoutNews offered readers Terada's cautionary note that both the
Florida and Edinburgh research had taken place inside lab equipment, not
in humans, and that the findings did not apply to all adult stem cells,
only those mixed with embryonic ones.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Researcher Says Media Distorted Adult Stem Cell Studies
Source:   Cybercast News Service; March 26, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
March Madness on Human Cloning
by  Richard M. Doerflinger

In the public debate on human cloning, March came in like a lion not
without some lyin' by proponents of this practice.

The storm began with a March 5 Senate hearing, which featured quadriplegic
actor Christopher Reeve telling some real howlers. Mr.  Reeve cited
examples of beneficial research that, he claimed, would be stopped by a
ban on cloning embryos for their stem cells. He also spoke dismissively of
progress toward treatment of spinal cord injury using non-embryonic cells.
In fact, the promising research he cited had nothing to do with cloning --
and the most promising example he cited of a new spinal cord injury
treatment uses adult cells from patients' own bodies!

Reeve and other cloning advocates are frustrated at advances in adult stem
cell research, which may show cloning to be unnecessary for medical
progress. So they launched a new frontal attack, using a twisted
interpretation of two studies now posted to the online edition of Nature.

The studies reportedly were designed to learn more about the mechanism by
which adult stem cells sometimes "transdifferentiate" to form cells of
many different types. For example, researchers (including researchers
funded by Christopher Reeve's foundation) have found that adult bone
marrow stem cells can produce useful nerve tissue under certain
circumstances. Human trials are being prepared for use of bone marrow stem
cells to help repair damaged heart muscle, which has already been a
success in animals.

The studies in Nature explored this phenomenon, oddly enough, by mixing
adult stem cells with embryonic stem cells to promote
transdifferentiation. Instead of forming healthy cells of different types,
the adult and embryonic cells tended to "fuse" with each other to form
tetraploid cells (having twice the usual number of chromosomes). Such
cells could be dangerous and even lead to tumor formation.

The obvious conclusions of this study would seem to be: (1) you'd better
not mix adult and embryonic stem cells, and (2) this may be one mechanism
by which embryonic stem cells tend to form tumors when placed into
animals, since all animals (including humans) already contain adult stem
cells. Instead, the "spin" placed on the data (faithfully followed by
Associated Press and some other news outlets)  was this: There is a
terrible problem with adult stem cells that may make them unfit for human
use, so we should rely on embryonic stem cells for treatments!

That conclusion is absurd. Adult stem cells are working and
"transdifferentiating" in our bodies all the time without making tumors,
so the new findings are more plausibly attributed to the uncontrollable
tendencies of embryonic stem cells. We surely can't draw conclusions about
the superiority of embryonic over adult cells by finding problems in a
mixture of both.

It seems, though, that some reporters don't care about facts or logic.
They and their political allies care about promoting the cause of research
cloning. They don't particularly care if, in the process, they denigrate
and suppress research that could really help cure people with devastating
diseases in our lifetime. Here, as in other campaigns for the destruction
of human life, truth is the first casualty. Human casualties, embryonic
and adult, will follow.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Richard Doerflinger:  March Madness on Human Cloning
Source:   U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; March 18, 2002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Adult Stem Cell Research More Successful Than Embryonic
by Do No Harm

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for
Research Ethics is 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 not harm
human life.]

A report today in the journal Cell, announced by the Associated Press,
purports to use "therapeutic" cloning to partially correct a genetic based
immune system defect in mice.

However, this report comes years after "remedied" adult stem cells - not
embryonic stem cells - were used to cure human infants of severe combined
immunodeficiency syndrome, in the first successful clinical trials in
human gene therapy.

In the cloning experiments, performed by researchers at the Whitehead
Institute (W.M. Rideout et al., "Correction of a genetic defect by nuclear
transplantation and combined cell and gene therapy," Cell Immediate Early
Publication, published online March 8, 2002) mice with an immune defect
causing some white blood cells to be missing were cloned, and the cloned
mouse embryos were destroyed for their stem cells.  Since the embryonic
stem cells were genetically identical to the mice (supposedly to prevent
transplant rejection), they carried the same genetic defect.  The
researchers used gene therapy to fix the defective gene in the embryonic
stem cells.

Several different attempts were then made to correct the immune defect in
the mice using these stem cells.

In one experiment, the "repaired" embryonic stem cells were differentiated
in culture into blood-forming cells and these were transplanted into the
defective mice.  The authors note that this showed little to no success
(though the data are not shown in the paper).

Next they tried reducing the number of those cells in the recipient mice
that were blocking successful transplant.  Again, this approach was
essentially negative (again, the data are not shown in the paper).

Finally, the researchers transplanted the "repaired" blood-forming cells
into a different mutant mouse that had the same genetic defect, but also
lacked the cells that had been destroying the transplanted cells.  This
situation resulted in a modest restoration of the missing blood cells, but
at less than one-tenth the amounts in normal mice.

However, the researchers were able to restore normal levels of the missing
blood cells by first using the "repaired" embryonic stem cells to grow
born mice, then using the bone marrow stem cells or blood stem cells
(similar to umbilical cord blood) of those born mice for the transplant.
In other words, the researchers were most successful when they resorted to
using adult stem cells.

The published scientific paper actually shows that the "repaired"
embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos were unsuccessful in treating the
gene defect in the mice that provided the donor cells for cloning. The
authors note: "Our results raise the provocative possibility that even
genetically matched cells derived by therapeutic cloning may still face
barriers to effective transplantation for some disorders."

This study also bears out the enormous global risk to women's health
entailed in the speculative idea of "therapeutic cloning" to treat
diseases in humans.  Only 1 embryonic stem cell line was successfully
cultured, starting with 202 cloning attempts.  Even if the experiment had
been successful, the number of human eggs needed for such treatments would
translate to 303 million human eggs needed to treat the 1.5 million
Parkinson's patients in the U.S., and over 3.2 billion human eggs needed
to treat the 16 million diabetes patients in the U.S.

Far from being a step forward, this report shows that cloning is years
behind the far more successful advances using adult stem cells, including
their use to reverse immune deficiencies in humans.

As reported in April 2000 in the journal Science, French scientists
restored the immune systems of 3 infants with severe combined
immunodeficiency (the "bubble boy syndrome") using gene therapy with the
patients' own bone marrow stem cells.  Researchers removed stem cells from
the infants' bone marrow, added a working copy of the gene to the cells'
DNA, and injected the repaired stem cells back into the infants.  Since
the procedure used the patients' own cells, there was no problem of
transplant rejection.  After treatment, the numbers and function of the
patients' immune cells were restored to normal levels, and the children
were living at home and developing normally with no further treatment (M.
Cavazzana-Calvo, et al., "Gene Therapy of Human Severe Combined
Immunodeficiency (SCID)-X1 Disease," Science 288, 669-672, April 28,

Far from showing the supposedly superior benefits of stem cells from
cloned embryos, the new study shows that this approach continues to lag
behind adult stem cell advances - even in mice, where embryonic stem cell
research has been pursued for over twenty years.  Adult stem cells are
successfully treating real human children with serious diseases.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Adult Stem Cell Research More Successful Than Embryonic
Source:   Do No Harm; March 8, 20002

*       *       *       *       *       *
Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Transplant Well

Montreal, Canada -- Researchers have found a type of adult stem cell which
could repair damaged organs without any chance of being rejected by a
patient's immune system. This while other scientists have been trying
unsuccessfuly to perfect cloned stem cells as a way of overcoming the
rejection problem.

A type of cell found in the bone marrow of adults is so safe it can be
transplanted between species.

The mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, don't carry markers on their surfaces
which lead to rejection, reports New Scientist.

Ray Chiu, of McGill University in Montreal, even managed to successfully
transplant them from pigs to rats. He also said the cells only seem to go
to damaged areas once injected, saying: "They turned into heart muscle,
blood vessels and fibrous tissue."

If MSCs live up to their promise there may be no need for the
controversial harvesting of embryonic stem cells.

Annemarie Moseley, of Osiris Therapeutics in Baltimore, said: "It does go
against our common understanding of the immune system."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Transplant Well
Source:   Ananova; December 12, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *
Adult Stem Cells Completely Cure Sickle Cell Patient

Pittsburgh, PA -- Stem cells are thought of as the Holy Grail of medicine.
One young boy agrees with that. He made medical history because he's been
cured of his life-threatening disease. The key to his cure did not come
from a human embryo, where all the controversy is, but from something that
is routinely toss in the garbage - an umbilical cord. Umbilical cords were
always considered medical waste.

Not anymore.

That's why new parents like Pam Dorne and Stephen Ayers of suburban
Chicago have decided to save their children's umbilical cord blood. Dorne
gave birth last spring to a baby boy, Kyle.

After a baby is born, there is just a 15-minute window to retrieve the
four to six ounces of blood in the umbilical cord. And in that blood are
potentially lifesaving stem cells that can be saved for future use.

"This is really where, I think, so much of biomedicine is going to be
going in the 21st century," says Dr. Andrew Yeager of the University of

For instance, when stem cells from umbilical cord blood are injected into
a person's vein, they migrate to the bone marrow and can create what Dr.
Yeager calls a blood factory, replacing diseased blood with healthy blood.
According to the National Institutes of Health, stem cells may one day be
able repair the body's tissue and muscle and cure everything from spinal
cord injuries to Alzheimer's.

"It's not just pie-in-the-sky speculation," says Yeager. "There are
studies that would suggest that other organ dysfunction - nerve damage,
heart damage, brain-cell damage - might actually be fixed."

It has the potential to make paralyzed patients walk and make Alzheimer's
sufferers remember.

That potential is what Dr. Yeager was counting on to cure a young patient
named Keone Penn.

Keone suffers from a case of sickle cell, a painful genetic blood disease.
He was diagnosed when he was 6 months old. He was 5 when his sickle cell
caused a stroke.

"All I remember is I woke up and my mama was beside me and there was a
basket beside me and a teddy bear," he says. "It was very scary, I mean,

For six years, Keone and his mother, Leslie Penn, were constantly in and
out of an Atlanta hospital to receive transfusions to stave off another
potentially deadly stroke. By the time Keone was 11, the transfusions were
becoming less effective and he had excruciating pain in his joints and
lower back.

"The pain is usually so intense that even morphine, Demerol, those
heavy-duty medicines don't really touch it," Leslie Penn says. "All you
can really do is pray that he'll just go to sleep."

Keone says he's tough, but at 15, he looks much younger. Sickle cell
stunted his growth - he's just 4 feet, 9 inches, tall - and restricted
what he could do.

"I was impaired from doing a lot of things that normal kids do, like
sports or anything or run," he says. "Couldn't play basketball. Because,
you know, some people like roughhousing when they play basketball and they
can knock you over and push you and that could really hurt me."

The odds were that Keone had, at best, only five years to live. So Yeager
decided to take a chance on a new procedure. Never before had stem cells
from umbilical cord blood been used to treat sickle cell.

"The goal here is that these stem cells, which are in a relatively high
proportion in cord blood - higher than they would be in our own bone
marrow and definitely higher than in our own circulating blood - could
then be injected and would take hold and again, make more of themselves.
And make a whole new blood factory."

Yeager told the family he wasn't sure the procedure would work.

"He just basically said, 'This is just a 50-50 chance and it's up to you
all if you want to do it, I can't offer you any guarantees.'" recalls
Leslie Penn.

Keone Penn remembers how his mother told him: "She came in the room
looking very depressed. Pulled the chair up sat beside me in the bed and
told me everything. And I almost started to cry. But she was very calm
about it. She told me everything, said, 'You got-you may - have five years
to live,' you know."

Ordinarily, patients with a severe case of sickle cell, like Keone's,
would have had a bone-marrow transplant.That's because until recently bone
marrow was the only source for stem cells.

But bone marrow transplants can be tricky because there must be a precise
match between the person donating the bone marrow and the patient
receiving it. In Keone's case, no match could be found.

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood don't need an exact match.

Dr. Yeager and his team found a match that was close enough in a cryogenic
tank at the New York Public Blood Bank, which since 1992 has slowly been
collecting donations of umbilical cord blood.

Over Christmas vacation of 1998, after intensive chemotherapy to destroy
Keone's bad blood, he was injected with the stem cells.

After a few weeks, something extraordinary happened - the stem cells
changed his entire blood system from type O to type B.

"That concept there is the one that really blows my mind," says Leslie
Penn. "The thought that your whole blood type is changed. The umbilical
cord cell's donor, he took on their blood type.

A year later, doctors declared that the sickle cells in Keone's body had
disappeared. Today, he is considered cured.

It was umbilical cord stem cells that cured Keone, not stem cells from
human embryos. While the use of embryonic stem cells has generated fierce
controversy, umbilical cord stem cells have attracted little attention and
no political debate. And now it seems, more and more new parents have
decided to bank their hopes on the stem cells in their newborn's cord

Moments after Pam Dorne gave birth to a baby Kyle, his cord blood was
sealed, packed in dry ice, and given to a courier. Within hours, the
package was on a plane bound for Tucson, Arizona, where the largest
privately run cord blood bank in the country is located.

There, a child's umbilical-cord blood is stored in a cryogenic tank at a
temperature of minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dr. David Harris, laboratory director of the Cord Blood Registry, says it
takes only a small vial of cord blood to change a person's entire system.

So far, Cord Blood Registry has collected about 30,000 samples from
families willing to pay a $1,300 flat fee and $95 a year to analyze and
privately store their baby's cord blood. The company has taken in over $40
million so far, selling a kind of biological insurance.

"Part of the issue when people bank," says Harris, "it is because they
have a family history or they work or live in a place where there is a
potential for cancer. But part of it is for peace of mind."

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, that peace of mind isn't
worth the money. The academy says the chances a family will ever need to
use its frozen cord blood are very small. What they say makes more sense
is to donate cord blood to a public bank, the kind where Keone Penn got
his stem cells.

That is something Pam Dorne, an obstetrician, says she understands in her
professional life. But her own personal choice was a private bank, she
says, for one reason.

"If the American Academy of Pediatrics could tell me that none of my
children would ever have a problem," she says. "Or that if they had a
problem, I would be guaranteed that there would be enough donors and
somebody would match them, that would be perfectly reasonable. But I don't
think anybody has that crystal ball."

What saved Keone Penn's life, Dr. Yeager says, is a public blood bank and
the umbilical cord blood from an anonymous donor.

"If they wish to pay, that's absolutely fine." He says of patients. "But
to look at a larger, greatest good for greatest number, I would contend
that a volunteer donation to a public blood bank would make the most

Meanwhile, Keone, a pioneer, is doing things he's never done before.

"I discovered the other day that I like playing basketball, " Keone says.
"I never played basketball, 'cause I've always been disabled to play it
and to have fun."

Keone, who one day hopes to become a chef, still has some major health
problems as a result of infections that occur in most stem-cell
transplants. Because of steroids and other medication, he has arthritis,
walks with a limp and will need joint replacement in his hips and knee.
But the good news is the sickle cell that was killing him is gone.

"I love stem cells," he says. "I mean they saved my life. If it weren't
for them I wouldn't, you never know, I probably wouldn't be here today."

Keone doesn't know where the cord blood came from or who is the owner. He
says he would like to know, just so he could say, "Thank You."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Adult Stem Cells Completely Cure Sickle Cell Patient
Source:   CBS News; November 28, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *
Stem cell therapy repairs a heart
by Hannah Cleaver and David Derbyshire
(Filed: 25/08/2001)

DOCTORS have patched up a patient's failing heart using stem cells taken
from his bone marrow, it was disclosed yesterday.

In the first operation of its kind, bone marrow stem cells were removed from
a 46-year-old man's pelvis and injected into arteries near his heart. The
cells should have developed into the constituents of blood. Instead, they
migrated to areas damaged by a heart attack and turned into healthy muscle
cells which began to beat.

The operation highlights the potential for adult stem cells as a treatment
for many problems, including heart disease, kidney failure or Parkinson's
disease. But it will also be seized upon by pro life campaigners who object
to plans to use stem cells taken from embryos as a source of tissue for

Prof Bodo Eckehard Strauer carried out the treatment at the Dusseldorf
University Cardiac Clinic where he is director. He said: "Ten weeks after
the transplantation the size of the damage has reduced by nearly a third and
the capacity of the heart itself has clearly improved.

"Stem cell therapy could be more successful than all other previous
treatments put together. "Even patients with the most seriously damaged
hearts can be treated with their own stem cells instead of waiting and
hoping on a transplant."

Gaynor Dewsnap, spokeswoman for the British Heart Foundation, said the
development was exciting. "If this is proved to have worked and can be
repeated, then this would be excellent news for heart patients, particularly
as it avoids the ethical issues which some people have worries about.

"The cells used would have the same DNA as the rest of the body, leading to
no risk of rejection. It seems very promising." Stem cells are the body's
master cells. They have the ability to turn into a wide variety of other
cell types.

Those found in embryos, which are at the centre of an ethical row between
scientists and pro lifers, are the most flexible and easiest to culture. But
more specialised stem cells are also found in adults. Last month a team of
British researchers showed for the first time that bone marrow stem cells
were capable of turning into kidney cells.

The German heart operation was carried out four days after the unnamed man
suffered a serious heart attack. He lost a quarter of his heart muscle after
the organ was starved of oxygen. The team took stem cells from his pelvis -
an abundant source of bone marrow - and injected them into his coronary

Prof Strauer said further tests were needed to confirm the success of the
procedure. He has treated six patients, aged between 38 and 67, with their
own stem cells since March and said that after a short period they showed
similar improvement.

Last month doctors attempted another form of stem cell therapy by injecting
cells directly into the heart tissue. "Our results should show that it is
possible to do this work without the ethically controversial embryonic stem
cells," said Prof Strauer.;$sessionid$RDCPIMAAAAM5BQFIQMGSF

Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001 23:05:22 -0400
From: "Jules Duguay" <>
To: <>
Subject: Stem cell therapy repairs a heart (Filed: 25/08/2001)

*       *       *       *       *       *
Researchers Find Adult Stem Cells in Mouse Brains

San Francisco, CA -- Researchers say they have found a way to sift stem
cells from mouse brains, a feat that promises to speed study of the cells
and could lead to drugs to help the brain repair itself.

The researchers extracted almost pure adult stem cell samples samples from
the lining of brain cavities known as ventricles. That will allow
scientists to study the cells to learn how to trigger them to develop into
cells a patient needs.

"The Holy Grail is to find drugs which can stimulate the stem cells that
are already in the brain to produce new nerve cells," said lead author
Perry Bartlett.

The work is reported in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

The researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical
Research in Melbourne, Australia, used a combination of filtering
techniques to produce samples that contain 80 percent neural stem cells.
Previously, researchers had achieved only 5 percent.

Fred Gage, a stem cell researcher at the Salk Institute in La Jolla,
Calif., who was not involved in the study, said the most important finding
was the ability to produce relatively pure samples of neural stem cells.
"What they've done is for the first time ... identify the source of stem
cells. We now have markers and we have techniques to pull them out with,"
Gage said.

The Australian researchers also prompted the neural stem cells to begin
forming muscle cells, confirming previous studies.

The brain cells are examples of adult stem cells because they were
recovered from adult animals. They are different from "embryonic" stem
cells, which are taken from embryos.

Ronald McKay, a stem cell researcher at the National Institutes of Health,
said the new work does not eliminate the need for embryonic stem cell
research. "It's still going to take a lot of work to figure out how adult
cells can be turned into all the cells we need," McKay said. "This kind of
work on the adult cell needs to be greatly extended if we are going to
find out how to take an adult cell and get it to do anything we want."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Researchers Find Adult Stem Cells in Mouse Brains
Source:   Associated Press; August 15, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *
Canadian Scientists Find Versatile Adult Stem Cells From Skin

Toronoto, CA -- Canadian scientists may have found yet another alternative
to embryonic stem cell research that can offer new treatment for
neurological conditions. They have isolated stem cells on the skin of
adult mice that can grow into brain cells according to a study published
on Monday.

"The hope is that the adult stem cells will provide an alternative
approach to using embryonic stem cells, but that still has to be proven,"
Karl Fernandes, one of the researchers, told Reuters.

The Canadian team found that stem cells isolated in the skin of adult mice
can grow into brain cells, fat cells or muscle cells. The research, led by
the Montreal Neurological Institute affiliated with McGill University, is
seen giving scientists new avenues to pursue in continuing stem cell

"We believe our discovery is important as we have identified an exciting
new stem cell from a noncontroversial source that holds considerable
promise for scientific and therapeutic use," said Freda Miller, the lead

The team has started preliminary experiments with human skin to see if
transplants of cells would eventually be possible, said Fernandes.

"We can isolate a population of cells from human skin, which at first
glance appear to be similar to the ones we get from rodents," said
Fernandes. He said the team has started "promising" transplants of
skin-type cells on rodents, focusing mostly on brain functions.

The study, published in the scientific journal "Nature Cell Biology," said
patients might be able to use stem cells from their own skin to repair
dysfunctions elsewhere in the body, avoiding the complications of organ
rejection linked to donor transplants.

The study shows that highly versatile adult stem cells may be easy to
access. "You could potentially take a small biopsy of skin and harvest the
patient's own stem cells, expand them (in a process that allows them to
proliferate in a laboratory dish) and then use them to treat that
patient," scientist Freda Miller said.

Unlike many other adult stem cells that have been studied, the ones Miller
worked with proliferated impressively in the laboratory. Being able to
generate large numbers of stem cells would be vital to allow for any
future transplantation of them into damaged tissue with the aim of
regeneration. In Miller's study, the only broad grouping of cells that the
mouse skin stem cells did not become was cells from organs such as the
liver. "And we're working very hard now to ask if they can become those
things as well," she said.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Canadian Scientists Find Versatile Adult Stem Cells From Skin
Source:   Reuters; August 13, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *
Adult Stem Cells Cure Sickle Cell in Mice

Washington, DC -- Researchers have cured laboratory mice of sickle cell
anemia, the inherited blood disorder that affects more than 70,000
Americans, in an experiment using adult stem cells from bone marrow, genes
and a modified HIV virus.

Although the treatment is years away from being tested on humans, experts
called the experiment a milestone.

``It corrected the sickling problem throughout the bodies of these mice,''
said Philippe Leboulch, a Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts
Institute of Technology scientist who led the research team. ``All of the
mice were cured permanently.''

Leboulch said additional study is needed before the technique can be tried
on humans and the first clinical trial could come in about two years. A
report on the study appears Friday in the journal Science.

The disease causes intense pain. It damages the liver, lungs and kidneys
and can trigger stroke or infections. There is no cure in humans, and
treatment consists of combatting the symptoms with antibiotics, blood
transfusions and surgery. A drug, called hydroxyurea, helps control some
symptoms in adults, but it has not been approved for children.

About 1.2 million Americans carry one sickle cell gene. They are said to
have the sickle cell trait and are not affected by the disease. A person
must inherit two sickle cell genes - one from each parent - to have the
disease. A child born to two parents with the sickle cell trait has one
chance in four of inheriting the disease.

Sickle cell anemia is most common in people of African heritage. It also
is found in people of Greek, Indian and Italian origin and can occur in
any race.

``Although much more research is needed before human application, this is
a significant achievement that brings us closer to human gene therapy for
what is a very serious genetic blood disorder,'' said Dr. Claude Lenfant,
director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, one of the
National Institutes of Health.

``This is an exciting result,'' said Dr. Michel Sadelain of the Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. ``It is an important milestone
in gene therapy.''

Sadelain earlier achieved a similar success in mice by correcting the
genetic flaw that causes thalassemia, a blood disorder related to sickle
cell anemia.

In the new study, researchers used two types of mice that are bred to have
a blood disease closely resembling the sickle cell anemia disease in

They removed from the mice samples of the bone marrow, which makes blood,
and then irradiated the mice to kill the remaining abnormal bone marrow.

The researchers mixed with the removed bone marrow a fragment of the HIV
virus that had been manipulated to contain a normal red blood cell gene.
The virus infected the bone marrow, carrying into the blood-making cells
the normal red blood cell gene. The bone marrow was then reinjected into
the mice.

Once in the animals, the genetically altered bone marrow cells produced
normal red blood cells and corrected the sickling disease.

After 10 months, the mice were killed and their organs and blood examined.

Leboulch said there was no evidence of abnormal blood nor of the organ
damage that is common with sickle cell anemia.

The gene therapy technique will not be tried in humans, said Leboulch,
until the researchers learn how to safely neutralize the abnormal
blood-making gene in patients. Radiation was used in the mouse experiment
to kill the animal's bone marrow, but this would not be appropriate for
human sickle cell disease patients, said Leboulch.

Greg Evans of the NHLBI said that research is under way to find a safe way
to partially destroy the abnormal bone marrow in patients. The technique
would then make room for the genetically corrected bone marrow.

Sadelain said that earlier studies showed that the genetically corrected
bone marrow is ineffective against the blood disorder unless most of the
abnormal bone marrow is neutralized.

Both sickle cell anemia and thalassemia are caused by a failure of a gene
that helps to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries

In thalassemia, the gene fails to make enough hemoglobin.

In sickle cell disease, the gene makes an abnormal hemoglobin that is
sticky and stiff. Instead of the soft, doughnut-shaped, normal hemoglobin,
the abnormal protein often forms into a distinctive sickle shape with a
sharp point. The abnormal hemoglobin tends to clog small vessels, blocking
the flow of blood. This starves tissues of oxygen and can cause damage
throughout the body.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Adult Stem Cells Cure Sickle Cell in Mice
Source:   Associated Press; December 13, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *
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

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

"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

"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

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

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Adult Stem Cells Hold Hope for Autoimmune Patients
Source:   Reuters; August 11, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *
British Study Says Adult Stem Cells Can Change to Kidney Cells

London, England -- Stem cells from bone marrow can change into kidney
cells and may provide a new method to treat kidney disease that could
reduce the need for transplants, British scientists said on Wednesday.

Stem cells are master cells in the body that can transform into most other
cell types. Researchers at Britain's Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF)
showed that kidney cells can be derived from stem cells in bone marrow.

"Until now people weren't entirely sure how the kidney took care of its
normal wear and tear. People assumed that it was all done within the
kidney. What we've shown is that cells from outside the kidney are able to
contribute to the repair process," molecular biologist Dr Richard Poulsom
said in a telephone interview.

The finding opens up the possibility of mobilising a patient's own bone
marrow stem cells to repair or replace kidney cells destroyed through
disease or injury. It could also pave the way for using bone marrow stem
cells containing genes resistant to cancer or other diseases to protect
the kidney from further damage.

"In people whose kidneys are failing, we might be able to generate more
functional kidney cells. That is something that has not been known
before," Poulsom added.

Scientists believe stem cells could revolutionise medicine and provide new
therapies for diseases like Alzheimer's and diabetes and severe injuries.

Poulsom and his colleagues studied adult bone marrow stem cells in mice
and humans. Their research is published in the Journal of Pathology Online

The scientists found kidney cells derived from donated male bone marrow in
female mice whose own bone marrow had been destroyed by radiation.

In the human studies, biopsies from male kidney transplant patients who
had received a kidney donated by a woman showed male kidney cells among
the female cells. The man's bone marrow cells had transformed into kidney

"They are cells that could have only have come from the man, migrated
around and set up shop and differentiated into functional kidney cells,"
said Poulsom.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   British Study Says Adult Stem Cells Can Change to Kidney Cells
Source:   Reuters; July 24, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *
Harvard Researcher:  Adult Stem Cells May Eliminate Need Embryonic Ones

Boston, MA -- The permanent reversal of Type 1 diabetes in mice may end
the wrenching debate over harvesting stem cells from the unborn to treat
adult diseases. Researchers at Harvard Medical School killed cells
responsible for the diabetes, then the animals' adult stem cells took over
and regenerated missing cells needed to produce insulin and eliminate the

"It should be possible to use the same method to reverse Type 1 diabetes
in humans," says Denise Faustman, the associate professor of medicine who
leads the research. Setting up a trial for patients has already begun at
Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Type 1 diabetes is an "autoimmune" disease in which the body's blood cells
attack its own organs and tissues. Such maladies include rheumatoid
arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and more than 50 other ailments.
Faustman believes that many of them may be similarly cured by poisoning
the offending cells and letting adult stem cells regrow replacement

"Once the disease is out of the way, adult stem cells regenerate normal
organs and tissues," Faustman says. "What is more, we should be able to
replace damaged organs and tissues by using adult stem cells, thus
eliminating, at least temporarily, the need to harvest and transplant stem
cells from embryos and fetuses. Of course, it will take years before we
know for sure if we can do this in humans."

Stem cells from embryos have the ability to grow into all other types of
cells. They may be able to mature into brain cells to repair damage from
strokes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases; into heart cells to heal
the ravages of heart attacks; and into organs to replace those ruined by
cancer. But problems exist in getting such cells to mature into a specific
type of cell and to home in on a specific place. There's also the problem
of stopping them from growing once the repair is made. Uncontrolled growth
may lead to tumors.

The existence of adult stem cells raises the question of why the body
doesn't use them on a regular basis to heal itself. It may be because
adult stem-cell populations are small and need some sort of outside
stimulation. There's recent evidence that additional adult cells injected
into mice start to repair heart attack and stroke damage.

In the diabetes experiments, cells that attack insulin-producing islet
cells in the pancreas were destroyed. The researchers intended to follow
up the killings with transplants of healthy islet cells but, to their
surprise, this turned out to be unnecessary because adult stem cells took
over the work.

"It was a miracle that we didn't expect," Faustman comments.

An estimated 16 million people have diabetes in the United States. About
10 percent of these patients suffer from Type 1, which used to be called
juvenile diabetes because it commonly appears between ages 10 and 16. Type
1 diabetics cannot make insulin to convert blood sugars into energy, so
they must inject themselves daily with the hormone to survive. New cases
have tripled in the United States in the past 50 years.

Type 2, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, usually occurs gradually
after age 40, and often can be managed by diet and exercise. The two types
together are the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and
limb amputation, as well as major risk factors for heart disease, strokes,
and birth defects.

Faustman isn't sure if her technique will work with Type 2 diabetes. "We
really don't know if replacing the islet cells will do the job," she says.
"Some experts think that the resistance to insulin comes from outside the
pancreas. There's also the possibility that Type 2 diabetics used up their
stem cells at a faster rate," which decreases their repair capacity.

The Harvard-Massachusetts General Hospital team believes they can move
from mice to humans because the same defective pathways exist in both
species. "We always begin our projects with human cells," Faustman
explains. "When we observe something important but can't experiment with
patients, we go to mice."

The defective pathway in both humans and mice has been known for years.
It's been well-studied in cancer and AIDS research, but everyone missed
its connection to autoimmune disease until Faustman's lab hit upon it.

The defect involves a genetic mutation that causes white blood cells to
attack the insulin-producing cells. It's as if the body rejects part of
itself because it cannot tell the difference between normal cells and
foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. Faustman's team found they
could destroy the offending cells with drugs.

When given to the mice, a compound known as CFA boosted the production of
another substance known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF). Years ago,
researchers tested TNF as a cancer drug, then as an AIDS treatment, but
have abandoned it since.

TNF wiped out cells that couldn't tell self from nonself, but this was
believed to be only a temporary respite. Everyone thought it could only
last until the body made new white blood cells with the same defect. To
counter this inevitability, they planned another treatment to re-educate
the new cells so they would not attack insulin-making tissues in the

Once the diseased cells were out of the way, however, adult stem cells
took over and grew new islets in 40 days.

"At first we thought we had failed," Faustman recalls. She and her
colleagues planned to follow up by transplanting healthy islet cells grown
in their laboratory. "But the biological indicators we saw were not what
we wanted for such transplants. Then we gradually realized that there were
now islet cells where none had existed 40 days before. It was astonishing!
We had reversed the disease without the need for transplants."

"These results are remarkable and surprising," comments David M. Nathan,
the Harvard professor of medicine who will attempt to do the same
experiments with humans at Massachusetts General Hospital. "We need
careful studies to find out if we can delete the offending blood cells in
humans in the same way that it was done in mice. Adult stem cells in these
mice were apparently inactive or suppressed until cells that attacked the
pancreas were removed. We don't know yet if human adult stem cells can
accomplish the same regeneration. If they can, and it will take years to
find out, that opens the way to treating other autoimmune diseases like
multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Harvard Researcher:  Adult Stem Cells May Eliminate Need Embryonic Ones
Source:   Hrvard University Gazette; July 19, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Hard Cell -- Science Does Better With Adult Stem Cells
by Richard Miniter

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Mr. Miniter is an editorial page writer for The
Wall Street Journal Europe. His column appears Fridays.]

When President Bush meets the pope today, one of the issues they're sure
to discuss is the controversy over embryonic stem-cell research. Mr. Bush
is reportedly struggling with the decision of whether to accept a
last-minute Clinton decision that would effectively lift the ban on
federal funding of such research. During his campaign, Mr. Bush promised
to uphold the ban.

Proponents of such research, and the media, frame the issue as one of
religion vs. science, arguing that if the president keeps his promise, he
will set back new medical advances and sacrifice potential cures for
diseases like Parkinson's.

But science isn't on their side, and Mr. Bush doesn't have to choose
between convictions and cures. While federal funding for embryo research
is banned, the research itself is not. The private sector lavishly funds
research on stem cells drawn from both embryos and adults. Yet research on
embryonic stem cells is no more developed than the embryos themselves --
while research on adult stem cells is close to delivering miraculous

Consider these recent advances:

* Surgeons in Taiwan restored vision to patients with severe eye damage by
using stem cells from the patients' own eyes. Their vision improved from
20/112 to 20/45, according to results published in the New England Journal
of Medicine.

* British scientists found that adult stem cells in bone marrow can turn
into liver tissue, a first step toward developing new treatments for liver
damage. Their work was reported in the journal Nature.

* Two recent studies show that adult stem cells in bone marrow
transplanted into the brain of mice can develop into neurons and have been
reprogrammed into healthy brain cells in lab rats. Previous research had
shown this transformation was possible in cultured cells, but these
studies, one of which was published in the journal Science, show it can
happen in living animals.

* Scientists found that adult stem cells in bone marrow injected into a
damaged mouse heart could become functional heart muscle cells, and that
these new cells partially restored the heart's pumping ability. One of the
scientists predicted that after successful follow-up studies, human
clinical trials could start in three years. The results were published in

These findings were all reported within the past year. And they are only a
few examples of the breathtaking medical breakthroughs occurring after
years of research on adult stem cells -- stroke victims' brains repaired
with adult stem cells becoming fully functional neurons connecting with
existing brain cells, new cartilage grown to repair damaged knees.

We are on the verge of astounding human applications using adult stem
cells. Embryonic stem cells, by contrast, have yet to save a single life.

Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to transform
themselves, in varying degrees, into many other types of cells. Thus a
single stem cell could become a skin cell, a hair cell, a liver cell and
so on. All of us were once stem cells, and our bodies still hold many
forms of these cells.

It appears that every organ and tissue in the body has undifferentiated
stem cells. These cells may exist to repair organs when they are
traumatized or damaged, but scientists are still puzzled by how they work
and what exactly they are supposed to do. If scientists can improve this
natural repair process with adult stem cells, people may be able to grow
new livers from stem cells extracted from their own liver. Another source
of adult stem cells is body fat. And umbilical cords provide a large
supply of stem cells -- without political or moral controversy.

A National Institutes of Health report, released just in time for last
week's congressional hearings, argues that stem cells from embryos are
better. But on closer examination, the evidence is shaky and speculative,
while the unique drawbacks of embryo stem cells are becoming clearer.

The case for the superiority of embryo stem cells rests on three pillars:
They are easier to harvest, there are more stem cells in embryos than in
adults, and they can be more easily changed into every organ and tissue in
the body.

The first two claims are misleading. Harvesting is a nonproblem.
Scientists have been extracting some types of human adult stem cells for
almost a decade, while human embryo stem cells weren't successfully
isolated until 1998. Several biotech companies have developed proprietary
methods to make adult-cell isolation and extraction even easier. "We've
been here in the background while all the noise was going on, and there's
been a pressure on us to provide a solution," John Wong, CEO of MorphoGen
Pharmaceuticals, told BioWorld Today last August. "We believe we've
provided that solution. The technology has just moved beyond stem cells
from embryonic tissue."

While it's true that embryos have a higher ratio of stem to nonstem cells,
that doesn't mean much. Scientists have discovered stem cells in adults in
virtually every major organ, including the brain and body, and researchers
last year identified conditions that would allow for the multiplication of
adult stem cells in culture by a billion-fold in a few weeks.

The real argument for using stem cells from embryos is they are more
"plastic" -- that is, they are easier to change into other types of cells.
This is a hard claim to evaluate because, as last week's NIH report notes,
"the field of stem-cell biology is advancing at an incredible pace with
new discoveries being reported in the scientific literature on a weekly
basis." Any distinguishing advantage from using embryo stem cells today
may already have been overtaken by a lab that is waiting for its results
to be published.

Indeed, scientists have already proved adept at turning adult stem cells
into a variety of seemingly unrelated cells. Jonas Frisen, a scientist
working at NeuroNova AB, a Stockholm-based biotech firm, published some
exciting work in one of the world's leading scientific journals, Science,
in June 2000. "We have demonstrated that the potency of these [adult stem]
cells was far greater than expected and what seemed to be a fairly
restricted cell type can give rise to many different types of cells. These
recent findings may turn some previous concepts upside down," Dr. Frisen
said in a press release. Already, human adult stem cells have been
transformed into cartilage, muscle, bone, cardiac tissues, neural cells,
liver tissues and blood vessels. Research with animal adult stem cells
indicate the ability to transform them into kidney, heart, lung, intestine
and nervous-system tissues.

While adult stem cells may never be as completely "plastic" as embryo stem
cells they will almost certainly be plastic enough for all practical
applications. "These adult tissues don't appear to be as restricted in
their fate as we thought they were," Dennis Steindler, a professor of
neuroscience and neurosurgery at the University of Tennessee-Memphis, told
Blood Weekly magazine in May. "In some ways they may not have the same
potential as embryonic cells, but once we figure out their molecular
genetics, we should be able to coax them into becoming almost anything we
want them to be."

Diane Krause of the Yale School of Medicine -- a supporter of embryonic
stem-cell research -- says she was "surprised" by her own research on
adult stem cells. "It went against our dogma," Dr. Krause says. Stem cells
found in the liver were believed to be limited to making liver tissue,
stem cells in the skin more skin and so on. "But at least for stem cells
found in bone marrow, that is not true." Scientists, who previously
underestimated the potential of adult stem cells, are "searching for a new
paradigm," she adds.

What's more, new research suggests that embryonic stem cells may be a
little too plastic. "The emerging truth in the lab is that pluripotent
[embryonic] stem cells are hard to rein in," University of Pennsylvania
bioethicist Glenn McGee told MIT's Technology Review. "The potential that
they would explode into a cancerous mass after a stem-cell transplant
might turn out to be the Pandora's box of stem-cell research." In a recent
Weekly Standard article, author Wesley J. Smith, who opposes embryonic
stem-cell research on moral grounds, cites a chilling report from China in
a study in the May 1996 edition of Neurology, the official journal of the
American Academy of Neurology, in which implanted embryonic and fetal stem
cells became bone, skin and hair cells -- inside a test subject's brain.
He died.

Then there is the problem of rejection. Transplant patients know that they
must take antirejection drugs for years and, in some cases, for life. New
tissues developed from embryonic stem cells may require a long-term
regimen of drugs to suppress the body's immune system. These drugs have
side effects, and a suppressed immune systems can increase the risk of
infection. This is not a problem of adult stem cells because they can be
drawn from the patient's own body.

Adult stem cells appear to be easier to control than embryonic cells, are
closer to commercial application, and have a history of proven benefits --
including bone-marrow applications. It's easier to transform, say, a
pancreatic adult stem cell into pancreatic tissue than to turn an
embryonic stem cell into pancreatic tissue. "It is inherently a shorter
biological step to make a beta cell from a duct [adult stem] cell than it
is from other possible cells, such as embryonic stem cells," according to
the British Medical Journal. Human adult pancreatic stem cells have
already been grown in culture and differentiated into insulin-producing

Adult stem cells are also being used in human clinical trials and
applications to treat multiple sclerosis, leukemia, liver disease, cardiac
damage, brain tumors, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, arthritis, lupus and
other conditions. French physicians used a patient's own adult muscle stem
cells to treat heart disease, with promising results.

Little wonder, then, that the private sector is focusing almost
exclusively on adult stem-cell research. Of the 15 U.S. biotech companies
solely devoted to developing cures using stem cells, only two focus on
embryos. "While the embryonic cells are rumored to have broad potential,
so far only adult stem cells have demonstrated wide uses," writes Scott
Gottlieb, a physician and staff writer for the British Medical Journal, in
The American Spectator.

In the race to cure Parkinson's disease, cancer and other age-old
scourges, the private sector is more than a few laps ahead. And perhaps a
dozen private-sector projects are within a few years of human trials.
StemCells Inc. is using adult stem-cell research to develop methods for
regenerating damaged central nervous systems and restoring function to
kidneys and livers. Baltimore-based Osiris Therapeutic Inc. has already
developed technology for isolating adult stem cells, found adult stem
cells in the body's connective tissues and conducted a clinical trial of
adult stem-cell infusion for breast cancer patients who'd had
chemotherapy. "The practical use of adult stem cells is not 10- to 15
years away but well along in the commercialization process," Osiris
president James Burns told Transplant News in March 1999. "We believe that
adult stem cells will become a routine treatment for cancer, immune
disorders, orthopedic injuries, transplant medicine, congestive heart
failure and degenerative diseases."

By contrast embryo stem-cell research is at the drawing-board stage -- not
for lack of funds but for lack of promising research to finance. Venture
capitalists have no agenda beyond making money; if they see embryo
projects that are likely to bear fruit over the next five to seven years
-- the usual VC time horizon -- they will fund them.

That the market is speaking so loudly against embryo stem-cell research
probably explains why embryo researchers are so eager to reverse the ban
on government funding. But medical science will continue to advance even
if Mr. Bush keeps his word.

Whatever the president decides, though, the NIH should put more funds into
adult stem-cell research. That would give the most promising research a
big push -- and isn't that what's most important?

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Hard Cell:  Science Does Better With Adult Stem Cells
Source:   Wall St. Journal; July 23, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
Nat Henthoff:  Adult Stem Cell Research Deserves Support

[Pro-Life Infonet Note:  Nat Henthoff is widely respected as a leading
pro-life liberal Democrat voice. He writes regularly for the Village Voice
and a weekly column for the Washington Times.]

Not even the national debates about abortion or the patients bill of
rights equal in intensity -- and in future impact -- the controversy as to
whether there should be full-scale federal funding of embryonic stem cell
research, which appears to have great promise for remarkable therapy for
especially serious diseases. These embryonic stem cells can turn into any
kind of cell or tissue in the body.

Such dread conditions as Alzheimer's, strokes or muscular dystrophy might,
in time, be treated by these embryonic stem cells if enough federal
research funds will be committed for this research.

What has caused, however, intense controversy about this use of human
embryos -- even those extra embryos frozen in fertility clinics and likely
to be destroyed -- is illustrated by this definition of an embryo from the
1989 edition of the "American Medical Association Encyclopedia of
Medicine" -- "From the time of conception until the eighth week, the
developing baby is known as an embryo."

Such technical scientific names as blastocyst (the embryo four days after
fertilization) are not emphasized in that widely known medical reference
book's definition. The word, "baby," is at the heart of this debate.

>From the very beginning of human life -- as Professor Dianne Irving has
written in "When Do Humans Beings Begin?" in the International Journal of
Sociology and Social Policy (1999): "This new human being -- the
single-cell human zygote -- is biologically an individual, a living
organism -- an individual member of the human species."

Or, as Georgetown University bioethicist Patricia King, who is in favor of
abortion rights, told the New York Times: "I think the early embryo is not
nothing. I don't think of it as just tissue."

In 1996, the National Advisory Bioethics Commission recommended that
federal funds be used for embryonic stem cell research, but the commission
said clearly that federal funding is "justifiable only if no less morally
problematic alternatives are available for advancing the research."

Now, as pressure increases -- even from such pro-life advocates as Sen.
Orrin Hatch -- there is increasing evidence of an alternative that would
not require the use of human embryos for this research. On PBS's "Jim
Lehrer News Hour," David Prentice, a professor of Life Sciences at Indiana
State University and a founding member of Do No Harm, The Coalition of
Americans for Research Ethics, reported that scientific evidence does
indicate that adult stem cells are a viable alternative.

"They're actually being used now," he said, "to treat human patients for
new corneas for restoring sight to the blind. In the animal models and
actually the adults themselves, I believe they have shown more success
than in any of the embryonic cells -- reversing diabetes in mice, treating
Parkinson's spinal cord injury, repairing heart damage. So I do think we
have a less morally problematic alternative here."

As for the claim that discarded frozen embryos used in research would have
otherwise been destroyed, Mr. Prentice noted that "there are embryo
adoption options -- the Snowflake program, for example, in California, and

And in a recent letter to President Bush, Rep. Chris Smith and 13 other
House members -- as reported in the Wall Street Journal -- asked the
president to meet with three young children that had been "kept in
storage, as frozen embryos, until they were adopted by infertile couples."

Moreover, as The Washington Post reported, research for an article in the
prestigious journal Science showed that "embryonic stem cells are
surprisingly unstable, at least in mice. If the same is true for human
embryonic stem cells, researchers said, then scientists may face
unexpected challenges as they try to turn the controversial cells into
treatments for various degenerative conditions." Part of that finding was
deleted from the article in Science at the last minute, said The
Washington Post, to not give ammunition to opponents of embryonic stem
cell research.

Also, the widely respected journal Cell notes: "Several recent reports
suggest that there is far more plasticity than previously believed in the
developmental potential of many different adult cell types." Adult bone
marrow cells, for example, "have tremendous differentiative capacity" as
they can turn into "cells of the liver, lung," and other parts of the

Both scientific and ethical priorities require federal funding of adult
stem cell research that has such potential for the lives of all of us.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Nat Henthoff:  Adult Stem Cell Research Deserves Support
Source:   Washington Times; July 23, 2001
*     *     *     *     *     *
New Study shows Dangers of Embryonic Stem Cell

Washington, DC -- A new study published in the journal Science today
reports that embryonic stem cells used in cloning mice often result in
severe abnormalities, a finding that strengthens the belief of many
scientists that the technique used to clone Dolly the sheep should not be
used on humans.

``This study confirms the suspicions of many of us that cloning of humans
would be really dangerous,'' said Rudolf Jaenisch, senior author of the
study and a researcher at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cloned mice created with embryonic stem cells may look normal but often
have subtle abnormalities, scientists reported on Thursday. The finding
could lend support to those pro-life people who oppose embryonic stem cell

In cloned humans, Jaenisch said the gene expression flaws could affect
personality, intelligence and other human attributes.

"The simplistic warning is clearly you can make cloned animals with
problems (with embryonic stem cells); whether this will apply to other
donor cell types remains to be seen," David Humphreys of the Whitehead
Institute said.

Researchers found that these cells might carry unexpected risks when used
to reproduce organisms -- like cloned mice. Stem cells are early cells not
yet specifically earmarked to become any one part of the body, so they can
develop into most any kind of cell the body needs, and as a result can be
used in so-called reproductive cloning.

Many of the cloned mice created in research at the Whitehead Institute and
the University of Hawaii developed abnormally, even though they made it
through pregnancy, birth and in some cases to adulthood. The problem did
not lie in the cloning process, but rather in the makeup of the embryonic
stem cells, which were found to be extremely unstable in laboratory

The genes themselves were not at fault. However, the embryonic stem cells
lost the tags that were supposed to tell the genes whether to turn on or
off during development, the researchers found. This meant that two mice
cloned from the "sister" embryonic stem cells might have differences in
the way their genes were expressed.

Dr. David A. Prentice, an Indiana State University professor of life
sciences, said the MIT-Whitehead study shows the hazards of the current
cloning technology.

``Development is a finely orchestrated ballet of cells forming tissues and
organs at the right place and time,'' said Prentice. ``It takes only one
going awry at the wrong time and place to have a seriously flawed

The results of the recent study, conducted by the Whitehead Institute for
Biomedical Research and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, echo
the dangers posed by non-cloning embryonic stem cell research.

In a June 14 letter to President Bush, Family Research Council president
Ken Connor warned of the hazards of stem cell research:

"Unchecked cell growth is a significant issue in embryonic stem cell
research as well (as in fetal tissue research).  As a consequence, some
researchers are concluding that tissue-specific stem cells harvested from
adult sources may prove to be a far more effective mode of treatment than
pluripotent stem cells harvested from human embryos. As University of
Pennsylvania bioethicist Glenn McGee was quoted in the January-February
issue of Technology Review, 'The emerging truth in the lab is that
pluripotent stem cells are hard to rein in. The potential that they would
explode into a cancerous mass after a stem cell transplant might turn out
to be the Pandora's Box of stem cell research."

"The study concerning cloning and embryonic stem cell research is further
evidence that the government should only support research that is ethical
and shows the most promise, such as adult stem cell research.  Human
embryonic stem cell research does not fit this bill," Ken Connor said.
"We urge the president to remain true to his pledge to oppose federal
funding of research that involves the destruction of an embryonic human

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   New Study Shows Dangers of Embryonic Stem Cell Cloning
Source:   Associated Press, Reuters, Family Research Council; July 6, 2001

*      *      *      *      *      *
Fetal  Cell  Transplant  Fails  to Cure Parkinson's

Washington, DC -- A controversial experimental treatment for Parkinson's
in which holes are drilled in the skull and cells from aborted unborn
children are implanted in the brain may be less promising than once
thought, according to the first controlled trial of the surgery. The news
bolster's the statements made by pro-life groups saying that plausible
alternatives to using stem cells from unborn children are available and
that they can be just as effective.

The study not only failed to show an overall benefit but also revealed a
disastrous side effect, scientists report.

In about 15 percent of patients, the implanted cells apparently grew too
well, churning out so much of a chemical that controls movement that they
writhed and jerked uncontrollably. The researchers say there is no way to
remove or deactivate the transplanted cells. On their advice, six patients
who enrolled in the study but had not yet had the operation decided to
forgo it.

Dr. Paul E. Greene, a neurologist at Columbia University's College of
Physicians and Surgeons and a researcher in the study, said the
uncontrollable movements some patients developed are "absolutely

"They chew constantly, their fingers go up and down, their wrists flex and
distend," he said."It's a real nightmare. And we can't selectively turn it
off." For now, Greene said, his position is clear: "No more fetal
transplants. We are absolutely and adamantly convinced that this should be
considered for research only."

The study, which was published in this week's New England Journal of
Medicine, had raised ethical questions because some participants, for the
sake of comparison, underwent sham surgery in which mere indentations were
drilled in their heads.

The implanted stem cells - master cells that can develop into many types
of tissue - survived and grew into the right kind of brain cells. But they
did not help patients older than 60. Most people who suffer from the
neurological disease are over 60.

"The fact that [Parkinson's] did not improve in the older patients ...
despite the growth and development of dopamine neurons may reflect a lower
degree of plasticity of the brain or more diffuse brain disease in the
older group," the researchers said.

The transplant technique seemed to help some people under 60, but the
benefits were limited and experts disagreed on their significance.

"Improvement was detected only early in the morning after the patients had
been without medication overnight," said Drs. Gerald Fischbach and Guy
McKhann of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in
an accompanying editorial. "No improvement was evident when the patients
were at their best, soon after a dose of medicine."

In addition, 15 percent of the transplant recipients who improved during
the first year after surgery subsequently developed disabling muscle
movements, a side effect characterized as "severe" by Fischbach and

Although the editors of the Journal said, "The results do not support the
use of this procedure as it was performed in this study," the doctors
behind the study say the findings are significant.

Not only did the transplanted cells grow in 85 percent of the patients
regardless of their age, but scores on some standardized measures of
Parkinson's disease improved by as much as 34 percent, said the chief
author of the work, Dr. Curt Freed, director of the University of Colorado
Neurotransplantation Center for Parkinson's Disease in Denver.

Freed said that the results from the younger patients are similar to the
findings from earlier, smaller-scale transplant experiments, which also
involved younger patients. "The fact that our results are consistent with
earlier anecdotal reports should be reassuring for everyone working in
this field," Freed said.

He said the results already have prompted the team to modify its
transplant methods in hopes of getting better results.

"There was tremendous hope that stem cell therapy could be a cure. This
study really points out the problems we have to solve before that can
happen," said neurologist Dr. J. William Langston, founder of the
Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, Calif. Langston said the results
indicate that stem cell research for Parkinson's should go back to the
animal laboratory.

Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox underwent a different type of surgery
-- a thalamotomy, a decades-old operation that destroys overactive,
tremor-causing nerve cells by burning or freezing a pea-size spot in the

Parkinson's disease, whose sufferers include former Attorney General Janet
Reno and actor Michael J. Fox, is a progressive brain disease marked by
tremors, stiffness, slowness and loss of balance. The symptoms grow as the
brain loses cells that produce dopamine, a transmitter that carries
messages to the nerve cells controlling motion.

The drug L-dopa can treat the symptoms, but the medicine can lead to wild
involuntary movements and other side effects, which is why patients often
alternate between taking the medicine and going off the drug.

There are also ethical and practical concerns surrounding the therapeutic
use of fetal cells. Critics of using such cells, harvested from discarded
human embryos, include the pro-life community, which has called the
research "gravely immoral." And Fischbach and McKhann write in their
editorial: "It is unlikely, for both practical and biological reasons,
that transplantation of fragments of embryonic tissue will be the therapy
of the future.

"Parkinson's is not a rare disorder: estimates of prevalence in the United
States range between 700,000 and 1 million. The number of fetuses required
would be staggering, even if only a small proportion of the patients were
to receive transplants. Moreover, heterogeneity within tissue fragments is
a major barrier to reproducibility," they wrote.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Fetal Cell Transplant Fails to Cure Parkinson's
Source:  Associated Press, MSNBC; March 7, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *
Open Letter to Bush Shows Alternative to Stem Cell Research

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC   20500

Dear Mr. President:

   Even prior to your inauguration you became aware and involved in the
ongoing controversy regarding the use of certain stem cells for research.  
The passion of both opponents and proponents of embryonic or fetal stem
cells for research has been aired and written about in media for years.
   There are those who believe stem cell research is necessary to find
cures for diseases which currently can cause the death of millions of
citizens. Conversely, there are equally compassionate voices who believe
no one should negate a single life (or millions) to save lives.  It is
doubtful that a solution could easily be found that would satisfy
   However, Mr. President, we believe there is an effective and non-
controversial way to help fund stem cell research, which could provide
significant life-saving potential for patients in need of transplantation.
   At present, there are approximately 4,000,000 babies born annually in
the United States.  Ninety-nine percent of all the stem cell rich
umbilical cords are thrown away as hospital "bio-waste material".  We
believe this is a medical tragedy since the stem cells in discarded cord
blood have the potential for saving a life.
   The only reason any parent would allow their newborn's cord blood to
be discarded rather than help save a life, is they are unaware of the
medical importance of the stem cells in each cord.  There is no question
when we heighten the awareness of both expectant parents and their medical
caregivers they will not opt to see any umbilical cords discarded.
   We have already accomplished this in more than 25,000 instances.  We
have shown expectant parents and their medical caregivers the alternatives
available for the use of newborns' umbilical cord blood.  They can:

   a.  Cryopreserve cord blood stem cells exclusively for their family's
   b.  Donate them to a public (allogeneic) bank who try to find matches
between donors and unrelated patients in need of a transplant.
   c.  Donate them to researchers who desperately need them to find cures
for currently untreatable diseases.

   Regardless of which of the above alternatives are selected there
should not be a single voice in opposition!
   The stem cells in every one of these umbilical cords come from babies
brought to full term who have been nurtured by their mother during the
entire gestation period.  No person who believes in protecting life could
object to providing newborn babies and possibly other members of their
family a longer, healthier and therefore, happier life!  Moreover, this
will be accomplished without negating a single life!
   Every private cell banking firm will see increased clientele once
expectant parents are made aware of the fact that the cryopreserved cells
are a perfect match for their newborn baby for their entire lifetime.  
Moreover, this is a one in four or better chance to match a sibling if
needed for a transplant.  This information must be made known, especially
since 59% of all pregnant women already have one or more children.  
Medical experts, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine, know
sibling transplants can have an excellent chance for engraftment which is
needed for success.  Moreover, there would also be less graft vs. host
disease complications and post transplant rejection.  Since the family
would own the cryopreserved stem cells they could be available immediately
if needed in the future.  In the case of our company and some other
private cell banks, there is no cost for retrieval, where finding a match
from some public banks could cost up to $15,000.
   Despite this, the public banks would also see a tremendous increase in
donations since informed parents (who opt not to store for their family)
would rather see their newborn's cord blood save a life than being "thrown
   The scientific community could receive an abundance of publicly
donated stem cells from parents who are interested in finding cures for
diseases that might well have ended the life of someone in their family.  
What wonderful memorial tributes there would be if a newborn baby's cord
blood stem cells helped cure a disease that took the life of a loved one.
   We believe that every single opposition group or individual would
enthusiastically join in this new national medical "save all stem cells"
   The only "loser" will be the hospital trash bins since millions of
discarded umbilical cords will now become the source for needed
life-saving stem cells.
   Mr. President, if you were to use your voice and the prestige of your
office with its ability to attract the nation's media it could help find a
solution to this problem and provide future medical benefits for many.
Simultaneously, it could significantly increase the number of donated stem
cells available for research.  This in turn could help reduce millions of
dollars of the government's expenditures for necessary research.
   If this information were made available to your Secretary of Health
and Human Services, The Surgeon General, and the Congress, we believe it
could have a profound positive medical impact for millions of families.

CRYO-CELL International, Inc.

Daniel D. Richard
Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Wanda D. Dearth
President, Chief Operating Officer

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Open Letter to Bush Shows Alternative to Stem Cell Research
Source:  Cryo-Cell International

*     *     *     *     *     *     *
Study Says  Fat May be Stem  Cell  Alternative  to  Fetal  Tissue

Los Angeles, CA -- A team of scientists says it has grown everything from
human muscle to bone from stem cells taken from fat - a breakthrough that
could eliminate the controversial use of fetal tissue from unborn children
or abortions.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and the
University of Pittsburgh isolated the stem cells - immature cells that can
be coaxed into maturing into specific types of tissue - from ordinary fat
removed by liposuction. They then grew the cells into bone, cartilage,
muscle and fat.

Stem cells have been taken previously from bone marrow, brain tissue and
aborted children and frozen embryos -- a practice opposed by many pro-life
groups. The use of fat as a source could end such controversy.

The study was published Monday in the journal Tissue Engineering.

Researchers predict the first practical use of laboratory-engineered
tissue could come within five years. Eventually, scientists hope to use a
patient's own fat to supply the tissue required to treat disease or repair

``We hope one day to be able to remove diseased tissue or organs, harvest
stem cells and replace the lost tissues on the same day during the same
operation,'' said Dr. Marc Hedrick of UCLA. ``There is potential for
regenerating a lot of different tissues, perhaps some day solid organs,
glands, nerves or brain tissue.''

Dr. J. William Futrell, a plastic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh
and a member of the research team, said it is too soon to say how the
quality of stem cells from fat will compare to those from embryonic cells.

However, the fact that fat cells are so abundant could make them a ready
source of material for a biotech industry interested in engineering new
human tissues. "Fat is something that is universal,'' Futrell said.

Dr. Mary Hendrix, head of the department of anatomy and cell biology at
the University of Iowa, said the study adds to the growing evidence that
adult stem cells can be as easily manipulated as embryonic cells. ``This
is a very exciting discovery, because it's adding to our knowledge base of
the potential of adult cells to provide a stem cell population,'' said
Hendrix, who was not involved with the research.

The benefits could be twofold. The fat removed from a patient's beer gut,
for example, could be used to repair that person's bum knee.

The discovery comes at a time when President Bush has signaled he may
block federal funding for studies that use embryonic or fetal cells. He
wants scientists to focus on adult stem cells, which until now have been
more difficult to harvest.

Christian Medical Association Executive Director David Stevens, MD
observed, "This pivotal discovery is one of a series of studies all
pointing to the incredible promise of adult stem cell research.Unlike
destructive research on embryonic stem cells, which has demonstrated no
such promise, adult stem cell research holds tremendous potential to
assist our patients with serious diseases.The scientific evidence suggests
that we can achieve our desire to cure diabetes, Alzheimer's and a host of
other diseases by following the moral path of adult stem cell research.It
is time for the NIH to direct funding to these ethical research projects
rather than to those involving the destruction of human lives.When we
arrive at our destination, we will be glad to find we have not paid the
price of progress with our most precious ethical principles."

On March 8, the Christian Medical Association and others filed a lawsuit
in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Health
and Human Services (HHS) agency and the National Institutes of Health
(NIH) to compel enforcement of a long-standing statutory ban on federal
funding of research involving the destruction of human embryos.

There are drawbacks to harvesting stem cells from a patient's own body.

In severely ill patients who need large amounts of tissue replaced,
doctors may not be able to grow sufficient stem cells quickly enough,
according to the National Institutes of Health's guidelines on human stem
cell research.

And in any disorders caused by genetic defect, the genetic error could be
present in the cultured stem cells, making them inappropriate for

From:The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:Study Says Fat May be Stem Cell Alternative to Fetal Tissue
Source: Associated Press, CMA; April 10, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *
Placenta May Be Life-Affirming Alternative Source for Stem Cells

Trenton, NJ -- A biotech company said last week it has developed
technology for extracting large quantities of stem cells from placentas,
offering a rich new source of tissue that could be a life affirming
alternative to obtaining stem cells by killing unborn children.

Anthrogenesis Corp. of Hanover in Morris County says its method could
prove superior to current sources of stem cells. However, much more
research is needed, according to company officials and other experts.

"This is one of the three or four, out of 10 or 12 technologies [under
study], that I think are viable soon," said James A. Heywood, executive
director of the ALS Therapy Development Foundation, which researches
treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the paralyzing
neurodegenerative disorder known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

In several months, it will begin studying potential treatments using stem
cells from Anthrogenesis. But Heywood said it's unclear whether those will
be the best type of stem cells for nerve disorders.

Stem cells now used in lab research and experimental treatments come from
bone marrow, umbilical cords of newborn babies, aborted unborn children,
or from killing extra human embryos for infertile couples -- the latter
two have drawn strong opposition from the pro-life community.

"Our ability to harvest large quantities of stem cells from a
non-controversial source . . . can have a significant effect, propelling
the pace of research forward" and reducing costs, said John Haines,
president and chief executive officer.

The placenta, an organ containing many blood vessels, connects the
umbilical cord of an unborn child with the uterine wall, allowing
nutrients to pass from mother to baby. Normally it is discarded after

Scientists at Anthrogenesis said they have developed technology to remove
all the blood from the placenta, then essentially keep it on life support
by placing it in nutrients under special conditions for up to a few days.
They then can extract stem cells from the tissue in quantities roughly 10
times what could be taken from an umbilical cord, for example.

Researchers are "having a hard time getting enough of those cells without
violating some federal regulation or offending someone," said Dr. Robert
Peter Gale, a bone marrow transplant expert and senior investigator at the
Center for Advanced Studies in Leukemia in Los Angeles. "If their
statements are correct, then I think it is terribly important."

So far, Anthrogenesis researchers have been able to coax those stem cells
to multiply and develop into nerve, blood, skin, and muscle cells; now
they are trying to make bone and cartilage.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Placenta May Be Life-Affirming Alternative Source for Stem Cells
Source:   Associated Press; April 12, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *     *
Umbilical Cords Could Repair Brains as Alternative to Stem Cell Research
San Francisco, CA -- Umbilical cords discarded after birth may offer a
vast new source of repair material for fixing brains damaged by strokes
and other ills, free of the ethical concerns surrounding the use of fetal
tissue, researchers said Sunday.

In animal experiments, at least, cells from umbilical cords appear to
greatly speed recovery after strokes. They work with a simple infusion
into the blood stream without the need for direct implantation into the

Although many details need to be worked out, Dr. Paul R. Sanberg of the
University of South Florida said he hopes to try the approach on stroke
victims within the next year or two.

Sanberg described the research at a meeting in San Francisco of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science. It was financed by
the state of Florida and Cryo-Cell International Inc. of Clearwater, Fla.

Many experts believe that primitive tissue called stem cells will someday
be routinely used to make human spare parts. They might replace tissue
damaged by many different diseases, especially such brain ailments as
strokes and Alzheimer's disease. These generic cells can be nudged to
develop into all sorts of specialized tissue to repopulate every part of
the body from head to toe.

One source of stem cells is aborted unborn children or fertility clinics'
discarded embryos. However, this is especially contentious since pro-life
groups oppose fetal and embryonic stem cell research, and federally funded
scientists cannot use stem cells from these sources.

Sanberg said his research suggests that umbilical cords could be an
excellent source of stem cells without the ethical headaches of fetal
tissue. He noted that 4 million babies are born in the United States each
year, and 99 percent of their cord blood is tossed away.

He said one or two cords could probably provide enough stem cells to treat
one human stroke victim, if the current approach proves useful. The cells
could be frozen for use when needed.

In experiments so far, his team removed stem cells from cords and then
used retinoic acid and growth hormones to transform them into immature
nerve cells. They then injected 3 million of these cells into the
bloodstreams of rats that had suffered strokes.

In experiments on about 60 rats, the team found that after one month,
those given the cells had recovered about 80 percent from their strokes,
compared with about 20 percent in untreated rats.

Sanberg said the treatment works best when given within 24 hours of a
stroke but still helps up to a week later. Just how the new cells rewire
the damaged parts of the brain is unclear, although the cells can take on
the form of distinctly different types of brain tissue, and they also
appear to prompt damaged cells to repair themselves.

``They are attracted to the stroke part of the brain more than the normal
brain,'' he said. ``Some signal is being sent that attracts them.''

Sanberg cautioned that many questions remain, such as whether the cells
should be given in several doses, how many should be infused, and whether
the treatment will require suppression of the immune system, since the
body might otherwise reject the foreign tissue.

``This is very exciting,'' said Dr. Sandra Chapman of the University of
Texas at Dallas. ``The potential of this will be an exponential
improvement in our chance of treating all sorts of brain disorders.''

Research was conducted by Paul R. Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., Director of the
USF Center for Aging and Brain Repair.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:   Umbilical Cords Could Repair Brains as Alternative to Stem Cell Research
Source:   Associated Press; February 20, 2001

*     *     *     *     *     *
Italians Report Finding Alternative Stem Cell Research Method
Milan, Italy -- Scientists in Italy said on Tuesday they had shown that
certain cells from the brains of adult rats can be used to generate
muscular tissue, a discovery that could have implications for transplant
therapy and provide an alternative to killing unborn children to obtain
stem cells.

The discovery concerns stem cells, the body's ``master cells'' responsible
for reproducing other types of cells.

The breakthrough comes at a time of controversy in the scientific world
about the use of stem cells from embryos, which have great potential for
transplant therapy because at an early stage they can be used to recreate
any kind of cell.

If the research on rats translates to humans, it could allow doctors to
use adult stem cells, skirting the ethical dilemma about using human

Luigi Vescovi, co-director of the San Raffaele hospital's Stem Cell
Research Institute in Milan, said new research had proven what he called
the ``transdifferentiation capacity of somatic adult stem cells.''

``It's a process by which a cell from a given tissue can give rise to a
cell form of a different tissue, possibly even of a different embryonic
origin,'' he told Reuters after presenting a paper to be published in
science journal Nature Neuroscience.

However, the research is apparently not new, according to Diane Irving,
Ph.D., a former professor of biology at Georgetown University and former
biochemist with the National Cancer Institute.

"There have already been successful studies done -- even in human patients
-- where adult stem cells from a patient were implanted and they became
cell types that usually come from a different germ layer," Irving

Previously it was thought adult stem cells did not have the same capacity
to produce cells in different parts of the body.

"The use of adult stem cells from the same patient are better because of
no immunosuppresant side effects, and therefore no such harsh drugs for
the patients," Irving pointed out. "I have also argued that adult stem
cells are better because they are closer to the stage of differentiation
than embryonic or fetal cells -- therefore they do not have as long a
"distance" to travel differentiation-wise as the younger cells.  
Therefore there is far less of a chance for genetic errors to be
accumulated in the implanted cells and less side effects for the patient
to deal with."

Pro-life researchers, like Irving, say taking cells from embryos involves
destroying a human life. The embryos used in current research are usually
those left over from test-tube fertility treatment.

``The main therapeutic in the power of using healthy cells
from one healthy part of the body to replace cells damaged or destroyed by
an illness in another part of the body,'' the Institute said in a

``With adult stem cells there would also be the possibility of
auto-transplantation, eliminating all the problems of immunological
compatibility and rejection,'' it said.

Vescovi said the most obvious possibility for therapeutic development was
in the area of muscular dystrophy. For example, doctors could eventually
use brain stem cells to generate new muscular tissue for use elsewhere in
the body.

However Vescovi emphasised the research was still at a very early stage
and it had not yet been proven that what held true for rats would
translate to humans.

Irving agreed. "The practical application of these adult stem cell studies
-- as well as the embryonic and fetal stem cell studies -- are not going
to be ready any time soon."

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt / Sally Winn <>
Subject:   Italians Report Finding Alternative Stem Cell Research Method
Source:   Reuters; September 19, 2000

*       *       *       *       *       *
Right to Life of Michigan Hails Non-Embryo Stemm Cell  Research

Grand Rapids, MI -- Right to Life of Michigan commends the stem cell
research being conducted by Michigan universities and private companies
that uses stem cells from sources other than human embryos. This
outstanding line of research is proving that adult stem cells, and stem
cells from umbilical cords and placentas can lead the way to life-saving
cures without destroying human life in the process.

The following statement can be attributed to Right to Life of Michigan
Vice-President Joseph Kincaid, M.D.

The current debate in Washington over funding destructive embryonic
research is completely overshadowing this ethical and very promising
research. In fact, most media reports fail to concede that research using
embryonic stem cells has not produced a single cure or successful
treatment yet, while stem cells from other sources have already helped
save lives. Adult and cord blood stem cells have already been used to
successfully treat vision problems, leukemia and blood disorders.

Some of the leading proponents of funding the destruction of embryos to
harvest stem cells also have financial interests in corporations that hope
to benefit from that research. This is not the perceived conflict of
interest. It is a real conflict of interest. We especially want to applaud
these researchers in Michigan who are not willing to compromise ethical
research principles in the name of financial profit.

We have arrived at the threshold of the 'Brave New World.' If we are to
remain a civilized society, it is crucial that we adhere to the most
important standards regarding human life. Respecting all human life, and
treating each human life as equally valuable are necessary principles we
must not abandon. We look forward to the day when truly miraculous cures
result from research that respects and promotes human life.

Right to Life of Michigan is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, nonprofit
organization of diverse and caring people united to peacefully protect the
precious gift of human life from fertilization to natural death.

From:  The Pro-Life Infonet <>
Reply-To:  Steven Ertelt <>
Subject:  Right to Life of Michigan Hails Non-ESCR Research
Source:   Right to Life of Michigan; July 27, 2001

*       *       *       *       *       *