Adult Stem Cell Research Continues To Progress

On March 9, 2009, President Obama lifted the ban that was in place for 8 years concerning embryonic stem cell research and called it “an important step in advancing the cause of science in America…And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield.” Many liberals claimed, “you are against science or stem cell research” if are against destroying an embryo (human being) which is claim when one isĀ  against evolution.

But all their claims are far from the truth and has to do with grant money and power than with science and new treatments. A male patient had a broken ankle that refused to heal after many surgeries. Dr. Thomas Einhorn who was his doctor decided to try something different which came from a study from France. He basically drew bone marrow from the man’s pelvic bone with a needle, made it smaller to the size of about four teaspoons that looked like red liquid, and injected that into his ankle. Four months later the ankle healed!

Because of the ban, more focus had been on adult stem research and as a result, there have many innovative therapies coming from doctors all over the world, leaving embryonic stem cell research in the dust. Has President Obama praised such research? After all, he is supposed to be for science, right or was he just paying back those who got him into office?

Amazing, researchers have been able to create beating hearts, ears and bladders using adult stem cells. Biotech companies and the Pentagon have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in research that could profoundly change millions of lives! Apart from these efforts, transplants of adult stem cells have become a standard lifesaving therapy for perhaps hundreds of thousands of people with leukemia, lymphoma and other blood diseases.

This was a promised for various treatments focusing on embryonic stem cells, which were first isolated and grown in a lab dish in 1998. Controversy arisen of course because we are dealing with human beings so former President George W. Bush allowed only restricted federal funding for studying them.

Could adult stem cell research have another breakthrough year? It’s possible but it has a ways to go in terms of treatments and one must watch out for the hype on unproven treatments. But one thing is for certain, the future for regenerative medicine is in adult stem cell research!

Scientists No Longer Avoid Inserting Reprogrammed Genes Into Chromosomes

What is been labeled “ethical stem cell research” which is adult stem cell research, has had another break through again. Using retroviruses to insert into the genes from a mouse and human skin cells causing them to revert back to their embryonic state (known as induced pluripotent stem cells).

Reprogramming genes into the chromosomes has been avoided up until now with the latest research as reported in New Scientist…

“Last year, for instance, a team led by Konrad Hochedlinger of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston put the reprogramming genes into adenoviruses, which live for only a short while in a cell and don’t normally jump into its chromosomes. The technique worked in mouse liver cells – but was very inefficient.”

“Now two groups of researchers have taken a different approach, using a system that puts the genes into chromosomes, but allows them to subsequently be removed.”

“Rather than using viruses, the researchers instead turned to a “transposable element” known as piggyBac. Originally found in insects, piggyBac is a parasitic stretch of DNA that can move around the genome, cutting and pasting itself into a chromosome where the genetic sequence reads “TTAA”.

The new method allowed scientists to study those cells (piggyBac) which had only a 40 percent chance of reinserting themselves back in the chromosomes.

“Whether the method catches on may depend on rival researchers’ success in attempts to devise simpler methods that don’t require the reprogramming genes. For instance, Sheng Ding of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, is experimenting with reprogramming using small-molecule drugs.”

One of the rare articles, that deals with scientific studies which doesn’t try to explain it by using evolution. In fact, the theory of evolution is not needed in these experiements. A breath of fresh air, but also what’s also exciting is the fact that advancements in this type of research is progressing well which may lead to much better treatments for cancer!