Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stem Cell Research: Adult vs Embryonic

C-Span guests January 13, 2007 Dr. David Prentice, Family Research Council Sr. Fellow for Life Sciences vs Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, Washington University School of Medine (St. Louis)

Arguing for the use of adult stem cells was Prentice.

Teitelbaum says other guest continues to use disinformation...

Prentice says visit and

What I found absolutely abhorrent was Dr. Teitelbaum referrenced a child he was treating and he said he had to tell the parents that he couldn't find a perfect match among the adult stem cells, whereas there might be hope and possibility for successful treatment with embryonic stem cells.

That's political, not humanitarian. It's sick. What parent wouldn't want every single measure possible taken to cure their ill child?

There are currently alternatives to embryonic stem cells.

What should happen. Congress should pass a law wherein the umbilical cords from all newborns are preserved for that individual's health bank.

Umbilical Cord Blood

Following the birth of a baby, the umbilical cord usually is discarded along with the placenta. However, it is now known that blood retrieved from the umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells. Stem cells are unspecialized blood cells that produce all other blood cells, including blood-clotting platelets and red and white blood cells. Like donated bone marrow, umbilical cord blood can be used to treat various genetic disorders that affect the blood and immune system, leukemia and certain cancers, and some inherited disorders of body chemistry. To date, more than 45 disorders can be treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

Currently, commercial companies provide services to parents to store their newborn baby’s cord blood. Prospective parents who are considering this option should have as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

A Rich New Stem Cell Source: Research on Umbilical Cord Matrix
nächste Meldung 27.09.2004

Stem cell research. Just the mention of the controversial study stirs up a storm of debate.

The divisive research has become a political hot potato, even emerging as a campaign issue. One presidential candidate has declared it an ethical and moral issue that must not be treated lightly; the other has pledged to lift a partial ban on the research. In California, voters will vote on a measure that would devote $3 billion to human embryonic stem cell experiments...

The cushioning material or matrix within the umbilical cord known as Wharton’s jelly is a rich and readily available source of primitive stem cells, according to findings by Troyer and Weiss. Animal and human umbilical cord matrix cells exhibit the tell-tale characteristics of all stem cells, the capacity to self-renew and to differentiate into multiple cell types.

The cells -- called cord matrix stem cells to distinguish them from cord blood cells -- can be obtained in a non-invasive manner from an abundant source of tissue that is typically discarded. "Unfortunately, people hear the term stem cells and they automatically conclude that it is coming from an embryonic source," Weiss said. "That is an unfortunate connotation that is not always accurate."

According to Weiss and Troyer, "Umbilical cord matrix cells could provide the scientific and medical research community with a non-controversial and easily attainable source of stem cells for developing treatments for Parkinson’s disease, stroke, spinal cord injuries, cancers and other conditions."

The discovery of the matrix stem cells may also lead to important new technologies in animal agriculture and for the preservation of endangered species. Among the group’s findings: Wharton’s jelly cells from pigs were propagated in the lab for more than a year without losing potency; they can be stored cryogenically and engineered to express foreign proteins.

Umbilical cord blood may hold cure to rare diseases
By JOANNA DAVIS - The Press Thursday, 11 January 2007

All New Zealanders should have access to public cord-blood collection, rather than just those able to afford more than $4000 for the "health insurance", an advocate for people with rare diseases says.

The umbilical cord blood of newborn babies is a rich source of stem cells that can be used to treat diseases such as leukaemia and other diseases of the blood, bone marrow and immune system.

A private cord-blood bank opened in Auckland in 2002 but, because of the incredibly small probability of a transfusion ever being needed by the donor, none of the thousands of samples has been used.

The executive director of the Organisation for Rare Disorders, John Forman, said cord blood was hardly ever able to be used by the person who donated it.

Doctors say the probability could be as low as one in 200,000.

However, Forman said research was opening up exciting new possible uses for the blood and New Zealand should be collecting and storing it for future use for everybody.

He said that New Zealand should set up a public cord-blood bank that would cater for the country's rare ethnic mixes and contribute more core blood to the worldwide donor pool.

"At the moment, we rely on large international banks which are set up for stem-cell transplants.

"We need to pull our weight internationally," he said.

Louise Dibley, from the private Cord Bank, which charges $2450 to collect blood plus $150 a year to store it, said that staff made it clear to parents their children were unlikely to need to use their own blood.

However, Dibley said families considered it health insurance and wanted to "invest in the future of science".

"Recent research shows a lot more work being done with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and liver and heart problems ... Cord stem cells could be used for all those things," she said.

Auckland haemotologist Hilary Blacklock said private cord-blood banking had no real use.

New Zealand legislation meant the blood could be used only for the donor, and even in one of the most common conditions – leukaemia – a transfusion from someone else was preferable.

This was because children who developed leukaemia sometimes had malignant cells present in their blood in the neo-natal period, and also because blood from another donor could recognise the remaining cancer cells as foreign and kill them.

Blacklock said New Zealand contributed to worldwide stem-cell donation through the Government-funded Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

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