Tremendous Progress with Adult Stem Cells in 2007
By David Prentice, William L. Saunders, and Michael Fragoso, Family Research Council, January 5, 2008
The FDA approved clinical trials for adult stem cells to the tune of 1100 in 2006. But 2007 was even more successful for adult stem cells. Over 1400 FDA approved trials for 73 different conditions in humans where patient health has been improved through adult stem cell therapy were documented in peer-reviewed studies in 2007.
Umbilical cord blood, placentas, and other tissues in the body contain adult stem cells. They are found throughout the entire body. No embryos are destroyed when extracting adult stem cells, which is in contrast with the extraction of embryonic stem cells.
We have decided to publish a yearly update each fall/winter since treatments with adult stem cells are continually increasing and continue to be impressive. (Note: Embryonic stem cells have never produced successful treatment trials in humans.)
Adult stem cells do not create tumors, unlike embryonic stem cells.
The research and treatments involving adult stem cells has been fast paced since our 2006 paper, thus, we have summarized some of the developments in the field below.
The Regeneration of Heart Tissue
Eight years ago, Doug Rice was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Due to his diabetes, he was unable to get a heart transplant.
Rice decided to travel offshore for adult stem cell treatment since he was facing fatal heart failure. Stem cells were extracted from a sample of blood taken from Rice. The cells were differentiated into angiogenic cell precursors, then transplanted into Rice's heart.
The results were immediate for Rice, who experienced an increase in his hearts efficiency of 30 percent. He originally had an ejection fraction of 11 percent.
According to Rice, "I've been around a lot of people with bad hearts. I know if they looked at [adult stem cell therapy], it might save their lives. I firmly believe it saved mine."
A few other companies have developed adult stem cell technology for heart patients.
Marc Penn, director of the Bakken Heart Brain Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, says of one new therapy, "It's very exciting, perhaps a sea-changing trial for the field ... offering the chance of an off-the-shelf-product."
Bone marrow stem cells have been used by Bodo-Eckehard Strauer to treat over 300 heart patients. He is the director of the cardiology department at Dusseldorf University Hospital. A patient who was “on the verge of dying” after suffering a severe heart attack was treated by Dr. Strauer in September of 2007. Strauer transplanted the patients own bone marrow adult stem cells back into him following seven weeks of intensive care. The patients condition improved. This marked the first time that cardiogenic shock has been treated by adult stem cells. Dr. Strauer referred to the treatment and result as “global innovation”.
Type I Diabetes
Successful treatment with adult stem cells for Type I Diabetes was achieved in Brazil. Jaider Furlan Abbud was one of 13 patients who were successfully treated in a trial that was led by researchers from Northwestern University. After an adult stem cell transplant using his own blood stem cells, Dr. Abbud became insulin-free.
Thanks to adult stem cell transplants, Carol Franz emerged alive and well from two bouts of a bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. Five months of aggressive chemotherapy was the only option for Franz when she was diagnosed with the condition in 2003.
Following chemotherapy her adult stem cells were isolated from her peripheral blood. Additional chemotherapy was administered before the adult stem cells were transplanted back into her body. Her bones regenerated after the transplant.
Franz opted for stem cell treatment once again after she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma three years later. After the second treatment, she was cancer free, and remains so to this day.
Isolated adult stem cells derived from human fat tissue were transformed into nerve cells by Dr. Paul Kingham and his team at the United Kingdom Center for Tissue Regeneration in Manchester in October. They expect to create artificial nerves by isolating more of these stem cells.
According to Dr. Kingham, "The differentiated stem cells have great potential for future clinical use, initially for treatment of patients with traumatic injuries of nerves in the arms and the legs."
Liver cells have been regrown in patients suffering from live cancer by scientists at the University of Dusseldorf by using the patients' own bone marrow stem cells. Six of the eight patients involved in the study have healthy livers two years after the procedure.
The memory of mice was restored using adult stem cells by scientists at the University of California – Irvine.
Lead researcher, Mathew Blurton-Jones, said of the finding, "This is one of the first reports that you can take a stem cell transplantation approach and restore memory ... There is a lot of awareness that stem cells might be useful in treating diseases that cause loss of motor function, but this study shows that they might benefit memory in stroke or traumatic brain injury, and potentially, Alzheimer's disease."
Please see Family Research Council's Insight paper "Adult Stem Cell Success Stories – 2006," for a comprehensive survey of adult stem cell research successes prior to 2007 - Available at: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS06H01