Success stories about adult stem cell treatments are coming in so fast that LifeSiteNews.com, one of the few newswire services to follow the issue closely, is having trouble keeping up. While most disease research organizations, such as Juvenile Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis and the Canadian Cancer Society, continue to promote the use of living embryonic human beings for experimentation, the only success stories to date have all come from the use of adult stem cells.
Adult stem cells are distinguished from those derived from embryos, and do not necessarily mean only those from adult patients. Adult stem cells are being found in abundance in blood taken from the umbilical cord for example. Three stories have appeared only today that show where the real hope lies in stem cell research.
A young American woman, Erica Nader, injured in a car accident and paralysed from the upper arms down, has been treated for a spinal cord injury using stem cells taken from her nose and implanted in the spinal cord at the site of the injury. The procedure, which is performed nowhere else in the world was performed by a team of surgeons in Portugal at Lisbon's Egas Moniz Hospital. After three years, magnetic imaging resonance tests (MRI's) show that the cells indeed promote the development of new blood cells and synapses, or connections between nerve cells, says Dr. Carlos Lima, chief of the Lisbon team.
Nader is recovering slowly but steadily. She was paralyzed from her biceps down and three years ago had no finger movements. Now, she can do exercises on a floor mat and walk with leg braces on a treadmill.