Looking back on 2010, I wanted to share with you a snapshot of the incredible progress that has been made this past year in terms of stem cell science and regenerative medicine.
This year enabled scientists to share their incredible findings worldwide, ranging from discoveries within their labs through to the successes of numerous clinical trials. What made these successes more relevant were the amazing stories that were told by people from all walks of life who participated in adult stem cell case studies, s/cell therapy and treatments. They have (with the help of the internet) been able to share their incredible experiences showing us first hand the benefits and progress they achieved in a very short time.
2010 was a truly remarkable and significant year for all those involved in adult stem cell science and therapy. A significant accomplishment was seeing so many benefits reach so many people, of all ages, who have such varying health challenges.
The way we look after and preserve our good health is as much an opportunity as when we need to recover from an illness, disease or injury.
No matter what your state of health or age, anyone can now benefit, whether it be taking a stem cell supplement through to those who undergo full stem cell replacement therapy (which is now becoming a daily outpatient procedure in many countries).
The “seeing is believing” articles and videos just didn’t stop throughout 2010 and these were by far the biggest validation of success we could ever ask for.
Adult Stem Cell Accomplishments in 2010
It’s been possible to bring stem cell treatments into the realms of medical practice and also into the home in terms of more basic health applications.
These significant accomplishments include:
• Adult stem cell replacement therapy.
• The banking of stem cells. Many mothers are now preserving their baby’s umbilical cord blood cells so they can be used at a later stage (if needed) to help with the treatment of diseases such as leukemia. The cells can be preserved for an average of 21 years.
• Organs being grown in the laboratory with adult stem cells. In years to come it is believed donor organs will be able to be grown in vast numbers in laboratories, eliminating the huge need for live donors and long waiting lists.
• Stem cell supplements – scientifically proven and extremely effective. These anti aging “natural” supplements activate the stem cells within our bone marrow and send them into the bloodstream where they act as a repair and renewal kit, support optimum tissue and organ function, and strengthen our immune system. Stem cell supplements are fast becoming the vital supplement that everyone can afford to take.
On 16th September 2010, Jean Peduzzi Nelson Ph.D. from Wayne State University addressed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Jean Nelson is a neuroscientist who is doing incredible work on bringing forward adult stem cell treatments, particularly for those with spinal cord injuries, head injuries and radiotherapy damage. In her speech she referred to “the brave pioneers who first explored the potential of adult stem cell treatment. The progress of adult s/cells has now gone far beyond these particular patients (as noted below) allowing long term follow up results of numerous patients in peer reviewed published clinical trials.”
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, adult s/cells scientists and advocates faced many challenges and barriers that delayed progress (i.e. a major lack of funding, government restrictions, a lack of clinical trials and data to back up the facts). The proof is now available.
Dr Jean Peduzzi Nelson talked about several patients who have been helped by adult stem cells. These patients were part of a clinical trial and their results were published in a peer reviewed journal in 2010. A summary of these success stories are outlined below.
• Silvio had a spinal cord injury at the base of his neck (cervical level 6/7, American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) A, complete injury. Grade A is considered the worse, which indicates a complete spinal cord injury where no motor or sensory function is preserved in the sacral segments S4-S5). Silvio was left with no movement of his legs and minimal movement of his fingers.
2 years after his injury, and after intensive rehab failed to lead to an improvement, Silvio received his own adult stem cells. Today he can maintain standing position and wave without help. With a walker and short braces, he can walk over 30 feet without anyone helping him. He can now move his fingers, which he could not do before. Combined with a special rehab program called BIONT (brain initiated non-robotic/non-weight supported training) developed by Dr Lazzeri and Dr Arcangeli, that Silvio used at Centre Giusto in Italy he learned to walk again. Dr Jean Nelson is looking to bring olfactory mucosal s/cell treatment to the people of the US with the help of the NIH and / or the Department of Defense. When adult s/cell therapy / treatments are combined with an effective rehab program for Grade A spinal cord injuries, all of the patients regained some muscle movement in their legs. These findings were documented with EMG and SSEP recordings.
• Doug Rice was told in 1998 that he had 2 years to live due to chronic heart failure after multiple heart attacks. At that time he could hardly walk. He did not qualify for any US clinical trials. Doug Rice therefore went to Thailand to have adult stem cell treatment. The cells were sent to a company in Israel where they were purified and allowed to multiply. They were then sent back to Thailand for injection. Since that time, Doug has more energy and is enjoying life. This is not an isolated incident. In 2010, an article was published in the European Journal of Heart Failure reporting the follow up of 191 patients who received s/cells from their own bone marrow compared to 200 patients with comparable symptoms. Those patients who had received adult s/cell treatment lived longer and had a greater capacity to do exercises. Their heart functioned much better based on a large number of tests (left ventricular ejection fraction, cardiac index, oxygen uptake and left ventricle contractility). This report of the STAR-heart study provides the controlled clinical trial data, and new trials are now proceeding in the US.
• Joe Davis was born with severe sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is a blood disease that affects 1/500 African-Americans. Doctors thought Joe might not live to see his teens. When Joe was 2 years old in 2002, he received a transplant of stem cells from his younger brother’s umbilical cord. Joe no longer has sickle cell anemia. So where are we now? In the US, around 72,000 people have sickle cell anemia that causes pain, chronic tiredness from anemia and severe infections, usually beginning when they are babies. In a published study last year in the New England Journal of Medicine that was supported by NIH, ten adults were treated with adult s/cells from their brother or sister. Of these patients, nine no longer had symptoms of sickle cell anemia and were doing well at 4 years after their treatment. A similar study was published in 2008 showing that 6/7 of the children with severe sickle cell anemia treated in a similar manner were without sickle cell symptoms when they were examined at 2-8 years after treatment.
• Barry Goudy was suffering from multiple sclerosis. He had numerous relapses and medication was not helping his condition. Barry was part of a study conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and received his own stem cells in 2003. His MS symptoms disappeared in 4 months, and he continues to be symptom free today. Results were published last year in Lancet Neurology – 1 March 2009 (Vol 8. Issue 3, Pages 244 – 253).
• Next we have the remarkable recovery of patients who have corneal disease. Corneal disease is the 2nd leading cause of blindness after cataracts in the world. Patients had adult stem cells removed from their opposite eye and implanted into their damaged eye. The patients went from barely being able to see hand movements to normal sight in these eyes. This procedure was successful in more than 75% of the 112 patients. Some of these patients were followed for 10 years.
• Amazing progress was also made using adult stem cells in juvenile diabetes. A recent clinical trial report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the majority of 23 patients who received adult stem cells achieved insulin independence in the 2 year follow up.
The success stories just kept coming in 2010. Captured below is just a small summary:
• Windpipes made with Adult Stem Cells Help Cancer Patients. [As reported by Colleen Barry, The Washington Post]. ROME – Italian doctors have announced the use of patients’ own adult s/cells to fabricate new tracheas for two cancer patients. To grow a new trachea, the doctors started with a donor trachea and removed all of the cells. The cartilage scaffold left after the procedure was then bathed in the patient’s bone marrow adult s/cells prior to transplantation. Over a period of 2-3 months the adult s/cells cover the scaffold with new tissue, grown within the body of the patient.
• BERLIN, November 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Doctors associated with the German umbilical cord blood bank Vita 34 say they have cured a child’s leukemia completely using an infusion of s/cells from umbilical cord blood.
• Stem Cell Spray Heals Burns. November 26th, 2010. By Ed Yeates. SALT LAKE CITY – A spray solution of a patient’s own s/cells is healing their severe burns. So far, early experiments under a University of Utah pilot project are showing some remarkable results.
• ABC News – 5 June 2010 – Mike Dunkirk described on ABC News, how VesCell adult s/cell treatment helped improve his life after suffering from heart disease
• The Herald – By Donna Sharpe. 18 May 2010 – Charlestown boy’s sight improves after s/cell treatment. A Charlestown boy is showing marked signs of improvement in sight after his first round of stem cell treatment. Connor Wink, 11, and his mother Tracey recently returned from China where he received a round of injections, which are not available in Australia. The treatment appears to have had dramatic results.
• Hospital Trials using Adult Stem Cells offer MS Patients Hope. [As reported on BBC News - Wednesday 5 May 2010]. The trials, which are thought to be a world first, are taking place at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England. Clinical trials on six multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who have had s/cell injections have produced “encouraging” results, scientists say. The six were injected with s/cells harvested from their own bone marrow. Research found this increased nerve function by up to 20%. Professor Scolding said he was encouraged by this early study, the data from which may indicate that s/cells can stabilize MS. The team is planning a much larger trial of the technique. ‘My long-term hope is that s/cell research will be a cure for MS and will be available for everyone who is afflicted with this disease’ says Liz Allison, an MS sufferer. “A large study is required to assess the effectiveness of bone marrow cellular therapy in treating MS.