08-10-2001, 05:02 AM
with the presidents decision on the embryonic stem cells.how long do you think it will be before any real findings in the research eria will surface.do you have any kind of time frame for the treatment of sci.not a magic bullet treatment but somthing that will improve our lives.i only ask you becouse you are up to date with all the studies ongoing...
08-10-2001, 05:20 AM
There are two areas in spinal cord injury that I believe would benefit from NIH funding of human embyronic stem cell research.
Myelination. The first is that it will provide a source of cells for remyelinating the spinal cord. All the people who currently benefit from 4-aminopyridine, for example, should benefit from such remyelination therapy. Unfortunately, we have only limited access to cells that will remyelinate the spinal cord. There are only four other practical sources of such cells: Schwann cells, adult neural stem cells from the brain, olfactory ensheathing glial cells from the olfactory bulb, and cells from animals (such as Diacrin's porcine neural stem cells). As you know, all four are being explored right now. Of these, cloned human embryonic stem cells would probably be the best and least risky and that avenue may be closed off soon by the recent bill passed by the House of Representatives to criminalize all cloning.
Neuronal replacement. About a third of people with spinal cord injury have damaged the neurons in their cervical and lumbosacral spinal cord that directly control the reflexes and muscles of their arms and legs. For these people, regeneration alone may not be sufficient to restore function. Several recent studies suggest that embryonic stem cells can migrate into the brain and spinal cord, to form new neurons and restore function. There is not as much data that adult stem cells can do the same. I believe that President Bush's decision will allow NIH-funded scientists to compare embryonic and adult stem cells, to find out the differences between the two and learn how to make adult stem cells do what embryonic stem cells can do.
In terms of time, we have already lost a number of years to the discussion. The technology for isolating and transplanting human embryonic stem cells have been available since 1998. The research has been placed on the backburner because of the debate. I feel particularly bad for people with Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and juvenile diabetes who are closer to benefittig from embryonic stem cell transplants than people with spinal cord injury. But the spinal cord injury community is also losing precious time.