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Thread: SCINetUSA Website

  1. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by kivi66 View Post
    Dr.Wise,I have some more questions (lunasicc42,hope they are legitimate).What is your time estimation for completion work that "still remains to be done to ensure the safety of this procedure"? And this,I once talked to Dr.Samuil Rabinovich from Novosibirsk Immunotherapy Center(http://www.transplantation.ru) and asked him about his human trials with stem cells transplantation into lesion site in chronically injured spinal cord.What he answered is that there were not at all any improvements in patients' condition or it was very insignificant,and that financing of his program was canceled;he was especially pessimistic about possibility to repair demyelinated spinal cord.Info about results on internet site say different but Samuil Rabinovich himself is not there by now.What I want to ask you is may be you have more detailed information about what exactly was transplanted there and how your approach in your human trials will differ from his.Thank you.
    After finishing his PhD with me, Kai Liu joined a group at Harvard, headed by Zhigang He. They discovered that a gene called PTEN controls the ability of corticospinal neurons in the cortex to regenerate. If PTEN is knocked out or inactivated by other messengers such as mTOR, corticospinal tracts undergo robust regeneration. PTEN itself acts through other messenger systems such as GSK-3b. He's group has been working on manipualting mTOR. Our group has been working on GSK-3b which is inhibited by lithium (which also stimulates regeneration). At the end of this post, I attach a recent review article that was written by He's group.

    I think that when you read the article, you can perhaps appreciate the complexity of manipulating the PTEN gene, which may do many things besides inhibit regeneration. We chose to study lithium because it has been used for many years to treat manic depression, has been shown to stimulate regeneration in the spinal cord by inhibiting GSK-3b, stimulates neural stem cells to proliferate, and activates umbilical cord blood cells to produce growth factors, and can be taken immediately to clinical trial.

    Regarding Samuiel Rabinovich and why his OEG transplants are not producing significant motor improvement, he is transplanting fetal cells. These cells are not HLA-matched and are immune-rejected. In my opinion, this is the reason why OEG transplants from fetuses does not produce significant motor recovery in patients transplanted by Hongyung Huang. Lima tried to use autologous OEG cells from the nasal mucosa but I doubt very much that transplanted nasal mucosa are producing many olfactory ensheathing glial cells. In Brisbane, they grew olfactory ensheathing glia from nasal mucosa of two patients and transplanted the expanded cells into the spinal cord of these patients but did not see much effect. For four years now, Geoffrey Raisman in London has been trying to grow sufficient numbers of olfactory ensheathing glia from nasal mucosa without reliable success.

    In our trial, we will be using HLA-matched umbilical cord blood. Such HLA-matched cells have been shown to engraft successfully when infused into patients to replace bone marrow. The cells have been safely used to treat thousands of patients since 1989. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke University has shown that these cells can reverse genetic metabolic disorders in the brain when transplanted into children. Many animal studies suggest that umbilica cord blood cells secrete growth factors that stimulate regeneration and are beneficial when transplanted into the spinal cord of rats. We have shown that lithium stimulates these cells to proliferate and to secrete NGF, NT-3, and GDNF, three neurotrophins that have been reported by many investigators to stimulate regeneration in the spinal cord. Lithium itself, as pointed out above, stimulates regeneration in the spinal cord.

    We chose to test umbilical cord blood and lithium because both therapies have long-established records of safe use in humans. Between 2-3% of people have manic depression and lithium is used in about half of them. So, lithium is one of the most widely used drugs in the world. Unlike OEG and even bone marrow cells, HLA-matched umbilical cord blood is readily available from cord blood banks around the world and can be rapidly used to treat thousands of people. The risks of the therapies are minimal compared to the potential benefits. We are working with Stemcyte, the best and most experienced commercial company providing umbilical cord blood for transplantation.

    Wise.

  2. #72
    Thank you very much,Doctor,it was impressive.

  3. #73
    Have the people at SCInetUSA or anyone anywhere tried to start a text messaging fundraising campaign like they did for Haiti relief?

  4. #74
    http://www.mobilecommons.com/organizations/fundraising/


    you have to be a nonprofit organization to do it, otherwise I would have already.

    Everyone including us is so lazy that it's perfect.

  5. #75
    Senior Member spidergirl's Avatar
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    What if someone says...."here's 25 million"...can you make me walk again? How does that work? There are at least 20 im sure of people living with spinal cord injuries whose family's can afford to try to bring that to life.

    Show on a video an animal recovering and it will be over.

    I am sorry to be negative, but I just don't believe in a natural cure. I believe in robotic assisted devices in the future.

    I am not convinced. Its not Dr. Wise...(i believe hes doing more than anyone) - its just the community as a whole is lost.....

    Its just toooo MUCH!!! Either doctors and scientists have passion or don't.
    Birds Fly in Flocks, but Eagles Fly Alone...

  6. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergirl View Post
    What if someone says...."here's 25 million"...can you make me walk again? How does that work? There are at least 20 im sure of people living with spinal cord injuries whose family's can afford to try to bring that to life.

    Show on a video an animal recovering and it will be over.

    I am sorry to be negative, but I just don't believe in a natural cure. I believe in robotic assisted devices in the future.

    I am not convinced. Its not Dr. Wise...(i believe hes doing more than anyone) - its just the community as a whole is lost.....

    Its just toooo MUCH!!! Either doctors and scientists have passion or don't.
    Hi Spider. You should believe in a biological cure because you've
    seen rodent models recover function after treatment.

    I think robotic solutions are much more far-fetched than repairing
    the injury. How would a high quad use a robosuit? Can they really
    refine them to make them practical and affordable within the next
    decade?

    There will be plenty of enthusiasm when someone can report
    a successful human clinical trial. Spinal cord injury is still low
    on the priority list of things to cure and it will take a real
    breakthrough to draw attention to the research. Hopefully Wise's
    trials do that.

  7. #77
    Senior Member 0xSquidy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buck_Nastier View Post
    I think robotic solutions are much more far-fetched than repairing
    the injury. How would a high quad use a robosuit?

    There will be plenty of enthusiasm when someone can report
    a successful human clinical trial.
    +100

    Personally i don't give a damn about robosuits. The physical issue is only the tip of the iceberg for someone with paraplegia.

    I say don't put ramps or robosuits in my way, science says the spinal cord can be fixed so f* cure it ASAP and stop wasting money and time.
    Last edited by 0xSquidy; 07-18-2010 at 11:09 PM.
    Don't ask what clinical trials can do for you, ask what you can do for clinical trials.

    Fenexy: Proyecto Volver a Caminar

    http://www.fenexy.org (soon in english too)

  8. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by 0xsquidy View Post
    +100

    personally i don't give a damn about robosuits. The physical issue is only the tip of the iceberg for someone with paraplegia.

    I say don't put ramps or robosuits in my way, science says the spinal cord can be fixed so f* cure it asap and stop wasting money and time.
    +1000

  9. #79
    Quote Originally Posted by spidergirl View Post
    What if someone says...."here's 25 million"...can you make me walk again? How does that work? There are at least 20 im sure of people living with spinal cord injuries whose family's can afford to try to bring that to life.

    Show on a video an animal recovering and it will be over.

    I am sorry to be negative, but I just don't believe in a natural cure. I believe in robotic assisted devices in the future.

    I am not convinced. Its not Dr. Wise...(i believe hes doing more than anyone) - its just the community as a whole is lost.....

    Its just toooo MUCH!!! Either doctors and scientists have passion or don't.
    Spidergirl,

    You have highlighted that two major problems that face the spinal cord injury community and the main reasons why we have had no progress in clinical application of promising therapies shown in animal studies to humans.

    The first problem is the ridiculously low investment that our society and government is making towards the cure for spinal cord injury. The amount of funding is not clear but I estimate the amount to be somewhere in the range of $100 million per year. Spinal cord injury costs society about $20 billion per year. If you were British Petroleum and suffering a loss of $20 billion of leaking oil, would you spend just $100 million to solve the problem? Our society can easily afford to spend a billion dollars a year on spinal cord injury research. Much evidence indicates that it costs more than $1 billion to take a treatment from discovery to market. At our current rate of spending of $100 million per year on perhaps 10 different therapies, this means that it will take 100 years for a therapy to reach market. Does it seem too much to ask for government and society to spend $1 billion per year to cure spinal cord injury research. That is less than 5% of costs.

    The second problem is the loss of hope in the spinal cord injury community. In your words, the spinal cord injury community has "lost its way". Christopher Reeve believed in the eventuality of the cure. He also believed in setting goals. Many naysayers attacked his goals. It takes courage to set goals because you don't control everything and you cannot always achieve the goal. He understood that if you don't set goals, you don't achieve them. As you know, I disagree with you regarding biological cures. I believe that treatments that restore function will happen and it is a matter of finding the right combination and approach.

    What can we do about these two problems? The funding is matter of setting priorities. There is no question that our nation has the capability to fund the cure for spinal cord injury research. The federal government spent over a trillion dollar last year just stimulating the economy. The state of California alone is spending over $300 million per year on stem cell research, spending that by the way is showing enormous return for regenerative medicine. So, the reason why the government does not spend the money is not a lack of money but a lack of will.

    The lack of hope is a related and probably underlying reason for the lack of funding. Everybody that I talk to would like to see spinal cord injury cured. However, we are fighting centuries of prejudice, of naysayers, of doctors and scientists who have been trained to say no. This is of course not new. Most people with spinal cord injury don't believe that there will be a cure, at least during their lifetime. Some believe that there will never be a cure. I still remember the care and cure debates in the late 1990's. Many people with spinal cord injury actually opposed funding of research, saying that it is taking money away from cure. We have come a long ways from that time but still have not come far enough.

    The odd thing is that most doctors and scientists now believe that there will be a cure but many people in the spinal cord injury community do not. All the doctors who have joined and want to join the ChinaSCInet and SCINetUSA believe that there will be therapies of spinal cord injury and are very anxious to start testing these therapies in people. To my surprise, in the last few years, some members of the spinal cord injury community not only drew back from the hope but began attacking those who are expressing hope.

    There are many things in our body that we take for granted but are miracles. For example, the fact that you can smoke and your lung keeps repairing itself for years and years is a miracle. This is also true of alcoholics who repeatedly damage their liver, expecting the liver to repair itself over and over again. Although we did not know this until recently, our brains and spinal cords are constantly renewing themselves through stem cells. We take all this for granted except when it does not occur or we have exceeded the limits of the system to repair itself. Then, it becomes a veil of tears.

    We think, for example, that ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a terrible disease that happens to a few of us. Something is killing the motoneurons. I suspect that motoneurons are dying in all of us but, in people with ALS, the motoneurons are dying a little faster and the mechanisms for repairing and replacing them are not sufficient. That is why this is a disease that shows up in people in the late 30's. Lou Gehrig, for example, was one of the best athletes in the world for over 30 years before succumbing to the disease that bears his name.

    A lot of people believe that the spinal cord cannot recover from injury. But, anybody who has been in a rehabilitation center knows that there are many who do recover. I was talking to a very good friend who is mother to a friend with spinal cord injury. She mentioned seeing all these people coming to the hospitals with severe spinal cord injuries and just a patch of sensation and a little movement here and there. Six weeks later, they walk out of the hospital but her son remained. The difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injury is less than people think. The goal of spinal cord injury treatments is of course to make people more incomplete. I believe that it is possible and the first therapies that will do so will be shown to work within the next few years. Finally, I know that if we don't try, we will never know.

    Finally, let me address the issue of having a videotape of walking animals. As some of you may have realized, I do not believe in showing such videos, even though they may have great public relations and fundraising effect. Why? Because such videos are ultimately misleading and anybody can show such videos. Animals are no different from humans in this regard. If they are incomplete, they will walk. All you have to do to create a walking animal is to hit their spinal cord slightly less hard. So, you have a rat scampering around. Does that mean that you have a cure? I can just as easily show a person with incomplete spinal cord injury walking out of a hospital. Does that mean that we have a cure?

    We need to do good science. Videotapes of walking animals is not always bad science but it can be abused. To prove that treatments are effective, we must do randomized controlled clinical trials with large numbers of patients. This is accepted for all other diseases and conditions. Why is this so hard to get accepted in spinal cord injury. Yes, I understand that seeing is believing, that a single walking animal may raise $25 million. That is probably how some scientists raised their money. I am not willing to do it. It is too easy to fake and is misleading.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 07-19-2010 at 10:29 AM.

  10. #80

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bussolari View Post
    http://www.mobilecommons.com/organizations/fundraising/


    you have to be a nonprofit organization to do it, otherwise I would have already.

    Everyone including us is so lazy that it's perfect.
    I think this is an excellent idea!
    ...it's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

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