Skip to comments.Ethical Stem Cell Study May Pave Way for Brain Injury Cure
Posted on 01/01/2007 9:34:38 PM PST by Coleus
A Texas children's hospital is working with the University of Texas' Medical School in a unique clinical trial using bone marrow stem cells to treat children's brain trauma. This trial, which does not involve ethically problematic and controversial embryonic stem cells, is the first to use stem cells in the treatment of traumatic brain injury, for which there is currently no reparative therapy. Dr. James Baumgartner, M.D., is an associate professor of pediatric neurosurgery and one of the principal investigators on the project. He says this procedure will be "an absolutely novel treatment, the first ever with potential to repair a traumatically damaged brain."
This initial clinical trial will involve ten children, head injury patients between the ages of five and fourteen. Baumgartner says the study at this stage is being used to prove the safety of the procedure -- a therapy that entails harvesting marrow stem cells from a child's hip, processing the stem cells, and giving them back through an intravenous line. The doctor notes that he is optimistic about the trial because of previous animal testing. "Typically after head injury, the two biggest problems you have are related to coordination and memory," he explains. And, in experiments using bone marrow stem cells to treat specimens with induced head injuries, he adds, "both memory and coordination were improved in these animals after the treatment."
Examination of the experimental animals' brain matter showed that the bone marrow stem cells had differentiated into other cell types and had also demonstrated healing tendencies, Baumgartner continues. Now he hopes to see the procedure produce the same in human trials. A closer look at the area of injury in the lab specimens' brains reveals that "these stem cells have turned into some of the cells that normally make up brain," the researcher says, "and they also seem to induce a kind of healing phenomenon around the site of injury. We're hopeful that those same things will happen in the children we treat." However, he points out, this University of Texas Medical School study is just a small clinical trial with only ten children, so the results will not be definitive.
Nevertheless, Baumgartner believes this study could have a definite impact on the future of the research even though, as a "Phase I" clinical trial, its primarily emphasis is to establish that its methods are safe. Observing the therapeutic effects of the procedure is a secondary goal, he says, but a larger study will be conducted if this initial clinical trial yields positive results.
The abortion advocates who want fetal stem cells harvested will complain that this is 'too traumatic for the children' because it involves painful hip bone surgery. http://sacredscoop.com
Its just another media conspiracy to hide the miraculous benefits of cloned embryos and aborted fetuses/babies. I'm sure Rupert Murdoch or Jack Welch is somehow secretly behind all this 'good news' involving non-fetal stem cells. I bet Michael J Fox could sort all this out if he were available to go on 60 Minutes or The Daily Show and explain the real scientific reasons behind these anamolies.