Stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury

First stem cell therapy tested against spinal cord injury.

Stem cells as the basis of tomorrow's medicine. Scientists have been wondering for a long time that the use of stem cells could offer completely new therapeutic options for numerous existing diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or cardiovascular diseases. So far, however, hardly any approaches to a useful therapy have been developed. As part of a phase I study, American doctors have now tested the treatment of a partially paralyzed patient with embryonic stem cells for the first time. The success remains to be seen.

Doctors see great potential in embryonic stem cells. Stem cells have long been a source of enormous pressure on doctors to expect. A distinction must be made between embryonic and adult stem cells. In general, stem cells can differentiate into different cell types or tissues, whereby embryonic stem cells have the potential to differentiate into any tissue and adult stem cells can only reproduce certain defined tissue types. The hope of medical professionals is primarily based on the embryonic stem cells, with the help of which they can imagine the treatment of numerous diseases. However, the use of embryonic stem cells has been highly controversial due to ethical concerns. The embryonic stem cells are primarily obtained from human embryos that were left over during artificial insemination. Critics see a disregard for human life here, since they believe that this begins with the fertilization of the egg.

Paraplegic patient treated with stem cells Now officially approved treatment with embryonic stem cells has taken place for the first time. The patient contracted a spinal cord injury and was subsequently partially paralyzed. He was then injected with embryonic stem cells at a clinic in Atlanta, Georgia, according to the Washington Post. The study was initiated by the California-based biotechnology company Geron from Menlo Park. Geron had already received approval from the US drug agency FDA Received the world's first approval for treatment with human embryonic stem cells in January 2009. At the time, the company had submitted 21,000 pages as an application and submitted numerous additional documents Stem cell therapy should be reviewed by patients who volunteer to participate in the Geron study, and only patients with spinal cord injury who are new to the spinal cord injury are eligible for treatment up to 14 days after the injury as part of the so-called GRNOPC1 therapy, which comes from embr Yonal stem cells are injected, which theoretically repairs the damaged nerve cells and the patients regain their feeling and mobility. In addition to the Atlanta clinic, six other American treatment centers are involved in patient selection.

The greatest risk in the use of embryonic stem cells is cancer According to the experts, the greatest risk in the context of the treatment could be the development of cancer, because it is by no means guaranteed whether the cells will develop as desired or grow uncontrollably. The spokeswoman for the biotechnology company Geron did not comment on the outcome of the current test at the Shepherd Center for the time being. Despite all doubts, stem cell research in America is currently on the move. While under George W. Bush in 2001 state funding for stem cell research was limited to the then existing 21 stem cell lines, the current American President Barack Obama has now lifted this regulation again. From now on, the use of new stem cell lines from embryos that would have been destroyed anyway after fertility treatments in clinics is now allowed. (fp, 12.10.2010)

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