Stem Cell Therapy Needs Global Regulation

February 27th, 2009

From my article on

“Although the Russians claim to be using “neural stem cells”, they are not. They essentially take whole fetal brain, put in a Cuisinart, and inject it uncharacterized as a graft slurry,” wrote Dr. Snyder on

Dr. Snyder and his colleagues have a paper in revision at the New England Journal of Medicine in which they analyzed the cells used in a similar case from the same group, and concluded that they were not likely to be neural stem cells.

5 Responses to “Stem Cell Therapy Needs Global Regulation”

  1. Doubting Foo on February 27, 2009 12:52 pm

    The desciption “They essentially take whole fetal brain, put in a Cuisinart, and inject it” really makes one shudder. I thought stem cells were taken from newly formed embryos?

  2. Eric Suh on February 27, 2009 1:42 pm

    Embryonic stem cells are taken from embryos, but some “adult” stem cells, such as neural stem cells or hematopoietic stem cells, can be harvested from other tissue (not necessarily from an adult, just something older than an embryo with developed or developing tissue). I’m not certain, but I presume they used fetal brain as a source because fetuses still have growing brain tissue, and thus might have more stem cells.

  3. alloycowboy on February 27, 2009 8:01 pm

    Why does Size, Level of Development, Enviroment, or Degree of Dependency of a human being matter when it comes the killing and experimenting on human beings? Do you now see how slippery this slope is?

    Being a keener I am sure you have already read “Dignitas Personae”.

    Here is another article I though you might enjoy. It’s called “Fire in the Clinic!” by Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk,PH.D.

  4. Kirsten Sanford on February 28, 2009 9:33 pm

    This response was emailed to me:

    Dear curious reader,
    There are 2 major kinds of stem cells. There are embryonic stem cells and there are adult stem cells. Both have the potential to improve patients’ lives by implanting them into the patient’s body to replace damaged or dead tissue. Both are ALREADY helping medical knowledge, such as drug development and understanding diseases in new ways.

    EMBRYONIC stem cells (ESC) come from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst: the fertilized egg, called the zygote, divides and forms two cells; each of these cells divides again, and so on. Soon there is a hollow ball of about 150 cells called the blastocyst that contains two types of cells, the trophoblast and the inner cell mass. Embryonic stem cells are obtained from the inner cell mass. Embryonic stem cells used in therapies are allogenic – they come from someone other then the patient. Issues of rejection, like in transplants need to be addressed and most likely, embryonic stem cell recipients require heavy doses of immuno-suppressive drugs.

    ADULT stem cells (ASC) come from a growing multitude of sources. First they were found in the bone marrow, then the blood, then certain fat cells, then nasal skin, then the dam broke and scientists seem to find a new source in the body every month. Umbilical cord stem cells are a type of adult stem cell although some give them their own subcategory. ASC can be allogenic (from someone else) or autologous (from the patient’s own body and requiring no immuno-suppressive drugs).

    The strongest allogenic stem cells seem to be derived from the placenta and the umbilical cords of healthy newborn babies, which can be frozen. Milk teeth, the first set of a child’s teeth that fall out and you put under their pillow are also an excellent source of stem cells. Storing cord or placental or milk tooth stem cells at a stem cell bank can provide valuable stem cells for future treatments of the baby, a family member or a stranger.

    Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are thought to be more powerful than ASC because they can become any cell in the body. They come from very early in a pregnancy and are the by-products of abortions and fertility clinics.

    New studies on ASC are showing that they can become virtually anything. Scientists recently turned adult skin stem cells into adult neuron stem cells. –

    A decade of embryonic stem cell research has resulted in no human treatments and because the embryonic stem cells continue to divide beyond the scientist’s control, they can turn into tumors (as referenced in Kirsten’s original post).

    Over a decade of adult stem cell treatments have given thousands improved health, extended lives, helped paraplegics to walk , made a man with AIDs symptom free for 2 years , the list goes on and on. ASC are already helping improve and extend the lives of patients with dozens of “incurable” diseases,” 73 diseases when you count only US published scientific papers and well over 100 if you read all of the papers from outside the USA.

    Hope that helped!
    David Granovsky

  5. Doubting Foo on March 1, 2009 10:29 am

    Dr. Kiki, thanks for the explanation of all of the different types.

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