Stem Cells Reverse Multiple Sclerosis?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Science

Yes. If we catch MS earlier, it may be reversible.

From New Scientist:

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the fatty myelin sheath that wraps around nerve cells and speeds up their rate of transmission comes under attack from the body’s own defences. [...]

For the first time, some of the disability associated with the early stages of multiple sclerosis appears to have been reversed. The treatment works by resetting patients’ immune systems using their own stem cells.

While randomised clinical trials are still needed to confirm the findings, they offer new hope to people in the early stages of the disease who don’t respond to drug treatment.

Having seen the effects of MS firsthand in a few people during my lifetime, this is incredibly encouraging news, especially since we have an administration that believes in the efficacy of common sense research free from the the limits of religion.


This entry was posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2009 and is filed under Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

17 Responses to “Stem Cells Reverse Multiple Sclerosis?”

  1. J. Harden Says:

    In conjunction with the local abortion clinic (and in severe need for local economic expansion during this “crisis”) I have started a fetus recycling network. We distribute self-addressed potluck containers to low-income women to put their disguarded fetus and they send in the “biowaste” to our stem-cell processing plant. So far we employ three full-time scientists and one very unhappy janitor. We are totally stamping out MS in our region using the promiscuity of our women-folk — talk about sustainability!!! Finally the dark night of religion has been lifted and we are free to walk confidently in the future. Come brothers, God is Dead, Fear Not!

  2. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    …especially since we have an administration that believes in the efficacy of common sense research free from the the limits of religion.

    Justin, this is an astoundingly ignorant statement. Either you didn’t read the article, you didn’t understand it, or your partisanship has lead you to try to decieve your readers. From the article:

    They removed stem cells from the patients’ bone marrow, and then used chemicals to destroy all existing immune cells in the body, before re-injecting the stem cells.

    These were adult stem cells. They are the type that has been used to treat over 80 diseases in humans over the past 20 years. They were not only considered acceptable by the Bush administration, their funding was increased exponentially during the past 8 years. The Catholic Church donates money to fund adult stem cell research. Religion, therefore, has actually created opportunities for this type of science.

    On the other hand, the first human trial for embryonic stem cells was only approved last month, and involved the previously existing stem cell lines approved by the Bush administration.

    Embryonic stem cells have consistently proven to be less effective than adult stem cells for use in treating disease because of their tendancy to form tumors or be rejected by the hosts immune system. Every dollar spent on embryonic stem cell research is a dollar taken away from the research described in this article.

  3. Steve Says:

    Every dollar spent on embryonic stem cell research is a dollar taken away from the research described in this article.

    Well, once Obama lifts the current restrictions we’ll be able to follow the conservative mantra and let the market decide which type of research is more worthy of research dollars. Or does the “let the market decide” rationale get thrown by the wayside when it’s not convenient?

  4. Brian in GA Says:

    As a free market believer, I love the “let the market decide” argument! Well, except like, when you are applying it to using my money that is forcibly extracted from me by government at gunpoint in the form of taxation and then taking that money to spend on government sanctioned sucking of fetuses through a tube and then using their biomass to look for possible cures for others. That kind of doesn’t sit well with me.

    But otherwise, I am right there with ya brother!

    I am no scientists but I have also read that adult stem cell research is just as if not more promising than embryonic stem cell research but I admit I don’t wear a white labcoat. But….I do pay my taxes! Unlike Daschle and Geithner.

  5. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Steve, there were never any restrictions on private funding for embryonic stem cell research under the Bush administration. A company known as Advanced Cell Tech does it here in my own home town. The Bush administration placed restrictions on using money to fund research using new stem cell lines created from embryos. Thats all.

    Interestingly, Firms such as ACT that have been doing their own research using embryos have had difficulty acquiring funds from private investors. So the market has, in fact, already been making decisions, which don’t bode well for embryonic stem cell research.

    Thanks for proving my point Steve, and might I suggest that you do a little research on your own about this topic before you post your opinion.

  6. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    ADDENDUM:

    My third sentence should say: “The Bush administration placed restrictions on using PUBLIC money to fund research using new stem cell lines created from embryos.”

  7. Mike Says:

    Amen to Jimmy. This was an irresponsible post to suggest that those who oppose embryonic stem cell research would be against this research, and I think deserving of a correction for those who don’t read the comments.

    In fact, this supports what some have been saying for a long time now: that there are many promising aspects of adult stem cell research.

    For the record, I have mixed feeling on embryonic stem cell research, so I would not necessarily be opposed to this research even if it were embryonic stem cells. But as someone who is at least somewhat sympathetic to the views of those who oppose embryonic stem cell research, we should be careful to put words in their mouth regarding what research they might oppose.

  8. Justin Gardner Says:

    Jimmy and Mike, you are both way off base on this one.

    To Jimmy, the fact that these were reprogrammed adult stem cells is in the blockquote.

    As cited above…

    For the first time, some of the disability associated with the early stages of multiple sclerosis appears to have been reversed. The treatment works by resetting patients’ immune systems using their own stem cells.

    So frankly Jimmy, either you didn’t read my post or your partisanship has led you to try and deceive the readers of this blog.

    Also…”astoundingly ignorant?” Seriously?

    To Mike,

    You know, somebody can actually express relief at having more avenues open for research without slamming the other side. Nowhere did I suggest that people who opposed embryonic stem cell research opposed this research. If you take exception to the notion that I said “common sense”, again, I’m not saying people lack common sense if they oppose it, and to read that much into it is quite a stretch.

    This news simply gave me hope that now that we have the actual pluripotent cells available, we might be able to find ways to get to cures more quickly. Maybe I should have spelled that out explicitly in those words, but, you know, I figure that I won’t have to worry about people thinking I’m slamming somebody when I’m not. Because if you read this blog at all, if I want to slam somebody I do it very directly and state exactly why.

    Moving on…

  9. Mike Says:

    Justin,

    I share your relief about this news. My brother suffers from MS. It’s likely whatever comes of this development will be too late for him, but if it can help others then I of course agree it is very hopeful news.

    I re-read your post again, and the last paragraph still seems to me to be saying that if this news had come out during the previous administration, you would not have been so hopeful about it. I see no reason for that other than that you would think the previous administration (and those that support their views) would not have been receptive to it due to its use of stem cells. Yes, I’m reading into what you are saying, but I don’t see another way to interpret it. So I stand by my comment. Besides that, why taint a hopeful story with a political jab?

    But, no hard feelings. If I misunderstood what you were trying to say (and still misunderstand), then I apologize and I’m fine with moving on. I think we’ve both made our points clear, and the bottom line is this: this is good news, and we can all hope there will be more of it.

  10. Justin Gardner Says:

    Mike, respectfully, you can read it as many times as you want, but that’s not what I meant. And I don’t think it’s a political jab to say that I’m happy we now have an administration that doesn’t use religious reasoning to determine public health policy. Because now we may see a lot more of these stories given that pluripotent stem cell lines are open.

    Agreed. Ultimately great news.

  11. ExiledIndependent Says:

    Justin, your post was great right up until the end. Several years ago I made the comment that the embryonic stem cell issue would become a moot point due to advances just like this one.

    So at the end of your post, to mix up adult stem cell research with any sort of religious stricture (religion bad! religion bad!) is knee-jerk leftism. It just smacks of an attempt to poke religion in the eye, needlessly.

    And broadly, religious constraints aren’t all that bad. Our laws are based almost entirely on Judeo-Christian “constraints.” Don’t kill, don’t lie, don’t take things that don’t belong to you. Religious constraints, every single one.

    At any rate, the news is great. Commentary was a little frustrating.

  12. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Why did you mention religion, and implicitly criticize the previous administration then? The funding for this research came from NIH grants issued under the Bush administration. You should have praised Bush and those who champion adult stem cell research for this breakthrough! You should have offered a warning to those who uphold embryonic stem cell research because this article shows there are more effective alternatives.

    Its clear to me that you used this breakthrough to try to drive a wedge further into the embryonic stem cell issue where it doesn’t belong. If anything, there is no way the results of this study favor Obama or those who ” believe in the efficacy of common sense research free from the the limits of religion.” It has nothing to do with that. You were being disingenuous.

  13. Justin Gardner Says:

    Okay, once again…religion isn’t bad. I never made that point and I’m not sure why you all are confusing it as such. But has religion affected stem cell research? Yes. Regardless of whether you like it or not, that’s true.

    Perhaps I should have said it this way, “…and it’s my hope we see more breakthroughs like this now that we have an administration that believes in the efficacy of common sense research free from the the limits of religion. Because if this can happen with adult stem cells, imagine what can be done with pluripotent embryonic cells.”

    Respectfully Jimmy, you have very little credibility to tell anybody about driving wedges. But go ahead and believe what you want about my intentions. Again, it doesn’t change what I meant.

    And with that, I’m moving on…

  14. J. Harden Says:

    “…and it’s my hope we see more breakthroughs like this now that we have an administration that believes in the efficacy of common sense research free from the the limits of religion.

    I can’t help but think Josef Mengele felt the same way.

  15. End of the Week Links — 2/1/09 « Says:

    [...] Stem Cells Reverse Multiple Sclerosis? Read the full article here. Personally, I’m all for stem cell research and hope we can continue to explore this area of [...]

  16. Donklephant » Blog Archive » More On Pajamas Media Business Model Says:

    [...] So, I was going to drop this whole PJM subject, but then I saw a new comment in my previous post, “Where Did The Pajamas Media Money Go?” [...]

  17. Catherine Mullikin Says:

    Using steam sells for cure is a good thing. But there should be boundaries, and the scientist should be very careful not to interact too much with our genes.

    Catherine

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