Monday, February 16, 2009


The future of Medicine is here now. Stem cell research and stem cell therapy is real. There are now over 2000 clinical trials in this country alone on stem cell therapy. There are even more around the world.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells in the body that have the ability to develop into any cell. They are called “multi-potential". Stem cells are derived from multiple sources including fat, peripheral blood, and bone marrow. The big distinction is between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Current research involves both.

There are moral and ethical issues surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells because they are often derived from aborted fetuses. These cells are more versatile as they can be used in any individual without issues about possible rejection. Concerns have also been raised that women will intentionally get pregnant to abort and sell their embryos for stem cell harvesting.

Adult stem cells are less versatile as they can only be used in the individual who donated them, and may not be as adaptable to generating new tissue as embryonic cells. There is ongoing research to develop other cell lines that approaches the frontier of cloning. Theoretically, if cells have the ability to become any cell in the body, then it is not too far fetched to create cells that can become “all” cells in the body and therefore, become an entirely new individual.

The February 9, 2009 cover story in TIME magazine reported on the FDA’s approval of stem cell therapy for the treatment of traumatic spinal cord injuries. This is an exciting breakthrough in an emerging, dynamic field of medicine that is going to create an entirely new realm of miraculous cures for previously considered untreatable conditions.

I am now at an exciting conference on Stem Cells in New York and look forward to telling you all about it in my next posting.

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