July 19, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Adult Stem Cells May Cure Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy leaves children and adults in a nearly helpless state.  Parents watch in agony as their children suffer rapid and progressive weakness.  Attempts to support research, like the annual Labor Day events Jerry Lewis has held for over 40 years, have betrayed their inability to find a cure by the very fact of their continuance.  Now, there is a new possibility that the solution may not lie in some exotic drug or invention of man, but in cells that live right inside our bodies: adult stem cells.
    The BBC News reported hopeful results from a study at Harvard that showed “Transplanting adult stem cells into mice with an illness like muscular dystrophy (MD) helped rebuild muscle structure and strength.”  It took awhile to identify the correct cells, but “Once the stem cells were in place, they spread throughout the muscle, producing new cells and improved the way it worked.”  It appears they also produce a stem-cell reservoir for long-term benefit.  Moreover, the cells were not rejected (in mice) when injected from a donor.
    Before human treatments can begin, of course, much further study will be required.  Problems of distributing the cells to every affected tissue in the body will need to be solved.  The lead researcher said, however, that “This study indicates the presence of renewing muscle stem cells in adult skeletal muscle, and demonstrates the potential benefit of stem cell therapy for the treatment of muscle degenerative diseases such as muscular dystrophy.”
    In other adult stem cell news, Science Daily reported that dentists may be able to use your own bone stem cells to repair teeth.  Orthodontic work might be accomplished in months instead of years.  Another report on the BBC News said that immune cells cloned from your own skin might cure melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.  Yet another report on Science Daily said that scientists are finding ways to reprogram stem cells “in place” in the body without having to manipulate them in the lab.  This can even be done with your own neural cells inside your brain – reprogramming them in their natural environment.  All these advances are occurring without the need for embryonic stem cells.

Praise God for progress on all debilitating diseases regardless of how scientists find them, but this one has special significance for those who have been watching the debate over embryonic stem cells.  It illustrates the disconnect between the researchers actually finding cures and the scientific establishments who keep pushing embryonic stem cells (ELS cells), which require the killing of fertilized human embryos.  Adult stem cells cause no ethical concerns.
    Here is another tremendously hopeful example of a potential cure from the use of adult stem cells.  The list of near-miraculous cures has been growing for years now.  Big Science keeps pushing ELS cells, tricking voters into spending billions of taxpayer dollars on stem cell research centers, yet still have nothing to show for it.  They even admit that any treatments usable by doctors may be over a decade away – or more.  As a citizen and voter, don’t expect scientific institutions, with eyes on Nobel Prizes and international prestige, to do the right thing.  Doing the right thing has to start with you and me.

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