Amazing Cures from Adult Stem Cells
Regrowing organs and other miracle cures may be coming to a hospital near you, thanks to progress with adult stem cells.
Three blind mice see again: The BBC News reported on advances in treating blindness with stem cells. In studies described as a “significant breakthrough” and “huge leap forward,” lab work with mouse embryo cells showed that stem cells can repair retina damage, actually regrowing the rods and cones (see beautiful picture of them in the article). Even though the work was done with mouse embryonic stem cells, coverage on Medical Xpressmade it clear that harvesting embryos is not necessary:
The goal is to test therapy for AMD using so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS.
These are adult cells that have been reprogrammed to return to their infant, versatile state. Provided that they are proven safe, they can provide a non-controversial alternative to stem cells culled from early-stage embryos.
Grow a liver from skin: A team in Japan (birthplace of the induced pluripotent stem cell or iPSC technique) has succeeded in growing functional liver tissue, blood vessels and all, from iPSCs. Publishing in Nature, the team said, “To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the generation of a functional human organ from pluripotent stem cells.” With organ donors perennially in short supply, this could be revolutionary news for those in need of transplants: the ability to grow another organ from one’s own cells. “Although efforts must ensue to translate these techniques to treatments for patients, this proof-of-concept demonstration of organ-bud transplantation provides a promising new approach to study regenerative medicine.”
Heart and lung: Scientists in Pennsylvania are seeking to understand how cardiopulmonary progenitor cells, a kind of stem cell lining the lungs and blood vessels, are capable of regenerating damaged tissues. These cells appear to guide the development of both tissues in the embryo. “Future studies will focus on whether CPPs exist in the adult cardiopulmonary system and whether they play a role in the response of the lung and heart to injury or disease,” the article on Medical Xpress said. It’s not clear, though, what these comments about evolution had to do with the story, which was focused on human health:
The evolution of adaptations for life on land have long puzzled biologists – are feathers descendents of dinosaur scales, how did arms and legs evolve from fins, and from what ancient fish organ did the lung evolve?
Biologists have known that the co-development of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems is a recent evolutionary adaption to life outside of water, coupling the function of the heart with the gas exchange function of the lung. And, the lung is one of the most recent organs to have evolved in mammals and is arguably the most vital for terrestrial life.
Stem cell liver injections: Another team mentioned on PhysOrg has grown functional hepatocytes (liver cells), injected them into mice, and watched them take on function, extending the lives of mice afflicted with liver disease. Not only that, they’ve developed a bioreactor that can generate stem cells in quantities that would be useful for clinical applications . “This promising advance in the development of cell-based therapies to treat liver failure resulting from injury or disease relied on the development of scalable, reproducible methods to produce stem cell-derived hepatocytes in bioreactors,” the article states.
Paradigm shift: Incidentally, science popularizers may have to drop the assumption that every cell in your body has a copy of “your” genome. Science Magazine reported the following:
With recent advances in genome-wide assays, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a human individual is made up of a population of cells, each with its own “personal” genome. Thus, mosaicism is perhaps much more common within multicellular organisms than our limited genomic assays have detected thus far, and may represent the rule rather than the exception.
These differences in genomes appear in embryonic stem cells and iPS cells. Why would this be? It’s not just about mutations leading to sickness. The article surmised, “the extent of somatic mosaicism that is now being reported in a variety of healthy tissues and cell types suggests that it also has physiological functions,” including possible roles in the immune system and in normal brain function. This is a new area ripe for investigation.
Aside from the Darwinist reporter trying to insert evolution where it doesn’t belong, these are great news stories offering hope to millions of people. (Darwinism has its place, but its place is in the dustbin of discarded myths.) Did you notice that the Darwinist provided no evidence for any of the claims, but instead listed three major puzzles they still haven’t figured out? How much more time do we give these guys?
Stem cell research is intelligent design research. Scientists are using their intelligence to understand the intelligence built into stem cells that allow them to turn into any kind of tissue. Evolution has nothing to do with it. The whole process of development is so amazing, it transcends anything we know. If we can get these pluripotent cells from adult cells, why on earth continue to pursue embryonic stem cells? Go ahead and play with mouse embryos; mice are intelligently designed, but not made in God’s image like man is. When alternatives exist, go for the non-controversial alternative. Your Editor has liver damage from cancer. He would love to get a new liver grown from his own skin cells, without having to take the life of an unborn human being. Pray these treatments will advance quickly and help all those who need it in time. For those without current health issues, thank God for the health you have and use it for good while you can.