Two articles in the world news on Oct 18th illustrate the highs and lows in stem cell therapy research…
Despite the ethical discussion surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells, it is one source of pluripotent stem cells used in many research efforts.
Reflecting European law, which protects human embryos, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down a ruling, stating “A process which involves removal of a stem cell from a human embryo at the blastocyst stage, entailing the destruction of the embryo, cannot be patented.”(An embryo at the blastocyst stage consists of about 80 to 100 cells.)
The impact of this court decision was summed up by one researcher who said it means European researchers can prepare these things, but others will pick the fruits in the U.S. and Asia, and the judgment would undermine such research because it would make patents uncertain.
Several biotechnology companies are researching stem cell treatments in Europe and the United States. Even large pharmaceutical companies, such as U.S. drug giant Pfizer, Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca, Swiss drug maker Roche and French company Cellectis, are starting to conduct research in this area.
Early human trials are now underway in the U.S. using embryonic stem cells for repairing spinal cord injuries and to correct certain forms of blindness.
On the other hand, researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA), reported that they discovered the ability to ethically obtain stem cells in a non-invasive process – from human breast milk.
UWA Ph.D. student Fotenini Hassiotou’s research follows the 2008 discovery by a team of UWA scientists that breast milk contained embryonic-like stem cells. This could reduce the need to use embryonic stem cells, which could help future stem cell research activities.
Stem cell research seems to uncover new uses almost daily, requiring constant monitoring to stay current on emerging developments. Given the potential that stem cells hold in treating a myriad of conditions, research efforts are well justified.
For more details, here are the two articles:
Dr. Lox out of Clearwater Florida in the Tampa Bay area has performed stem cell and PRP therapy for several years.
The information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and not for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult with your physician.