Sunday, July 23, 2006

Adult Stem Cells NOT Treating Parkinson's and 36 Other Diseases on Brownback's List

Here is a comment that was made by "bmmg39" on my Michael Fumento letter; it is followed by my response:

"Anonymous, no one has claimed that ASCs are "curing" Parkinson's and other diseases. They are successfully TREATING people with those diseases, something ESCs have yet to do for even one human patient. By the way, Anuket, HUMAN ESCs were only isolated in 1998, but non-human ones have been studied and experimented on for decades. You can't complain about a so-called head start."

Oh my goodness, bmmg39, they are NOT successfully or in any other capacity treating Parkinson’s with ASCs. Call The Michael J Fox Foundation, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, National Parkinson Foundation, American Parkinson’s Disease Foundation – call one, call ‘em all – check their websites – I guarantee you, you will find nothing – there is one person on this planet who has received an autolgous stem cell transplant for Parkinson’s, and that was over five years ago. So, if ASCs are being used to treat (as in FDA-approved treatment, not one person in a clinical trial) people with Parkinson’s, someone is doing a very good job of hiding it from us. If you are in on the secret, please have mercy on us and tell us where to go to get this treatment.

As far as all of the other diseases allegedly being treated or cured with ASCs, I have done the footwork – have you? Have you looked up each and every disease/condition on, for example, Senator Brownback’s list? Well, neither have I, because I got sick of it, but I did look up 62 out of 69 of them, and ASCs are not listed by NIH as a treatment for 36 out of 62 of the diseases on Brownback’s list. No doubt ASCs are being studied in relation to some of the 36, but something that is in clinical trials is by definition not yet a treatment.

Of the 26 diseases/conditions actually being treated with ASCs, I can only see one (testicular cancer) that isn’t a disease of the blood – and those have been being treated for the last 40 years with bone marrow transplants – nothing new there.

And regarding the headstart – if you are going to count ECS animal experiments, I’m afraid you have to count them for ASCs, too. When do you think they started? The first listing I find in PubMed that references the species on which the experiment was performed was in 1955 – guinea pig (PMID: 13344491). The very first bone marrow transplant (BMT) study in PubMed is dated 1950 (PMID: 15442952). That far back, all that is provided is the title of the study, and this one does not reveal the species, but you can be sure that if someone was working on guinea pigs in 1955, no one was working with humans in 1950.

The first animal ESCs, however, were not isolated until 1981 (see this month's Nature). So even if we take 1950 as the beginning of ASC animal studies (they undoubtedly started earlier) there is a minimum of a 30-year gap. I consider that a bit of a head start, don’t you?

It would be helpful if more people did just a little more footwork rather than just blindly believing words because they want them to be true.

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