Two more examples today of the Post's lack of a clue on adult stem-cell therapies and research. The first in a brief about the journal Science retracting another embryonic stem-cell publication by Hwang Woo Suk:
The editor in chief of the journal Science said yesterday that he would start the process of retracting a 2004 article in which disgraced South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo Suk claimed to have made stem cells for the first time from cloned human embryos. Donald Kennedy said he was taking the action in response to Korean investigators' disclosure yesterday that the work was faked....
U.S. scientists said they would continue efforts to develop medically useful stem cells despite the revelations of fraud in Korea, but the Roman Catholic Church, which opposes experiments on human embryos, called for new restrictions on the research....
Whereupon we get a quote from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops against violating ethics in the pursuit of miracle cures. Yes. But nothing, as usual, about the therapies now available and the research promising more from adult stem cells.
In the Metro section, we come a little closer to the truth. A little. John Wagner writes Ehrlich's Stem Cell Request Sparks Furor in Annapolis:
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. shook up a volatile debate over stem cell research yesterday, announcing on the eve of lawmakers' return to Annapolis that he will propose spending $20 million in state money on the science.
Paul E. Schurick, the governor's communications director, said Ehrlich (R) will leave it to a state-created technology development corporation to determine whether grants should be made to researchers conducting work on embryonic stem cells or on less controversial forms of the research.
Republicans in the General Assembly blocked a bill last year that would have authorized state funding for embryonic research, which supporters say holds great promise in treating Parkinson's disease, juvenile diabetes and other conditions.
Opponents say the work is unethical, however, because it involves destruction of human embryos, and they argue that research on other types of stem cells, such as those derived from bone marrow, might prove more successful....
Michael Fumento, May 16, 2004:
* More than 30 anticancer uses for stem cells have been tested on humans, with many already in routine therapeutical use.
* By some accounts, the area in which stem-cell applications are moving fastest is autoimmune disease, in which the body's own protective system turns on itself. Diseases for which stem cells currently are being tested on humans include diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Evans syndrome, rheumatic disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), among many others.
* Just last February, two different human-autopsy studies demonstrated that stem cells transfused into the marrow work their way into the brain, where they can repair neurons and other vital cells. Other studies have shown that when injected into animals with severed spinal cords, stem cells rush to the injury site effecting repairs. "I think the stem cells may act as a repair squad," says the leader of one of the two studies, Helen Blau of the Stanford University Brain Research Institute. "They travel through the bloodstream, respond to stress, and contribute to brain cells. They clearly repair damage in muscle and other tissues."
* At a conference in late 2002, French researchers reported that during the last 14 years they had performed 69 stem-cell transplants with an 85 percent disease-free survival rate. Since improving their procedure in 1992, all 30 of the last transplants have been successful.
* Stem cells have been injected into damaged hearts and become functional muscle. This destroyed the dogma that heart muscle cannot be repaired, just as stem-cell research also wrecked the firmly held belief that brain tissue cannot regenerate.
Adult stem cells all.