Town Hall debate research.docx

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MKT 2210
Luming Wang

Last night, as part of a disability ministry seminar, I heard a keynote speech by Joni  Eareckson Tada. She mentioned — almost in passing — that she knew people who  traveled to Lisbon for stem cell surgery, who had regained feeling and even started to  walk again.I was astonished and hit the net for more info. Sure enough: All links led to ‘miracle doctor’ Carlos Lima, a former rock­and­roll singer, and now  spinal cord expert at Lisbon’s Hospital de Egas Moniz. Dr. Lima has been performing the  surgery since 2001 with significant results. One of his patients is reported to have started  noticing improvements three weeks after the operation. He first regained sensation  immediately below the injury site. Then came control of abdominal muscles and recently  abductor muscles, slowly gaining more control each day. However, Dr. Lima doesn’t  promote false expectations and there are no guarantees the surgery will work for Mr.  Drover, but the odds are good and he’ll take his chances. The surgery involves adult stem cells, not the embryonic stem cells that form the basis for  vitriolic debate in American politics. Lima extracts stem cells from high in the patient's  own nasal passages and implants them in the back of the brain. Then the body takes over. PBS has done on show on some of the success stories. It aired back in 2004. Does  everyone else already know this? Am I the only one who hasn't heard that adult stem cells  are making people walk? In Germany, according to PBS, stem cell surgery is helping heart patients. According to a program director at the National Institute of Health, US researchers are  concerned that no animal studies were done before the human surgeries and there may be  complications if those nasal passage cells carry germs. Despite those risks, similar surgery could be available in the US as early as 2006. Read more:­cells­helping­people­ walk/#ixzz1d7klznfQ Stem cells help woman walk again From correspondents in Seoul 28nov04 A SOUTH Korean woman paralysed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired  her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. Hwang Mi­Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades  ago.  Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a  press conference where South Korea researchers went public for the first time with the results of  their stem­cell therapy.  They said it was the world's first published case in which a patient with spinal cord injuries had  been successfully treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood.  Though they cautioned that more research was needed and verification from international experts  was required, the South Korean researchers said Hwang's case could signal a leap forward in the  treatment of spinal cord injuries. Nov 2004 A remarkable reconstruction technique is being trialled by British surgeons, who are harvesting stem-cell-enriched fat from women's bodies to plug the dip often left by breast cancer operations. The procedure appears to restore the softness and suppleness of breast tissues, undoing the damage frequently caused by lumpectomy and radiotherapy. Early signs indicate that it also eases the considerable pain with which patients are often left after treatment. More than 31,000 women a year in Britain with early-stage breast cancer undergo operations in which just the lump and a healthy margin of tissue around it are removed. The cavity left in the breast following surgery can vary from a dimple to a mini-crater, but the dip invariably becomes more pronounced following radiotherapy, which most patients need. Irradiation damages the blood supply to the breast and shrinks and toughens overlying skin so that it sticks to the chest wall. Nerves can get trapped in the resulting scar tissue, causing constant discomfort. Although some surgeons have had short-term success with simple fat transfers - liposuctioning fat from elsewhere and injecting it into the breast hollow - the blob of fat struggles to get a decent blood supply. The alternative has been more surgery, either to reduce the size of the healthy breast so it is a better match with the other or, perhaps most upsettingly, a total mastectomy and full breast reconstruction on the lumpectomy side. Scientists believe the stem-cell fat will reduce the need for this sort of revision surgery by suppressing inflammation and encouraging the laying down of a healthy blood supply so that fat loss is minimised. The organs and tissues of the body are a natural cache of adult stem cells ready to repair damage when injury occurs. Ironically, it is the chameleon-like attributes of stem cells that fuelled doubts in the minds of some British surgeons before the start of the trial last summer. "Cancer is all about the proliferation of cells, so our theoretical worry was that we could be putting cells into the breast that would encourage rapid growth of surrounding tissue, resulting in another cancer," said Philip Turton, a consultant breast surgeon at Leeds General Infirmary. Lead investigator and consultant plastic surgeon Eva Weiler-Mithoff says she is impressed with the results so far. "What is striking is the softness and suppleness the technique gives the skin and tissues. When I see these stem-cell-enhanced patients after three months, their skin is significantly softer." Patients have their fat harvested under general anaesthetic. Half is set aside; half is washed in a processor, where the stem cells are distilled. This concentrate is then mixed with the set-aside fat and injected under local anaesthetic. Surgeons had two more nagging concerns before the study got under
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