Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Column Archive |  On Twitter: J Huget and MisFits  |  Fitness & Nutrition News  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

First patient treated in stem cell study

The first patient has been treated with human embryonic stem cells in the first study authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to test the controversial therapy.

A patient who was partially paralyzed by a spinal cord injury had millions of embryonic stem cells injected into the site of the damage, according to an announcement early Monday by the Geron Corp. of Menlo Park, Calif., which is sponsoring the groundbreaking study.

The patient was treated at the Shepherd Center, a 132-bed hospital in Atlanta that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries, Geron said. The hospital is one of seven sites participating in the study, which is primarily aimed at testing whether the therapy is safe. Doctors will, however, also conduct a series of specially designed tests to see whether the treatment helps the patients. No additional information about the first patient was released.

With U.S. stem cell treatments limited, some patients have tried other countries. Experimental stem cell treatments offered in China are luring American patients such as 9-year-old Kara Anderson, whose parents took her around the world to help treat her cerebral palsy. (Carlos Javier Ortiz)

Here's a link to the announcement.

The study marks a milestone in stem cell research, which is considered one of the most promising developments in medical research in decades but has been fraught with controversy. Here's a recent story about the study.

The announcement comes as the future of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research remains in doubt. A federal judge ruled in August that the Obama administration's more permissive policy for funding the research violated a federal law prohibiting taxpayer money being used for research that involves the destruction of human embryos. The Justice Department is appealing.

By Rob Stein  | October 11, 2010; 9:06 AM ET
Categories:  Stem cells  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Yoga: WWJD?
Next: Homemade baby food: worth the fuss?


One day when the Republicans see the benefit of this research, it will become an everyday mainstream event and they will not only fund it, they'll use it. Remember "test tube" babies and that fear? Now look where we are today... Nobel winner, Robert Edwards had to use private funding for IVF and now we all know someone who has done...and insurance paid for it too!

Posted by: cathdubois | October 11, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: DonE1 | October 11, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

If you had one shot or one opportunity Would you capture or just let it slip?

This is the saint grial of our generation. We can fix problems like Aid or cancer or we can provide vision to people who is blind.

Go for it. Keep going.

Posted by: turretwhite | October 11, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The first stem cell treatment was with 10 patients just after Obama was inaugurated. I think those 10 patients were dead now because I never heard about them since.

These stem cell promoters are idiots. Many of them are the idiotic liberal Dems.

Posted by: spidermean2 | October 11, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Adult stem cell is the future. I feel sorry for the patient because they are injecting him with embryonic stem cells.

If this person dies, somebody should go to jail for plain STUPIDITY.

Posted by: spidermean2 | October 11, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Stem-cells for me? for you?

I suppose you know that embryonic cells have been sold as commercial cures for at least seventy years in Switzerland? Check on-line: you can get sheep and human preparations, and there must have been some successes.

So what 's the difference between buying a commercial product, trying this on your self, or this new American government experiment? the massive amounts of cells injected, that's my guess.
Given what you get from the Swizz for two hundred dollars, it's probably a couple of million for the American 'experiment'.

It'll probably work, too. Won't that be grand? After all, there's been a business in this in Switzerland for seventy years...there's a lot of hope in this demographic, but the stuff probably works, too. Google it, in Switzerland. Us old dudes who've been pretty strong all our lives, and have worked out and done every other thing, health food, yoga, whatever...will hopefully live long enough to get some of the soon-developing rejuvenation treatments! Like, on Universal HealthCare? Life is precious: for treatments like that, I'd even burn incense in front of Obama's photograph.

The urge to prolong one's life is very strong. I'm getting old. there've been exercise programs over the years, most very successful, not so much the last few years. Spine problems, which kiboshes the weight training. I know that I will do almost anything to be healthy, capable and strong.

I live near the border, and I started going to Juarez for steroid shots once a week for three weeks, then off a week.

I feel like myself again, and can excercise a bit.

Posted by: tigre1 | October 11, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

spidermean wrote: "I think those 10 patients were dead now because I never heard about them since."

Your argument is as illogical as assuming that if I never hear about you after this, it means you're dead too.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | October 11, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

To Spidermean---You mean "liberal dems" like Nancy Reagan, John McCain, Kay Hutchinson, Orrin Hatch, John Warner!! Wake-Up!! Lose the tunnel vision!!

Posted by: johnunion1 | October 11, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The title of this article is incorrect. It should read "First patient treated in embryonic stem cell study."

Problems with this article:
1. It does not discuss how much money has been spent to reach this point. I have read in other articles that so far, public and private funding of embryonic stem cell research in the US is in the billions.

2. It does not mention the vast number of successful treatments to date that used adult stem cells, nor the fact that this has been done in spite of much less spending, public and private, on adult stem cell research and development.

3. It does not discuss the fact that adult stem cell treatments generally are done using the patient’s own cells with negates the need for anti-rejection drugs. The patient mentioned in this article, since they have been injected with cells from another person, will need anti-rejection medicine, likely for the rest of their lives. This is similar to someone getting a heart or liver transplant. Anti-rejection drugs are expensive, have many side effects, and lower a patient's normal immune system.

4. It does not discuss that while embryonic stem cell R&D is controversial, adult stem cell treatment is not, because no human lives are sacrificed for the R & D, or the treatments it leads to. It also does not mention that in spite of the fact that adult stem cell treatments are already available, and already proving to be effective, that government money is very minimal in this area. Much like a cat getting its tail pulled, that pulls back as hard as it can, proponents of Federal funding for embryonic stem cell R&D have fought against adult stem cell research. It is as if they specifically want embryonic stem cell treatments to get money and adult stem cell treatments not to get money because they have been told the former is controversial and the latter is not. Not wanting to be told what they can and cannot do with Federal funds (no one is stopping embryonic stem cell research that is privately funded), they pour their efforts into that fight while ignoring the wonder progress already being made with adult stem cells.

Overall I would give this article and its author a D-. It is poorly researched, and simply discusses this first treatment as if it is in a vacuum, without any context on the embryonic vs. adult stem cell debate.

Posted by: SteveB100 | October 11, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

How anyone can justify this horrific evil—the killing of innocents is beyond comprehension. The arguments for destruction of human life are the same for which Hitler and his surrogates were tried, convicted, and executed.

Posted by: prita46 | October 11, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

spidermean wishing that people would be jailed for stupidity is the definition of "be careful what you wish for."

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | October 11, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I do not understand why the many successes in adult stem cells research are rarely noted in the media. Why is there so seldom an explanation of the difference between adult stem cells (any human stem cell that is not the product of a dead baby, excuse me, I mean a human fetus) and fetal stems cells (the product of a dead baby, excuse me again, human fetus) To everyone reading this, you were once a human fetus.

Why the rush to experiment with dead babies. Could it be the ability to patent the results of any successful treatments developed?

Adult stem cell research is ethical and has had successes. Fetal stem cell research is unethical and the successes - not so much!

Posted by: mdau662462 | October 11, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I certainly wish this patient well but it stem cells from adults that are proving to be therapeutically beneficial. I recall the embryonic stem cell treatment of an Israelii youth a few years ago. Within 2 years he had tumors growing throughout his body, which proved fatal. I would personally undergo stem cell therapy if necessary, but with adult stem cells. Way too many unknows about embryonic stem cells.

Posted by: Richard_Iowa | October 11, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Did the judge's ruling prohibit this procedure? Have adult stem cell procedures been tried? What about skin cell procedures? Mr. Stein, this article, should have been more of a headline--pertinent additional info would have been appreciated.

Posted by: coffic | October 11, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

We just had an article, from this same news source, that adult stem cells were deemed 100% more promising than embryonic stem cells, and that embryonic stem cells were not nearly as successful, then up comes this post. I don't see anything about the success of the treatment, just that it is being trialed. What's all the hoopla about? This is what you would call "Frankenstein". I would prefer to use the Mary Shelly version of "Frankenstein" about this process, and you'll find that the "process reverses itself". You don't know the side effects. Actually we do know the side effects and they are not good. All of this is controversial. See article by Googling "Adult Stem Cells More Promising than Embryonic Stem Cells" September 11th. Read full details. This article is bogus. Stems cells from embryonics rapidly differentiate, differentiating into three layers, whereas adult stem cells are capable of producing white blood cells needed to fight infection and heal wounds. Embryonic Stem Cells are a red herring. This statement is from facts!

Posted by: allforher58 | October 11, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

This article is about experimentation with Embryonic Stem Cells. Read it carefully. Nowhere does it say anything has been successful. Example: Adult stem cells healed a mans leg who had it broken in five places and expected amputation. Knee injuries have been treated successfully with adult stem cells. 10 year old had his windpipe rebuilt using his own stem cells. 100 successful clinical treatments of adult stem cells, whereas we don't have anything to show for these embryonic stem cell treatments? This is just Dr. Moreau making his face appear normal to the public eye. Yes, just keep creating and destroying human embryos. You've got nothing better to do? Adult stem cells are extremely successful, but the mad scientists just keep pushing the Embryonic Stem Cell Research. They never see an end to their destructive creations!

Posted by: allforher58 | October 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Some are complaining about the stem cell research but I hear then say nothing about when the baby or as someone claimed sarcastically the fetus when they are destroyed because they are no longer wanted or needed or have been kept to long.Nancy Reagan even wanted this to go on .Lets hear all you fake Reaganites and fake christians debate this now

Posted by: bennie1 | October 11, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Adult stem cell transplant as it is refered to in this commentary is either autologus (self)(*succesful aginst the deadly disease P.O.E.M.S.) or allogeneic (others). does not pertain to just "adult stem cell".

Get rid of the clowns that are opposed to this embryonic research and I hope their family members never are in need of such therapy. Myself I long for the day when it is a proven remedy for some of the terrible afflicatios (Parkinsons, Alzheimers, spinal cord, cancer to name some) that has been suffered by mankind. Without this type of research done here in the US (or other prominent industrious nations) people will go elsewhere (Mexico, Chile) and will be led astray by quackery as shown by Dateline a couple of weeks ago. It must be well regulated and we must keep well informed!

Posted by: kasjus23 | October 11, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

This is an abomination. Adult stem cells are more promising, and do not destroy human life. Add this to the over 50 million babies killed by abortion, and our nation is lost. Abomibation.

Posted by: eaglesnest1 | October 11, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

SteveB100 - great post! As for all you fans of embryonic stem cell research, development, and therapy - maybe someday we will allow the harvesting of organs from... lets say... orphans, in order to preserve the selfish lives of the rest of us. Maybe the government will allow YOUR organs to be harvested when you have alzheimers, and the government determines your quality of life to be 'below an acceptable level.' A life is a life, right?
There is nothing wrong with suffering with dignity. Jesus didn't look for relief when He was dying on the cross for us. If you have a disease, and there is no ethical treatment, then accept it! If there is an ethical treatment, go for it!
(As for Nancy Reagan - who proclaimed her a saint just because she was a republican? They aren't perfect - not even close - but if I had to choose a babysitter, I'm going with the pro-lifer.)

Posted by: MaggieMae4 | October 12, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

If US does not do it, others will. US already falls behind on the new techonology and losts the best paid jobs. People are already traveling to China to get stem cell treatment. Who are you going to blame this time around??
Wakeup, don't be fooled by those nogood closeminded selfprofiting liar politicians.

Posted by: OldHsia | October 12, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

All you "pro lifers" keep on bombing clinics while killing their staff......and do it in the name of religion....we in this country do not call that an abomination we call it terrorism!

Posted by: kasjus23 | October 12, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

All you "pro lifers" keep on bombing clinics while killing their staff......and do it in the name of religion....we in this country do not call that an abomination we call it terrorism!

You are associated with the same type of animals that invaded this country.

Posted by: kasjus23 | October 12, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

While I do not condemn the desperate patient who accepted this therapy, I do judge the therapy itself to be immoral. I write this from the perspective of a physician who himself has Parkinson's disease and who recently published a novel (The Ensouling) arguing against the selfish use of another human life to heal oneself. Unfortunately, many do not accept the axiomatic assertion that life begins at conception, though this clearly seems the most logical dividing line. Are embryos human life, or mere lumps of tissue? I stand with those who believe the former, since those lumps of tissue if maintained in their natural environment, and barring disease, will become fully sentient humans. I would not accept an embryonic graft to cure myself. As for adult, umbilical, or autologous grafts: BRING THEM ON!

Posted by: GentleReader1 | October 12, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I also say DON'T go for it. One human life should not be sacrificed to save the life of another, especially when adult stem cells work much better. A human being is not less human because it is not yet born, and its life should not be destroyed. LIFE IS LIFE, period.

Posted by: mm23 | October 15, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company