This analysis of recent research in The Lancet demonstrates that bone marrow stem cells look to be very promising to cure a wide array of diseases. Here is a key portion, with my clarifying comments in italics:
"We now know that bone marrow-derived stem-cells circulate systemically and actively migrate into damaged tissue to contribute to spontaneous repair. [Bone marrow stem cells go to the area of damage and stimulate healing.] Experimentally, therapeutic benefit occurs in numerous disease models20,21 [ 20, 21] but, importantly, repair by bone-marrow-derived stem cells does not stop at the laboratory door. [Bone marrow stem cells are already treating human maladies.] Safety data from 50 years of clinical bone-marrow transplantation... Controlled trials have shown significant benefit of marrow-derived stem-cell therapy in myocardial infarction [heart attack], 22 and trials are planned or underway in chronic cardiac failure, stroke, and other diseases: reports of successful adult stem-cell therapy in patients with corneal disease have just appeared. The next few years, not decades, will show whether adult stem-cell treatments are to join the mainstream therapeutic arsenal."
If this research indeed pans out in the next few years, it will transform the debate over human cloning. The resulting collapse of the argument that cloning is necessary for CURES! CURES! CURES! will allow people to focus on the dangers of cloning and genetic engineering to the human future. Moreover, the patient groups may finally figure out that they've been used by some in the biotech advocacy community to push a political agenda with questionable assertions.
Full article citation: The Lancet
Vol: 365 Issue: 9477, June 18 - 24 2005
Stem-cell therapy: hope and hype
University of Bristol Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Department of Neurology, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol BS16 1LE, UK