Human Exceptionalism

Oh Hum, Another Adult Stem Cell Success

These adult stem cell successes are getting pretty oh, hum–unless you are the lucky patients benefiting from breakthroughs.  In our most recent episode, a woman’s leg was saved using her bone marrow stem cells. From the story:

During her operation, at the private Spire Alexandra Hospital in Chatham, Kent, stem cells from her bone marrow were taken and mixed with a gel called Surgifill, which trapped the cells against the fracture. Within days they started to form healthy new bone, healing the break.

Surgeons also lengthened her leg by cutting into a healthy section of bone, injecting the stem cell mix and using an orthopaedic scaffold to gently pull the bone apart at a rate of almost half an inch (1cm) a month. Although it is not the first time stem cells have been used in bone reconstruction, it is the first time the combination of stem cells, Surgifill and the leg lengthening technique has been used anywhere in the world. She told Sky News: “I was advised to have the leg amputated by the surgeon in Leeds, but thankfully I said I wanted to wait until I had exhausted all avenues. I’m glad I did because this stem cell technique has come up and now it’s my chance to get it right.”

Like I always say, good ethics leads to good science.  Onward.