November 29, 2004

Making some headway

A woman, paralyzed for 20 years, walks again after being treated with stem cells. No ethical dilemmas here. Excerpt:

A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

Hwang Mi-Soon, 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 stem-cell 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.

The use of stem cells from cord blood could also point to a way to side-step the ethical dispute over the controversial use of embryos in embryonic stem-cell research.

Update: Predictably, the "all death, all the time- except for Death Row inmates" crowd is pretending that this is a great victory in the march to as much embryionic stem cell research as the government can pay for. Professor Bainbridge has the scoop.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:33 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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