Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Stem Cell Therapies Under Trial in Thailand and the UK

Monday, August 14, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

Today's post is from the Methuselah Mouse Prize website and is a summary of recent adult stem cell trials:

Even a brief glance at a site like shows that a great deal of stem cell work is presently moving into the trial stage in the US. I thought I'd point out studies in Thailand and the UK today, however, since both have been in the mainstream media recently. As I've mentioned in the past, groups in Thailand are engaged in building an effective research and development infrastructure, attracting cutting edge work away from death by regulation in the US and Europe. This article points out continued progress:

The project seeks to help victims of Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury and strokes, and transplanting of developed stem cells into patients' central nervous systems is expected to begin this year

"[Don't hold your breath], we're just at the beginning," said neurosurgeon Smarn Tangaroosin of the Prasat Neurological Institute. "Though the efficacy of stem-cell transplant remains uncertain, it's proved to be safe so far."

The Prasat team is still undecided whether to use embryonic or adult stem cells, both of which have pros and cons that need to be weighed very carefully, Smarm said.

[With Parkinson's] we're determining whether to grow dopaminergic neurons [nerve cells] outside and then inject them into the patient's bodies, or inject premature cells and then programme them to become the proper nerve cells later

Meanwhile, scientists in the UK are making progress with bone regeneration using adult stem cells that is on a par with the state of the art in heart tissue regeneration. From the BBC:

It involves taking stem cells from the patient's bone marrow, stimulating them in a laboratory, then implanting them back into her leg. The stem cells help to grow new bone and knit the fracture site together. These patients have already had several operations on fractures that haven't healed over several years and are facing amputation or a lifetime of pain and disability. Having just completed the tenth stem cell implant, the initial results are extremely encouraging.

The therapies derived from this technology base will only become more impressive and effective in the years ahead. In the 2020s we will look back and wonder how people survived without access to a general purpose repair kit for damaged and diseased tissue. The answer being, of course, that all too often they don't - we should all be glad that a wide range of horrible, fatal injuries and age-related conditions will soon vanish from common view.

Whilst that news is interesting, most readers of this blog will probably be wondering what the Methuselah Mouse Prize is and what it has got to do with stem cell research. . . . the explanation can be found on the Methusalah Foundation's website.

The Methuselah Mouse Prize (MPrize), is the premiere effort of the Methuselah Foundation and is being offered to the scientific research team who develops the longest living Mus musculus, the breed of mouse most commonly used in scientific research. Developing interventions which work in mice are a critical precursor to the development of human anti-aging techniques, for once it is demonstrated that aging in mice can be effectively delayed or reversed, popular attitudes towards aging as 'inevitable' will no longer be possible.

When aging in mice is shown to be 'treatable' the funding necessary for a full-line assault on the aging process will be made available. This is the true power of the Methuselah Mouse Prize, to demonstrate a proof of principle, and give hope to the world that decline in function and age-related disease are no longer guarantees, for us, or for future generations, if we work together now.


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