Saturday, December 18, 2004

Cord Blood Stem Cells Treat Infant With Rare Genetic Disease

"British Youngster with Rare Immune System Disease Improved after Cord Blood Treatment

NEWCASTLE, December 17, 2004 ( - Almost a year after George Young received stem cells from the placental cord blood of an American infant donor, his condition is improving. 19-month-old George suffers from Ipex Syndrome, a disease that left his doctors predicting only a 50% chance of survival. Today he is home from the hospital with his parents Emma Young and George Oldham and eight-year-old brother Reece.

Ipex Syndrome is a rare genetic disease of the immune system that causes a host of symptoms including insulin-dependent diabetes, eczema, diarrhea, anemia and thrombocytopenia which lowers the production of platelets in the blood. Ipex syndrome is usually fatal in the first year of life.

With Ipex syndrome, treatment with immunosuppressive drugs can help temporarily for some patients but does not cure the condition. These drugs can often cause serious problems of their own. Ipex Syndrome patients have responded to bone marrow transplants, which is another form of stem cell treatment, but 'the long term outcome is uncertain.'

George's mother, Emma Young said they were 'taking one day at a time.' 'George is very fragile, but to have him home is the most wonderful thing,' she said. 'He'd been in the bubble nine months and in hospital almost since birth. I couldn't kiss him then as a tiny peck could kill him. But now he's home and he is better than he has ever been.'"

I cannot help but wonder why people are adament about the need for the destruction of embryos to obtain stem cells for research when so much progress is being made with stem cells from umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells. In all of my readings, I have yet to find one positive outcome from embryonic stem cells and so many promising results from treatments with stem cells from cord blood after a healthy infant is born and adult stem cells havested from a patient's own nasal mucosa or bone marrow for autologous use which avoids the need for immunosuppresent drugs.

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