Month Archives: December 2010

Quadriplegic Donkey Walks Again with Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

December 15, 2010

Eli the donkey provides another example from the animal world of the success of adult stem cells (take link to see original news story by DENISE STEFFANUS). Eli was attacked by a stablemate, resulting in a damaged spinal cord. One opinion sought by the veterinarians treating Eli was from Dr. Mike Kistler of Cortez, Colorado, who has years of experience in human spinal trauma. Dr. Kistler noted that In a human, a comparable injury would have been sustained by diving into shallow water, and the majority of those injuries would have a poor prognosis, with paralysis. Kistler gave Eli a poor prognosis, and felt Eli most likely would not survive. Less than two weeks after the injury, Eli was quadriplegic, could not lift his head, had developed pneumonia and was on the verge of death.

Dr. Doug Herthel, D.V.M., a pioneer in the veterinary use of adult stem cells, treated Eli with adult mesenchymal stem cells. Because there was no time to harvest and process Elis own bone marrow adult stem cells, Herthel used donor adult stem cells banked from the bone marrow of a Thoroughbred racehorse. Within 48 hours, Eli improved and had additional adult stem cell treatments.

Herthel says:

Mesenchymal stem cells can selectively target injured tissue and promote functional recovery. They can be attracted to damaged tissue by chemical signals released from damaged cells.

A little over two months after the injury, attendants found Eli standing in his stall. According to Herthel:

We couldnt figure out how he got up. So we went back and looked at the [intensive care unit] video, and we saw him get up on his own. It wasnt pretty, but he got up, and thats what counts. After that third treatment, he just got better and better, and his muscle mass came back.

Eli was released to his owner four months after the injury. Herthel said he expects Eli to enjoy a normal existence, barring unanticipated complications later in his life.

While this is only one case, Herthel says he won’t hesitate to use the adult stem cell procedure again. Maybe if some politicians and scientists weren’t such… donkeys ideologically lusting for embryonic stem cells, people could experience some of the same benefits from adult stem cells.

Gone to the Dogs: Adult Stem Cells Help Pets

by David Prentice

December 15, 2010

While real treatments with adult stem cells for people continue to be overlooked as they hype pushes resources towards embryonic stem cells, animals are benefitting from adult stem cells. Previous stories have noted that numerous animals have received adult stem cell treatments.

Now two more dogs from Topeka, Kansas take center stage in the success stories.. Gunner and Sherman had their own adult stem cells injected. The results have been impressive, and their owners say it’s almost like their dogs are aging backwards.

Gunner used to drag his feet when he walked from pain in his joints. His owner says, “Our fourth day after the procedure, he picked his feet up and he was prancing and later on that evening he decided to jump up on the sofa.” Sherman had terrible arthritis that made it painful for him to move. About ten days after his treatment, Sherman was also much improved and moving freely.

Veterinarian Larry Snyder of University Animal Clinic, who treated the dogs, couldn’t be more pleased. Snyder says:

We’ve been very impressed with what these dogs are doing. Neither dog seems to be in any pain, they’re moving well. It’s almost like somebody turned back the hands of time.”

It’s about doggone time that people realized the actual success of adult stem cells for people, too.

Adult Stem Cell Transplant Helps Cure HIV?

by David Prentice

December 14, 2010

A German HIV and leukemia patient, who recovered from leukemia plus HIV after adult stem cell therapy, made headlines some two years ago. The then-anonymous patient—diagnosed with HIV in 1995—had contracted life-threatening leukemia. In 2006, Berlin doctors applied a standard therapy for leukemia—transplantation of donated bone marrow adult stem cells that reconstitute the patient’s blood and immune system (Joseph E. Murray and E. Donnall Thomas received the 1990 Nobel Prize for their discoveries that led to such transplants.) But the German doctors did even more: Knowing that some people are genetically resistant to HIV, they looked for a matched bone marrow donor with this special feature—cells that lack a cell-surface molecule called CCR-5, which is what HIV attaches to so that it can infect the cell. And they found the desired donor. The patient went into remission both from leukemia and from the HIV infection. The case made international headlines in 2008.

Now, the anonymity of the “Berlin patient” has been lifted by the German weekly magazine “Stern” (“The Star”). He is an American citizen who lives in Berlin, 44-year-old Timothy Ray Brown. He has survived leukemia and he has defeated HIV, through a selective adult stem cell transplant. The adult stem cell donor was carefully selected by the doctors—the donor cells lacked a molecule called CCR5; the cell-surface receptor that acts as an attachment factor for the HIV virus, making the donor cells resistant to HIV infection.

The doctors are now claiming that there is evidence in this patient for a “cure” for HIV infection using the selective adult stem cell transplant. The published evidence seems sound, but caution should be exercised. This is not a gentle procedure. Moreover, it relies on finding a bone marrow adult stem cell donor with the particular mutation, so that their donated cells lack the CCR5 receptor.

The new report (“Evidence for the cure of HIV infection by CCR5{Delta}32/{Delta}32 stem cell transplantation”) is published online in the journal Blood.

Sewing in Healing Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

December 14, 2010

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed biological sutures that could be used to sew adult stem cells into various parts of the body, including heart muscle. The technique used biopolymer microthreads made of fibrin, a type of protein that forms in clots; the fibrin microthreads can be engineered with various tensile strengths and seeded with adult stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow.

In a paper published in the Journal of Biomedical Materials, the team showed that the adult mesenchymal stem cells would grow on the microthreads and still maintain their ability to differentiate into various cell types.

Studies by senior author Dr. Glenn Gaudette as well as others have shown that mesenchymal stem cells can improve cardiac function, but that it is a challenge to deliver sufficient numbers of the cells to the damaged heart tissue. Students at Johns Hopkins had previously embedded adult stem cells in regular surgical thread. One of Dr. Caugette’s colleagues, Dr. George Pins, developed the special biopolymer microthread technology as a “scaffold” to attach cells for applications in wound healing and cellular therapy.

Dr. Gaudette said:

This technology is developing into a potentially powerful system for delivering therapeutic cells right to where they are needed, whether that’s a damaged heart or other tissues.”

Sew there you have it, more potential uses of adult stem cells.

Robert Gibbs: Nothing Compares with Nazi Atrocities

by Robert Morrison

December 14, 2010

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs last week commented on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s comparison of President Obama’s tax cut compromise to Nazi appeasement:

Robert Gibbs: Tommy…

Tommy Christopher: Thank you, Robert. Thank you, Les. I have three quick questions. First one, last week during his Special Comment, Keith Olbermann compared the Presidents tax compromise to Nazi appeasement. I wanted to see if you guys had a reaction to that. Did the President hear that? Or, what do you think about that?

Robert Gibbs: I doubt the President heard that. I, obviously, have given a number of answers that would denote that we think its a good agreement.And…I would say this to Democrats or Republicans, whenever you compare anything to what the Nazis did, if you ever get to that point in your speech, stop. Because nothing does, and hopefully, God willing, nothing ever will.

Katyn might just compare with Nazi atrocities, Robert. 22,000 Polish army officers, lined up, each one shot in the back of the skull by an NKVD operative of the Soviet Union in 1940. Buried in a mass grave in the Katyn Forest. Just might. Just might.

How come Robert Gibbs, liberals in general, and Hollywood in particular have been making war on the Nazis for 70 years but have somehow managed to miss the Gulag? The islands in the Gulag Archipelago stretched throughout twelve time zones. They were created in 1917 and lasted until 1991. Some of the islands were as small as a single phone booth and one “lager,” or camp, was as large as France.

The Black Book of Communism —- that amazing product of French leftists—documents the century-long toll of Communism. One hundred million deaths attributable to Marxist tyranny and terror. [Question: Knowing this, how can any of those brave and truthful French leftists remain leftists?]

One of the reasons American liberalism is failing so spectacularly is because since the 1970s it has ignored that half-world phenomenon. Since the 1970s, liberalism has provided no answer for this classic example of violence of the left. Progressives in the thirties called Communists “liberals in a hurry.” They excused Stalin’s massive purges—with millions of deaths—with the flip answer: “You can’t make omelets without breaking a few eggs.” Ironic, isn’t it, that the USSR was famous for not supplying omelets. And what was being broken was not a few eggs but millions of heads.

Demographer Nick Eberstadt famously used UN statistics to determine that if anyone died of famine in the Twentieth Century—since 1917—the chances were overwhelming they lived in what he tactfully called “a command economy.” In other words, socialist, or even National Socialist.

In the late 1940s, American liberals like Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, and—we must admit this—Ronald Reagan—mounted a strong counter-attack on Communism and its contempt for liberal democracy’s “bourgeois values.” That counter-attack resulted in the Truman Doctrine, the Berlin Airlift, and NATO. It also resulted in, we should acknowledge, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Despite the failure to achieve a world victory over Communism in those wars, the U.S. rallied in the 1980s under the leadership of Ronald Reagan. It was Reagan who reminded the world of Communist tyranny. It was Reagan who never forgot the murder of a 17-year old German boy. Peter Fechter was only trying to scale the Berlin Wall, trying to escape from the hell that progressiveslike the editors of the New York Times—insisted on calling the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Reagan could personify tyranny better than anyone on the left or the right.

Reagan knew there was nothing democratic or republican, nor even German, about the DDR. It was a Soviet puppet state. By the 1980s, of course, liberalism had been hijacked by the New Left. And to the New Left, there were no enemies on the left. Anti-Communism was merely a right wing “fascist” response to the yearnings of Third World peoples, they said.

So, the New Left ignored the killing fields of Cambodia. Activist lawyer William Kunstler stiff-armed pleas from left-pacifists like folk singer Joan Baez. When Baez learned that hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were being murdered by the

Khmer Rouge gangs —- for such “crimes” as wearing eyeglasses —- she cried out in protest. Kunstler spoke for the New Left when he said: We do not criticize “progressive” regimes.

Ah well, Robert Gibbs, it was nobody we know. They all had unpronounceable Slavic, Asian, or African names. And they won’t be missed at any fashionable Georgetown cocktail party.

You’re right, Robert, of course, that nothing quite compares with Nazi atrocities. Making lampshades of human skin plumbs the depths of human depravity. But once we’ve descended to that level, you might concede that Communists making pyramids of skulls in Phnom Penh comes very close.

Heritage Foundation last year featured an exhibit of paintings of the Gulag. Nikolai Getman’s 50+ paintings—including a haunting depiction of his own brother’s execution by the NKVD.

Getman, a former “Zek” in the Soviet slave labor system, did not live to see his work on display at the National Gallery of Art, or at any of our Smithsonian Institutions. His images include prisoners consigned certain death slaving away in uranium mines and a crucified prisoner covered—not with ants—but with real mosquitoes in the brief Siberian summer. Shabby “Zeks” (as the Gulag’s locked-up millions were called) huddle in the snow on a black night in one of these paintings. An NKVD officer faces them with gun drawn. The title of this last painting was “Waiting to be Shot.”

It’s all you need to know about that Evil Empire. It’s too bad that the Gulag Collection by Nikolai Getman is not even a part of the furnishing of the minds of this president, his press secretary, or any of the Mao-spouting officials in this administration. They would understand their world, and the world of politics a lot better if it was.

Watch Our Interview with Jay Richards

by Carrie Russell

December 10, 2010

On December 1, 2010, Jay Richards, author of “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem” talked about his book and how capitalism is not a problem in dealing with the current state of the economy.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a Stem Cell Disease

by David Prentice

December 10, 2010

Stanford researchers have identified muscle stem cells as a root problem in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a fatal disease which results from severe muscle wasting and weakness. About one out of every 3,500 boys in the U.S. is affected, though very few girls because the gene lies on the X-chromosome; males only have one X chromosome, while females have two and so have a “spare” for the affected gene. In this genetic disease the dystrophin gene, associated with the muscle fiber, is mutated.

Under normal circumstances, muscle stem cells replace damaged muscle. Interestingly, in the usual mouse model for muscular dystrophy (“mdx mice”), the muscle stem cells do seem to keep up, but with human DMD the muscle stem cells can’t seem to keep up and the muscle degenerates. The scientists found that in human DMD, the muscle stem cells experience what they termed “exhaustion”. All cells have short sequences of DNA on the ends of their chromosomes, called “telomeres”, and as cells divide repeatedly and age, these telomeres get shorter, like little fuses burning down. Because of the continuous need to cycle and replace damaged muscle, the DMD muscle stem cells burn down their fuses rapidly. To test their theory, the scientists developed a new mouse model that had both the dystrophin mutation and a problem with the telomeres in the muscle stem cells. The new mouse model showed the same problems as seen in human DMD.

The authors note that this is the first time that muscular dystrophy has been shown definitively to be a stem-cell-based disorder. One co-author, Dr. Jason Pomerantz, said:

If a treatment does not replenish the stem cell compartment, it will likely fail; it would be like pushing the gas pedal to the floor when there is no reserve.”

Sure enough, the scientists were able to ameliorate the problems in the mouse model by transplanting normal muscle adult stem cells.

Other research shows that embryonic stem cells are unsuitable for this type of repair, and that adult stem cells are needed.

Previous results, including from the Stanford group, have show that adult stem cells can be useful for muscle regeneration.

The new study is published online early in the journal Cell.

Obamacare Waivers Point to Its Unworkability, Lawlessness

by Chris Gacek

December 10, 2010

On Tuesday, Redstate blog posted a story about Obamacare waivers. That is, temporary or not so temporary exemptions to Obamacare requirements. These have been granted to corporations and unions with the money and lawyers to know how to apply for the waivers. Their total has reached 222 and the number of unions that have obtained them now sits at 50.

When the number of waivers reaches totals of this magnitude it has to make a neutral observer wonder about the feasibility of the overall program. It also makes one wonder if these waivers will invite corruption.

Either a law is applicable generally to the public or it is not. Who is obtaining these waivers? Friends of the administration? Those organizations willing to make political contributions to the right people? That is how it would work in a corrupt country where the rule of law means little.

Clearly, this is a subject that needs to be investigated by the new Congress.

FRC Praises Senate for Rejecting Open Homosexuality and Abortion Clinics on Military Bases

by JP Duffy

December 9, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Family Research Council applauded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senators John McCain and Jim Inhofe, along with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who stood together to stop the Defense Authorization bill from being considered by the Senate.

The Defense Authorization bill, which is not required in order to fund the U.S. Armed Forces, and currently contains amendments that would overturn existing law on homosexuality in the military and also would turn U.S. military hospitals into abortion clinics worldwide.

Marine Corps veteran and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

This is the second time in 2010 that the U.S. Senate has rejected an insistent liberal social agenda and delivered a victory for the men and women of our Armed Forces. Despite continued attempts by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use the military to advance this agenda, a bi-partisan group of senators has soundly declared that they will side with the priorities of the American people. First and foremost, Congress must address the impending tax increases and budget issues.

Senator Reid should do his job, enable the Senate to fund critical government programs and ensure that the American people do not see one of the largest tax increases in history on January 1. Instead, he is playing the role of a not-so-secret Santa and pandering to the liberal constituencies that helped get him reelected.

This victory does not mean that the issues of homosexuality in the military or abortion in military hospitals will disappear, and so Family Research Council will continue, with its allies, to ensure that America’s military is used to first and foremost do its duty - to fight and win wars - and not advance radical social policy.

Senator Susan Collins broke her pledge to first stop the looming tax hikes before moving to consider any other legislation. Senator Collins hasn’t been listening to voters who sent a clear message on Election Day that they have had enough of politicians who break their word only to side with liberal special interests,” concluded Perkins.

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