July 2, 2008
Lots of news lately hasn't made it into the mainstream press.
One big item only covered by specialty news sources, but very significant, was news from Australian scientists that they had successfully treated Parkinson's disease in animals using human nasal adult stem cells. In some cases the nasal adult stem cells came from Parkinson's patients, indicating they could be the source of their own stem cell treatment.
There are numerous advantages to these adult stem cells:
Patient specific stem cells
Disease specific stem cells
Can generate the cells of interest in a disease
Can make them work in an animal model of disease
Takes 20 mins to get tissue in outpatient setting
One month to grow cells
Seventy lines established thus far
Being patient specific there are no transplant rejection issues
No cancer formation as with embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent cells
Large numbers can be grown to study the disease and transplant the cells
No need for embryos, nuclear transfer cloning, animal-human hybrids
No need to inject new genes or retroviruses as in induced pluripotent cells
Highly efficient whereas embryo and reprogrammed skin cells are not
No ethical issues
No destruction of tissues
No need to hyperovulate women to get multiple eggs for embryo generation and cloning
This is the same group that showed in 2006 that they could get multiple tissue types from this adult stem cell source, including heart, nerve, liver, and brain cells.