Researchers announced Monday that the first clinical trial of human stem-cell therapy has begun on a patient with a spinal cord and brain injury. Human embryonic stem cells could potentially help paralyzed people walk and restore some bodily functions.
The human trial is Phase I of the process thats main focus is testing the safety of the treatment for people. The trial will enroll 10 patients who will be injected with stem cells within 14 days of an injury suffered between the third and 10th thoracic vertebrae.
If the treatment is deemed a success under safety standers they will start testing for its effectiveness. The safety/effectiveness trial will last two years after the last patient has started the treatment.
Although this is only a minor step in the actual development as a treatment, it’s a big step forward for researchers who have been stalled for years by President Bush’s strict limits on stem cell research.
‘Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical,’ Bush said in a brief ceremony after vetoing a measure for the second time to lift restrictions on the research.
The use of embryonic stem cells for reasearch involves the destruction of blastocysts formed from laboratory-fertilized human eggs. For those who believe that life begins at conception, the blastocyst is a human life and to destroy it is unacceptable and immoral.
This was the only controversial issue standing in the way of stem cell research in North America.
When Obama lifted the band he pledged his administration will ‘make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.’
He said that the majority of Americans “have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight the perils can be avoided.”
Obama made sure to inform the public that his administration would never let researching into human cloning, a fear for many citizens opposing stem-cell research.
The cells’ have the potential to treat spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. Treatment comes from the embryonic stem cells ability to be coaxed to forming a certain cell type, such as heart muscle cells.
This offers the medical and science field a source for replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
In trials, rats that had lost the use