Sunday, November 28, 2004
Big Breakthrough -- A recent news report states that stem cells have helped a formerly paralyzed Korean woman walk again. From the news:
SEOUL (AFP) - A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.
Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades ago.
There is also another story from Brazil involving the successful use of stem cells to help an individual regain mobility. With all these stories, the United States might want to expand the use of umbilical cord stem cells and to re-think its position on stem cell research in general.
Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a press conference where South Korea (news - web sites) researchers went public for the first time with the results of their stem-cell therapy.
They said it was the world's first published case in which a patient with spinal cord injuries had been successfully treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood.
Though they cautioned that more research was needed and verification from international experts was required, the South Korean researchers said Hwang's case could signal a leap forward in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.
The use of stem cells from cord blood could also point to a way to side-step the ethical dispute over the controversial use of embryos in embryonic stem-cell research.