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Great medical stem-cell news

The Times has just reported,

Diabetics using stem-cell therapy have been able to stop taking insulin injections for the first time, after their bodies started to produce the hormone naturally again.

In a breakthrough trial, 15 young patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes were given drugs to suppress their immune systems followed by transfusions of stem cells drawn from their own blood.

The results show that insulin-dependent diabetics can be freed from reliance on needles by an injection of their own stem cells. The therapy could signal a revolution in the treatment of the condition, which affects more than 300,000 Britons.

. . .Previous studies have suggested that stem-cell therapies offer huge potential to treat a variety of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neuron disease. A study by British scientists in November also reported that stem-cell injections could repair organ damage in heart attack victims.

Unfortunately the reporter threw in an egregious graph by writing, "But research using the most versatile kind of stem cells — those acquired from human embryos — is currently opposed by powerful critics, including President Bush."

Proving quite effectively that they can and do read, more than 80 Americans immediately wrote letters observing that it was adult stem cells drawn from the patients' own bodies that had worked so well, not embryonic stem cells which are not versatile, have not proved effective to date, and have caused cancers, and immune problems when used.

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In the Ingenious Timeline we reported that,

Scientists at the UK's Kingston University are using microgravity technology developed by NASA to multiply stem cells from umbilical blood in large enough quantities to be used to regenerate human tissue. The primitive stem cells in the umbilical cord blood resemble those from human embryos, but there are no ethical concerns about their use. They are called "cord-blood-derived embryonic-like stem cells" or CBEs.
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