Adult stem cellsI haven’t been reporting on stem cell research lately, but there has continued to be a flurry of advances in the field.  None of them, however, involve embryonic stem cell research.  All of them involve adult stem cells, cord blood stem cells, or induced pluripotent stem cells (adult cells reprogrammed back to an embryonic state). 

The latest advance was announced earlier this month.  Scientists extracted stem cells from a two year old girl’s bone marrow and created a new windpipe with it in less than a week.  Growing one organ from the cells of another body part is truly astonishing work!  

Here are some other recent medical advances in non-embryonic stem cell research that I have not reported on: 

  • Adult stem cells used to restore the ability to walk in dogs who experienced severe spinal cord injuries (11/12)
  • Adult skin cells converted to heart cells (5/12)
  • Cord blood stem cells treat Type 1 diabetes (1/12)
  • iPS skin cells used to create fresh liver cells (10/11)
  • Adult bone marrow stem cells used to create a new trachea for a man with tracheal cancer (7/11)
  • iPS cells used to restore mobility in a paralyzed monkey (12/10)
  • iPS cells used to treat Parkinson’s in rodents (8/10)
  • A broken leg was saved from amputation by adult bone marrow stem cell therapy
  • Adult stem cells taken from a man’s good eye were injected into his blinded eye and restored his sight (12/09)
  • Adult bone marrow stem cells restored a man’s ability to walk after being rendered immobile by Multiple Sclerosis (12/09) 

So much for all the hype about embryonic stem cells being necessary for cures!  They aren’t curing anything, while adult stem cells continue to work miracles in both the lab and in real patients.