News Item:
Stem cells cure sickle cell anemia

Pro-Life groups around the world have battled tirelessly against embryonic stem cell research, their cause driven by moral and religious beliefs.  The latest break-through concerning stem cell science could once and for all make the controversy begin to go away, because embryos no longer come into play.

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have been able to cure [not treat, but cure] sickle cell anemia in test subjects by using stem cells taken from a microscopic patch of skin.  Granted, the test subjects were lab mice, not humans, but mice and humans are pretty close kin, biologically speaking, and this could be one of those ‘turning the corner’ moments in fighting desease.  Beating something like sickle cell is a major step.  It’s been possible to treat and sometimes cure sickle cell in the past, but it involved a bone marrow transplant.  The problem with tranplants has been that only 1 in 5 relatives of a victim are a close enough tissue match for the procedure, and even in cases where an acceptable donor is found, 1 in 5 still fail.

There are still kinks to be worked out before the procedure is used on humans, but finding a match is a thing of the past.  The patient with the desease is also the stem cell donor, and the body won’t reject its own tissue.

News Source: Washington Post

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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