Heal Yourself With Stem Cells

October 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Diseases ... viruses ... paralysis! We may all have the power to save ourselves. Researchers are making amazing discoveries with stem cells, using an endless supply that's in our own bodies.Greg Minow is back on a bike. This one will help him walk again. It was another bike that left him paralyzed. I remember seeing the ground come up and then my head hit the ground," Minow recalled to Ivanhoe. Minow says after a stem cell transplant, he can now feel his hips and the top of his legs. This is just the beginning for the potential of stem cells.

"Stem cells by definition live forever, and they do," Emerson Perin, M.D., Ph.D., a cardiologist at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, explained to Ivanhoe.

Carl Sell's options were running out. He suffered from congestive heart failure. His own stem cells came to his rescue. "If the stem cell would give me a longer life and a stronger heart, I was gonna go for it," Sell said. Stem cells are now being used to build new blood vessels and cardiac muscles. Doctors harvested stem cells from Sell's own bone marrow.

"So, if you were driving down route 90, and there was a big car accident, you would turn off the road and you would take little side streets," Daniel Simon, M.D., director of the Heart and Vascular Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland, explained to Ivanhoe. "The body does the same thing. It makes new blood vessels."

Meanwhile, stem cells from her own leg helped Sharon Tomlinson resolve an embarrassing problem. "Someone would tell a joke and you would wet yourself," she recalled. Urinary incontinence became such a problem that Tomlinson had to give up golf. That is until a new treatment involving her stem cells.

"And of course, using your own body tissue as opposed to something foreign alleviates problems with reactions," Lesley Carr, M.D., a urologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre/University of Toronto told Ivanhoe.

Doctors took stem cells from Tomlinson's leg, injected them into muscles around her urethra, strengthening the muscles and preventing leakage ... just one of several new ways people are helping to heal themselves.

And a new breakthroughfor the first time, scientists have turned ordinary skin cells into a type of stem cell that is capable of forming multiple tissues without using human eggs or embryos. The new technique turns skin cells into stem cells.

For More Information, Contact:
Diane Tumbry
Administrative Assistant
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at University Hospitals
Cleveland, OH
(216) 844-5347


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