Former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was suffering from a mineral deficiency in her bones arising from two corrective surgeries last September, wanted to seek alternative stem cell therapy abroad.
However, she was barred from leaving the country last November after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima refused to honor the temporary restraining order issued by the high court on the inclusion of Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo in the immigration bureau’s watch list.
In the wake of Arroyo’s supposed plan to try the radical technology at stem cell centers abroad to cure what her doctors here described as a rare bone disease, a province mate and a colleague of the former President filed a bill to put up a stem cell center in the country.
Pampanga Rep. Carmelo F. Lazatin, a member of the minority bloc in Congress, has filed House Bill No. 5287 mandating the establishment of a research facility to explore the benefits of stem cell technology as a potential cure for incurable diseases.
Stem cells, the foundation of every organ, tissue and cell within the human body, are like blank cells that do not yet have a specific physiological function, according to Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI).
But when proper conditions in the body or in the laboratory occur, stem cells develop into specialized tissues and organs, HSCI explains in its website, adding that there are two sources of stem cells used in research: the adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.
Adult stem cells are found in differentiated tissues and organs throughout the body while embryonic stem cells are obtained from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, the ball of cells formed when the fertilized egg or zygote divides and forms two cells, then again to form four and so on, HSCI said.
In 2008, the Vatican issued a sweeping document on bioethical issues titled “Dignitas Personae” or “The Dignity of the Person,” taking into account recent developments in biomedical technology and reinforcing the Church’s opposition to embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, human cloning and genetic testing on embryos before implantation.
The Vatican said these techniques violate the principles that every human life—even an embryo—is sacred, and that babies should be conceived only through intercourse by a married couple.
Despite the Vatican’s opposition, US President Barack Obama in 2009 lifted an eight-year restriction on scientific research involving human embryonic stem cells.
“For the past eight years, the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to fund and conduct human embryonic stem cell research has been limited by presidential actions,” an executive order released by the White House in March 2009 stated.
“The purpose of this order is to remove these limitations on scientific inquiry, to expand NIH support for the exploration of human stem cell research, and in so doing to enhance the contribution of America’s scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind,” it added.
In the Philippines, The Medical City and St. Luke’s Medical Center, both premier private hospitals, as well as the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) and Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP), both government institutions, have been pushing for stem cell technology.
Medical City offers dendritic stem cell therapy as an immune system-boosting procedure for cancer patients, stem cell therapy for heart ailments and spine injury. St. Luke’s uses stem cells to repair injured eyes.
The NKTI and LCP have acquired high-tech machines that are a dream-come-true for Filipino molecular biologists. Lung cancer and tuberculosis patients could benefit from procedures using stem cells.
At the same time, stem cells have been used in anti-aging skin care here and abroad.
Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, said there’s a 50/50 chance of bringing aging under what he called a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so.
In an interview last year, De Grey said he sees a time when people will go to their doctors for regular “maintenance,” which by then will include gene therapies, stem cell therapies, immune stimulation and a range of other advanced medical techniques to keep them in good shape.
De Grey, who received his doctorate from Cambridge University, was reluctant to make firm predictions about how long people will be able to live in the future, but he said that with each major advance in longevity, scientists will buy more time to make yet more scientific progress.
In his view, this means that the first person who will live to be 1,000 is likely to be born less than 20 years after the first person to reach 150.
Recently, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital said they have extracted stem cells from human ovaries and made them generate egg cells. The development, if confirmed, might provide a new source of eggs for treating infertility, though scientists said it is far too early to tell if the work holds such promise.
Scientists have also reported last January that two legally blind women appeared to gain some vision after receiving an experimental treatment using embryonic stem cells.
Sources: Inquirer Archives, www.hsci.harvard.edu, www.whitehouse.gov
SAN DIEGO, CA, Apr 30, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Bio-Matrix Scientific Group, Inc. (otcqb:BMSN) (pinksheets:BMSN) announced today it has formed a new subsidiary, Regen BioPharma, Inc. Regen BioPharma has developed a vertically-integrated structure for acquiring patents, performing accelerating preclinical and clinical development, and licensing or selling technology developed to large pharma companies in the area of stem cells. Read More
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Apr 27, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) — the oldest and largest foundation dedicated to improving the life and care of myeloma patients — said a new drug for multiple myeloma has been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval.
The drug, called pomalidomide, developed by CELGENE, would be used for patients with multiple myeloma who no longer respond to other therapies and would join the important, yet limited, number of drugs approved to fight this cancer. No new drugs have been approved for multiple myeloma in nearly six years. Read More
FDA Approves Pazopanib for Advanced Soft Tissue Sarcoma
It inhibits vascular endothelial growth-factor receptors (VEGFR-1, 2, and
3), platelet-derived growth-factor receptors (PDGFR-α and β), fibroblast
growth-factor receptors (FGFR1 and 3), stem cell factor receptors (c-Kit), interleukin-2-inducible T-cell …
MALAGA’S umbilical cord bank is the world’s third-largest, with 20,000 stored samples. The centre received 8,541 cord-blood donations from Andalucia, Murcia and Castilla La Mancha last year, said Isidro Prat, the centre’s manager.
Only banks in New York and San Francisco have larger stocks. Umbilical cords were discarded in the past but mothers are now informed of the importance of donating cord blood. Rich in stem cells, this can later save lives and is vital for transplants and in regenerative medicine.
The Malaga cord bank was founded in 1995, following in the footsteps of New York, Dusseldorf and Milan. Opening six months after Barcelona’s own cord bank it is now the most important in Spain, explained Dr Prat.
Sixty-three samples of cord-blood from Malaga were received by 59 patients last year in Bordeaux, Bogota, Utrecht, Tampa, Houston, Australia and Israel amongst other countries. One sample went to a patient in Malaga. Spain has a national register connected to all other cord-blood banks in the world. Read More
Cord Blood & Stem Cells
Overview. Cord blood is the blood that remains in your baby's umbilical cord and placenta after the baby has been born and the umbilical cord has been cut.
Cord blood donation surges as hospitals launch public collection programs
By JoNel Aleccia When Amalia Kessler was pregnant with her first child, Stella, in 2008, she knew she didn't want to waste the baby's valuable umbilical cord blood, which can be a life-saving source of stem cells used to treat cancer and other diseases …
South Penrith couple bank on their future
A SOUTH Penrith couple used their baby bonus payments to invest in their children's future health by storing the children's umbilical cord blood privately. Until recently, cord blood was discarded as waste at birth but the stem cells are now used in …
A Bellevue doctor is one of only two researchers in the country testing stem cells as an anti-aging treatment. Working with volunteer patients, Dr. Fredric Stern extracts stem cells with a liposuction-like procedure. The cells are then mixed with a special medium. "Half is saved cyrogenically for future use and the other half is shipped to the laboratory in Arizona where on that end the stem cells are grown further," Stern said. Read More
Researchers from the International Stem Cell Corporation said they have discovered a new class of pluripotent stem cells that have the same characteristics as embryonic stem cells – but don’t require destroying human embryos. Dr. Simon Craw, vice president of the International Stem Cell Corporation, said extracts from these stem cells—called parthenogenetic stem cells—have shown benefits regarding skin care.
The scientists stumbled upon the discovery while doing stem cell research for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. They essentially cracked open the cells and removed the proteins and peptides from the inside to use as part of a mixture for a topical skin cream. Read More