A Georgia man stepped on a piece of glass and decided to fix the injury himself…with super glue. (I use super glue to fix just about everything, but really?) Not surprisingly, it got infected. Unfortunately for him, his foot was infected with necrotizing
fasciitis, more gruesomely known as flesh-eating bacteria. In an attempt to save this man’s foot, a podiatrist tried an experimental procedure using stem cells from placenta. From Fox Atlanta:
DALTON, Ga. –
A cutting edge procedure in the fight against flesh-eating bacteria could land a Georgia podiatrist in the history books.
months ago, Dr. Spence Misner started using an experimental procedure
so that he would not have to amputate his patient’s foot — and it
Bobby Rice, 50,
cut his foot on glass last summer. He used super glue and bandaged it
up. Weeks ago, it was infected. He was diagnosed with necrotizing
fasciitis – the same bacteria that 24-year-old Aimee Copeland is
Dr. Misner said
that in November, he performed a stem-cell transplant procedure using
placenta membrane, which contained growth factors and stem cells to help
heal and repair Rice’s foot.
it was in contact with skin, it allowed skin to grow. When it was with
fat, it allowed fat to grow. It also helped to regenerate his nerves to
the point where Bobby is now ticklish. Before, he was totally
neuropathic, meaning he was totally numb,” said Misner.
Seven months later, Rice is standing and moving using a walker.
the reason why I’m still here, to show people that this is real and
it’s not like what they think about stem cells. It’s something good,”
Awesome. Just awesome. But the last quote leaves a sour taste in my mouth. “…it’s not like what they think about stem cells. It’s something good.”
At the height of the stem cell debates, proponents of embryonic stem cell research (advocates, media, and the like) purposefully tried to blur the line between adult and embryonic stem cells. Their intent was to piggy-back onto the successes in adult stem cells and ride them into embryonic stem cell utopia. They consistently failed to qualify which kinds of stem cells were making progress in real patients, wrongly asserted that adult stem cells could not treat certain conditions and flat out lied saying that embryonic stem cells were successfully treating patients.
In doing so they not only confused the public, but tainted the entire stem cell field, hurting adult stem cell research in the process. You know the kind that actually is working, right now. As Mr. Rice says, the good kind. But don’t take my word for it. Read these quotes from people in the adult stem cell field:
“The biggest disappointment from the summit is that stem cells automatically equals embryonic stem cells. This makes it more difficult for the rest of the industry. Stem cell has become a word like Kleenex, a brand name for everything. We spend great deals of time educating people, getting their heads to turn back.”
— Michael Haider, CEO of BioE Inc., a company that extracts adult stem cells from umbilical cords
“Even though the main controversy revolves around ethical use of embryonic stem cells, politics has infected the entire scientific field and has had a chilling effect on adult stem cell applications as well. Acrimonious political campaigns have spread misunderstanding and discouraged funding of all stem cell research in the United States.”
— Medical News Today interview with Helen J. Harris, founder and president of RP International and advocate for the blind
“The biggest challenge is we just don’t have the donors. Often times, when you hear stem cells, there’s a belief that there’s only one type of stem cells — those that come from embryos. The reality is that there are so many different sources of stem cells. Our marrow is one source.”
–Julie Tilbury, coordinator of the National Marrow Donor Program for the Rock River Valley Blood Center on how the stem cell controversy prevents donors from joining the registry (Tom Polansek, “Stem cell confusion deters donors” Courier News, Eglin, Illinois, September 25, 2006)
Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly