How Will Adult Stem Cells Heal You?

cellboIt’s not a question of if, but of when. Adult stem cells are healing people of previously incurable diseases, of debilitating arthritis, of sickle-cell anemia, of hearing loss, and many more.

I’ve followed the progress of adult stem cell treatments over the past ten years, yet The Healing Cell book contained many that I had never heard of. This new book chronicles the incredible breakthroughs that doctors and scientists are making by using different kinds of adult stem cells.

The book gives an accessible overview of what stem cells are and how humans have only recently begun understanding their capabilities. It avoids the controversial subject of embryo-destructive stem cells almost entirely. If I had one critique of the book, it would be that this subject should have been addressed directly and at length. The simple fact is that adult stem cells are not controversial, not immoral, and are where all the great treatments are coming from, while embryo-destructive stem cells require destroying an embryo–a tiny human being–and are therefore immoral.

The authors then delve into the many diseases and conditions that adult stem cells are treating, improving, and sometimes even curing. Each chapter is dedicated to a particular disease or class of disease: Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Arthritis, blindness, traumatic brain injuries, blood diseases, and so on.

The book is written in an enjoyable, conversational style. All the big scientific terms are explained in layman’s language. It is fun to read and the stories of the people healed by stem cells are nothing short of incredible.

I told one friend of mine, who suffers from congenital hearing loss, about the book, and he began researching treatments for his condition. It turns out that they are still in the clinical trial phase, which is where most adult stem cell treatments are, but people in serious situations can sometimes even participate in these trials.

A close family member recently passed away from a motor-neuron disorder called bulbar palsy, not unlike ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease. Yet adult stem cells are even beginning to be able to treat these terminal conditions. Too late for my family member, but hope for many others.

I highly recommend this book, not just for your own sake, but for the sake of your friends and family. You will probably read about some condition that someone you love is suffering from. Most people don’t yet know about these stem cell treatments, and that includes doctors. So you as the patient need to be your own best advocate. Reading The Healing Cell is the first step in understanding what is now possible with adult stem cells.

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4 Responses to How Will Adult Stem Cells Heal You?

  1. DanC says:

    I haven’t read the book, but I have to be cautious as there has been too much hype in the past. I’m old enough to remember when the excitement about stem cells got going in the late 90s. Like other Big Science projects, much was promised, and as with other Big Science projects, little has been delivered. We heard promises of Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’s treatment, of diabetes being eradicated by growing new pancreatic cells, of paraplegics getting out of their wheelchairs and walking again.

    Maybe that will all still happen, and Hope springs eternal. But if you had told people back in 1999 that we still would not have a cure for spinal cord injuries by 2013, they would have scoffed. The stem cell hype was so great that we would all sorts of miracle cures by 2005. That’s what was implied. Like other Big Science projects, this one is moving much slower than the public was led to believe.

    People don’t like to hear this, but there are also ethical problems with stem cell research to my mind. And yes, I mean with Adult stem cells.

    To produce the iPS – induced pluripotent stem cells – you have to biochemically modify other cells. You are doing genetic engineering on human cells. I guess I’m a Luddite, but that strikes me as Frankensteinish – and the lesson of Frankenstein was that it is dangerous to play God.

    Then, when the scientists have one or a few iPS cells, their research often involves causing them to multiply so they have more. They are cultivating human flesh in a Petri dish, and that gives me the creeps. Yes, I’m a Luddite in this area.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Dan,

      Caution is merited. However the book cuts to the chase and is honest in which treatments are happening and in which stage of clinic trials they are at. Some are at the stage where only 5 – 10 people with the worst of the disease are getting treated, some at the 50 – 200 person stage, some further.

      So it is very scientific in its analysis and itself tells people to be cautious, especially those who are tempted to fly overseas to China or Russia to have risky “stem cell” treatments done.

      God bless,
      Devin

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