The Senate finally stopped holding the funding for umbilical cord blood banking and databanking hostage to embryonic stem cell research funding, after passage in the House in May of this year, and the President signed the Bill today.
Tom Harkin and the rest of the pro-clone-and-embryo-destruction crowd would rather have the embryonic stem cell research funding (Which unfortunately included “Republicans” Orin Hatch and Arlen Specter), but they’re bound to eventually see that research funding is research funding. After all, human cloning is not doing so well in the rest of the world, with some of the disputed pictures from the Korean veterinarians’ efforts showing up in an earlier publication, where they weren’t labeled as cloned.
Irving Weissman, who has money and a job at stake in both adult and embryonic stem cells, says that the
My granddaughter was born with some unidentified genetic defect – the hemotologist couldn’t even guess – and was unable to make enough white blood cells from birth at 31 weeks. Her top Absolute Nucleocyte Count was 1.8 – White Blood Cell count usually totaled under 2. Her platelets dropped regularly and, despite daily Nupogen and Epogen shots, her WBC and then red blood cell count fell. she got near-weekly bone marrow biopsies and blood tests, a few platelet transfusions and only one RBC transfusion. Before her first birthday, she began evaluation for a bone marrow transplant and even though no family members matched, she was lucky enough to have four non-related matches.
Then, she was offered a chance to be one of the first candidates for an umbilical cord blood “bone marrow” transplant, which she received at 15 months of age at Cook’s Children’s hospital in Fort Worth Texas.
Her donor was a boy, her new bone marrow karyotype is 46 XY. (She’s the only person I actually know whose karyotype – two of them – I’ve seen) The match was about 70%, if I recall correctly.
She’s incredibly healthy 4 years later. No need ever for anti-rejection drugs. She even had an open fracture when a boy at school closed a door on her finger – grew back pretty bone and finger tip (did you ever try to keep a cast clean and dry on a 5 year old?)
The bone marrow and umbilical cord transplants are, I believe, our best hope for the future of regenerative medicine research.The UBC stem cells are proving more and more pliable, and several different populations of multipotent stem cells have been produced from UBC and bone marrow sources. Much more than any hype or hope about embryonic creation and destruction.