I report frequently on the media and its bias against reporting successes in adult stem cell research. Sometimes, what appears to bias is just early results and sometimes I’m wrong – there is no bias. JivinJehosaphat mentioned my blog from yesterday comparing the reports on non-embryonic stem cells and embryonic stem cells in Parkinson’s, and noted that the numbers of articles were more even, a little later in the day. Monsters and Critics and the UPI even reported on the breakthrough from Georgia researchers who transplanted non-embryonic (adult) human neural stem cells into animal models to study their effects as treatment for Parkinson’s disease. As of this morning (about 5 AM CST), the count on Google news is 11:11. (I am glad to be wrong in this case.)
In another example where I might have been wrong about bias, back in February of this year, I posted about a report on bone marrow cells used to treat humans with Diabetes type II. As an anonymous poster has pointed out in the comments, there’s not much evidence of this research protocol other than news articles, whether in a Google or Pub Med search. Formal publication in peer-reviewed journals takes a long time, and that sort of delay may explain the lack of corroboration of human stem cell transplants for diabetes. However, 10 months should be long enough to find other, reliable reports of what the original article called “the most important step in Diabetes research since 1929.”
The good news, though, is that animal models are demonstrating that the report from Argentina’s Dr Fernadez Vina may become a prediction that comes true.
One of the most exciting reports comes from the Procedings of the National Academies of Science, “Multipotent stromal cells from human marrow home to and promote repair of pancreatic islets and renal glomeruli in diabetic NOD/scid mice.” The article, available free online, describes the surprising effects of bone marrow stromal cells on not only the pancreas, but the kidneys.
It also has a number of links to research along the same line – many available free online, also. For instance, there’s this article from Stem Cells, “Human Cord Blood–Derived Cells Generate Insulin-Producing Cells In Vivo.” Which led me to this review of the literature on umbilical cord stem cells in the treatment of diabetes.