stem cell therapy used for autism
autism, stem cell, alternative therapy, bone marrow transplant
Date: 2/3/2006 8:05:44 PM ( 16 y ) ... viewed 2651 times
Stem Cell Treatment - A Cure?
This exciting technology is very new and is proceeding at an amazing speed. However, in the past several months I have become aware of what appears to be the beginning of a medical miracle. It started with the discovery that cord blood (umbilical cord blood) from the birth of a baby, which is normally disposed of, is an exceptionally rich source of stem cells. It is also exceptionally easy to obtain non-intrusively, and plentifully. It is normally disposed of. It was also found that it could be used for bone marrow transplants. In fact, it appeared to be easier to achieve a match that would avoid immune rejection, typical of transplants, than using the marrow extracted from an adult donor. Abruptly another light turned on and I understood not just why the cord blood could be used for bone morrow transplants but how it can and does introduce new genetic material that can spread not just to the bone marrow of the recipient, but also to every organ of the body. It can then function as new cells in those organs with the new genetic material of the donor. With this insight, one would logically conclude that it was a very promising treatment method for autism and numerous other genetically carried diseases, whether the genetic malfunction was inherited or caused later by a chemical insult such as a vaccination.
Some Key Developments & Concepts:
1. The newly discovered availability of stem cells from cord blood: The discovery that the blood saved from the umbilical cord from the birth of a child was rich in stem cells and could be used for bone marrow transplants was the key turning point for this technology. There is already a national cell bank for bone marrow transplants, but obtaining such bone marrow is not easy on the donor. This new discovery opened up a vista of genetic diversity for the bank that is almost unlimited and totally non intrusive on the donor. It is a thrown away waste product (or at least was so formally).
2. Stem cell differentiation: When stem cells are injected into the blood stream they are carried everywhere in the body and stick in various organs, possibly all of them, not just the bone marrow. Once they take up residence in any particular organ, they look around, identify the type of organ they should be, and go through a process called differentiation where they start forming that type of cells. This process of differentiation has been well studied and documented. Thus, they can form new cells, containing the new genetic information of the injected cells, in every organ of the body. At this point they share occupancy of the organ with the original cells in a way that is not understood and will certainly be the subject of future research. In the case of a bone marrow transplant, the original cells have been destroyed and they form new marrow cells, which is easy to detect. Their presence in other organs that are functioning is more difficult to detect. However, if the original, host cells have a genetic defect that is causing a disease, there is no reason to believe the new cells will have it (provided the donor doesn't), and the new cells thus have an opportunity to compensate for the defect by manufacturing the missing enzymes that are necessary for normal, healthy function of the organ - such as the production of secretin. Upon looking at the mechanism, it is clear that its potential, if it meets expectations, goes far beyond the treatment of autism.
3. Bone marrow destruction was found not to be necessary: I was concerned that the process carried out in a bone marrow transplant, the risky initial destruction of the host bone marrow, might be necessary to minimize the threat of rejection. However, another person watching a news program I missed said that it reported that bone marrow destruction had been found to be unnecessary for a successful treatment.
4. Transplant unusually compatible: A reason has been identified that explains the ease of use of cord blood for transplants. The stem cells are so young that they have not yet gone through the process of identifying what should be host cells and what should be foreign cells. Thus, they will not reject the new host, which is a problem with conventional bone marrow transplants. We are aware of the transplant problem of a transplanted organ being rejected by the immune system of the new host. However, it is not as commonly known that for bone marrow transplants, there is an additional risk of the new, transplanted cells forming an immune system that rejects the new host. This does not happen with stem cells from cord blood, helping greatly with the process. Beyond this, if these new cells do form an immune identification system, it will be in the host body, recognizing that body as normal. It is also possible that this adaptation will be sufficient for the existing host immune system to recognize the new cells as normal and not foreign. Much of this latter postulation needs confirmation.
5. The first test on an autistic child may have already happened: I have taken the opportunity to discuss this potential medical miracle with many people over the past few months. In one recent case the person told me he heard a report on television that stated that an autistic child had already been treated with stem cells and the results were successful and long lasting (so far).
6. The chemical complexity of the disease is no longer an issue: If one looks at the complexity of chemical processes taking place in any one cell, it is far beyond comprehension. Trying to design an approach to correct an individual process, or several of them, is truly a formidable task. However, one must remember that our genes do this on a daily basis with what appears to be the greatest of ease. So many genetically based diseases appear to involve extremely complex chemistry, only a small part of which can be identified. How can we hope to perform a correction in the middle of this morass? If we try to design it, we have an extremely difficult time indeed. However, a genetic correction with a complete complement of new, healthy genes has the potential of performing corrective tasks of almost unlimited, self directed complexity with the ease with which a healthy cell normally carries them out. Thus, even though the biochemical basis for diseases such as autism seems impossibly complex, they are not too complex for correction by genetic modification. In fact, one can easily arrive the conclusion that this approach is realistically the only possible approach for curing genetically carried diseases. If it works for inherited genetic diseases, we have no reason to believe it won't work equally well for diseases caused by genetic damage occurring after birth by a chemical insult such as a vaccination. This should further illuminate why the medical research community is becoming so excited about this discovery.
7. Due to the ease of stem cell availability, the safety of experimentation, and the profound potential, stem cell research is progressing very rapidly and is probably now taking place at every medical research establishment in the world. With this in mind, many of the unanswered questions should get answered quickly along with confirmations of successful treatments and initial identification of limitations. It appears that the most recent discoveries may be reported in the news before they reach the journals.
Over a year ago when I first talked to Victoria and learned of her secretin discovery, upon taking a close look at it I concluded that was so technically sound that it was truly a world class medical discovery which would eventually be validated and wrote her a letter to that effect. This has come to pass. I have a similar belief about this technology. It seems to be technically sound and about a year behind secretin in its development. We can expect that the next year will tell the story, or at least a large part of it. It will be an exciting year, and hopefully a promising one for the parents of autistic children and the children themselves. It really may be the long term or even permanent cure for autism.
This treatment is being used outside the United States. If you would like any additional information on the author of this information and where to receive this alternative treatment, please let me know.
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