Thursday, April 13, 2006

Adult Stem Cells at Work...

Many of the people that criticize "the right" for being against the use of embryonic stem cells seem to think it's all about the "morality" of the issue...and for many it is. BUT, a major fact they are leaving out of the discussion is that embryonic stem cells have yet to be used successfully...but adult stem cells (taken from one's own body) have. Why have the moral/ethical debate if we don't even need to go there?

Jacki Rabon was thrown from a car when she was 18 years old and told she would never walk again... Read her story:

"But about a year later, Rabon’s pastor at First Baptist Church in Waverly, Ill., called the family to tell them he had just watched a special on PBS about a cutting-edge surgery that involved harvesting stem cells from a patient’s nose and transplanting them into the site of a spinal cord break.

The procedure was not available in the United States, but at the time at least six Americans had traveled abroad to have Carlos Lima, a neurologist at Hospital Egaz Moniz in Lisbon, Portugal, perform the surgery in hopes of regaining at least some movement.

“At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have the surgery or not, and then I figured that I needed to because if I never tried then I never would have known what would have happened,” Rabon said.

After a series of tests, Rabon learned that she qualified as a candidate for the surgery, which would cost $47,000. Members of her church and community began an intense fundraising effort that eventually yielded the funds for Rabon and her mother to travel to Portugal for the surgery last October.

When Rabon returned home, she went to Detroit for rehabilitation training within two weeks.

“The first day there, I was crawling, and then a couple of days later they had me up on braces walking,” she said. “They did a lot with me there, and after the two and a half weeks, I kind of learned what I needed to be doing at home, so we went back home.”

Rabon has a couple of machines at home that help her stand and exercise her leg muscles, but a friend from church built a set of parallel bars for her to use. They’re set up at the church, and she goes there nearly every day to practice walking.

She reached a milestone March 27.

“On the parallel bars I had just been walking forward and then backing up, and then yesterday I actually walked forward and then turned around and walked back forward instead of backing up. So yesterday was a pretty big day,” Rabon told BP.

Her goal is to walk on crutches by the end of the year, and she appears to be well on her way. Beyond that, Rabon said, she hopes someday to walk at her wedding.

Embryonic stem cell research is a controversial topic, but proponents are unable to point to someone who has benefited from the research. Meanwhile, lupus, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Crohn’s disease and diabetes are among the ailments that have been successfully treated with non-embryonic stem cells.

Rabon believes there is much hope in adult stem cell research, and she is sure that once the word gets out, more and more people will want to have adult stem cell therapy. So far, she can testify that it has improved her life, and no other lives were harmed in the process." (source)

Pretty amazing...and moral-dilemma free...

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