Adult Stem Cell Research Shows Promising Results for Lupus Patients

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Adult Stem Cell Research Shows Promising Results for Lupus Patients

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 1, 2006

Chicago, IL ( — In another breakthrough for adult stem cell research, scientists at Northwestern University have seen excellent results treating patients with severe lupus using their own stem cells. Pro-life advocates say the results are another example of how embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary.

Edjuana Ross suffered from lupus through her 20s and now 33 years-old she has her life back thanks to the experimental stem cell procedure Northwestern doctors are using.

"I’m just trying to get used to being well, and it’s a very weird feeling," Ross told the Associated Press.

She is feeling well for the first time since doctors diagnosed her with the disease, which attacks the skin, brain and heart, in high school.

According to the AP report, Northwestern doctors have treated 48 patients with the new procedure and 30 of them have had no disease symptoms for more than seven years following their stem cell transplants.

Dr. Richard Burt, the lead author of the study, which appears in latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, said patients had a 50 percent chance of surviving without the disease.

"It turned out very well, showing that we could do this safely," Burt told AP.

Burt’s team is planning new randomized tests that will compare the stem cell research treatments with standard lupus treatments to determine which is more effective.

He said the stem cell procedure, used on Ross in 2003, involves taking stem cells from a patient’s blood, chemotherapy, and returning the stem cells to generate a healthier immune system.

Some 1.5 million Americans have the disease and the overwhelming majority of them are women.