Medical Journal: Adult Stem Cell Research Trumps Embryonic in Helping Patients

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 27, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 27
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association makes it clear adult stem cell research is leading the way in providing tangible assistant to patients with a variety of ailments. The article validates bioethicists who have said the use of adult stem cells can treat a wide variety of diseases already.

Richard K. Burt, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues conducted a review of articles on both types of stem cell research.

They found dozens of applications for adult stem cells appearing to justify the famous list Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council produced showing the cells working with over 70 diseases.

They reviewed clinical trials involving adult stem cells during the past ten years and found they are helping patients who have a variety of diseases and even heart trouble.

Some scientists and political groups wanting to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research discounted the list and claimed Prentice had overstated the usefulness of adult stem cells.

The JAMA article appears to validate the list, he told

"This new review emphasizes the fact that adult stem cells are helping patients now," Prentice, a former Indiana State University biology professor, said.

"We’ve heard so many times that adult stem cells can’t treat diseases, or only treat a few blood diseases, and those who have pointed out the truth, that adult stem cells are already helping patients for over 70 diseases and injuries, have been scorned," he explained.

"But the truth is hard to suppress. The evidence continues to mount that adult stem cells truly are lifesaving, providing real treatments for real patients now," he told

According to the JAMA article, adult stem cell therapy has become a standard of care when treating several types of cancer.

"Burt and his colleagues at Northestern University reviewed the outcomes of about twenty-five hundred patients who had stem cell transplants," the paper indicated.

"They found the cells appear to be putting some patients with autoimmune diseases into remission and are offering some improvement in heart patients who have suffered heart attacks."

Wesley J. Smith, a noted attorney and bioethics watchdog, commented on the news.

"With the exception of the Missouri media and perhaps, the New York Times, it is now clear that adult stem cells offer tremendous hope for treatments for a wide variety of ailments," he said.

"Remember when embryonic stem cells were going to be a huge issue in the 2008 election? Where are the critics now?" he asked.