By Dave Andrusko
It’s Friday and, as seems to be the case every week, there is one story I’ve been meaning to get to all week and haven’t.
We have written innumerable stories about the impact of adult stem cells as an effective, ethical alternative to lethally extracted embryonic stem cells.
Most of the successes are on ordinary people like you and I. But some times the recipient is a star such as Canadian celebrity Lisa Ray.
“Lisa Ray calls herself ‘a cancer graduate’ and she has stem cell research to thank for it,” according to Nimisha Sachdev, writing in the Toronto Sun. “The Canadian actor, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a life-threatening cancer, announced this spring that she was cancer free following stem cell transplantation.”
The story does not go into elaborate detail [www.torontosun.com/2011/08/25/stem-cells-brave-new-world] but we know enough: that doctors isolated and then harvested stem cells from her own blood, purified healthy adult stem cells from her blood while she was given a big dose of chemotherapy to kill off the cancer cells lurking in her body, and then reintroduced the healthy adult stem cells back into her body where they multiplied and produced a healthy new blood and immune system.
In her interview with the Toronto Sun, Ray explained what happened colorfully.
“Pretend you’re a lawn with an overgrowth of weeds,” she suggested when I admitted my own confusion about the process. “High doses of weed killer are introduced and the good grass dies along with the bad weeds. Then you reseed the entire lawn. That’s what I went through.
Over 50,000 people around the globe are treated each year with adult stem cells. The diseases and conditions successfully treated by adult stem cells, as shown by published scientific evidence, continue to expand, with published success for numerous cancers, spinal cord injury, heart damage, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, and many other diseases.
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