Sunday, February 1, 2009

Need a Liver? Grow Your Own

The current issue of TIME magazine has a fascinating cover story, "Stem Cell Research: The Quest Resumes," that is a must-read for anyone suffering from chronic illness or disease. As stated in the article, "On Jan. 23, after nearly a decade of preparation, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first trial of an embryonic- stem-cell therapy for a handful of patients paralyzed by spinal-cord injuries."

Scientific gains from these trials and other ongoing stem-cell research have the potential to impact nearly every facet of medical research, including liver disease and organ transplantation. It's not implausible, researchers say, to expect that patients will be able to grow their own replacement organs, thereby negating the need for immunosuppressants. Given the negative side effects associated with these drugs (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, kidney damage, magnesium depletion, upset stomach and more), eliminating immunosuppressants will be extremely beneficial.

Beyond transplants, stem cell research could one day lead to a cure for diseases such as Hepatitis C. If a medical researcher somewhere needs a Hep C-infected, post-transplant liver patient to participate in a clinical trial involving stem cells, count me in. My children are just 15 and 16 years old and if I want to live long enough to meet my grandchildren, scientific breakthroughs must occur. I'll gladly do my part!

3 comments:

Darren said...

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Jay said...

I need to learn how to delete comments on my blog but until then ... I think it's pretty crappy for someone to leave a comment that is an obvious sales pitch for viagra. Liver transplant and Hepatitis C are serious business and if you experience either, trust me - erectile dysfunction will be the least of your worries. Shame on "Darren!"

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