Do you remember the controversy around stem-cell experimentation in the early 2000s? Though new therapies based on stem-cell therapy promised to treat previously untreatable diseases, their use was widely decried.
Why was that? Well, at the time, researchers used stem cells harvested from human embryos, which opened up a whole host of ethical concerns.
Today, though, new medical innovations are coming to light thanks to stem cells — only they aren’t embryonic stem cells. These treatments originate from patients’ own bodies.
Just consider the case of Roy Palmer. According to CBS News, this Gloucester, England, resident has suffered from multiple sclerosis for years.
A particularly nasty neurological condition, MS slowly destroys the sheathing around nerves, impeding a person’s ability to control his body. The disease put Palmer in a wheelchair and robbed him of all feeling in his legs.
When you can’t move around easily, you often end up watching a lot of television. One day while perusing the tube, Palmer learned about an interesting experimental treatment for MS that was highlighted on the BBC program “Panorama.”
Called hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, it’s an option that doesn’t always work. Additionally, it can open patients up to infections and often render them sterile.
“They take the stem cells out of your body,” Palmer explained. “They give you chemotherapy to kill the rest of your immune system.”
After that, physicians inject the stem cells back in. As the immune system reconstitutes itself, the conditions that initially led to MS simply fail to reappear.
What really convinced Palmer that he wanted to give it a try was the imagery that appeared on “Panorama.” It showed a pair of people rolling into Sheffield Hospital in wheelchairs.
When they came out, they did so on their own two legs. “If they can have that done, on a trial, why can’t I have it done?” Palmer asked.
So in 2017, he underwent the treatment. Within two days, he had regained feeling in one of his legs.
“I haven’t felt that in 10 years,” he exclaimed. “It’s a miracle.”
Video footage of Palmer enjoying that feeling has been circulating the internet. It appears that Palmer just can’t stop dancing after the success of the treatment.
Palmer isn’t the only one who has benefited from such stem-cell therapy. A clinical trial at Queen Mary University of London that began this year is helping people with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory illness of the bowel.
“Anything that we can do that takes away the duration of that suffering is an excellent thing,” said lead trial investigator Professor James Linsday told CBS News. He sees great promise for the future of the therapy that can help people who have to deal with Crohn’s.
Palmer would certainly recommend the treatment. In addition to attempting the “In My Feelings” challenge, he has also begun helping out charitably.
He said, “I’ve been given a second chance at life and I started volunteering at my local police station. We went on holiday not so long ago to Turkey and I walked on the beach. Little things like that, people do not realize what it means to me.”
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