In stem cells, researchers see hope for cures

Friday, April 28, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:47 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The following is a list of diseases for which researchers say embryonic stem cells could potentially lead to cures through somatic cell nuclear transfer. This process takes isolated somatic cells from a patient and tranfers them to a donated egg. The created embryo is allowed to grow into a blastocyst, from which cells are plucked and cultured. These cells can then be turned (or differentiated) into tissue cells for the same patient.

Human embryonic stem cells can be used to form any kind of stem cell that is needed, and this versatility is thought to make them better for research purposes.

    Autoimmune diseases/musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders

  • Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Devic’s syndrome, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes
  • Cancers

  • Bladder/kidney, brain/central nervous system, breast, colon/lower bowel, endometrium/cervix/ovary, esophagus, leukemia, liver, lungs/respiratory system, lymphoma, myeloma, pancreas, prostate, skin, stomach
  • Cardiovascular diseases

  • Acute ischemic heart disease (angina), myocardial infarction (heart attack), chronic ischemic heart disease (athersclerotic heart disease), cardiomyopathy cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
  • Circulatory/respiratory diseases

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis
  • Injuries

  • Severe burns, shaken baby syndrome, spinal cord injury
  • Eye disorders

  • Macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa
  • Infectious diseases

  • Metabolic diseases

  • Adrenoleukodystrophy, aspartylglycosaminuria, Canavan’s disease, cystic fibrosis, Fabry disease, fucosidosis, Gaucher disease, leukodystrophy, mucopolysaccharidoses, Niemann-Pick disease, Pompe disease, porphyria, sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs disease, Type 2 diabetes
  • Muscular dystrophies

  • Becker, Duchenne, Emery Dreifuss, facioscapulohumeral, Fukuyama, limb-girdle, myasthenia-gravis, myotonic dystrophy
  • Neurological diseases of adulthood

  • Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease
  • Neurological diseases of childhood

  • Asperger syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, childhood disintegrative disorder, Down syndrome, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, Rett syndrome

Source: Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures

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