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    Originally posted by paolocipolla View Post
    You should meet prof. Wise Young as soon as you have an opportunity
    Maybe I'm just in a grumpy mood. I stopped taking one of my pain meds because my tinnitus took a sharp turn for the worse. Feeling pretty grumpy.

    But should we base our funding decisions on enthusiasm and charisma?

    I don't have the answers, I just am asking questions.

    The problem is that we are a small percentage of the people in the world who have problems. A friend of a friend knows Bill Gates. I asked if he would solicit a (tax-deductible) contribution to SCI research. But the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is focused on ending hunger and poverty in Africa. So we don't have a very big pie to share.

    Most of the grant money that is given out is approved by review boards. But there are only a dozen serious researchers in the field. So all of the the people that are researchers are also on the review boards that approve grants. A very circular dynamic that leads to a very political funding process....

    People are trying to figure out how to short-circuit the grant process and raise funds directly. It seems that "human trials" seems to have struck a nerve and is generating a lot of excitement. I hope that it pays off. I'd like to get out of this chair too. Right now I'd settle for a little pain relief....

    Comment


      Dear Charles,

      I'm sorry about your discomfit.
      Dr. Wise is a gift to science.

      Comment


        Originally posted by Charles Hansen View Post
        Hi Leif,

        I'm a little late to this thread, so maybe I'm missing something. But if I understand you correctly, SCINet is proposing to take two therapies that have shown minor promise and then go straight to human trials with a combination of them.

        I have to say that I don't understand the wisdom of this, nor the enthusiasm this has generated, nor the reason to donate $30 million for this "grand experiment".

        1) Wouldn't it make more sense to try the UCB + lithium combination out on rats first for, say, $1 million? It wouldn't delay things by more than a year or so. It will probably take at least a year just to raise $30 million.

        2) If we are raising $30 million for SCI research, wouldn't it make more sense to give it to the programs that have already demonstrated more robust results?

        3) As can be seen at:

        http://www.stemcyteinc.com/about/management.html

        Dr. Young is part of the (presumably paid) management team for StemCyte, the company that is supplying the UCB's for this experiment. Unless they are donating them, this would seem to be a conflict of interest. Most universities require that their researchers take a leave of absence before working at a for-profit outside venture.

        What am I missing?
        Charles,

        You have missed a great deal and are assuming too much. Let me correct some of your assumptions.
        1. I am not part of the management team for StemCyte. I don't receive and have never received payment from Stemcyte for my advice, consultation, or services. I don't own any Stemcyte stocks and have no options or any kind of arrangement with them to receive stocks. Stemcyte is donating umbilical cord blood (UCB) units for ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA clinical trials.
        2. Several laboratories have published reports that UCB mononuclear cells (UCBMC) improve recovery in rats when transplanted into spinal cord after injury (1-7). Many recent studies have proposed mechanisms by which UCBMC are beneficial in cord injury (8-11).
        3. Several laboratories have reported beneficial effects of lithium on spinal cord injury (12). They include studies showing that lithium stimulate proliferation and neuronal differentiation of neural stem cells in the spinal cord (13, 14), improves recovery in rats after spinal cord contusions (15), and reinforces the regeneration-promoting effects of chondroitinase (16).

        I also volunteer all my time and pay my expenses for the work that I do for ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA.

        Wise.

        References Cited
        1. Cho SR, Yang MS, Yim SH, Park JH, Lee JE, Eom YW, et al. Neurally induced umbilical cord blood cells modestly repair injured spinal cords. Neuroreport. 2008;19(13):1259-63.
        2. Chen CT, Foo NH, Liu WS, Chen SH. Infusion of human umbilical cord blood cells ameliorates hind limb dysfunction in experimental spinal cord injury through anti-inflammatory, vasculogenic and neurotrophic mechanisms. Pediatr neonatol. 2008;49(3):77-83.
        3. Kao CH, Chen SH, Chio CC, Lin MT. Human umbilical cord blood-derived CD34+ cells may attenuate spinal cord injury by stimulating vascular endothelial and neurotrophic factors. Shock. 2008;29(1):49-55.
        4. Dasari VR, Spomar DG, Gondi CS, Sloffer CA, Saving KL, Gujrati M, et al. Axonal remyelination by cord blood stem cells after spinal cord injury. J Neurotrauma. 2007;24(2):391-410.
        5. Nishio Y, Koda M, Kamada T, Someya Y, Yoshinaga K, Okada S, et al. The use of hemopoietic stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood to promote restoration of spinal cord tissue and recovery of hindlimb function in adult rats. J Neurosurg Spine. 2006;5(5):424-33.
        6. Kuh SU, Cho YE, Yoon DH, Kim KN, Ha Y. Functional recovery after human umbilical cord blood cells transplantation with brain-derived neutrophic factor into the spinal cord injured rat. Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2005;147(9):985-92.
        7. Zhao ZM, Li HJ, Liu HY, Lu SH, Yang RC, Zhang QJ, et al. Intraspinal transplantation of CD34+ human umbilical cord blood cells after spinal cord hemisection injury improves functional recovery in adult rats. Cell Transplant. 2004;13(2):113-22.
        8. Veeravalli KK, Dasari VR, Tsung AJ, Dinh DH, Gujrati M, Fassett D, et al. Human umbilical cord blood stem cells upregulate matrix metalloproteinase-2 in rats after spinal cord injury. Neurobiol Dis. 2009;36(1):200-12.
        9. Veeravalli KK, Dasari VR, Tsung AJ, Dinh DH, Gujrati M, Fassett D, et al. Stem cells downregulate the elevated levels of tissue plasminogen activator in rats after spinal cord injury. Neurochem Res. 2009;34(7):1183-94.
        10. Dasari VR, Veeravalli KK, Tsung AJ, Gondi CS, Gujrati M, Dinh D, et al. Neuronal apoptosis inhibited by cord blood stem cells after spinal cord injury. J Neurotrauma. 2009.
        11. Dasari VR, Spomar DG, Li L, Gujrati M, Rao JS, Dinh DH. Umbilical cord blood stem cell mediated downregulation of fas improves functional recovery of rats after spinal cord injury. Neurochem Res. 2008;33(1):134-49.
        12. Young W. Review of Lithium Effects on Brain and Blood. Cell Transplant. 2009.
        13. Su H, Zhang W, Guo J, Guo A, Yuan Q, Wu W. Lithium enhances the neuronal differentiation of neural progenitor cells in vitro and after transplantation into the avulsed ventral horn of adult rats through the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. J Neurochem. 2009;108(6):1385-98.
        14. Su H, Chu TH, Wu W. Lithium enhances proliferation and neuronal differentiation of neural progenitor cells in vitro and after transplantation into the adult rat spinal cord. Exp Neurol. 2007;206(2):296-307.
        15. Dill J, Wang H, Zhou F, Li S. Inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase 3 promotes axonal growth and recovery in the CNS. J Neurosci. 2008;28(36):8914-28.
        16. Yick LW, So KF, Cheung PT, Wu WT. Lithium chloride reinforces the regeneration-promoting effect of chondroitinase ABC on rubrospinal neurons after spinal cord injury. J Neurotrauma. 2004;21(7):932-43.
        Last edited by Wise Young; 26 Sep 2009, 11:01 AM. Reason: edited grammar

        Comment


          Originally posted by Charles Hansen View Post

          But should we base our funding decisions on enthusiasm and charisma?
          No, we should base our decisions on facts and that is what I try to do as best as I can.
          To have a correct view of facts is not easy, so I keet asking questions around and to myself.

          I hope your pain is getting better.
          In God we trust; all others bring data. - Edwards Deming

          Comment


            Originally posted by Solan View Post
            I just donated $ 365 on the JustADollarPlease.org website and hope it's not just me doing so.
            I'm tired of sitting on my ass.

            No your not the only one to both, donating and sitting. Although, it's not been quite 3 years since my accident.

            Comment


              Originally posted by Wise Young View Post
              Charles,

              You have missed a great deal and are assuming too much. Let me correct some of your assumptions.
              1. I am not part of the management team for StemCyte. I don't receive and have never received payment from Stemcyte for my advice, consultation, or services. I don't own any Stemcyte stocks and have no options or any kind of arrangement with them to receive stocks. Stemcyte is donating umbilical cord blood (UCB) units for ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA clinical trials.
              2. Several laboratories have published reports that UCB mononuclear cells (UCBMC) improve recovery in rats when transplanted into spinal cord after injury (1-7). Many recent studies have proposed mechanisms by which UCBMC are beneficial in cord injury (8-11).
              3. Several laboratories have reported beneficial effects of lithium on spinal cord injury (12). They include studies showing that lithium stimulate proliferation and neuronal differentiation of neural stem cells in the spinal cord (13, 14), improves recovery in rats after spinal cord contusions (15), and reinforces the regeneration-promoting effects of chondroitinase (16).

              I also volunteer all my time and pay my expenses for the work that I do for ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA.

              Wise.
              Dr. Young,

              Thank you for taking the time to clear things up, especially on a weekend. Thank you also for your efforts and dedication towards finding a cure for SCI.

              Regarding StemCyte, perhaps you could ask them to remove you from the "Management" page and move you over to the "Medical and Scientific Advisory Board" page. That would avoid any confusion in the future.

              I'll try to find some of the articles referenced on the internet -- it's difficult for me to get to a research library. Best wishes for a successful experiment!

              Comment


                Sean your a hottie...Young ladies look this one up. Sorry to hijack thread.

                Comment


                  Very disturbing article I think is about Wise

                  I think this is important to read. I do not believe why people are so meanly opinionated when they don't have a clue.
                  I totally support just a dollar please.

                  Couples Art & Science for Paralysis Research

                  A chance meeting between two people involved in a terrible accident and a bold, successful rescue has resulted in the foundation of the WillWalk Foundation. Jared Dunten and Marty Butler were camping near the Rio Grande when Jared dove into the river and hit a sand bar head first, breaking his neck at the C4-5 vertebrae. Marty dove in, pulled Jared out of the water, and resuscitated him.
                  The accident left Jared paralyzed as a quadriplegic.
                  Jared refused to succumb to a life of paralysis. Both he and Marty decided to combine their love for art and their refusal to accept paralysis as a permanent condition to found WillWalk, a nonprofit organization based in Austin, TX, whose goal is to fund stem cell research dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis. The foundation is using art exhibits and sales to fund the novel stem cell research.
                  The first study WillWalk plans to fund will be conducted in conjunction with the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, the University of Texas, University of Brackenridge in Austin, TX, the Brackenridge Brain and Spine Center, and the Keck Institute in New Jersey.
                  The first trials will involve 30 patients in Austin who will receive a combination of stem cell treatments for spinal cord injuries and lithium to promote neural growth at the injury site. The patients will also undergo extensive rehabilitation programs.
                  This research marks the beginning of a new era in stem cell and paralysis research. Since the stem cells to be used are derived from umbilical cord blood. Up until this groundbreaking study, stem cells have come from controversial sources, such as human fetuses. Until now, stem cells have not been used for treating patients with spinal cord injury and/or paralysis.
                  WillWalk plans to raise 3 million dollars to fund the stem cell trials to assist, improve the condition of, and finally, to cure patients with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
                  (pic from flickr.com/photos/multiget)
                  Email thisAdd to del.icio.usDigg This!Share on FacebookStumble It! Tags: Paralysis, Spinal Cord Injury(SCI), spinal cord rehabilitation, stem cell research, stem cell study
                  This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009 at 3:12 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

                  3 Responses to “WillWalk Couples Art & Science for Paralysis Research”
                  1. <LI class=alt id=comment-2099>Kataweb.it - Blog - diariotip » Blog Archive » News 21 September 2009. Says:
                    September 21st, 2009 at 3:29 pm[...] activation of NeuroD1 and retro-elements during adult neurogenesis. Rif.: Nature Neuroscience WillWalk couples art & science for paralysis research. Rif.: Brain and Spinal Cord Now bone marrow stem cells can regenerate skin. Rif.: The News Stem [...]
                    <LI id=comment-2101> Bob Katz Says:
                    September 21st, 2009 at 8:08 pmI have trouble with this effort. The cheif investigator claimed the first and only treatment for spinal cord injury, methylprednisolone, which finally after review by peers has been seen to not really have any benefit. I also question why the need to do trials for cord blood and lithium for spinal cord injury in 3 countries simultaneously unless the real goal is to commercialize the treatment overseas for medical tourism. If it was so promising the NIH would fund it, but instead they are preying on spinal cord injured and their families here http://www.justadollarplease.org/ I also wonder how many anti abortion right to life people want to support this because it doesn’t use embryonic stem cells. What’s even more amazing is how some people are so hooked by the hype and can’t grasp that what brought the cheif investigator of this proposed trial to fame was methylprednisolone, and even though that treatment is no longer considered a standard of care they rather hold onto to it and dismiss all the negative peer review about steroid treatment for sci. Furthermore there is already a licensing agreement with the supplier of the cord blood cells and the chief investigator, although a university professor is on that companies board.
                  2. WillWalk Couples Art & Science for Paralysis Research « AccessTech News Says:
                    September 22nd, 2009 at 9:10 am[...] WillWalk Couples Art & Science for Paralysis Research Editor Mon, 21 Sep 2009 07:12:38 GMT [...]

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by paolocipolla View Post
                    No, we should base our decisions on facts and that is what I try to do as best as I can.
                    To have a correct view of facts is not easy, so I keep asking questions around and to myself.
                    Agreed. I think we all have limited resources, and we have to decide where to put them. The good news is that things are really starting to shift. I think there is real progress being made and that the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight.

                    Originally posted by paolocipolla View Post
                    I hope your pain is getting better.
                    Thank you for your thoughts. My pain is quite severe. I think it was due to the severity of my accident. I was riding my bicycle when I was hit head-on by an out of control motorcycle. The combined speed must have been close to 70 mph (100+ kph). There was a lot of trauma, including two punctured lungs and about 30 broken bones. I've tried all sorts of therapies, conventional and non-conventional, and nothing seems to help much. The good news is that the pain doesn't keep me from sleeping, so at least I get a break at night.

                    I think we all have our own horror stories. Every time I think that I am bad off, I see someone who has it even worse. The only thing to do is keep fund raising!

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by mckeownp View Post
                      I do not believe why people are so meanly opinionated when they don't have a clue.
                      The human nervous system was first studied in-depth by Santiago Ramon y Cajal in the first part of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize for his work. He concluded that the adult human nervous system was incapable of regeneration. So for nearly 100 years, this was taken as the gospel and virtually no research was done in this area.

                      Even today, a couple of decades after the discovery of stem cells, there are only a handful of serious researchers in this field. Funds are scarce and the competition for those funds is fierce. It has injected a degree of politics into the process.

                      Just as in "regular" politics, opinions can become divisive in the politics of SCI research.

                      Originally posted by mckeownp View Post
                      I totally support just a dollar please.
                      I think the main thing is for each of us to study the science and results to the best of our abilities (not many of us our expert in the field of neuro-anatomy and/or stem-cell-based therapies!) and choose a legitimate researcher to support.

                      Spending $100,000 to fly to India for stem-cell injections is a waste of time and money. But sending that money to a legitimate researcher will get us all walking sooner. Look at the science and pick one (or more!) researchers that "speak" to you. Then raise funds in whatever way you are able. We are getting much closer.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Charles Hansen View Post
                        Dr. Young,

                        Thank you for taking the time to clear things up, especially on a weekend. Thank you also for your efforts and dedication towards finding a cure for SCI.

                        Regarding StemCyte, perhaps you could ask them to remove you from the "Management" page and move you over to the "Medical and Scientific Advisory Board" page. That would avoid any confusion in the future.

                        I'll try to find some of the articles referenced on the internet -- it's difficult for me to get to a research library. Best wishes for a successful experiment!
                        Charles, thanks. Regarding Stemcyte, I do give them advice but do not get paid personally for the advice. Several of our discoveries, i.e. that lithium stimulates umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells to secrete neurotrophins, are being patented. Last year, Rutgers University licensed the patents to Stemcyte and the University will receive royalty should the technology result in products and profits. In exchange, Stemcyte also funds some of our spinal cord research, has supported ChinaSCINet and several of our workshops and symposia in China, and they will be donating all the umbilical cord blood units and processing to ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA.

                        I am writing up more detailed articles of umbilical cord blood mononuclear cell and lithium therapies. Most of my time in the past four year has been spent trying to organizing and training the centers in China to do the clinical trials. I want to emphasize that ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA are not just about umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells and lithium. These are clinical trial networks that will be testing many treatments. We are in discussion with several companies about other treatments. It just so happens that the network chose to start with umbilical cord blood and lithium. We spent over five years organizing and training the doctors at 25 centers in China so that they can carry out rigorous clinical trials. We are doing the same in the United States.

                        We chose umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells for the following reasons in addition to reports from many laboratories that the cells improve recovery in anima spinal cord injury models. First, umbilical cord blood cells are banked in large enough numbers to allow HLA-matching of cells to recipients. Second, umbilical cord blood cells have been used to treat thousands of people over the past three decades. Third, strong and rigorous safety standards have been developed for cord blood. Fourth, our studies and those of other laboratories indicate that the cells are well-behaved when transplanted into the spinal cord, i.e. they do not migrate everywhere and they do not grow into tumors. Fifth, they respond to lithium by secreting neurotrophins that stimulate regeneration. Finally, we worked closely with Stemcyte to develop and implement new technology for isolating and shipping umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells for the clinical trials.

                        In my opinion, there is no other sources of HLA-compatible cells (besides umbilical cord blood) that are ready for multicenter clinical trials at the present. Several centers (e.g. in Prague, Seoul, and Bombay) have been transplanting autografts of bone marrow cells prepared by local laboratories but neither the laboratories nor procedures have been standardized and GTP-certified (Good Tissue Processing). The technology is not yet available for freezing bone marrow to transportation to a centralized laboratory and then refreezing and transporting the prepared cells back to the hospitals for transplantation. I believe some of the technology that we developed for umbilical cord blood cells may now be suitable for bone marrow cells.

                        We considered and ruled out many other sources of cells. At one time, I discussed the possibility of using embryonic stem cells with Woo-Suk Hwang but this of course fell apart. We have discussed doing trials with Geron but they are committed to the trials in the United States. We considered olfactory ensheathing glia from the nose but decided that this is not a reliable source. We considered and ruled out obtained from aborted fetuses for the following reasons. First, the cells are not HLA-matched to the recipients. While some groups claim that the fetal cells are immune-privileged, I am not convinced of this. Second, there are not enough aborted fetuses to provide a reliable supply of cells for our clinical trials. Third, the quality of fetal cells is very variable and I am not convinced of the safety of cells in the U.S. Third, approval of fetal cells will be controversial and difficult.

                        There is one other very important reason for doing a rigorous clinical trial of umbilical cord blood cells. Many clinics around the world are charging patients for treating them with umbilical cord blood cells. If the treatment does not work, we need to know that and move on to other therapies. If the treatment works, then it is very important to know and get the therapies approved. If UCBMC doesn't work, both ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA will move to other cells and treatments.

                        Finally, let me describe the genesis of ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA. I began ChinaSCINet in 2004 because China probably has over a million people with spinal cord injury and they need trials and hope as much as anybody else. With the help of my friend and colleague Dr. Kwok-Fai So and Suzanne Poon, we now have a network of 25 centers in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. It took us 5 years to train these centers, raise the funds, and get everybody working together. When people heard that trials were going in China, many Americans flooded us with requests to go to China. As I recently pointed out, this really bothered me. So, I decided to start SCINetUSA. We have 8 centers at the present and we hav been working very hard over the past six months to reach conensus concerning the protocols. SCiNetUSA will initially do the same clinical trial as China.

                        My goal in these networks is train clinicians within the networks to test the most promising therapies. The experience of testing the first combination therapy (umbilical cord blood cells and lithium) will establish the template for testing many combination therapies. The networks are also committed to a philosophy of clinical trials that I believe in. Rather than just testing a group of patients and then abandoning them, the networks will continue to design trials for the people who have participated in their trials. I do not think that there will be a be-all-and-end-all therapy any time soon. Therapies will give us incremental results and the networks will design trials to find therapies that continue to improve patients who have participated in our trials. I also hope that the networks will be able to test specific therapies for many of the problems of spinal cord injury, including neuropathic pain. Both ChinaSCINet and SCINetUSA focusing their main efforts on chronic spinal cord injury.

                        Wise.
                        Last edited by Wise Young; 28 Sep 2009, 4:18 PM. Reason: Clarified and added chronic spinal cord injury statement at the end.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by mckeownp View Post
                          I think this is important to read. I do not believe why people are so meanly opinionated when they don't have a clue.
                          I totally support just a dollar please.
                          Mckeownp,

                          Bob Katz is BigBob. He was banned from CareCure several years ago for attacking members who disagree with him. He has a son who has transverse myelitis. He keeps re-registering to attack me. For example, I believe that he is the same person as Doodles who recently posted an article about methylprednisolone [source]/forum/showthread.php?t=124305[/source].

                          I am saddened not just because he is so biased and ignorant but because he is preventing people from getting methylprednisolone. Every time I meet somebody who did not receive the treatment and showed no improvement, I feel awful because the drug on average improves the recovery by about 20%. I am astounded by how people like Bob Katz can so blithely deprive others of a treatment that might help them.

                          By the way, Bob Katz professes to support embryonic stem cell research and has strongly attacked others whom he thinks do not support embryonic stem cell research. This was one of the reasons he was banned from this site. Yet, he posted extensively on internet in 2007 against the stem cell research bill in New Jersey. Now, he is attacking umbilical cord blood cells. I can understand if he and his son are not interested, but why deprive others?

                          Wise.

                          Comment


                            Bob Katz Says:
                            September 21st, 2009 at 8:08 pmI have trouble with this effort. The cheif investigator claimed the first and only treatment for spinal cord injury, methylprednisolone, which finally after review by peers has been seen to not really have any benefit. I also question why the need to do trials for cord blood and lithium for spinal cord injury in 3 countries simultaneously unless the real goal is to commercialize the treatment overseas for medical tourism. If it was so promising the NIH would fund it, but instead they are preying on spinal cord injured and their families here http://www.justadollarplease.org/ I also wonder how many anti abortion right to life people want to support this because it doesn’t use embryonic stem cells. What’s even more amazing is how some people are so hooked by the hype and can’t grasp that what brought the cheif investigator of this proposed trial to fame was methylprednisolone, and even though that treatment is no longer considered a standard of care they rather hold onto to it and dismiss all the negative peer review about steroid treatment for sci. Furthermore there is already a licensing agreement with the supplier of the cord blood cells and the chief investigator, although a university professor is on that companies board.
                            I suppose that I should answer this.

                            Bob asks "why the need to do trials for cord blood and lithium for spinal cord injury in 3 countries simultaneously unless the real goal is to commercialize the treatment overseas for medical tourism". This question is illogical. If I wanted to encourage medical tourism, we would not be doing the trials in China and the U.S. Our "real goal" is to get the treatment approved in both countries. In addition, the U.S. requires two phase 3 trials.

                            Bob Katz is wrong when he claims that I am "on the companies board." I am not on the board of Stemcyte.

                            The rest is so pathological that no answer is possible.

                            Wise.

                            Comment


                              dr wise do you think there could be possible benefits to taking a normal dose of lithium now by itself? just curious.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by MValente81807 View Post
                                dr wise do you think there could be possible benefits to taking a normal dose of lithium now by itself? just curious.
                                This is what we are now testing in China. We just completed a clinical trial, which randomized 40 patients to lithium or placebo. The lithium was given for 6 weeks. We will unblind the study soon and will know whether a 6-week course of lithium in beneficial.

                                Wise.

                                Comment

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