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CBS News story hypes unproven stem cell treatment for spinal cord injury - news

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    CBS News story hypes unproven stem cell treatment for spinal cord injury - news

    Carefull out there...
    check out the mentioned Guidelines Link - good to bookmark, very informative-moe

    CBS News story hypes unproven stem cell treatment for spinal cord injury

    This story portrays a quadriplegic man who believes a stem cell transplant helped him to recover partial function after a spinal cord injury. The story effectively conveys the devastation of spinal cord injuries and correctly identifies stem cell therapy as an experimental and unproven treatment.However, its thrust that the therapy ?shows promise? is misleading; its efficacy has yet to be supported by rigorous trials. The story doesn?t give data on costs, harms, and availability that might have injected balance into the piece. We?ve reviewed other stories that unfairly wow readers up front only to save caveats for the end, including a recent BuzzFeed piece on an experimental device that restored some function to a paralysis patient. But in this case, the story also perpetuates a trend of media coverage that hypes unproven stem cell therapies for various conditions, unfairly raising patient expectations based on isolated and preliminary findings.

    Why This Matters

    About 282,000 people in the U.S. are estimated to be living with spinal cord injuries, mainly from vehicle collisions and falls, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. Spinal cord injuries can be incomplete, meaning that patients retain some motor or sensory function below the injury, or complete, in which there is a total lack of sensory and motor function below the level of injury. In either case, they almost always result in lifelong disability. Effective emergency care for people with spinal cord injuries and aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize damage to the nervous system and restore some function. However, there is no treatment to repair spinal cord injuries.
    Stem cells are an active area of research for spinal cord repair, but their potential and associated risks are not clear. According to the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, stem cells are being studied as a source of new cells and products that could prevent further damage, restore nerve function, generate new nerve cells and guide the regrowth of severed nerve fibers. It says current trials are very small, mostly testing the safety of putting adult stem cells into patients. The question of whether stem cells can safely improve function is years away from being answered.
    Meanwhile, there?s growing concern about media reports that exaggerate the potential of stem cell therapies that are in early phases of research. This month the International Society for Stem Cell Research issued guidelines to encourage accurate and balanced communication of stem cell science, including setbacks as well as progress.

    Last edited by Moe; 25 May 2016, 10:27 PM.
    "Talk without the support of action means nothing..."
    ― DaShanne Stokes

    ***Unite(D) to Fight Paralyses***

    This is probably the most accurate piece posted here in a long time. It contains some worthwhile links also. I like this from Science "Confronting stem cell hype".


      Nothing about where this treatment performed and by whom


        Originally posted by Jawaid View Post
        Nothing about where this treatment performed and by whom
        I doubt they want to give any more validity by announcing where and who... Any of the stem cell treatment plants churning out cures to sell people can fit the description. There are no proven stem cell treatments for SCI at the clinic yet. They are all currently in different phases of research and study. The moral of the story is the ISSCR guidelines for accurate and balanced communications in reporting stem cell science. They need to also be fair in reporting the setbacks or true nature of capability and availability of treatments. CBS isn't the only one that has done this. BBC out of the UK is known for it also. There's a growing concern everywhere about the hype given to stem cell treatments that haven't been proven safe or effective.
        Last edited by GRAMMY; 26 May 2016, 5:27 PM.


          Procedure was done at Mt.Sinai NYC,hardly some back alley clinic in Guatemala, but patient population to small (5) to get excited about.The company sponsoring the trial was not mentioned.


            Sweet, but Guatemala, Mt. Sinai Hospital or some back alley was hardly the point of the article. That may be why the location and company sponsor wasn't mentioned by the author in the first place. A location doesn't give it any more credibility or validity as far as showing promise of curing SCI or being efficacious at this point in time.

            This is only a stem cell study for safety taking place in the US, so there's no reason for desperate patients to clamor for something promising efficacy any more than flying overseas as a medical tourist and paying for junk treatments. In either case, there is simply no proven stem cell treatments for SCI yet to purchase at the hospital which are FDA approved and "unmentioned company sponsors" shouldn't be marketing treatments when they're under evaluation. The point was that there is more media hype than ever blurring the lines of reality. Stem cell trials are all currently in different phases of research and clinical study throughout the world and US.

            I think the ISSCR issuing Guidelines is the right thing to do. It's a disservice to the SCI community when the media is reporting these sensationalized one patient miracles pieces to fill air time where many of the important facts are omitted. We see it happening more frequently than ever before and that's why there is growing concern with this kind of media practice. Medical correspondents and media outlets should be more responsible and utilize some guidelines when reporting so patients and the public are not misled or confused about the ongoing research.
            Last edited by GRAMMY; 28 May 2016, 2:31 PM.


              NEWARK, Calif., May 10, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (NASDAQ:STEM), a leading stem cell company developing novel cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of serious central nervous system diseases, today announced that it will be presenting top line 12-month data from Cohort I of its Pathway™ Study later this month as part of the Company’s first quarter 2016 analyst call. The Company is planning to then release detailed final data on Cohort I at a scientific venue in June.

              The Company will attend the 14th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in San Francisco, California, on June 23. The Company will present Cohort I data from the Pathway Study and its interim analysis outcome.
              Last edited by GRAMMY; 31 May 2016, 1:22 PM.


                (DGIwire) – Stem cell research is often in the news these days. Keeping track of all the advances in this fast-evolving area requires knowing about the different types of stem cells and their current uses. And those uses cover a huge range: from a recent report in The Independent noting how stem cell therapy could offer insights on limb regeneration, to a Medical Daily piece on researchers using stem cells to create “mini retinas” in addressing blindness, to a CBS News report on stem cell therapy for heart failure patients, the rate of advances is astonishing. Here is a brief overview of four major stem cell types and how they are being implemented:

                Adult tissue stem cells: These stem cells make only the types of cells that belong in their own tissue, e.g., skin stem cells make only types of skin cells. According to research published in the journal Cell, studies of these cells are giving scientists better perspectives on a range of organs including the lung, liver and kidney. Adult blood-forming stem cells from bone marrow have been used in transplants for more than 40 years, the NIH reports.

                Umbilical cord stem cells: Stem cells from umbilical cord blood—once thought capable only of turning into blood cells—may be able to grow into other kinds of cells as well, according to research spotlighted in National Geographic. Today doctors use cord blood cells to treat about 70 diseases, mostly anemias or cancers of the blood, such as leukemias and lymphomas, the magazine reports.

                Mesenchymal stem cells: Originally identified in bone marrow, where they regulate key stages of blood cell production, these stem cells have since been identified in other anatomical locations, although their physiological roles remain unclear, according to research presented by Nature Reviews. The journal notes that under appropriate conditions, they can give rise to several cell types, including bone and fat precursors.

                Induced pluripotent stem cells: These are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state, according to the NIH. Although additional research is needed, says the NIH, they are already useful tools for drug development and modeling of diseases, and scientists hope to use them in transplantation medicine.

                “The dizzying array of stem cell types and their potential applications represent one of the most exciting frontiers in medical research today,” says Dr. Stephen Huhn, VP, Clinical Research and Chief Medical Officer of StemCells, Inc., a developer of stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury. “Clinical studies are being conducted to determine the extent to which patients can benefit from various types of stem cell therapies.”

                For example, the Pathway Study, being conducted by StemCells, Inc. at various sites around the U.S and in Canada, is evaluating human neural stem cell transplantation as a potential therapy for those with cervical spinal cord injury. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the safety and potential benefit of an investigational product called human central nervous system stem cells (HuCNS-SC?) for people with this type of injury. To learn about eligibility for enrollment in the study, please visit