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Medicine Science

Team Use Stem Cells to Restore Mobility in Paralyzed Monkey 196

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-rebuild-him dept.
interval1066 writes "From the article: 'Japanese researchers said Wednesday they had used stem cells to restore partial mobility in a small monkey that had been paralysed from the neck down by a spinal injury.' This is huge news in the world of stem cell research; restoring some muscular control to a simian is a huge step. This means that stem cell therapy is a demonstrably viable path to restoring motility for millions of accident victims, palsy and ms sufferers, the list just goes on."
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Team Use Stem Cells to Restore Mobility in Paralyzed Monkey

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  • by makubesu (1910402) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:26PM (#34494076)
    So not embryonic stem cells. Everybody wins.
    • by butalearner (1235200) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:16PM (#34494792)

      So not embryonic stem cells. Everybody wins.

      Except for wheelchair manufacturers.

      • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @11:55PM (#34497146)

        I'd love it if they were the next buggy whip industry.

        • So would the Jackass franchise.
      • by yorugua (697900)
        mo cuishle lost already, but this looks like good news for similar cases, hope that there's a solution fast enough,
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. I was just going to point out that the article trolls about embryonic stem cell usage in the final two paragraphs:

      "Scientists say the use of human embryonic stem cells as a treatment for cancer and other diseases holds great promise, but the process has drawn fire from religious conservatives and others who oppose it.

      Embryonic stem cell research is controversial because human embryos are destroyed in order to obtain the cells capable of developing into almost every tissue of the body."

      The cells us

      • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:46PM (#34495130) Journal

        The cells used in this treatment were derived from adult skin cells. No controversy here. Everyone wins.

        The fact that adult stem cells are useful should lead us to believe that embryonic stem cells are useful too. In this way any work on adult stem cells is linked to (the lack of) work on embryonic stem cells. If we can save lives with adult stem cells, what if we could save even more lives with embryonic stem cells? Shouldn't we at least do the research to find out?

        • These actually are "induced pluripotent stem cells" not "adult stem cells." The difference being that these are adult skin cells (fibroblasts technically) that have been manipulated, likely by viral transfection of 3 or 4 genes (genes which have been linked to cancer) to become -like- embryonic stem cells.

          Adult stem cells which would regenerate your spinal cord without manipulation have not really been done much. There is a population of stem cells found in mouse whisker roots that seem to do the job, and

        • by ultranova (717540)

          If we can save lives with adult stem cells, what if we could save even more lives with embryonic stem cells? Shouldn't we at least do the research to find out?

          Adult stem cells have the obvious advantage of being your cells, and thus not causing any issues with rejection. Also, as nanotechnology matures, there's the long-term prospect of setting up fully autonomous regenerative capability, which would solve the problems with "lifestyle" diseases, thus vastly decreasing medical spending.

      • The /. editors can hardly spell or even read over the summaries for blatant redundancy or shitty sentence structures; I don't expect them to read the article at this point.
      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @07:05PM (#34495298)

        What controversy is there for anyone in the least bit educated?

        Who opposes fertility treatments? If you do not oppose those why would you oppose the methods used to dispose of the left over embryos?

        They were going in the garbage anyway.

        • by PhxBlue (562201)

          What controversy is there for anyone in the least bit educated?

          Ah, yes, well, there's the kicker. Uneducated people tend to outnumber the educated ones.

    • by transami (202700) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:35PM (#34495020) Homepage

      Not really. An embryo doesn't get to save a life before it's flushed down the drain.

    • So not embryonic stem cells. Everybody wins.

      Not quite, ESC are mostly used right now for basic research into cell biology. One fairly small down side to results like these, where adult stem cells or IPsC get results for treatment, is that people forget the fact that there's more to learn here than how to repair a spinal cord. We haven't figured out how a fertilized egg becomes a full human, ESC are a valuable tool to that end. If people get the idea that there's nothing more to do with ESC since we can fix monkey spinal cords, ESC research is goin

  • Embryonic adult stem cells are a grenade topic under much political (moral, ethical, religious) fire; adult stem cell research is universally free game. Which is this?
    • by bknabe (1910854)
      iPS cells are usually adult stem cells. So it's probably adult, although there's a slight chance they're embryonic. I suspect they were adult because of the way the article was written. They never mention type until they start talking about embryonic stem cells at the end of the article. That way they didn't lie, they just forgot to mention that little detail.
      • To clarify, the blurb from "inquirer.net" was light on that detail but was not written by the scientists involved in the research. They undoubtedly wrote it up and submitted it for peer-review, and will include the experimental details.

        It may also be that they did a control of the same things with embryonic stem cells. It would make sense: if the iPS monkeys didn't recover the same mobility the ESC monkeys did, that would be important to know.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, what bknabe said: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics10.asp [nih.gov]. Score another one for adult stem cells.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        Why do you care?
        Do you oppose fertility treatments? If not, why do you care how they dispose of the left over material?

        • by jgtg32a (1173373)
          Yes I do oppose fertility treatments
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            How do you feel about older folks attempting to reproduce?

            For each birth many miscarriages occur, in older women the rates get worse. At what point is it immoral for women to keep trying to get pregnant?

      • Yeah, what bknabe said: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics10.asp [nih.gov] [nih.gov]. Score another one for adult stem cells.

        Sorry to be a stickler over terms, but "adult stem cell" and "induced pluripotent stem cells" are two different things. An adult stem cell is a stem cell from the adult (or child) body which can effectively be used as is. These generally have a narrower range of fates. You can take a blood stem cell and it will produce blood cells. It will not produce neurons, but you don't have to change it's epigenetics to get it to produce blood.

        iPS on the other hand are cells which don't need to be stem cells initia

  • by sonnejw0 (1114901) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:27PM (#34494092)
    There's only a handful of reasons why you'd hear about this first from a newspaper called "The Inquirer" as opposed to Nature Neuroscience ... I'll leave it to you to figure out what those reasons are.
  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:30PM (#34494150)
    Monkeys should really be more careful and should never, ever dive into the shallow end of the pool.
  • Salute. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sbenson (153852) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:31PM (#34494156)

    "that had been paralysed from the neck down by a spinal injury" -- Bet it wasn't an accident.
    I for one wish to honor our little buddy that took one for the team, Not his team, our team, the team two branches over on the evolutionary tree.

    • Re:Salute. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Stregano (1285764) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:33PM (#34494190)
      I was thinking that as well. How often do Japanese people run across paralyzed monkeys and then think, "I bet this monkey would be good for stem cell research"
      • Re:Salute. (Score:5, Funny)

        by OzPeter (195038) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:48PM (#34494422)

        I was thinking that as well. How often do Japanese people run across paralyzed monkeys and then think, "I bet this monkey would be good for stem cell research"

        Yes thats correct. They run accross the monkey first, then think, "Yep he is a good candidate for stem cell research!"

    • by errxn (108621)

      I hope that you're completely wrong, but I sadly suspect that you are completely correct.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's okay. They only do it to the bad monkeys. The Hitler monkeys, Mussolini monkeys, and occasionally the "give me your lunch money or you get another swirlie" monkeys.

        All the good monkeys are treated with utmost respect, given massages every day, and an up-to-date subscription to HBO.

    • Honestly, I don't care if some intern in a lab halfway across the world has to snap the spine of 100 monkeys by hand. If the research pays off and eventually does lead a treatment that can restore full mobility to MS, palsy, ALS, and other paralysis victims, I say go ahead and break as many monkey spines as you need.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        You had better hope we never have monkey overlords.

        So long as the monkeys were properly anesthetized and they only did the 100 monkeys they needed not a couple more just for jollies then I say go for it.

        No need to torture the little bastards.

    • I know this is going to be tasteless, but you just know it's true:

      Hey, why're you complaining? The alternative would've been throwing the monkey away, that way it was at least good for another test. And it even worked!

      • "That poor sweet monkey. Oh well , lets gather him up , theres no sense in letting him go to waste" *licks lips*

        Non-Obligatory Futurama reference ;)

    • As I see it, a defining characteristic of our world is that some live by sacrificing others. Obviously it doesn't start with man, it goes all the way down the evolutionary chain. Seeing that the whole natural order is like that, and that its often unavoidable given what came before, people justify it. But there's a price we pay. And as we become increasingly powerful, the price can get higher. Europe's 20th century wars would be one example of how behavior that sort of worked before becomes more problem

  • Surely you meant "mojility".

  • Mein furher! I can walk! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9ihKq34Ozc [youtube.com]

    --
    BMO

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:51PM (#34494478) Homepage Journal

    All you naysayers can fuck off. I've just told my paralyzed monkey about this new and he's most excited.

    Go rain on some other parade!
  • by wealthychef (584778) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:38PM (#34495048)
    Is the poster just ignorant, or is there something really here for Multiply Sclerosis sufferers? That would imply stroke victims as well. But I don't think this applies to brain damage, does it?
  • First there's this:

    The team planted four types of genes into human skin cells to create the iPS cells, according to Kyodo News.

    ...which is then followed by this:

    Scientists say the use of human embryonic stem cells as a treatment for cancer and other diseases holds great promise...

    Here's what confuses me: the first bit seems to suggest the stem cells used to "make the monkey jump" were adult, not embryonic. So why include the last little bit about embryonic stem cell research? Am I incorrect about the fir

  • by slapout (93640)

    Fools! Don't you realize that is EXACTLY what the monkeys have been waiting for?! Now there's nothing to stand in there way!

  • I've heard that Linux is also a cure. Tested in a small penguin.
  • "Japan team says stem cells made paralysed monkey jump again"

    Oh, researchers make animals "jump" eh? How original! Thats what 1.21 Jigga-watts'll do to ya!

    I recommend The Animals Film, from 1981, nothing has changed:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Animals_Film [wikipedia.org]

    I would never force someone to watch The Animals Film, or Earthlings, however, for those willing, TAF has very indepth footage of "animal testing". Near the end, a "two headed dog" is created, by sewing one small dogs head, and forelimbs atop a larger dog. Who knows, perhaps by the same laboratory

  • This is great news for people who live in countries not ruled by religious dumb fucks who oppose all stem cells, regardless of where the stem cells originated.

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