30 January 2019

The potential of stem cells to better health

stem cells

DanStem Associate Professor Agnete Kirkeby commented on a story about a 23-year-old American, who became paralyzed after a car crash and could move again after treated with stem cells. The story was published in the Danish magazine Heartbeats.

DanStem Associate Professor Agnete Kirkeby commented on a story about a 23-year-old American, who became paralyzed after a car crash and could move again shortly after treated with stem cells. The story was published in the Danish magazine Heartbeats.

The young guy was offered a very experimental stem cell treatment by researchers in the American firm Asterias with the support of California's stem cell agency CIRM. According to the agency's own information, the treatment seemed so effective that the patient has started to move his upper body again after three weeks. After two months, he could even take the phone himself, operate his wheelchair himself, brush his teeth and eat without help.

Agnete Kirkeby states to Heartbeats.dk that this type of story is no longer a fantasy, but nevertheless she is sceptical about the ‘miraculous story’ that gives unproven stem cell hope. The American research team at Asterias has not yet published scientific articles on their work, which does not build trust in the academic environment. According to the stem cell agency CIRM's latest update, none of the patients is able to walk, but their abilities were significantly improved.

“I know very well about the experiment. When they published their first attempt in 2010, people from all over the world waited with excitement for the scientific data, but nothing was published. I expect that the data will come, now that they chose to send out a press release”, she says.

“The potential is there” says Agnete, “in fact, blindness cure has published positive results. The patients were completely blind and now they are able to read sentences. It looks very promising. Also with Parkinson's disease,  patient trials have begun in Japan and New York, while in 2020 our team will start testing in Sweden”, says Agnete.

"There are still some years until we can expect a stem cell treatment on the Danish market", summarizes Agnete.

Read the full story (in Danish)