Lupus breakthrough

A lupus breakthrough has been made!
Or at least the start of a breakthrough

. Funding to explore the use of stem cell research, especially embryonic cells, into treatments with lupus has been given. Over three million dollars has been given to start clinical testing here in the States.

Studies in China found that lupus patients showed significant improvement in symptoms with this treatment that exceed what current medication can do. The testing is still in the experimental phase. They are moving onto double-bind experiments now, as the original tests weren't done with control groups. But we already know there is promise in stem cell treatment, so with luck, within the next decade we could have marketable, medicinal value from this.

This news in my inbox this morning set me off on a flurry of googling various sciences on mesenchymal stem cells, stem cells, and cells in general. What I mostly learned is that I can't understand science words that stretch into eight or more syllables. (I'm smart, but could never pass basic Biology in school. A science nerd I am not.) Still, it is exciting.

I also learned a few more things in my desperate attempt to understand cellular science. Among the minorities that are likely to develop lupus, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are more susceptible to the disease. You couldn't tell it looking at me (I look like my mother, who is a basic European mix), but my father is Hawaiian. Lupus actually causes migraine disorders. HOLY SHIT, A HUGE PART OF MY LIFE NOW MAKES SENSE! The genetic coding that determines lupus is, as far as we can tell, created five days after conception.

At least as far as we know. There's so much still unknown about this disease, but that's why we get so excited at large amounts of research money. We don't get t-shirts with pithy sayings like "Save the tatas!" But it turns out we are not forgotten, either.

I will not likely see a cure in my lifetime. But the last 10 years has nearly doubled the average life expectancy of lupus patients. What could the next ten years bring?

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Stem cells, I think, always have been in the talking for treating major nerve diseases. I guess, as the big craze about it started at around the middle of the last decade, there was more talking about Parkinson's disease (because more famous people then were known to have this than other diseases from the nerve spectrum), but it must be technical relevant for other such sicknesses too.
Only thing that stupid me thinks in that context: "For sure you can't use any stem cells generated from your own tissue because, if the error has a genetic component, then the error potentially happens again. If you wanna make sure it doesn't happen, pick a person which simply doesn't have it and let him/her donate tissue."
You are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, embryonic stem cell research gets a lot of flak, since people have wierd ideas that embryonic cells are garnered from aborted fetuses. It's not true, but that's the general and dumb American public for you.
I think in general this type of stem cells has once received the greatest public attention, unlike stem cells won from body tissue of an already living human, since there's this strong moral component linked with them.
Simply said: There's just more than this way of generating undetermined cells, but this has been the one kind that became widely publicly known - and also became subject of political decisions fueled by the moral debate.
Dumb American public is right. They'll latch onto whatever the latest story or "issue" of the day is, and then scream religious freedom or "we shouldn't play God" over such things. If stem cell research helps cure diseases (or even prevent them), I'm all for it.