Sunday, June 8, 2008

Incurable Disease Cured With Stem Cells

The Los Angeles Times reports that a two-year-old Minnesota boy, Nate Liao, was apparently cured of a previously incurable genetic disease through the application of stem cells from umbilical cord blood and bone marrow. The disease, epidermolysis bullosa, causes children to lack a protein called collagen type VII, which is important for skin and the gastrointestinal system.

Seven months after the stem cell treatment, Nate's body produces collagen type VII as it should. His skin has improved and he no longer has to eat pureed food. He can wear normal clothes and play with other children.

The technique—developed by Dr. Angela M. Christiano of Columbia University Medical Center—has since been used to treat Nate's older brother Jacob and will soon be used to treat a nine-month-old girl in Folsom, California.

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